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Cornell Tradition fellows recognized

Every year Cornell honors nine graduating seniors who might just be its hardest working students.

That's because these students are among the 500 Cornell Tradition fellows who combine significant work experiences with service and academic achievements. Holding a Cornell Tradition fellowship is an accomplishment in itself. But this year, as in previous years, nine seniors received an additional honor by winning the Cornell Tradition Senior Recognition Award for their overall excellence and contributions.

Troy Nickerson '10

Four-time all-American wrestler Troy Nickerson '10 was one of nine seniors to be recognized with a Cornell Tradition senior award. "Being surrounded by all these people doing all these great things inspired me to do my best. They really raised the bar," Nickerson says. Photo by Robert Barker/University Photography.

The recipients were selected on the basis of nominations from faculty and staff members or work supervisors. Each will establish a $4,000 Cornell Tradition-named fellowship for other students during the 2010-11 academic year and designate a nonprofit agency for a $500 gift.

"This year's group of award recipients is outstanding," says Jacob Sneva, associate director of the Cornell Commitment and program coordinator for the Cornell Tradition. "They truly exemplify the Tradition commitment to serving their campus and community. Each of them has shown a desire to continue improving the lives of others upon graduation, which is a testament to both their Cornell and Tradition experiences."

"The Cornell Tradition really says what Cornell is trying to do for its students," says Giselle Denbow '10, AA&P, who is one of this year's award winners. "Cornell is trying to get diverse people into the school, and they are actually providing you what you need in order to perform well academically.

"If I had to work excessive hours, it would really take a toll on my classes and the reasons I am here."

Four time all-American wrestler Troy Nickerson '10, College of Human Ecology, who hopes to become an oral surgeon, was also recognized with Cornell Tradition's senior award. "Being a student-athlete has been a challenge, but the opportunity to study at Cornell has changed my life," Nickerson says. "I love Cornell. Being surrounded by all these people doing all these great things inspired me to do my best. They really raised the bar."

The seven other awardees are: Sonam Dilwali '10, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Tracey Yi Hsu '10, Human Ecology; Morgan Miller '10, CALS; Apollonya Porcelli '10, CALS; Ebony Ray, ILR School; Edgar Sarmiento-Galvis, College of Arts and Sciences, and Yi Quan Yang '10, College of Engineering.

While the days when students worked to put themselves through college may be a thing of the past, work-study is essential for some 6,000 Cornell undergraduates. These students depend on this "self-help" component of their financial aid package to help them afford Cornell. The Cornell Tradition, a program of the university's Cornell Commitment office, was established in 1982 through an anonymous gift of $7 million.

To support undergraduate students through the Cornell Tradition Program or through scholarships and student aid, go to


Cornell Tradition:

Giselle Denbow video, "Lift the Chorus: Cornell Stories":

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