'I designed a curriculum tailored to my diverse academic interests'

By: Danylo Orlov, 
Mon, 05/10/2021

Danylo Orlov

Biology & Society
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Why did you choose Cornell?

I chose Cornell because I wanted to receive a world-class education without being constrained by strict curricular requirements. As a high school student fascinated by both the natural sciences and social issues, I was excited to attend Cornell and design a curriculum tailored to my diverse academic interests. To this day, I am thankful that both the CAS distributive requirements system as well as the BioSoc major requirements checklist have allowed me to choose the classes that genuinely interest me rather than ones that are mandated by the university.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was EAS1540, otherwise known as Introductory Oceanography. Although I initially didn't think of this class as anything other than an easy elective, Professor Bruce Monger's infectious enthusiasm and a great sense of humor soon made me love this course. I especially appreciated the fact that Bruce always made sure to tie the theoretical concepts in the course to present day events and specifically to the dangers of climate change.

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

My main extracurricular activity is fencing. I have been fencing since elementary school and the sport holds a special place in my family, as my grandfather has been a professional fencer and later a coach for most of his life. Though I no longer participate in competitions, I still enjoy the sport as it allows me to unwind and relax through one of the most exciting ways possible: a sword fight!

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

I am most proud of the friendships I was able to make at Cornell. Though I treasure my academic accomplishments, I do not think that anything can replace the bonds that I have made with some of my favorite people on Earth.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

My Cornell education was heavily influenced by my professors and instructors. I am proud to say that throughout my four years of undergraduate study, I have never encountered a single professor or teacher who was not both intellectually curious and academically supportive. In each of my classes, especially in the small-sized seminars and discussion sections, my instructors never failed to ensure that my understanding of the content and my ability to analyze the material was at its peak. In addition, I rarely ever felt like I was not being challenged academically. The high pressure environment helped me mature as a student and prepared me for the challenges of life ahead.

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Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2021.


  Danylo Orlov