Joseph Fridman

Class of 2017

Hometown: Oceanside, NY

What is your College Scholar project?
I'm studying Cognitive Science, which is a mix of psychology, neuroscience, computer science, philosophy of mind, and linguistics. I've been taking plenty of classes in psychology (focusing on perception and neurobiology) as well as in government and comparative literature. This year, I'm taking a neurobiology and applied psychology-heavy courseload, with some reading in Russian and English political literature. These courses are helping me narrow down my thesis topic, which currently seems to be asking about what effects our understanding of our thought processes have on our qualitative experiences and decision-making.

What are your most important extra-curricular activities?
During my freshman year I started a student-run educational program called Splash! at Cornell that has given me and about a hundred other Cornell students the opportunity to teach 7th-12th graders courses in topics we're passionate about. Organizing programs that leverage Cornell's wealth of resources to benefit curious students on all levels has proven to be a really rewarding way to learn about education and organizational logistics. I also highly recommend to anybody that already has a seed of interest to take a foray into Cornell's offering of debate and community engagement groups. 

Talk about any summer internships or programs you’ve attended?
I've spent my past three summers in Ithaca. I highly recommend it (feel free to reach out if you're curious about jobs and housing) - Ithaca is beautiful in the summer and being able to experience Cornell without the fast pace of classes and extracurricular offers a lot of great opportunities to explore. You can do research, work on a project team, check out the gorges natural landscape or anything else you want.

What do you dream of doing after graduation?
As a junior, I'm not entirely certain what path I'll be pursuing after graduation. It's clear from my studies that what we know about how and why we make decisions in society - whether they're political, economical, social, or personal - helps us make ones in the future. There are a variety of avenues that would allow me to work with others to help expand this realm of knowledge (scientific research), build access to it (policy and technology), and protect society against its misuse (law and education). Whichever one(s) I eventually choose, I'm sure that the freedom and structure of the College Scholar Program gives me to explore these various realms will be key to my own decision.