Hands-on opportunities are a vital part of the SUNY Cortland experience for students and faculty alike. Four out of five students pursue internships, service or research during their time on campus. About 20% opt to study abroad through a variety of programs that allow students to follow their passions to more than 1,000 destinations all over the globe. Since 2007, more than 100 students have been rewarded with summer undergraduate research fellowships to work one-on-one with faculty across disciplines. These and other learning situations help students translate academic theory into practice and give them a head-start on their careers.
Goal: $5 million
Venant with Susie Burnett M '15 and Haitian children.
Christopher Venant ’19 did plenty of learning outside the classroom during his years at SUNY Cortland. A business economics major from Spring Valley, N.Y., Venant was active in many multicultural organizations on campus and got firsthand experience studying the problems of sexual and relationship violence in Haitian women in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Venant traveled to Haiti with Associate Professor Jena Nicols Curtis and Susie Burnett M '15 of the Health Department. It was a personal venture for Venant, who is of Haitian descent and speaks fluent Creole. They met with women in the coastal town of Jérémie to talk about solutions for natural disasters that extend beyond food, water and medicine.
On campus, Vennant was a resident assistant, president of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, a Multicultural Life and Diversity Office intern and alumni coordinator of the office’s Multicultural Male Initiative. That wasn’t all. Venant also organized the Fire Mic Musical Festival in February 2019 that brought acclaimed Brooklyn rapper CJ Fly to Cortland. The event was aimed at developing campus talent and promoting the College’s radio station, WSUC.
College graduates often talk about a certain course or professor who changed their life.
Sophie Umansky ’19 is one of them.
She was beyond prepared to give a one-minute presentation to her entrepreneurship classmates on a business idea. Yet it didn’t go according to plan. A lack of confidence caused her to freeze — so Umansky set to work to make sure that wouldn’t happen again.
Umansky plunged headfirst into campus life after that, joining Delta Phi Epsilon and clubs including Circle Kiwanis Club, Entrepreneurship Club, Ambassadors Club and Hillel. By her senior year, she was elected Student Government Association president. One of her major initiatives as president was to open a clothing closet in Corey Union that will provide students with the attire they need for job interviews and other formal events.
A business economics major with a concentration in public relations, Umansky also became comfortable speaking at major campus events, including Open House, Commencement and the rededication of the Cortland Normal School cornerstone as part of the College’s sesquicentennial celebration.