Standout students Masen Colucci ’19, a film major from Bloomingdale, Illinois, and George Goldman ’20, a political science major from Sharon, Massachusetts, have earned this semester’s Franklin Miller Awards for taking their coursework beyond the classroom in extraordinary fashion.
The award, established by Edward T. “Chip” Ordman ’64 in honor of the late Professor Emeritus of Physics Franklin Miller Jr. H’81, recognizes students whose academic efforts and ingenuity have made a difference in the Kenyon community. This semester’s winners have made their mark by applying what they have learned in class to their extracurricular pursuits.
Assistant Professor of Political Science Lisa Leibowitz and Professor of Political Science Fred Baumann nominated Goldman for establishing BridgeKenyon, a new student organization dedicated to building a bridge that empowers students to travel across and examine issues from different points of view. BridgeKenyon looks to start discussions that are rooted in mutuality, thoughtful analysis and viewpoint plurality. The organization hosts weekly discussions of salient political issues, such as the tax plans of prospective presidential candidates or the controversy surrounding the Harvard admissions trial, all with the aim of transcending political labels.
“We’re trying to break out of the dichotomous, two-sided narrative and investigate things with an independent mind,” Goldman said. “I envision BridgeKenyon as a neutral platform for connecting various ideas. It’s a chance for you to better understand your own points of view with a lot more nuance and depth, and to do the same for others.”
BridgeKenyon was inspired in part by Goldman’s political science courses at Kenyon, including “Liberal Democracy in America” and “Quest for Justice,” a popular first-year seminar exploring the relationship between the individual and society through the works of philosophers, novelists and statespeople.
Director of Student Engagement and Assistant Dean of Students Laura Kane nominated Colucci for his work in the film department and his outstanding leadership with several LGBTQ+ initiatives on campus, including Kenyon Athletes for Equality and the Trans Subcommittee of the College’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee.
This summer, Colucci brought his filmmaking prowess to New York City, where he shot and edited videos as a second-year intern for New York Magazine. He arrived in a transitional period for the organization — the video department was moving in a new direction — and was given an unusual amount of responsibility and creative freedom for an intern. Colucci credits his film courses for instilling in him the value of collaboration, which helped him thrive in such an environment.
“Something I’ve learned at Kenyon is really looking at how you can interact with people and what you can learn from other people by exchanging ideas, and especially creative ideas,” he said. “People here are all about helping each other grow.”
Colucci has done his fair share of helping other students grow as well. Associate Professor of Film Jonathan Sherman praised Colucci’s classroom leadership. “Masen is one of the most responsible and dedicated film students we have,” he said. “Everyone wants Masen to work on their film, because not only does he know what he’s doing, but he’s wonderfully collaborative.”
For their academic and extracurricular efforts, Colucci and Goldman will each receive a $250 credit to the Kenyon Bookstore.
—Ben Hunkler ’20