When David DyTang '12 graduated from Cornell, he barely needed to change gears before becoming a young alumni pacesetter.

He says that connecting more young alumni to the College of Human Ecology, becoming a university-wide admissions ambassador, and serving in several other volunteer positions are natural extensions of his senior-year leadership roles with his class campaign and class council.

DyTang, who studied policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology, is helping to build a global driver-partner and merchant fraud prevention and management program for Uber, the San Francisco-based transportation network company.

“David has proven himself time and again as a dedicated volunteer both for his individual affinities and for the larger young alumni community,” says Margaux Neiderbach ’99, director of Student and Young Alumni Programs for Cornell’s Alumni Affairs and Development.

As president of the Human Ecology Young Alumni Council, he was one of two dozen charter members who won the Human Ecology Alumni Association’s 2013 service award for achievements by recent alumni.

“I like the idea of helping alumni stay connected to Cornell,” says DyTang. “I want to encourage them to come back and remember that there’s a school that supported their education and played a role in how things developed and grew over several years. I like the idea of facilitating this recognition, remembrance, and the alumni connections that go along the way.”

Among several young alumni councils across Cornell’s colleges and schools, the College of Human Ecology’s council is among the newest, youngest, and most active, according to Neiderbach.

“The Human Ecology Young Alumni Council is focused on fostering meaningful engagement. It succeeds in connecting grads to students, each other, and the university through opportunities across the country and on campus,” she says. “The council has attracted numerous alumni who were strong campus leaders as undergraduates, fostering a sense of continuity in engagement from student to alumni.”

DyTang says the council aims to engage new and young graduates in ways that are meaningful for both themselves and for the college.

He rapidly ticks through a host of council strategies and programs: multi-city, nationwide events allowing young alumni opportunities to network and gain career development insights; summer and fall welcome events in targeted cities to connect current students with young alumni; “sophomore summits” to help current students with career preparation; a wine-tasting event for graduating seniors that encourages future involvement with the college and Cornell; and informative, interactive communications. The council has also deployed members to write thank you notes and holiday messages to its most recent graduates.

I like the idea of helping alumni stay connected to Cornell. I want to encourage them to come back and remember that there’s a school that supported their education and played a role in how things developed and grew over several years.
—David Dytang ’12

These strategies and innovative approaches were a strong factor contributing to the council’s 2013 award and won it enthusiastic kudos from a grateful Alan Mathios, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology. The 24-member council’s award cited its “professional, businesslike approach” and its “vital role in advancing future and lasting alumni engagement,” resulting in benefits for the college.

Of his own Cornell experience, DyTang says, that the interdisciplinary nature of my Human Ecology major, along with his wide-ranging experiences across the entire university equipped him to break down problems and business challenges, then systematically address the components of those problems.

“My Cornell education was very effective in preparing me for the ‘real world’ while keeping me grounded in the diverse and unique experiences of my peers,” he says.

Building community among Cornell alumni has been satisfying, he explains.

“I love meeting and reconnecting with alumni, and I have developed a number of relationships through our events and programs. There’s a feeling of fulfillment in putting together an event that brings together people who might otherwise not have met and help sustain those relationships over time.”

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