Isaiah Murray

San Antonio, Texas

Diversity in all aspects is represented in the AAP student body, and we constantly explore the depths of our experiences in the classroom.

Why did you choose Cornell and AAP?

I stumbled upon the urban and regional studies major at Cornell. I considered majoring in civil engineering or sociology, but my mentor's colleague suggested that I look into urban planning. I was unaware of this field of study and simply typed it into Google. Up came Cornell, and now I am here!

Aside from academics, I knew Cornell would offer me the best opportunities to grow personally. My high school tried to offer the best for its students, but I knew there would be more resources in other places. I wanted to meet people from around the world, obtain a top-tier education, live in New York, and be independent. Coming to Cornell has been a fantastic way for me to improve my life, my family, and my community.

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

AAP has been a place of widespread acceptance of difference. Diversity in all aspects is represented in the AAP student body, and we constantly explore the depths of our experiences in the classroom. With thoughtful discussion prompts, we share our individual ideas about urban design, discuss who the city is for, and consider our varying perspectives based on who we are.

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

At Cornell, I have been a part of many organizations and initiatives. I have participated in Sabor Latino Dance Ensemble since I arrived as a first-year. Since then I have performed in three annual concerts and taken on multiple leadership positions including public relations chair, cocaptain, and president. In December 2017, Sabor Latino celebrated its 25th anniversary at Cornell.

In addition to the dance team, I have been a member of the Student Assembly Diversity Committee, the First-Generation Student Union, and the Organization of Urban and Regional Studies (OURS). I also served as the Latino Studies Program representative and as a multicultural recruitment intern in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

I am also the marketing lead for XBoard, a startup company selling the world's first trickable electric skateboard. We showcased our product at Forbes 30 under 30 in Boston and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Recently, I joined the Social Dynamic Laboratory research team that looks at content on different social media platforms to generate theories about public sentiment.

Outside of Cornell, I have had the pleasure of working for Mayor Ivy R. Taylor in San Antonio, Texas. I also took classes at the University of Chicago, interned at the Chicago Housing Authority, and worked for the Greater Chatham Initiative in Chicago.

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

After graduation, I plan to defer my graduate school plans in order to run for a city council position in San Antonio. I want to give back to the community that gave so much to me and inspire participation among the people of my city. The city belongs to the people. Those who understand that have the imaginative power of change.

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