[MUSIC PLAYING] SAMUEL BOSCO: Teamwork.
YAMATHA SAINT GERMAIN: Invaluable.
AMRUTA BYATNAL: Transformative.
DELMAR FEARS: Rewarding.
ELIZABETH SWEITZER: Enterprising.
QIUHAO (RYAN) SHEN: Impact.
EDWARD MABAYA: The Student Multi-disciplinary Applied Research Teams, also known as SMART, is a unique service learning initiative offered in the Emerging Markets Program that is housed the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. SMART brings together small teams of Cornell University students, along with faculty team leaders, from very diverse disciplines. And it pairs them with small enterprises, organizations, and community groups that are often located in developing countries and emerging economies.
Through SMART, this small group of students get to work on very well-defined assignments that challenge them to apply classroom knowledge and skills in a real-world setting. Since its inception in 2002, SMART has already sent out over 80 teams to 24 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Paired with the right people on the ground, this kind of experience can actually bring meaningful impact in the lives of many, many people.
AMRUTA BYATNAL: As Cornell students, we could contribute in terms of our skills, and that would potentially help the business. But also, what we gained was a lot of perspective in terms of how businesses work in the developing world. And that really helped me strengthen some of the theoretical frameworks that I'd learned here in the classroom at Cornell.
ELIZABETH SWEITZER: The SMART experience was a very integral moment for me, because I'm learning and pivoting my professional portfolio into agricultural systems. And I found this experience to be really important to learn more about soil health, agricultural systems, and international agriculture in particular.
Working with the different farmers, learning from their experiences, and trusting their local knowledge was a very humbling experience.
QIUHAO (RYAN) SHEN: The one thing I took away from SMART is courage, because for me, that was my first semester here at Cornell from China-- completely different cultural environment. I can feel the responsibility to helping people outside the world of not only Cornell, not only China-- I mean, humankind.
SAMUEL BOSCO: I would recommend SMART, because I think it's really an amazing opportunity to take what we learn here at Cornell to other parts of the world in which there are real situations and real challenges in which the expertise we learn here can actually become useful.
YAMATHA SAINT GERMAIN: In the future, I want to work with agro-business, in terms of their development and sustainability. Being part of the program helped me focus on what my thesis topic would be, and also opened my eyes up to the type of organizations that I would want to work with in the future.
EDWARD MABAYA: Students come here to Cornell University to learn, to be [INAUDIBLE] with theory and practice, learning the tools of how the world works. It's very different from getting to apply them. Very rarely do students get the opportunity to do, at the same time, learn the concepts and get the apply them in a real-world setting where those skills are actually needed. So this is a unique service and value that SMART brings to the students.
DELMAR FEARS: I learned how to work with a lot of different people who have a lot of different skill sets. I worked with people who had a policy background. I worked with people who had a business background. I worked with people who were graphic designers, people who brought a lot of different things to the table. But we learned to work together and create something really awesome. So I think I learned the power of diversity in teams.
CHENYANG (GLORIA) CAO: To me, it is an academic adventure. I think this is an adventure, but it's not only about adventure. It's more like applying what you have learned on the campus in a class to a real place. Real partnership is not only to help someone. It's actually learning from them and growing with them together.
HONGDI ZHAO: I thought the SMART program is very valuable to me, because it's the entry point for me to let me know that I'm passionate about research. And also, when I know that the report that we wrote and we give it to the foundation for the [INAUDIBLE] is actually going to impact this region, this make me feel very proud of our work. That's really, really inspirational, and it's very, very valuable for me.
DELMAR FEARS: It's an amazing experience. You get a lot out of it. You get to meet a lot of cool people. You get out of your comfort zone.
CHENYANG (GLORIA) CAO: This is a unique opportunity for you to learn about emerging countries, emerging markets. And also, this is a chance for you to learn from your schoolmates, learn from people from different cultures.
ELIZABETH SWEITZER: It's an incredible opportunity to gain work experience, academic experience, and develop collaborative skills with fellow Cornellians.
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Cornell students who have participated in the Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Teams (SMART) Program share their reflections and experiences, and director Ed Mabaya provides an overview of the program and its objectives.
Student speakers: Amruta Aravind Byatnal (CIPA); Elizabeth Grace Sweitzer (CIPA); Hongdi Zhao (CIPA); Samuel Frank Bosco (Horticulture); Yamatha Saint Germain (International Development); Delmar Renee Sims Fears (Development Sociology); Qiuhao Shen (CIPA); and Chenyang Cao (AEM)