Ben Picket

Class of 2018

Hometown: Westchester, NY

What is your College Scholar project?
For my College Scholar project, I am focusing on perception and taste. My interest lies in how the food we eat impacts our moral judgments and how the physical presentation of food can influence the way the dish is perceived on the palate. This project involves delving into three distinct disciplines: biology, psychology, and food science. My background in the hospitality industry in conjunction with the classes I took during my Freshman year (specifically PSYCH 1130) inspired me to pursue this unique project concept, and I look forward to seeing where this academic path takes me.        

What are your most important extra-curricular activities?
On campus, I am involved in several organizations, but the two that have had the biggest impact on my Cornell experience are Alpha Kappa Psi and the Cornell Consulting Group. These organizations have allowed me to hone my professional skills while surrounding myself with driven and like-minded individuals.        

Talk about any summer internships or programs you’ve attended?
This past summer I worked for Union Square Hospitality Group as a rotational intern at The Modern restaurant in the Museum of Modern Art. My internship played a tremendous role in shaping many of the ideas involved within my College Scholar project. Given its setting, the food at The Modern is highly influenced by the contemporary artwork of the museum, as reflected in the plating of all of their dishes. Each dish in itself is like a work of art and, as such, this intrigued me to discover if we do indeed first "eat with our eyes".  This summer, I am working for a distressed debt fund to determine whether I am interesting in shifting my career focus to a different industry in the future. 

What do you dream of doing after graduation?
For a long time, I believed I wanted to go into the hospitality industry. I truly enjoy the guest interactions and the team dynamic involved in executing seamless service. However, I would also like to venture out of hospitality for the next few summers to determine whether or not the hospitality industry is one I see myself in upon graduation.