Addy Dam ’14: Find your passion

When Addy Dam ’14 was in high school in Vietnam, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study in college or what career she should pursue. It was exactly this uncertainty that convinced her a liberal arts education would be the perfect exploratory method of finding out what her passions and interests were. She knew a couple of Vietnamese friends who were students at Cornell and the idea of studying One Course At A Time seemed a good fit for how she wanted to construct her education. 

Addy Dam '14
Addy Dam ’14

Eventually, Dam developed a passion for marketing and pursued a business administration major. One of her work-study positions was focused on marketing for what is now the Berry Career Institute. After graduation, she worked for two different marketing agencies for several years in Myanmar. 

Then she discovered another interest—data analytics. She decided to get her master’s in business analytics, pursuing her desire to learn more coding and programming. Today, she works in Irvine, California, for a boutique consulting firm that specializes in business analytics. She keeps her marketing skills fresh by writing blog posts and newsletters for her company in addition to the data systems work she takes on.  

Dam says her relationships with professors and friends while at Cornell made her appreciate how valuable a close-knit community can be. 

“I was extremely proud of Eyes of the World. I was an active member. I was always proud of what we did to bring diversity to campus like the Culture Show and the International Dinner and other activities,” says Dam, who returned to campus after graduating for an International Dinner. “We brought together students from different backgrounds and from different student organizations to bring the best performances on campus or even just to have different dishes to cook and to do a lot of community outreach.” 

Dam hopes that Cornell will continue to support, maintain, and grow student organizations like Eyes of the World and the events that bring the campus together like the Culture Show. She also hopes Cornell will continue to bring international students to the Hilltop from an even bigger and more diverse pool of countries. 

Her advice to marginalized students is to get involved. 

“I am speaking from my experience, but participate and be involved in groups on campus,” she says. “Expose yourself to different clubs and hopefully, you will find something that you will become passionate about like Eyes of the World was for me.”

She also advises that you get out of your comfort zone. Take an off-campus studies course or study abroad. 

“Take advantage of your advisor and build your relationships with professors,” she says. “They want the best for you.”