Christie Abel: 'I was able to create dialogue and institute real change on campus'

Mon, 05/23/2016

Christie Abel

Science Technology Studies  Sociology

Newtown Square, PA

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

At Cornell, my main extracurricular involvement has been in environmental and sustainability focused clubs and organizations. I have participated in these issues not only in clubs, but also working as an intern in the Facilities Department, in Cornell's own Sustainability Office, as well as through the EcoReps course.

As a sophomore, I worked with the Facilities Department to create and oversee a program that implemented composting in residential halls on North Campus. The program is still in place today! I also had the opportunity to attend the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) Conference in Minneapolis and speak on the Think Big, Live Green Panel at last year's President's Sustainable Campus Committee (PSCC) Summit.

I am immensely grateful for the opportunities that I have had through environmental organizations and I feel as though I was able to create dialogue and institute real change on campus. I am also grateful for all of the amazing people that I have been lucky enough to work with over the years.

How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?

My interests have changed a lot over my years as a student at Cornell. Coming off a pre-freshman summer internship in engineering coupled with strong interests in social sciences and humanities, information science was my initial choice. But during freshman year, I decided to take most of my humanities distribution requirements, and the classes that I chose were in science technology studies. I ended up enjoying the STS classes so much that I took so many that I eventually declared it as my major at the beginning of my sophomore year.

While I am still interested in technology, I realized that my interests were more situated towards social sciences, which is something that I wasn't really even aware of in high school. Cornell allowed me to merge those two interests together in the science technology studies major. After ultimately declaring a double major with sociology, I am grateful that I was able to take such a wide variety of courses because they led me to two majors that I have really loved!

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

You can't predict what you'll like or who you'll be in four years time. Don't try to force yourself to be the type of person that you think you should be. It's ok to not know what you want to do or who you want to be. Just fully embrace the things that interest you right now — you might just find your passion!

Also, be sure to talk to your professors and get to know them in office hours! It might seem intimidating at first, but they genuinely want you to succeed. Your professors are your conduit to all of the amazing research and resources that Cornell has to offer and you should take full advantage of that!