Emma Clark: 'I didn't want to have to choose between science and humanities'

Thu, 05/07/2020


Emma Clark

Computer science & Spanish

Spring Lake, NJ

Why did you choose Cornell?

When I was in high school, someone once asked me if I'm more of a "science person" or a "humanities person." I had no idea how to answer. I loved computer science and biology, and dreamed of someday working at the intersection of the two fields. But I also loved history and language, and would lose myself in books for hours at at time. I didn't want to have to choose between science and humanities. I wanted to find a place that would allow me to explore my seemingly opposite passions, and I looked for ways to connect them. Cornell Arts & Sciences was that place, and the freedom it gave me to study both computer science and Spanish is why I chose Cornell.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class at Cornell was Introduction to Oceanography. Professor Monger's passion and enthusiasm were inspiring and made me fall in love with the subject. After taking the class I even considered changing my major, but he assured me that there are incredible things you can do with computer science to help save the world's oceans in the fight against climate change.


Emma Clark

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

One of my favorite Cornell memories is from my first hockey game, fall of my senior year, when the band played "Far Above Cayuga's Waters." All the students linked arms and swayed back and forth together, and in that moment I was filled with school pride like I'd never felt before, and I imagined what it would be like to listen to that song with the class of 2020 on my graduation day. Because of the pandemic, that will not happen, but instead I treasure the camaraderie and emotion of that moment: surrounded by friends, excited to cheer on our team, and proud to be a Cornellian.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

The accomplishment I'm most proud of is being able to serve as a role model for younger women in the computer science community through Women in Computing at Cornell (WICC). Advice and guidance from upperclassmen is the reason I had the confidence to pursue a career in computer science as a woman, and nothing has made me happier as a senior than to pass down these reassurances to the underclassmen of our community. I've loved sharing stories of times that I experienced failure in my computer science career, and showing them how far I've come despite these failures. For me it's a huge accomplishment to be able to remind these students that if I can do it, they certainly can too.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

My study abroad experience in Sevilla, Spain, through the CASA program is what influenced my Cornell education the most. My semester abroad gave me the chance to experience a culture distinct from my own, which helped broaden my perspective and understanding of the world. Studying abroad also helped me discover my passion for Spanish language, literature, and history, which later led to my double major. Abroad is an incredible experience to learn more about the world, and about yourself.


   Emma Clark