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Alumni News


Dee Ann Rexroat


Just over a year ago Jed Snarr ’98 held a challenging job as a construction cost estimator for projects such as a sports stadium and high-rises in Pittsburgh and Chicago. After some soul-searching and long conversations with his wife, Kym, he decided this wasn’t going to be his life’s work. He wanted to pursue his dream to become a U.S.Air Force pilot.

Next came a long process of interviews, letters of recommendation (two by Cornell professors), and extensive physical and academic examinations. The former international business major became a pilot candidate in Officer Training School in Montgomery, Ala. Suddenly he was immersed in a 3-week program that mirrored Cornell’s One-Course-At-A-Time intensity.

“During my time there, I would think, ‘Wow, this schedule is pure Cornell!’ ” Snarr says. There were weeks with a major exam one day, a presentation to give the next day, and a field leadership exercise the following day.

“My Cornell experience helped me in a big way. Cornell gave me the skills to organize, think critically, find new solutions to difficult problems, and to work as a team,” he says. “I haven’t started flight school yet, but it's much of the same ‘open fire hose’ style to see if you can assimilate all this information in a small amount of time. I believe Cornell helped give me the ability to adapt in life. If you don’t adapt to pilot training quickly, you’re in for a long year.”

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