Carlos Abreu, a history major and politics minor, landed two prestigious remote internships during the summer of 2020, one at Cornell Law School and one at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, an interdisciplinary research unit of the City University of New York.
Carlos worked as a research assistant for John H. Blume, director of the Cornell Death Penalty Project. As part of his internship, Abreu worked with lawyers at Justice 360, a nonprofit organization in South Carolina that works to promote fairness in the criminal justice system for those facing the death penalty.
Carlos’s internship with the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute empowered him to design an independent studies program around the dictator Rafael Trujillo, who ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961. He led a project with two high school interns who compiled an exhibit of all the acts of resistance during Trujillo’s regime and how activists worked to oust him from office.
Like many others during the height of the pandemic, business administration major Olivia Carpenter spent most of her days at home, attending classes online and biding her time social distancing by trying out cookie recipes. Inspired by her results and tapping into her entrepreneurial spirit, Olivia submitted a plan for a cookie business to IC Demo Day, landing more than $6,500 to use toward her aspirations.
At IC, Olivia found a community that supports one another and a place where no one has to go it alone.
“The college, even the struggles that we’ve gone through, has brought me to this point and has been very supportive of me. Things would be different if I wasn’t here.”
Olivia’s startup, Via’s Cookies, markets both regular and gluten-free varieties and sells them at local businesses including GreenStar, Ithaca Bakery, and the Trumansburg Farmers Market. Olivia donates 5% of her profits to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students who are struggling to make ends meet.
“The sky’s the limit. I’m going to take it as far as I can, as far as I want to go,” Olivia says. “I’m just going to keep going up, trying to make a positive impact on the world.”
While spending time in Sydney in 2019 as part of a study abroad opportunity, film, photography, and visual arts major Jordan Brown bore witness to the raging bushfires that were devastating Australia during this time. Jordan quickly realized he had the chance to raise awareness about the destruction — with his camera.
“I think that creators can have a huge impact by using their medium to spread messages and ideas in their work,” he shares.
Jordan first took photos of the aftermath of a recently extinguished fire. Then, with fellow student Grace George ’22, photographed a rally featuring tens of thousands of people protesting the government’s inaction surrounding the fires, as well as the devastation wrought in the Blue Mountains area of the continent.
Brown later connected with his hometown radio station, WITF of Harrisburg, Penn., participating in an interview and publishing photos on the station website.
“I think the situation is important because not only [are the fires] destroying the land in Australia and displacing people and wildlife here, the smoke is impacting the air that we all breathe,” Jordan says. “It’s an issue about climate, and climate impacts us all.”
Katelyn Levine, a violin music education major, interned with Brooklyn-based violinist Zoe Aqua, MM ’17, and her students, who were taking an online Klezmer music summer class through the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Levine had been planning to work at IC’s Summer Music Academy, or a local camp in her hometown on Long Island, but the Summer Music Academy was canceled in 2020 due to COVID, and she has an immunocompromised family member, which made it nearly impossible to work outside the home.
After applying for the internship, which she saw on Handshake, Levine worked as a teaching assistant for the online music class, meeting in breakout rooms with students who needed extra help learning the tunes and skills. She also had the chance to teach entire class sections and perfect her “teacher voice.”
“I learned so much about online teaching and what an online music class can look like,” Katelyn shares. “Any experience I get in this before I have to do my actual student teaching is so helpful.”