Jenna Rochelle ’18 started researching the experiences of low-income students on Kenyon’s campus, and ended up uncovering a hidden community. Her anthropology honors thesis, “Born with a Plastic Spoon in Mouth: Food in the Experience of Low Income Students,” examined the everyday marginalization of low-income Kenyon students, particularly in their interactions with food. Rochelle said she chose to explore food because it is an everyday necessity that is laden with significant cultural meaning. What we eat, how we eat and how we talk about food reveals a great deal about our backgrounds, particularly class backgrounds. Rochelle was awarded highest honors for her research, along with the Margaret Mead Award in Anthropology, the Middle Path Partnership Award for Community Service and the Franklin Miller award.
Here are some of her key findings.