"Any car is a fast car, but only if you put your foot down far enough!"
– Ben Ackert, Class of 2020

As a freshman, Ben easily could have used his first Fall semester as a way to settle in, to acclimate to the Pace way of life, and simply to enjoy his classes. He isn’t though – in fact, he’s determined to make the absolute most of his university experience in a way that reflects much of his life so far: by volunteering and getting involved with the community.

When asked to enumerate all the volunteer work he’s done, it takes Ben some time to list it. He has received two presidential awards for completing more than 100 hours of community service in a calendar year. He’s a proud Eagle Scout and has completed other service work through the Boy Scouts. He received another award for community service from Manhasset High School on Long Island. He has been the photography committee chair for the past three years for its annual SCA fair.

There’s more! He has volunteered at his local library to help senior citizens learn how to use computers; he has worked at the SCOPE summer center for elementary school kids and hopes to work for a not-for-profit so he can continue to help society.

Community is very important to Ben, which is why he got involved in the Pace community so quickly. “You always find a group to join, you always find something to do,” he says. “At Seidenberg, if you come to the lounge, you’ll find something to do. There’s always something interesting going on; there’s always an opportunity.”

They say that opportunity knocks, but with Ben, it’s more like opportunity answers the door to him. He is dedicated to seeking out opportunities and has no qualms over making the first move. That’s how he got involved with so many Pace clubs so fast and is getting into more and more leadership opportunities. Ben is a strong advocate of the belief that anybody can go out and achieve their goals if they work hard enough, “Any car is a fast car, but only if you put your foot down far enough!”

When it comes to his studies, Ben is determined to make the most of his college years. He’s studying information systems and wants to get into the business technology field. He enjoys learning about how technology can integrate with business in order to make innovative new products that can improve people’s lives.

He’s also interested in geographic information systems (GIS), which are systems used to capture and present geographical data. He interned over two summers in Nassau County’s IT department. This past summer, he worked with the GIS department using drones for mapping. Ben also has his own drone he uses to take amazing pictures.

He often takes pictures when he goes out running at night. His phone contains a collection of pictures from pop up art galleries he has passed in DUMBO, views from the Brooklyn Bridge, and nighttime cityscapes showing an illuminated Manhattan.

This semester, Ben is taking two computer science courses. Both of them involve learning how to code, and he’s a big fan - particularly of the problem-solving aspect: “Programming improves my thought processes.”

That said, Ben believes there is far more to the college experience than the classes you take. “College is not just about training for your future career, it’s also about continuing your education.”

Part of the continuation includes the potential for international travel. Ideally, Ben would like to study abroad for two semesters – one in Italy so he can learn more about his heritage and travel through Europe, and another in Australia.

So what advice does Ben have to fellow students and incoming freshman? “Besides balancing or managing my time, I try to get my tasks done as soon as possible, and then I’m free. I’m not as productive at night as I am in the morning, so night is my chance to goof off, to go running and to explore. I suggest that incoming freshman find their balance of work and play as soon as possible to help maximize their potential at Pace. I’d also recommend joining clubs to meet people and learn about something new.”

Thank you to Ben Ackert for the amazing insight and advice!

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