Mousey Sociology Professor Strangely Good at Identifying Cheeses, Solving Mazes

URIS HALL–Students enrolled in SOC 3105: Interspecies Dialogue were left in awe as their instructor, Professor Michael Piccolino, demonstrated his amazing ability to navigate mazes utilizing only his peculiar sense of smell. 

Piccolino’s jaw-dropping display was designed to illustrate the importance of learning from mistakes during the problem-solving process. The demonstration called for student volunteers to place various bits of cheese at random points throughout a 50”x50” maze constructed of popsicle sticks. Students were tasked with generating a randomized list of the various cheeses and reading them aloud, at which point Professor Piccolino would enter the maze and deftly locate the cheeses in the given order. 

“The presentation didn’t really provide any practical advice. He just kept saying stuff like ‘follow your nose’ and ‘listen to your whiskers.’” recounted Françoise LaBelle ‘26. “But he let us eat the leftover cheese afterward, and that was nice. The smoked gouda was my favorite.” 

Standing at a diminutive 5 ⅞ inches tall, Piccolino makes up for his small size with a big personality. Students rave about his open mind and willingness to tackle any sociological quandary head-on. 

“He actually solved the trolley problem,” said Anya van Beek ‘25. “Turns out if you roll a wheel of semi-hard cheese, like provolone, between the rails, it’ll stop the trolley in its tracks. A soft cheese like ricotta would just get smooshed and a hard cheese like cheddar might cause the trolley to derail.”

Despite his reputation on campus, Professor Piccolino has recently received some backlash from the academic community following a recent controversy that has called his qualifications into question. A flea by the name of Phil Tix has come forward and alleged that Piccolino conducted his research unethically by pressuring Tix into sitting atop his head and puppeteering his limbs in order to write his final thesis for him.

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