How can I help my spouse acclimate to Cornell?

Date: October 2016


Dear Dean, 

I’ve been at Cornell for 8 weeks, but my wife just moved here.  She graduated in May, then finished a research project at her alma mater. She wants a similar job here, but doesn’t know where to start looking.  

She is also concerned about meeting people and developing her own circle of friends.  I don’t know where to tell her to meet people beyond my graduate field. 

Can you help us figure out the next steps? 


New Grad Student


Dear New Grad Student,

Thank you so much for writing! Your situation is common, and you are not alone in your concerns. Finding a job is often the number one concern for spouses and partners of new students.

The Students with Families website is a good place to visit to answer your questions. Developed by the Students with Families Advisory Committee, the website consolidates information and resources for spouses, partners, and families of Cornell students.

Finding a job in Tompkins County:

  • Workshops: At the beginning of each semester, three workshops are offered:
    • Employment in the Ithaca area (offered by Tompkins Workforce)
    • Employment at Cornell
    • Options for volunteering
  • Web Resources: Tompkins Workforce New York provides a convenient and consolidated approach for accessing employment-related services in Tompkins County. 
  • Working at Cornell:
    • Job postings for Cornell can be found here
    • Talk with a human resources recruiter by participating in the Employment at Cornell workshops (offered monthly in Tompkins County) – ask Tompkins Workforce when the next one is and then connect with the HR recruiter for more information. 
    • Cornell recruitment produced the guide to beginning a local or regional job search
  • Staying Connected: Student Spouse/Partner Employment E-List is for spouses and partners looking for work in the Ithaca area. As positions become available, job announcements are emailed to e-list members. In addition, any employment workshops/services open to student spouses and partners are shared through this list. To join the list, send an email to Type “join” in the body of the email.

I am pleased that your wife wants to become a part of the Cornell community, and we welcome her here! Finding her social network and identity will help both of you feel more at home. To help meet people, she can find out about social events and opportunities to get involved in the following places:

  • Students with families website: Resources, opportunities to become involved, and information about how to access Cornell perks, like library privileges, courses, fitness centers, and more.
  • BRB Listserv: The BRB listserv is open to spouses/partners and includes information on events, including the monthly happy hour for student spouses and partners. (The first Thursday monthly from 6:00 – 7:30 at the BRB.) Please contact Kris Corda, who can add you to the BRB’s weekly email list of events.
  • Facebook: Provides up-to-date information with students spouses/partners and those with children.

I would be happy to meet with you (or your wife) and discuss this further. The transition to Graduate School can be challenging, but I hope these resources will help provide structure and direction to you and your wife as you sort out your next steps.

All the best,


Janna Lamey
Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life