Alessandro Bailetti, a Peruvian immigrant and both Undergraduate Transfer and Graduate Scholar, found a passion for science and research upon getting accepted to Cornell.
“It’s important to me because I believe that science is all around us, that science is in the car that you drive, in the cellphone that you use and in the injection you take when you are sick,” Alessandro said. “That is all science. For me, being part of a scientific community that pushes the finding of new knowledge makes me believe that my work will stand the test of time.”
After community college, Alessandro was planning on transferring to a good liberal arts school in Florida. Even when he found out he had been accepted to an Ivy League university, he thought he “wasn’t good enough” for Cornell and considered rejecting the offer. Then he received the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.
“I [was] an immigrant with only five years in the United States, with good enough English to pass through my classes,” Alessandro recounted, “but I never thought I was good enough for Cornell. When I got the scholarship, that was the moment I said ‘I can go to Cornell right now.'”
It’s been almost a decade since Alessandro was awarded the scholarship, and he has since found a reliable community in other scholars. He says that the network he has built through attending scholars weekends and other events has been a huge part of his life.
“This is what the Foundation is,” Alessandro said. “It’s more than a scholarship. It’s a community. It’s a way of… it’s a lifestyle. I love it.”
Alessandro earned his undergraduate degree in biological sciences, and is currently a Ph. D. candidate at the New York University School of Medicine studying developmental genetics. He wants to continue being active in the scholar community, and eventually inspire other young scientists to go after accomplishing their goals.
“The fact that I’m a minority scientist, the fact that I’m an immigrant, the fact that I went to a community college first,” Alessandro said, “makes me want to also mentor those future scientists.”