Cornell University

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Student Spotlight

Shane Seppinni portrait

Shane Seppinni '13


Conflict resolution

ILR Experience

  • Columnist, Cornell Daily Sun
  • Current Position: Human Resources Rotational Department, Google

Shane came to Cornell from Sacramento, California. He wanted to attend an East Coast institution that offered resources and opportunities to explore his interests in conflict resolution and government. During his time at Cornell, he studied in India and the United Kingdom, wrote opinion columns for the Cornell Daily Sun, and conducted research for ILR Dean Harry Katz and the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution.

Choosing ILR

In high school, I co-founded a group called Students for Advancing Teachers’ Salaries. We advocated on behalf of teachers who were about to strike because they were denied cost of living adjustments. Along the way, I heard about the ILR School and the possibilities for further developing my interests in collective bargaining and writing. I also liked the idea of being part of a small school that was in a larger university like Cornell where numerous resources were available.

Writing for The Sun

My interest in politics led me to intern with the President of the California senate during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. The summer between my sophomore and junior year, I interned in the Governor of California’s office. My interests shifted a lot in college, and while I enjoyed these experiences, I realized I wanted to stay involved in politics from a different angle. I started writing an opinion column for the Cornell Daily Sun because I liked being an advocate more than being a representative. One of my other interests that developed here at Cornell is polemics. After reading authors such as Christopher Hitchens, George Orwell, and Bertrand Russell — people who take stances and unabashedly defend them — I saw the Daily Sun opinion section as an opportunity to introduce myself to that style of writing. I wrote a column called “Letters from a Young Curmudgeon,” where I presented a skeptical view on a broad range of topics such as homophobia, the limits of free speech on campus, and censorship.

Studying Abroad

One of my abroad experiences was at the London School of Economics, where I focused on public policy. I took a Politics and Parliament course, a public policy seminar, and I also interned for a political consultancy firm called Tetris Strategy. We worked with members of Parliament, members of the House of Lords, and different corporations to draft public relations projects and interact with the government on their behalf. One of our clients was preparing a bid to build a nuclear reactor for the Polish government, and I was asked to conduct research for that project.

I also spent one of my winter breaks doing a research project in India with a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, in particular an arm called the Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement. Studying abroad does force a type of reflection I don’t think most students get by staying on campus all four years. My international experiences with ILR created a sense of empathy that impacts how I view all other interactions.

ILR: One major, endless possibilities

Many of my friends at ILR are going on to the best employment opportunities. They’re going to top law schools or other graduate programs. I just signed a job offer with Google for a two-year rotational program in their People Operations Department, where I’ll get to do the kind of research and analysis I really enjoy.

I’ve met all of my best friends and my most valued advisors at ILR, whether it was my research advisors or Britt Gamble in ILR’s Office of Student Services. I’m going to be really sad to leave this place. Aside from the friendships I’ve made, I want to maintain my thirst to continue engaging in new opportunities. I think being in ILR has fostered a type of anti-complacency within me, and I want to hold on to this.