"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

--Frank H.T. Rhodes, Cornell University Commencement, May 28, 1995

Monday, September 30, 2013

87. Michael J. Vetrano

Suzhou, China · Agriculture and Life

Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
I am the Head of School at the Dulwich College International High School in Suzhou, China. I have been working in the international teaching circuit for seven years—in Madrid, Spain and now China. Before that, I was a teacher in schools in and around New York City. I am addicted to traveling, and do it every second I can. I have traveled to every country in Western Europe and many countries in Eastern Europe and Asia.

What advice would you give to a student starting at Cornell this year?

Take advantage of everything offered to you. Drink in every experience and become part of the university. It will go by very quickly, and if you don't make an effort to become a part of something, you will miss it.

What random or surprising encounters with Cornell or Cornellians have you experienced since you left?

In Shanghai, this past May, I was in a bar with a few of my friends, and I overheard a guy talking about his ILR classes. Cornell is the only place I know that calls it ILR. So I asked him about it and it turns out he was there with about 10 current Cornell students. We had some drinks and had a great time.

What does being a Cornell alumnus mean to you?

It means a lot of things. It means that I have a link to the greatest university in the world for the rest of my life. It means that I'm a member of an elite group of people who spread out across the globe. It means I can proudly wear the Red and White and hold my head up high. I am a Cornellian!

Monday, September 23, 2013

88. Justin Berk

Baltimore, Maryland · Agriculture and Life Sciences


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.

After over 17 years on TV as a meteorologist, I started my own business primarily developing apps. My first one, Kid Weather, was the idea of my oldest son when he was in Kindergarden. He is now entering second grade and we have downloads in 28 different countries. I am also a college professor and developed a video series for local ski areas.

How has your time at Cornell influenced you since you graduated?

Most importantly I have always tried to keep my mind fresh. Either learning or creating new ventures rather than fitting in the mold.

If you could change anything about your Cornell experience, what would it be?

I wish I had planned ahead better to spend at least one full summer at Cornell. I tried it one year, but didn't have a job lined up so I had to eventually go home and work. Experiencing Ithaca without the hustle of classes is highly advisable.

What random or surprising encounters with Cornell or Cornellians have you experienced since you left?

Anytime I meet someone who has any connection to Cornell, there seems to be an instant bond regardless of what year the graduated or courses they studied.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We're Off to a Great Start

Just a quick note to say thanks so much for making the launch of the '95 Faces blog a success.  We hope you're enjoying getting to know or getting reacquainted with the members of our class and are planning to attend our Reunion in 2015 or to meet up with other Cornellians in your area.  In fact, one class member let us know that "...you've inspired me to reconnect to fellow Cornell classmates." Hopefully you feel the same way!  

We also wanted to put out a call for anyone to suggest a Class of 1995 member you'd like to see featured on the blog - whether it's someone you know who has an interesting story to tell or a former roommate or friend you've lost touch with. We can't guarantee we'll be able to use every suggestion, but we'll do our best to include a wide array of people and experiences. Drop us a line at cornell95faces@gmail.com. 

And don't forget to stay in touch with class news and announcements on Twitter at @cornell95 and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cornell1995.

Thanks, and keep reading!

Monday, September 9, 2013

90. Brenda Janowitz

New York · Human Ecology


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.

I'm a mom, a wife, and a novelist. 

My third novel, Recipe for a Happy Life, was published by St. Martin's Press in July. I'm also the author of Scot on the Rocks and Jack with a Twist, and my work's appeared in the New York Post and Publisher's Weekly. My agent recently sold my New Adult novel, The Lonely Hearts Club, to Polis Books. It will be out this December.

It's been wonderful making my life-long dream of becoming a published writer come true. After Cornell, I went to law school, and I practiced law for a few years. But whether at a big NYC firm or at my federal judicial clerkship, I'd find myself wandering the halls, thinking of the stories I wanted to write. 

I live with my husband and our two sons on Long Island. Find me atwww.brendajanowitz.com or facebook.com/BrendaJanowitz ortwitter.com/brendaJanowitz and say hello!

Which Cornell classmates do you keep in touch with?

My closest friends in the world are still the people I met at Cornell. 

I'm in touch with Shawn Hecht Morris, Danielle Schmelkin, Jennifer Avitabile Moss, Tandy O'Donoghue, and Jessica Shevitz Rauch. We meet for girls nights out, have our kids play together, celebrate all of our good times and support each other through the bad ones.

There's just something about the people who have known you since you were 18 years old. That sort of friendship is so unbelievably special.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?

There are just too many to name. But one of the experiences I always look back on and think about was my semester abroad in Seville, Spain. 

I learned so much about myself that semester-- in a country where I barely spoke the language with a bunch of people I didn't know, I was completely out of my comfort zone. But ultimately, it gave me a sense of confidence. It made me realize that I could do anything.

If you could change anything about your Cornell experience, what would it be?

I'm not sure that I would change anything. Sure, there are times that make me look back and positively cringe, but I think that part of life is having lots of experiences-- the good, the bad, and the completely humiliating. I don't think I'd be the same person if I hadn't gone through all of the various experiences I had during my college years.

Monday, September 2, 2013

91. Christos Seferiades

Athens, Greece · Hotel Administration


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.

Fatherhood seems to be the main activity these days for which I am grateful to my lovely wife Irina. During office hours, my brother Angelos '93 and I run a small hotel management company (www.kihli.gr) that specializes in operating upscale boutique hotels in Greece. We are also real estate developers focusing on upscale private summer residences. Some of the job's perks are spending a week each month on the island of Santorini taking care of business at www.ikies.com and showing houses at www.spezzie.com when needed. 

Living in Greece these past couple of years has not been "fun" and we have definitely learned a lot from the crisis. Signs of recovery seem to be around the corner, especially after such a fantastic tourist season this year.

What was your favorite class at Cornell, or the one you found the most useful?

The class that left a lasting impression on me must have been Ferguson's Principles of Accounting. Freshman year in a huge auditorium learning basic principles that have helped throughout my career. It was so different from Greek high school and also great to experience "boring" material being taught so masterfully.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?

My management night for the Restaurant Management course. Together with Nathalie Raguz and Ilan Segal we put together a Safari themed night which we enjoyed tremendously. It was a taste of what real life management would be like later.

What random or surprising encounters with Cornell or Cornellians have you experienced since you left?

During the pre-opening period of www.ikies.com on Santorini island (March 2003), I was getting myself lunch at the village of Oia where the hotel is located, and overheard someone in a group of young Americans on spring break mentioning the Hotel School. It was great showing them around the hotel and it certainly did feel encouraging meeting them there.