Each year, the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs, awards the Franko-Maisel Prize for Public Policy, which recognizes an outstanding Colby senior who has demonstrated a commitment to public affairs and plans to pursue a career related to public policy.
The prize, a $5,000 cash award, will be determined by a committee of faculty who have been engaged in public affairs, as well as the Goldfarb Center’s executive director. The award will be based on an application that showcases a student’s public affairs engagement while at Colby, plans for the future, and how this award will impact the student’s ability to fulfill those plans. It is meant to be a bridge to help a student who needs assistance post-graduation to jumpstart their career.
The Franko-Maisel Prize is possible because of a generous gift from Patrice Franko, the Grossman Professor of Economics and Professor of Global Studies, and Sandy Maisel, the Goldfarb Family Distinguished Professor of American Government.
Professor Maisel was the founding director of the Goldfarb Center in 2003 and Professor Franko was the director from 2016-2019. The gift is further testament to their decades of commitment to public affairs programming and Colby students.
This year’s winner of the Franko-Maisel Prize for Public Policy is Emmanuel Sogunle, a 2021 Colby graduate who plans to pursue a career in education policy to reform the inequalities he has seen and experienced among communities of color. He was a double major in economics and education, held numerous leadership positions across campus, and will be working for Teach for America in Dallas while simultaneously getting his master’s in education policy after graduation. After two years teaching low-income middle school students, he plans to attend law school in order to use litigation to reform the education system.
When Emmanuel went home to Nigeria after his freshman year at Colby, he was struck by how many students were dedicated to their education but struggled to buy basic school supplies like rulers and calculators. Along with his sisters, he organized a fundraiser to help send backpacks with school supplies to middle schools in Nigeria and has been sending them ever since.
He became intrigued and inspired by the role of advocacy, policy, and litigation to reform communities when he co-moderated a Goldfarb-sponsored event last fall with Jeffrey Robinson from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the U.S. justice system and racial inequalities. Emmanuel was then hired by the ACLU in Maine to help design a Youth Advocacy Summit for high school and college students to better understand their voting rights, lobbying, and how to organize for change. He plans to create a similar youth summit in Texas.
In his application, Emmanuel talked about the discriminatory policies, inequitable funding, and lack of support that he witnessed in the education system. He wrote, “I want to help contribute to reforming the system.” He reflected that growing up he only had one Black teacher his entire life and how important it is “to see someone that looks like you in the classroom.” Through Teach for America his hope is to not only better understand the education system, but also to connect to students of color to improve their academic outcomes.
On campus, Emmanuel was the president of the Colby African Society and a parliamentarian of the Student Government Association. He also actively volunteered as a mentor to 5th grade students once a week, was a Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences (CAPS) Scholar, and a research assistant for Colby’s Lunder Institute for American Art.
We are pleased to announce that the first-ever Franko-Maisel Prize for Public Policy was awarded to Gal Cohen. She is a 2020 Colby graduate who majored in Global Studies with a concentration in International Relations. Gal, a dual U.S./Israeli citizen, is the first in her family to graduate from college. She plans to relocate to Washington, DC to start her career in public service to directly affect and improve public policy.
Gal has done impressive work already. During her time at Colby, Gal demonstrated her commitment to human rights by leading the Amnesty International chapter and serving as a student leader and community advocate for the Oak Institute for Human Rights. She worked as a Sexual Violence Prevention educator and mentor and had internships at two prominent think tanks: the Center for European Policy Studies in Belgium and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Gal also contributed to the grassroots mobilization of at-risk female asylum seekers in Thailand for healthcare reform; partnered with community leaders in Nicaragua’s poor indigenous communities to advocate for equal access to state-funded resources; created campaigns to raise awareness of corruption in the Israeli government; and lobbied Israeli officials and international health organizations to improve policies and access to healthcare in the West Bank and Gaza.
As she wrote in her application, Gals’ career goal is to “create better policies for better lives.” She has certainly earned the honor of being named the first Franko-Maisel Prize winner, and the Goldfarb Center looks forward to watching Gal continue to advance the hallmarks of good public policy.
Seniors should self-nominate by submitting applications to [email protected] in May 2022. Be sure to include your name, major(s), contact information, and a copy of your CV. Answers to questions should not be more than 500 words each. Please submit your application as a Word document or pdf. All seniors are qualified to apply. Note that the cash award is reportable income and potentially taxable. The Goldfarb Center will announce the award winner in June 2022.
Apply by answering the following essay questions: