Meet Clara Sitanggang, a graduate student at Cornell Tech who has woven her legal background with the vibrant tech community in the heart of New York City. Born and raised in Indonesia, Sitanggang was first a corporate lawyer before becoming a Cornell Tech graduate student and social media producer. Her journey is a testament to the diverse opportunities at the Roosevelt Island-based campus.

Sitanggang joined Cornell Tech’s master’s program in Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship last year, bringing five years of corporate law experience in her home country with her. While law was her profession, Sitanggang carries a passion for photography and videography, something she’s loved since high school.

“My dad has this camera and he loved taking pictures of our family and I think that’s where my journey started,” said Sitanggang. This hobby has evolved organically from Instagram posts to engaging travel vlogs on platforms like TikTok. “I love creating memories, so I feel like it’s just wonderful to be able to capture those moments when we’re traveling, and that’s where my interest in social media really took off.”

During her time as a corporate lawyer in Indonesia, Sitanggang felt the desire to expand her horizons and tackle a new challenge: technology, and moving across the world. “Technology development is really important right now, and tech development in the United States in particular is very influential.”

Enter Cornell Tech and its Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship program, which reflects the institution’s broader mission of serving as an economic hub and catalyst in New York City and beyond. As part of her graduate program, Sitanggang is able to learn from industry-leading faculty who are well-versed in the growing intersection between tech and the law.

She had never been to America before becoming a student and has dove into every aspect of life at Cornell Tech. She’s leveraged its location in New York City as a front door to the rest of the country, exploring broadly, from the city itself to Yosemite and New Orleans. As part of this, and to become even more involved with the Cornell Tech community, Sitanggang participated in an on-campus club fair, where she learned about the opportunity to work with Cornell Tech’s social media department.

As a social media producer, Sitanggang became the person behind the lens through which the vibrant Cornell Tech community is captured and shared. Her TikTok creations go beyond showcasing academic pursuits and offer a glimpse into the rich social and cultural life on campus. The close-knit community, diverse events, and unique experiences all found a spot in her engaging content.

“One of my favorite moments that I captured for Cornell Tech’s TikTok was actually the first time I’ve ever seen snow,” Sitanggang recalled. “My friends and I just spent the whole day outside on campus and we even went and explored Central Park. So I was really happy that I was able to capture that moment and show the unfiltered experience of life on campus.”

As she continues to navigate her graduate program, Sitanggang envisions her love for photography and social media complementing and integrating with her legal career. While she anticipates returning to her law firm, her passion for content creation remains constant. During breaks, Sitanggang continues making personal videos, showcasing her love for travel and the simple joys of life.

Sitanggang’s journey at Cornell Tech, like the campus itself, blends passions and disciplines, embraces diverse experiences, and contributes to a dynamic and inclusive community.