Senior Taryn Cordani flips through the poems, short stories and other creative works her students — inmates at the MacCormick Security Center — have made this semester. As she goes through their work, she carefully places the pieces into a magazine format.
Volunteering at the MacCormick Security Center, where she teaches a literacy workshop young men ages 18–21, is one of the service projects Cordani does through the Park Scholar Program, a scholarship program in the Roy H. Park School of Communications that requires students to participate in community service.
Cordani is an integrated marketing communications major with a minor in sociology. Along with being a national championship–winning runner, she is also involved in several academic, athletic, volunteer and extracurricular organizations on campus. Cordani will be the Roy H. Park School of Communication’s Class of 2018 Commencement marshall for having the highest GPA in the school, a 4.0.
The most rewarding part of the Park Scholar Program, Cordani said, was the group service project at the MacCormick Security Center she participated in during the Spring 2017 and 2018 semester.
“It’s very impactful for sure,” Cordani said. “I’m in charge of making the book this semester, which is pretty cool to do, and read through all their stuff and put it in a published format for them to look at.”
Cordani said the track and field team at Ithaca College, which she has been a part of since her freshman year, taught her the importance of hard work and gave her a platform to improve herself through volunteering and self-reflection. She is currently the captain of both the women’s track and field team and cross-country team.
“It’s made me want to be a better person,” Cordani said. “Running in general, I think, makes you have a lot of time to think about yourself and self-reflect.”
Cordani was also listed as the 2017 Kenny Van Sickle Female Athlete of the Year by the Ithaca Journal for both her skills in track and field and her academic achievements.
Throughout her athletic career, Cordani placed in many NCAA, USTFCCCA, Empire 8 and other track and field and cross-country competitions. She was the national champion in the NCAA indoor 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs and the outdoor 10,000-meter run in 2016–17. She was also the USTFCCCA national champion in the 10,000-meter run in 2018.
Erin Dinan, part-time coach at the college and Cordani’s coach of 3 1/2 years, said Cordani is a dedicated teammate and captain.
“It’s a nice attribute to be able to be very focused on what you want and getting that and then also caring about the rest of your team and doing what you need to do for your teammates,” Dinan said.
Cordani said that after graduation, she hopes to move to Boston and use her experience as an integrated marketing communications major to work for nonprofits.
Cordani also volunteers at an after-school program at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, where she helps the students with reading, crafts and making sure they are not falling behind in academics. She is also the vice president of operations of Ithaca College Students Consulting for Non-Profit Organizations and the media specialist in the Office of Recreational Sports.
Lisa Farman, assistant professor in the Department of Strategic Communication, said that although Cordani is busy, she always finds the time to do things efficiently.
“Taryn is someone who is very busy and always has so much going on but still makes time to do everything she needs to do,” Farman said. “She has a lot of balls in the air, but she doesn’t let any of them drop.”
Kassandra Reagan, senior undergraduate physical therapy student, who is Cordani’s teammate and has lived with her for three years, said that Cordani is a genuine and caring person.
“Her love is a big love,” Reagan said. “She wants to know how you’re doing, why you’re doing the way that you’re doing. She really likes to dig deeper than the average person.”
Cordani is also a member of the Oracle Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society. She has been awarded several academic awards, including the Peggy R. Williams Award for Academic and Community Leadership and the NCAA Elite 90 Academic Recognition Award.
Cordani said that in everything she does, she tries to be a positive influence on the people around her. She also said she has used college to improve herself, and her experience has encouraged her to try to be grateful for what she has.
“I’ve kind of used college to make myself a better person,” Cordani said. “I realized that if you don’t like who you are, you can change that, and you have the power to be whoever you want to be.”