Meet a Friends Scholar

In 1976 the Friends established the Friends of Ithaca College Scholarship, an endowed fund specifically for local students. Since then the fund has enabled more than 450 students to receive an IC education. For many, the scholarship — with an average award of $4,000 — has made all the difference in lightening the load of student loans and part-time jobs. And every Friends scholar has felt part of a community that cares. Cynthia Ulbing ’17 is just one of the latest beneficiaries of the Friends’ generosity.

Wading into New Waters

Cynthia Ulbing thrives on surprise.

This Tompkins County–bred biology major makes her community her classroom. Seeking answers to important ecological questions, she wades into the Raponi wetlands, in the Ithaca College Natural Lands. She’s explored these lands since high school, but every visit leads to discoveries. While some findings disprove her theories, they always inform her process as a scientist.

“Plot twists in science aren’t intimidating; they’re empowering,” says Cynthia. “Surprises keep me flexible as a learner.”

When she’s done testing samples, Cynthia takes to the airwaves as host of WICB’s Concert Connection. While enthusiasm for Ithaca’s music scene led her to the mic, promotion of local artists and venues is a winning outcome. Whether she’s enjoying a jazz quartet at the State Theatre or an acoustic gig at the Haunt, Cynthia never has the same experience twice.

“Live performance is a balancing act between timing and key,” observes Cynthia. “Improvisation in music, as in science, is essential to the craft.”

Cynthia’s worldly perspective is homegrown, thanks to the Friends of Ithaca College. The instrumental support Cynthia receives helps her adapt as a learner and advance her — and our — community.

Cynthia Ulbing and some feathered friends

Cynthia Ulbing ’17 is one of approximately 10 Ithaca College students who each year benefit from the Friends of Ithaca College Scholarship.