Cornell Fellow helps market start-ups

Zara Anderson ’19 dreamed of finding and funding a marketing internship in Seattle, Washington, the city she hopes to live in after graduation. But how?

As a junior she approached the Berry Career Institute, where her career coach, Rebecca Sullens ’09, helped her apply and prepare for a coveted Cornell Fellowship.

For eight weeks last summer, Anderson was the Bryan Fellow in Non-Profit Marketing for Ventures, a Seattle non-profit she discovered through a contact from a relative in the area.

Ventures helps low-income individuals start their own businesses and find avenues to sell their work. Anderson’s primary job was to strengthen clients’ branding and market display. She also implemented an email receipt system and modernized store signage. Anderson, of Mundelein, Illinois, capitalized on her studio art and international relations majors, as well as her experience on Cornell’s student marketing and social media team.

“It wasn’t until the pop-up event where different vendors came and sold and I met them that I realized how amazing this organization was,” Anderson says. “One of my favorites is a lady from Colombia who makes jewelry from seeds. Inspired by resources that her family in Columbia sends to her, she creates some of the most unique jewelry I’ve ever seen.”

Fellows receive academic credit and financial support, and are required to write weekly blogs (read Anderson’s blog), a final report, and present on campus about their experiences.

“It was nice to be held accountable for what I was doing. It pushed me to do more right away and not procrastinate. And it also made me reflect on the work I was doing and make sure it was important,” she says.

Before the fellowship, Sullens helped Anderson prepare a budget for her first time living on her own. Funding from her fellowship donors—Dorothy Carlson Bryan ’48 and her husband Jim—covered Anderson’s needs and made living in Seattle possible. “There were multiple times throughout my fellowship where I couldn’t have afforded to eat or get a bus ticket to go to work without their support. Seattle’s really expensive,” says Anderson. “It was such a learning experience to go somewhere like Seattle.”

Alumni donations support Cornell Fellows and Anderson hopes someday to be one of those alumni.

“It’s really important that people experience new places. It’s important that they learn to live in a big city, and I want every Cornell student to have that chance if they want to,” she says.