Dea Fackovic Volcanjk
Why did you choose Cornell?
I chose Cornell University because of its core values, which are beautifully summarized in the quote “any person, any study.” It offers an interdisciplinary approach to learning in a diverse environment with students from more than 116 different countries. Numerous fields of study along with interdisciplinary collaborations enable students to explore a vast range of their interests and find answers to the most complex questions arising from their curiosity. With endless possibilities for exploration and discovery, novelty is always present at Cornell.
What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?
I am a member of Cornell’s track and field team, which enables me to challenge myself inside the classroom and out on the field. Tackling challenges in my sport taught me discipline, resilience and teamwork, which I translated into my academic and research worlds. I believe that the process of learning and improving details in research to answer challenging questions follows the same pathway as it does in improving my triple jump technique. Also, the track and field community gave me lifelong friendships and a family away from home, where I always felt encouraged and supported.
What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?
I am an undergraduate student in The Coates Research Group in the chemistry department, where I work on synthesizing anion exchange membranes for alkaline fuel cells. This experience enabled me to apply the information learned in courses and extend my knowledge, and further introduced me to the creativity and versatility of chemistry. Additionally, it gave me the opportunity to fulfill my intellectual curiosity by answering my favorite question, “why,” through research, while learning from world-renowned chemists. Challenging my mind through the process of innovation helped me develop new ways of thinking, find enthusiasm during every step of the process and helped me grow into the scientist I am today. One of my favorite parts of this experience is being a co-author of my first research paper and thus contributing to scientific novelty.
Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?
My family. They have always supported me in my endeavors and encouraged me during every step of my journey despite being thousands of miles away from me.
What are your plans for next year?
I will be attending Stanford University, where I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry and continuing to explore science through research because "what we know is a drop; what we don't know is an ocean."