Mary Grace Hager: ‘Working alongside such dedicated students has provided me with my best friends’

Mary Grace Hager

Math & Computer Science

Spotswood, NJ

What are the most valuable skills you gained from your Arts & Sciences education?

The most valuable aspect of my Arts & Sciences education was its breadth. Because I pursued a liberal arts degree while studying STEM majors, I have a much more well-rounded background than if I had obtained a purely technical degree. This is critical for a future career in research because I can draw on many different subject areas and ways of thinking to discover new ideas and approaches to my work.

What is your main extracurricular activity--why is it important to you?

My main extracurricular activity is the Cornell University Deaf Awareness Project (CUDAP), a student-run organization within Cornell's Public Service Center. CUDAP works to raise awareness of issues facing the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities as well as to support American Sign Language (ASL) education on campus. I initially participated in CUDAP as a freshman because I wanted to learn more ASL; I joined the E-Board to get more involved in the group's initiatives, and since then have become increasingly interested in Deaf culture. I am extremely proud of the group's accomplishments in establishing the first ASL classes at Cornell to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Working alongside such dedicated students has also provided me with my best friends in college.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Try out everything you can in college, but always remember to pay attention to what you like and don't like. As you get to know your own interests better, you should feel encouraged to focus on the activities you enjoy the most. Finding a community on campus and really immersing yourself in it can define your college experience. 
Also: I remember wondering this freshman year, so I wanted to say that it is all right to eat in the dining halls alone! Meals in high school were always with large groups, but in college don't worry if you need to grab dinner by yourself.

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 Mary Grace Hager