Operation Walk Application and Selection Process 


  1. Only students who have completed at least 8 Cornell credits may participate in Operation Walk.  Additionally, students must enroll for at least one Cornell course after the conclusion of their Operation Walk experience, as this opportunity is provided for current students rather than alumni.*  Students from all disciplines may apply, however, our selection criteria include the relevance of this medically-related experience to the student's academic plan and career aspirations.
  2. Because passports and VISAs must be provided to the host country well in advance of the trip, only students with a current passport that will not expire prior to the trip’s end may apply.   
  3. It is imperative that you consult with your Faculty Advisor before applying since participation would preclude you from taking a traditional course during 2nd block of the 2014-15 academic year. You should ensure that your participation would not adversely impact your academic progress and your anticipated graduation date.

Earning Academic Credit

Because these trips are less than two weeks in length, students have not traditionally been able to earn academic credit for volunteer work with Operation Walk.  However, given the transition to an 8-block calendar, students may need credit for Block 2 in order to maintain their degree progress.  As such, we have created several options for students to earn academic credit for Operation Walk participation.  You may choose either of the following options: 

*You may earn a half (0.5) credit for an internship or a full credit for an individualized project however both require additional academic work.   Students who earn credit for the experience will need to secure a faculty sponsor. Dimensions can mentor students regarding this process.

General Application Instructions

Required materials must be submitted electronically or delivered to the Associate Director of Dimensions by 4:30 p.m. on the application deadline.   

Application Process

Students must apply by submitting a/an:

-Resume. Make sure your resume is updated and error free. Include the names of two Cornell references (faculty and/or professional staff members).  Given our condensed timeline, your references will not be required to write a formal letter of recommendation.  However a member of the Operation Walk selection committee will phone your references for their assessment of you.  Be certain to obtain permission before citing someone as a reference on your resume. 

-Brief personal statement. This 1-2 page essay should include information that your resume does not – your reasons for applying, your career goals, the skills you would bring to the Operation Walk team, what you hope to achieve if selected, and how this experience will benefit your future academic and career goals. Additionally, it should touch on the topics listed under "Selection Process". The essay should be free of grammatical and spelling errors and be no more than two pages, double spaced. Poorly written essays will disqualify applicants. 

-Unofficial copy of your Cornell transcript.

-Interview:  Following a review of these application materials, top candidates will be invited to interview with members of the Dimensions Operations Committee.  The Operations Committee includes Barbara Christie-Pope, Professor of Biology/ Dimensions Faculty Director, the Associate Director of Dimensions, Craig Tepper, Professor of Biology, Brian Nowak-Thompson Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry, and Alice Ganzel, Associate Professor of Psychology.

-Passport Verification: Bring a copy of your current passport to the Dimensions office. The Associate Director will photocopy the signature page, which also contains your photograph and the passport expiration date, and you will retain the original passport.  If you are chosen to participate, you must also submit a photocopy of your passport to the Office of International and Off-Campus Studies. 

Operation Walk Participant Expectations

A summary report including site photos is required of trip participants.  Additional expectations, such as completion of a travel consultation and compliance with immunization recommendations are detailed in the “Expectations of Selected Applicants” section of this website.  

* If you withdraw from enrollment or do not subsequently enroll for at least one course following the trip, you must reimburse the Cornell Dimensions Program the full amount of expenses paid by Dimensions for your participation. You would have 30 days to repay the expenses following e-mail and/or U.S. mail notification that repayment is due. After this 30 day period, a $100 billing fee will be assessed and included with the overdue amount and then added to any unpaid balance of tuition and will be subject to the regular financial collection procedures of Cornell College.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I apply if I have freshman or sophomore status?

A. Yes. The committee uses ten selection criteria. However, some of these criteria may be more difficult to demonstrate for a student who is relatively new to Cornell e.g. strong performance in a substantial distribution of coursework and relevance of the experience to a student’s academic plan and career aspirations

Q. Can a member of the selection committee serve as a reference on my behalf?

A. Yes.

Q. When will selections be finalized?

A. We will notify all applicants of our selection decision no later than April 30th.

Q. What abilities and characteristics should be addressed by the faculty and/or staff member who recommends me?

A.  The Dimensions website provides specific advice for faculty and staff who serve as students' references.

Q. What expenses would I incur for my participation?

A.  Dimensions will fund airline tickets, baggage fees, ground transportation, VISA and reasonable meal expenses (using Cornell College’s Travel Expense Criteria).  Students would pay for their passport fee and any sightseeing-related expenses.