Many schools spend time with the recruitment of Indigenous students, but Cornell takes it to a whole different level with their immense retention efforts in place to make sure we succeed once admitted. I wholeheartedly believe there to be few places as special and diverse as Cornell.
American Indian and Indigenous Students at Cornell Engineering
Community. Collaboration. Innovation.
You belong here.
Have a passion for science and math and a drive to create a better world?
There is a place for you at Cornell Engineering. Study in our world-class, collaborative engineering program, and find your college home in our warm community where all cultures and identities are celebrated.
Currently, there are over 400 Indigenous students at Cornell, and more than 35 tribal nations are represented at the undergraduate level. No matter your level of connection to your native roots or identity, you belong here.
Why Cornell Engineering?
A World-Class Education
Pairing deep classroom learning with up-close hands-on experience, Cornell Engineering offers an unparalleled engineering education. Students and faculty are deeply invested in the power of collaborative teamwork. Our diverse community exemplifies kindness, empathy and passionate hard work.
- Cornell Engineering is the largest and highest ranked engineering school in the Ivy League.
- Our program has incredible depth with 14 majors and 22 minors in engineering.
- All 270 faculty in our college teach and advise undergraduate students.
- We are home to 34 student-led project teams in which members collaboratively solve complex problems while gaining real-world engineering experience.
- Women comprise 50% of the College of Engineering’s undergraduate population. We are the first engineering college of its size and stature to have reached gender parity among students.
- Your engineering education will be enhanced by an astounding breadth of academic and personal opportunities across the university.
Community and Support
At Cornell, you will find a supportive network where no engineer walks it alone. Discover a warm community of friends, peers, faculty, and staff who will be a source of strength and guidance in the transition to college, your studies, and navigating through university life.
AIISP: A Full-Circle Approach
- The American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) provides Indigenous students with a supportive family-like community. AIISP champions your success through a robust combination of community-building, Indigenous spaces on campus, scholarly work and coursework including an AIIS minor, and leadership development.
- AIISP takes a full-circle approach to education, believing and investing in the recruitment, retention and reintroduction of our students into their respective communities. You will find a host of resources, including a full-time student support staff, enrichment funding, free tutoring, and distinctive events and programming.
- Akwe:kon is the nation’s first residential program house founded to celebrate North American Indigenous cultures. In conjuction with AIISP, Akwe:kon sponsors programs featuring art, dances, film screenings, lectures, music, traditional foods, workshops and much more.
American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES)
The American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) provides students with numerous ways to develop professionally by offering scholarships, mentorship, internships and more. Additionally, students have the opportunity to attend the AISES national conference every year, which provides excellent opportunities for students to network with other Native students from across the country and to develop rewarding relationships with professionals in the STEM field.
Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE)
The dynamic programming of Diversity Programs in Engineering (DPE) serves our diverse student body in tutoring, mentoring, inclusive community building, networking events, and leadership training.
Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI)
The professional advisors of the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) provide a welcoming space and a guidance particularly for students who identify as first in their families to attend college, low income and/or students of color.
The cost may be one of your family’s greatest concerns about going to college. Regardless of economic circumstances, we are committed to making Cornell Engineering affordable to every student. We guarantee that any family with a total income of less than $60,000 and total assets of less than $100,000 (including primary home equity) will have no parent contribution and no loans. Get an accurate estimate of your aid package with our Financial Aid Calculator.
I was planning on attending a public university closer to home to save money, but when I got the financial aid estimate for Cornell, it was one of the least expensive options. Cornell actually ended up costing less than the state university closest to me, even if I lived at home to save money. Given the strength of Cornell academically, and the great financial aid, it was an easy choice.
- Carl '20, Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa, mechanical engineering major
Now in its 30th year, Akwe:kon ("ah-GWAY'-gohn") is the country's first university residence hall founded to celebrate North American Indigenous culture. In the Mohawk language, Akwe:kon means "all of us." This inclusive community hub hosts events and programs that honor Native cultures and engage past and contemporary Indigenous issues. Whether you live there or are an out-of-house member, you may find Akwe:kon to be your extended family and "home away from home."
Minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies (AIIS)
Explore the complex histories and contemporary situations of Indigenous communities in North America and across the globe. Our faculty teach AIIS courses in diverse range of topics, including art, art history, anthropology, archaeology, education, fiber science and apparel design, law, linguistics, literature, natural resources, performing and media arts, and more. The AIIS minor is available to undergraduate students in any college at Cornell.
Climate change adaptation requires Indigenous knowledge
Bringing together Indigenous and rural communities and scholars from across the globe, Environmental and Indigenous Studies Professor Karim-Aly Kassam shows that navigating climate change requires radically re-envisioning the ways in which we create knowledge.
Indigenous Student Roundtable
Listen in to a conversation about life at Cornell Engineering with three current Indigenous students and Wayva Waterman Lyons (Onoñda’gegá’/Onondaga), Coordinator of Indigenous Student Outreach.
Build community and take advantage of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program. The point of going to school is to practice learning which means you will most likely fail, struggle, and feel out of place as one of few Indigenous students. Finding community and having a Native family away from home will help parts of Cornell feel like home when you need it.
The biggest piece of advice is know that you belong. Continue to persevere and believe in yourself. I found joining Indigenous groups on campus to be helpful in finding support and community with people that you share similar identities or backgrounds with. As an urban Indigenous student, I have been able to explore my identity and culture with amazing people. They have welcomed me and pushed me to be the most successful and fulfilled student possible.
Meet Michael Charles, Cornell Engineer
Staff Dedicated to Your Success and Well-Being
Wayva Waterman Lyons (Onoñda’gegá’/Onondaga) is Assistant Director of Financial Aid & Admissions and Coordinator of Indigenous Student Outreach. In this video, she shares information about Cornell University and how Cornell supports Native American and Indigenous students on campus and during the application process.
As Cornell Health's Community Liaison for Indigenous Students, Wahieñhawi “Hawi” Hall (Cherokee/Mohawk) works to instill hope, healing and health in the Cornell community, particularly among the Indigenous student population. Hall develops programming for Indigenous students on campus. She co-facilitates a therapy group for Indigenous students and a Talking Circle — a traditional Indigenous communication practice. Born on the Onondaga Nation, Hall grew up immersed in the values and beliefs of her Onkwehoñhwe culture, which she regards as an important part of her work.
A Sky View of Akwe:kon
Take an aerial view of Akwe:kon—Cornell's residential Indigenous program house situated on North Campus. Both the internal and external design represent Native culture and history while reinforcing the concept of an inclusive community.
At Cornell, much of the AISES community builds off our already thriving Native student society (NAISAC) and welcomes others. Through AISES, I have built a strong network of fellow natives in STEM within my school, other universities, and within the professional world.
Land Acknowledgment for Cornell University's Ithaca Campus
Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York state, and the United States of America. We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.
This land acknowledgment has been reviewed and approved by the traditional Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' leadership.