EAS senior recognized by Cornell, New York State

Naomi Schulberg and some impressive trees

EAS senior Naomi Schulberg has been recognized by Cornell University as a Merrill Presidential Scholar and by the State University of New York with a Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Naomi Schulberg in the woodsThe Merrill Presidential Scholars Program honors Cornell’s most outstanding graduating seniors while at the same time recognizing the teachers who have helped them succeed. Schulberg, an Earth and atmospheric sciences major who grew up in Singapore and attended United World College of South East Asia for high school, has named Nathan Hunt as the teacher from UWCSEA she would like to include in the Merrill Scholars convocation ceremony this May. Cornell Ecology Professor Christine Goodale will share the stage, and the honor, with Schulberg and Hunt.

“This is not something I applied for and it is such a wonderful surprise,” Schulberg said. Hunt, her high school mentor who has since moved from Singapore to the Netherlands, has said he will come to Ithaca for the ceremony.

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award acknowledges outstanding graduating seniors statewide for achievements in the areas of academics, leadership, campus involvement, community service, or the arts. Nominators must specify at least three categories from the areas listed where the nominee has excelled. Schulberg was nominated for this award by EAS Senior Lecturer Bruce Monger, who pointed to her achievements in the areas of academics, campus involvement, and leadership. Schulberg will attend a recognition ceremony at the capital in Albany on April 24.

Driven by her interest, Schulberg started identifying trees when she was in middle school. By the time she was in high school she joined a forest nursery restoration group where she grew and planted trees. “Through that group, I ended up starting a research project with a professor from the National University of Singapore,” Schulberg said. “That was my first real STEM exposure outside of the classroom and I found I really liked doing research.”

It was not long before Schulberg was at Cornell, where it took a little while before she settled on the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences major with a concentration in Environmental Sciences and a minor in Plant Sciences. “After living in Singapore for 18 years I was ready to get out of the city and live somewhere that I could get off campus and hike,” Schulberg said. “And the quality of all the programs here is so high—so whether I decided to major in plant sciences, or Earth and atmospheric sciences, or something else entirely I knew I would get an excellent education.”

Schulberg graduates this May and is currently weighing her options for graduate school.

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