"I have found a place where I do what I love every single day."

Claire Stack '15

Major: College Scholar (specializing in Theater and Psychology)
Hometown: Rochester, NY

Why did you choose Cornell?
I’m from upstate New York, so Cornell was always on my radar. I visited Cornell the summer before my senior year. It was August, one of two beautiful months in Ithaca, so the campus was in full bloom. I loved the academic freedom possible in Arts and Sciences, which was especially appealing as someone who was undecided about what I wanted to study. During that visit I fell in love with the school and decided to apply early decision.

What is your main Cornell extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?
I am very involved in the Schwartz Center, where I’ve participated in over 15 productions as director, actor, stage manager, writer, or producer. I have found a true home at the Schwartz Center, a place where I am surrounded by talented, compassionate people and have the opportunity to do what I love every single day.

What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?
I went abroad last spring to Edinburgh. The semester was more challenging than I expected. I surprised myself with how much I missed Cornell, but after returning I was so much more grateful for my friends, classes, and communities here. In my senior year I have felt a deep gratitude for the wonderful life I have here, which has made this year all the more special.

What, if any, Cornell-related scholarships/special financial benefits did you receive?
I am a two-time recipient of the Cornell Club of Rochester Scholarship and receive financial aid.

What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?
I directed the play The Women of Lockerbie this past fall at the Schwartz Center. It was a successful show- every performance sold out and I received very positive feedback after the fact. But more important than that, I had the opportunity to work with some of the kindest and most talented people I have ever come across. It was a true joy to collaborate with these people on a play that we all felt passionately about, and to create something we could all be proud of.

I am also very involved with Kappa Delta sorority. Many of my best friends at Cornell are women that I've met through KD.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?
It’s so hard to choose. One of the best was the weekend that The Women of Lockerbie was performed. I was overwhelmed by the support I received during that weekend- so many friends came to see the show, even friends who traveled from DC! My entire family came to see the show, too- I have a big, loving family and it was so wonderful that they were there. I was able to share this play that I had put a lot of work into with all the people that I love, and that was an incredible feeling.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?
Hands down, my experience in the Schwartz Center. In the PMA department, classes are small and professors are genuinely invested in the learning and well-being of their students. My PMA professors not only are excellent educators, but have become mentors to me.  I will surely stay in touch with them long after my graduation.

How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
I came from a pretty homogenous high school, so the diversity I was exposed to at Cornell was an eye-opener for me. Through meeting people of all walks of life, I’ve become a more empathic and open person.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?
I am so thankful for my liberal arts education because it taught me skills that are translatable to many fields, such as writing and critical thinking. More than that, I truly have enjoyed my education at Cornell. I am interested and passionate about the courses I take, which I realize is not true for all Cornell students.

What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I am stage managing a play in New York City this summer, and I plan to continue working in professional theater. In 10 years, I hope to have a well-established theatrical career as a director. Eventually, I would like to be a Producer or Artistic Director.