"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

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

Monday, May 26, 2014

53. Jennifer Keene

New York, New York · Arts and Sciences

Twitter: @JenniferKeene
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.keene

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

I live in New York City, where I work in sports marketing with clients that have included Tim Duncan, Ray Allen, Chris Paul, Emmitt Smith, and Stephen Curry. I also develop book projects as a literary agent.

This summer I am taking a trip to Kenya - part volunteer work, part vacation. Can't wait!

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

I loved my Spanish language classes. Instructor Susana Sainz worked so hard on my accent. When I speak Spanish now, my accent fools people to the extent that I have to ask them to slow down. My Spanish vocabulary now is only about seventy five words.

Which Cornell classmates do you keep in touch with?

Tons! Facebook makes it so much easier and I'm so grateful for that. 

I could mention a lot of friends but Joanne Rotondi, Geraldine Zikely, Cherylanne (Muraski) Skolnicki and Christine Grund will always hold a special place in my heart.

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

I might have changed majors. Spanish and literature classes were my favorite but I worried about what I’d do with either of those degrees so I stuck with psychology. That said, my experiences studying toward a psych degree have come in handy too.

I realize now that a degree is only one part of career preparation and that one shouldn’t feel limited.

Monday, May 19, 2014

54. Andrea Berloff & Drew Filus

Los Angeles, California · Arts and Sciences

Twitter: @andreaberloff and @drewfilus

Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
We are both writers. We've been married nearly 10 years and we have an 8-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter.

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

Andrea's favorite was David Feldshuh's directing class. "He taught me things that I still use today as a screenwriter." Drew's favorite class was directing with Marilyn Rivchin. "I met my future wife and learned a heck of a lot about filmmaking."

Which Cornell classmates do you keep in touch with?

Almost too many to list. We are in touch with many friends on a daily basis. Cornell gave us some of the most profound relationships we have today. From doctors to artists to filmmakers to professors, the breadth of fields that our friends have entered has made for long-lasting, interesting, and diverse relationships.

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

We both wish that we had allowed ourselves to live in the moment more. Andrea, "I wish I had taken more classes outside my major." Drew, "I wished I had allowed myself to relax and explore more."

Monday, May 12, 2014

55. Jeff and Julie Speiser

Celebration, Florida · Arts and Sciences

Names at Cornell
Jeff Speiser and Julie Allen


Twitter: @jeffspeiser


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

We're living in Celebration, FL which is just a few minutes away from Walt Disney World, with our son Connor (13) and daughter Willow (10). It's definitely a change of pace from our past residences in Leonia, NJ and Ann Arbor, MI. 

Julie is working as a training specialist for Disney Cruise Line, where she trains the cast members in the call center, so if you ever call to book a cruise, ask if they know Julie!

Jeff is a marketing and design consultant for Disney's Global Creativity division and Disney Institute, where he helps come up with marketing ideas for Disney Parks around the world.

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

Visual Anthropology with Professor Robert Ascher. The conversations that we had in that class were very informal (we sat on tree stumps in the middle of his office), but were some of the best discussions that I've ever had. I loved the informal nature of the class while still getting a lot done. It was also a unique way to learn about people of different cultures.

I remember taking a Children's Literature class and loving every moment of it. It had nothing to do with my major, but I loved reading all the original Grimm's fairytales, discovering how scary and gruesome the original Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty tales truly were! For years I taught theater and creative writing to where the kids would write their own "fairytale" and then I would direct their performance. My final project in that class was a presentation on the original Bambi story and how Walt Disney "Disney-fied it." Strange how I ended up working for his company years later!

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?
Julie and I got married at the A.D. White house, so I'd have to say our wedding reception there.

I remember participating in many theater performances at the Center for Performing Arts and having rehearsals until 11:00 pm. Before trecking across the campus to my dorm in Risley Hall, we would call my boyfriend (now husband) Jeff and ask him to order a pizza from Rogans—1 medium pizza and 2 free Pepsis for $5.95 (273-6006). It was the best snack after a long rehearsal and before starting to study. Couldn't beat the price either!

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

Working at Disney, you see people from all over the world every day. I'v been in Walt Disney World and have seen guests wearing a Cornell shirt or a cast member with Cornell on their name tag (if they're doing an internship) and it starts a conversation. Just this past week I met a young woman working in my building who was doing an internship in marketing.

My family went to see The Lion King when it came to Orlando. As we were sitting in the audience before the show, I noticed an insert about a switch for one of the actors for the performance. It said that Tony Freeman would be playing Timon that day. Turns out it was the same Tony Freeman that I had worked with as his TA while he was a Guest Artist in Residence at Cornell! It was incredible after the show to express to him how he inspired me to become a teacher and we even got a backstage tour!

Monday, May 5, 2014

56. Helene Arbouet Harte

Cincinnati, Ohio · Human Ecology

Name at Cornell
Helene Arbouet

Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
Since leaving Cornell I obtained a masters degree in Early Childhood Education and a doctoral degree in Special Education, both from The University of Cincinnati. I am currently an assistant professor of education at the University of Cincinnati, Blue Ash College. I have worked in the community as a classroom teacher, center director, coach, content expert, and consultant. I have over a dozen publications related to my research interests, which include family engagement, engagement of young children in inclusive settings, and the engagement of students in the college classroom. I have been married to Andrew Harte (class of '96) since 1998. We have two children, ages 11 and 14. In my spare time I run and have completed several half marathons and one full marathon.

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

Breathe. Read everything you can. Enjoy the beautiful campus. Take advantage of the many opportunities to hear great music or go to plays. Also, join something. Get involved somehow. It might be a club, intramural sport, sorority or fraternity, but whatever it is it will help you find people who share your interests and give you a sense of belonging in such a big place.

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?

The Cornell Program Board and Cornell Concert Commission were amazing experiences. I had dinner with Spike Lee and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. I attended many concerts. The people in both groups were so much fun. I was also one of the founders of the Circle K group. I am not sure if it still exists, but the challenges of organizing a club taught me skills I still use today when motivating students.

What was your favorite class at Cornell, or the one you found the most useful?
The human development lifespan courses were great and the one on relationships was my favorite - HDFS 362. Of course it was the class on young children that helped me to decide to go into education. The course housing the feeding the homeless taught me a great deal about how one major disaster can influence a life as well as the importance of social supports.