Nicole Picket: 'I have had the opportunity to learn for the sake of learning'

May 24, 2016

Nicole Picket


Harrison, NY

What is your main Cornell extracurricular activity -- why is it important to you?

I serve as the treasurer and sit on the executive board of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi). I pledged AKPsi first semester of my sophomore year with eleven other students who are now my closest friends on campus. The organization honed my severely lacking professional skills and also introduced me to an ambitious, outgoing and diverse brotherhood. AKPsi is a culture of mentorship, where juniors and seniors offer guidance to the underclassmen. In my three years in the organization, older brothers offered me amazing guidance, and now as a senior I strive to do the same.

What, if any, research projects did you participate in at Cornell?

My greatest accomplishment is my honors thesis. I began working on it the first semester of my junior year and submitted the final copy mid-April. Never before had I worked so hard for so long on a single project. I originally applied to the honors program with a “why not” attitude, thinking I would probably not see the process through to the end. A year and a half later, I had a spiral bound copy of my thesis in hand. My proudest moment was handing in the copies to the history department. It was difficult to let it go, but it will forever be my proudest moment as a student. I wrote about the creation of federally funded housing and analyzed a loan granted to a housing project in the Lower East Side. Interestingly, the tenants who lived in the complex organized against their landlord to try to stop his various mistreatments. Ultimately, this local union expanded into a city-wide movement.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

I like to say that a liberal arts education gives you the tools to be a valued dinner guest. That may sound like a superfluous talent, but I think about all the different types of people I’m likely to engage with throughout my life, and I am confident that I will be able to maintain a discourse on many different topics. Taking classes that cover a host of themes and topics, such as Art in the Modern Era, The Invention of the Americas, American Political Thought and more has given me an understanding of both the past and present and the ability to think critically about fields I have less knowledge of. I am so thankful that during these past four years, I have had the opportunity to learn for the sake of learning.

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