Matthew Ponticiello ’21
Majors: Global and Public Health Sciences
Minors: Spanish; Inequality Studies
The issue of public concern I’m passionate about is … structural violence against marginalized groups, particularly in the sphere of global and public health.
Engagement experience: For my Stage 2 project [for the Certificate in Engaged Leadership], I participated in Cornell’s Global Citizenship and Sustainability Program. I spent three weeks in Malaysia, where I conducted community-based participant research with indigenous populations to develop a better understanding of cultural resilience and preserve indigenous knowledge. At Binghamton University (my freshman-year institution) I participated in the Emerging Leaders Program, where my team developed two service-learning projects that combated stigma against immigrants and provided resources to immigrants unsure of their citizenship status.
I am also co-president of Cornell’s chapter of Partner’s in Health-Engage, a tutor for Friends of Farmworkers and a social consultant for Cornell Health’s Sexual Assault Prevention Program.
As an Engaged Ambassador, I … work with students to find a community engagement project that they’re passionate about.
I got involved because … I believe that community service and engagement should mean more than just checking off a box on your resume. I wanted to support other students through the service-learning process and help them get more out of their community engagement experiences. I see immense value in critical reflection and wanted to work with other students so that they, too, could see the value in critical reflection.
My friends would say I’m … thoughtful, energetic and honest.
Best Cornell memory (so far!): Getting to travel around Southeast Asia as a part of Cornell’s Global Citizenship and Sustainability Program.
Fun fact: In high school, I won the senior superlative for Most Huggable.
Future plans: Unsure! Some sort of graduate school in the future, but, until then, just get through undergrad and travel as much as I can!
A cohort of students who have completed the Certificate in Engaged Leadership and lead a variety of special projects for the Office of Engagement Initiatives