Cornellians have once again been chosen for the Millennium Fellowship, a partnership between the Millennium Campus Network and the United Nations Academic Impact initiative. The 15 students will each work on independent projects targeted towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including improving equality, education and health and reducing waste.
The students selected this year are Andrew Rosenblatt ’20, Ashley Whitley ’21, Carly Sappern ’21, Catherine Li ’21, Eri Kato ’20, Jabari Gambrel ’22, Kirkland Sugrim ’20, Kumar Nandanampati ’20, Lancelot Herpin ’21, Michael Pocress ’21, Pranjal Jain ’23, Victor Rosas ’22, Vineet Parikh ’20, Angela Xiaoyu Li ’21 and Yunyun Wang ’20.
Just six percent of campuses around the world were chosen for the fellowship, which includes 1,092 students selected from 69 colleges worldwide. The selected fellows will also complete a leadership training course and make connections with industry and activism leaders.
As a fellow, Kumar Nandanampati leads the South Asian Mentorship Program at Cornell. The club, which began last year, focuses on marginalized South Asian students, including those who are queer or from smaller populations such as Nepal or Sri Lanka.
“People are always like, ‘Oh, Indian people, you guys are fine, you guys don’t need anything,’ not realizing that that excludes a lot of people who do need support and mentorship,” Nandanampati said. By pairing freshmen with upperclassmen, SAMP aims to “mentor students who come from these backgrounds and give them the resources they need to succeed.”
Nandanampati said he will appreciate being able to work with the other students in his cohort.
“Having conversations with leaders who are passionate about other things can give me different insights into thinking about the world and how it should operate, and how I can be a more effective leader,” he said.
Focusing on sustainability and the environment, Michael Pocress will bring biodigesters to Ithaca for his project. The devices convert food waste into fertilizer, which can then be collected and sold. The biodigesters could be placed in restaurants or public areas where food waste could be dropped off.
“It is like compost but you get an added bonus which is methane,” Pocress said. “We could start with a small pilot, explore the market for methane, and go from there.”
As an Applied Economics and Management major, Pocress said he would like to help others and be able to learn from others, especially with a scientific point of view.
“Running ideas off others in the program and leveraging other people’s backgrounds will be super important in the course of my personal project as well as others,’” Pocress said.
To promote the goal of responsible consumption and production, Angela Li will host an essay contest for high schoolers in Tompkins, Seneca and Tioga counties. She hopes to teach students “what it means to be a responsible global citizen, watch how they consume products and be aware of how these products are made.”
“I think it’s incredible to be a part of a network of such passionate and dedicated young people from across the world,” Li said of the program. “This is a great building block to build skills that are necessary for working in those fields.”
One of the campus directors this year, Victor Rosas plans to found the first Spanish Language debate circuit in the United States as part of the SGD goal for quality education.
“It’s comforting to know others are undertaking big projects too; I’m not just doing it alone, the fellowship gave me a support structure,” Rosas said in an email to the Sun.
Andrew Rosenblatt served as a fellow last year and is returning this year as the president of Cornell’s Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program. At screenings hosted on and off-campus, the club offers members of the community a chance to learn about their kidney health and meet with a nephrologist. Trained students in the club measure blood pressure, BMI and blood sugar, collect medical history and conduct a urinalysis.
“We’re trying to make healthcare more accessible by going to the people that would most benefit, and making our services absolutely free,” Rosenblatt said.