Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Good educators stick with their students until the concepts they’re teaching gel. Considering his research area, Andy Smith, a biology professor at Ithaca College, might have a slight advantage.
Andy and his student researchers—all of them undergraduates at IC—study the unique properties of the gel that snails use to stick themselves to surfaces, even slippery rocks battered by ocean waves. It might not sound like the most exciting topic, but Andy points out the incredible potential.
“Gel like this would make an ideal medical adhesive because it would stick to wet surfaces, and no matter how much the tissue flexed and bent, the gel would flex and bend with it,” he says.
Andy’s student researchers are there because the work is as exciting to them as it is to their professor. Sure, Ithaca requires science students to immerse themselves in lab research for one semester, but placement is based on student preference. Many continue beyond that one semester and eventually earn the autonomy to run their own projects and experiments, assist in data analysis, and author papers submitted for publication.
“I really like working with students in the lab because every day is different, and you never know what you’re going to find,” Andy says. “It’s a terrific process of seeing students grow in independence, maturity, and intellectual sophistication.”
That sort of hands-on learning is central to the Ithaca College experience.
“You can learn so much more in a research lab than in a classroom because research is a big, complex project,” Andy says. “You don’t know the answers, but you become responsible for finding them.”
>> More on this story: Andy Smith's faculty profile
Perri Rumstein ’13 chose IC because its integrated marketing communications major offered advertising, public relations, and marketing.
“I couldn’t decide between business and communications, and IC was the only school I found with aspects of both in one major,” Perri said. “With a versatile degree, I’d have a broad background that I could eventually narrow down to find the direction I wanted.”
That broad background led to semester-long internships—one writing commercials for a local radio group and the other promoting the Verizon Wireless brand on campus for a Chicago-based marketing agency.
“The interviewers at the internships were impressed that I was getting business credits with the marketing concentration as well as creative know-how from communications,” Perri said. “It set me apart.”
Perri broadened her classroom and internship experiences by working as a president’s host for the admission office. In addition to giving campus tours, she assisted with open houses and student recruiting. When she was promoted to co-chair of the President’s Hosts Committee, she took on more responsibility. As a student event manager, she supervised a team of 30 peers working with the admission staff to organize a four-day conference for 700 college admission counselors.
“With an event that large, things will inevitably go wrong,” Perri said. “By watching how my supervisors maintained their composure, I learned how to move past problems and find solutions.”
Discovering she could handle the challenges of event management, Perri to set her sights on a career in corporate event planning. She also discovered something else.
“In high school, I wasn’t inspired to try new things. When it came time for college, I was afraid to leave everything behind. But IC challenged me, and my leadership skills flourished.”
In addition to co-chairing the President’s Hosts Committee, Perri is a senior class cabinet member and co-chair of the senior class gift campaign.
“I’ve talked to people from other schools who are terrified of graduation,” Perri said. “But after all I’ve experienced at IC, I’m not the least bit worried. IC’s prepared me to take on anything.”
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