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Susanne Donovan

MILR '23 , BSILR '13
Ithaca, NY
Dispute Resolutions

Why did you choose the MILR program?

As an ILR undergrad, I was able to get a broad education and grounding in issues around work, labor, and the workplace. When I decided that I wanted to delve deeper into conflict and dispute resolution, ILR was the place I wanted to come back to. The faculty here are doing really innovative research, and being part of the MILR cohort is a great chance to understand more about all aspects of work from the perspectives of students who will be going right back out into the field.


What is your favorite part of the MILR program?

All of the other students! There's such a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences represented, and that brings really interesting perspectives to everything that we talk about, which is an amazing part of the program. Having others around who are going through some of the same experiences as you is so helpful--and there's always someone around to ask for help or to go explore a new place.


What is your favorite class?

I'm just getting started, but so far I'm really loving the Campus Mediation Practicum with Katrina Nobles. You learn about the concepts of dispute resolution, think about systems and practices, and then get to take part in on-campus mediations.


What is your favorite part of Ithaca?

There's so much! I love the music scene, and the outdoor concerts in the warmer months, as well as swimming in the lake. The Tompkins County Public Library is great for finding something to read outside of classwork --when there's time. And there are so many wonderful restaurants, wineries and breweries to explore in Ithaca and the rest of the Fingerlakes. It can seem small, but there's a lot to do.


What advice would you give a prospective student?

Have a sense of why you're here, but be open to finding yourself taking new paths once you start. Don't compare yourself with others--everyone is coming from a different place and has different goals. And get to know people in your cohort and beyond! There's so many people doing interesting things in ILR and the rest of Cornell, so don't spend too much time in your own bubble.


Prior Experience

I was an ILR undergrad, and then worked as a union organizer for a few years before moving to Buffalo (Go Bills!). In Buffalo, I worked as the coordinator of a Worker Center that was part of a non-profit focused on occupational safety and health before deciding to go back to school.