Elyse Belarge

Port Washington, New York

Everyone from my classmates to the faculty and staff are so open to helping each other and sharing their experience and advice. This program is a place where everyone is happy when you succeed and will try to help you get there any way that they can.

Why did you choose Cornell and AAP?

I liked the flexibility that Cornell's program offers. Since planning is an interdisciplinary field, taking classes outside the department seemed like a great way to learn about other parts of the field.

What inspired you to join the field of city and regional planning?

I've always been interested in having a career that has a positive impact on the environment, and I thought planning could be a really great avenue for that.

What experiences have contributed to your sense of belonging at AAP?

I think a sense of belonging is really fostered by the people in this program. Everyone from my classmates to the faculty and staff are so open to helping each other and sharing their experience and advice. This program is a place where everyone is happy when you succeed and will try to help you get there any way that they can. Everyone is incredibly accessible.

What are your extracurricular interests and how have you incorporated them into your college life?

In my free time, I teach cross-country skiing and lead day hiking classes for Cornell Outdoor Education. I captain the West Sibley FC (the M.R.P. intramural soccer team). I am also one of the social chairs for the Organization for Cornell Planners. When I can, I join the Ithaca Beautification Committee to help with plantings downtown.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time at AAP and after graduation?

During my time at AAP, I hope that I'll be able to really expand my breadth of knowledge in order to have as much of an impact in my professional career as possible. Two years isn't enough time to learn everything I want to, but I'm certainly making the most of it while I can.