The Kessler Fellows program accepted is largest cohort to date for 2023.

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Kessler Fellows accepts record cohort for 2023

After receiving a historic number of applications, the Kessler Fellows program has welcomed a record 20 students to its 2023 fellowship cohort. This impressive group of students will spend the spring semester learning entrepreneurial basics in preparation for a fully funded summer internship at a startup of their choice.  

Rooted in the College of Engineering, the Kessler Fellows program is open to all juniors, regardless of major, at Cornell University who have a strong interest in entrepreneurship. The program provides an exceptional opportunity for students to learn entrepreneurial skills through firsthand experience and build their professional networks.  

“The Kessler Fellows program provides undergrad students with an unparalleled risk-free way to explore entrepreneurship,” said Shirin Dinasan ’24, who hopes to found a socially minded startup of her own one day. “I am most excited to join a community of likeminded students and alumni who share a similar entrepreneurial spirit and passion.” 

During the spring semester, Fellows complete a one-credit course featuring presentations from program alumni. At the same time, they research startups that interest them and connect with Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, who offer their expertise and connections to help Fellows secure internships. Throughout their internship experience, fellows receive a weekly stipend and have all travel costs covered, thanks to the generosity of Andrew J. Kessler ’80.  

“These students were selected from a very strong applicant pool, and they have already demonstrated that they have the passion and dedication it takes to thrive in a fast-paced startup environment,” said Alex Hagen, MBA ’03 and director of the Kessler Fellows program. “We can’t wait to see where their Kessler Fellows experience takes them.” 

The 2023 Kessler Fellows are: 

  • Kieran Bar ’24, environment and sustainability 

  • Giorgi Berndt ’24, computer science 

  • Charlie Bierden ’24, mechanical engineering 

  • Evelyn Chiu ’24, mechanical engineering 

  • Liv Cramer ’24, international agriculture and rural development 

  • Shirin Dinasan ’24, applied economics and management 

  • Erhunmwunse Eghafona ’24, mechanical engineering 

  • Gabriel Ewig ’24, mechanical engineering 

  • Bella Hu ’24, information science 

  • Zuhair Joyo ’24, labor and industrial relations 

  • Phyllis Ju ’24, information science 

  • Jay Jung ’24, information science 

  • Kate Kim ’24, information science 

  • Katie Lee ’24, environmental engineering 

  • Esha Pisipati ’24, biological sciences and information science 

  • Tomer Poole-Dayan ’24, applied economics and management 

  • Emma Shen ’24, information science 

  • Mark Tarazi ’24, mechanical engineering 

  • Yiming Wang ’24, computer science and sociology 

  • David Yun ’24, policy analysis and management 

The cohort will conclude the program in the fall with a presentation reflecting on their summer startup experience.  

“After the Kessler Fellowship, I hope to use my entrepreneurship experience to eventually create my own small business,” said Cramer ’24, who studies international agriculture and rural development. “I believe entrepreneurship can be used as a tool to improve food systems, empower smallholder farmers, and create resilient and sustainable communities.” 

The Kessler Fellows program has introduced more than 200 students and aims to continuously improve for future students. On Cornell Giving Day on March 16, the Kessler Fellows program will accept donations to enrich the internship experience, accept more students to future cohorts and improve the spring-semester course experience.   

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