No Excuses

Cornell Engineering celebrates innovative problem solving that helps people, communities…the world. Consider your ideas and aspirations and describe how a Cornell Engineering education would allow you to leverage technological problem-solving to improve the world we live in. (Please limit your response to 650 words.)


“No excuses;” the motto of Isaiah Bird, a nine-year-old fifth grader from my hometown. Isaiah was born without legs, and even with this impairment, he plays soccer, football, swims, runs track, surfs, and skateboards. However, the wrestling mat is where he has become the one to beat.

I first came into contact with Isaiah after his wrestling coach and caregiver, Miguel Rodriguez, began bringing him to varsity soccer practices in the summer prior to my freshman year of high school. As our assistant coach for soccer, Miguel introduced Isaiah to the team and I quickly developed a strong relationship with him. As I got to know him better and learned more about his backstory, I was amazed by how much he has accomplished with his disability. Last year for example, he won 27 wrestling matches and only lost 12. While he has clearly done so much for a child as young as he, I still wonder, what could Isaiah do if he had functioning legs?

What I admire most about engineers is their ability to critically analyze situations, communicate effectively with others, and most importantly, problem solve. Innovation is at the core of what every talented engineer does; hence, solving problems with a creative flare defines an important part of an...

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