“Know Thyself.” The words that appear in Greek at the top of Hamilton’s college seal are the motto that guides students to grow intellectually and think independently. And Joe Pucci ’18 is seeking to do just that in his Bristol Fellowship, “Values, Methodologies and Locales in Learning Environments: An Inquiry Into Knowing Thyself.”
Pucci explained, “Ultimately, my Bristol project seeks to shed light on the diverse guiding values, associated methodologies, and influences of locale on our world's learning environments.”
The Bristol Fellowship is designed to encourage Hamilton students to experience the richness of the world by living outside the United States for one year and studying an area of great personal interest. Pucci, one of two Bristol recipients this year, will receive a $30,000 award.
Major: World Politics
Hometown: New York City
High School: The Hill School
On-campus activities: men’s basketball, team captain
Pucci said this opportunity to explore his commitment to education reform comes at a perfect time. “While I know my purpose lies in education, I've yet to determine in what respect. Right now I need to learn as much as about myself, my global peers, and the effectiveness of various curriculums and pedagogies in order to further my educational philosophy,” he said. “Experiencing unfamiliar cultures, meeting new people, and exploring a diverse array of learning environments is the best way I can think to do that.”
In his proposal, Pucci explained that modern science has coined the skill of “knowing oneself” as emotional intelligence (El) -- the capacity to understand and accurately respond to one's own and others' emotions, feelings, and behaviors. Research on El in education, psychology, and neuroscience has shown that it is the best predictor of one's health, wealth, and happiness. His Bristol project seeks to shed light on El within himself and others in the context of education.
Pucci said the best place to study these education foundations is in the world’s learning environments. He’ll visit the economically and culturally diverse countries of Finland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Thailand, and Indonesia. He’ll spend time in learning environments that include high school classrooms, extracurricular programs, conferences, workshops, monastic communities and wellness retreats.
Pucci went on to explain that “Learning environments reveal the values and practices of an organization and of the surrounding locale. This Bristol project presents a tremendous opportunity to better understand how our global community learns and the unique methods used to do so,” he said. “Moreover, this journey will position me to more fully know thyself. He said by drawing on this newfound knowledge of self and others at both the individual and cultural level, he'll be better equipped to transform the education model “for the good of global society.”
Pucci, a world politics major, is a member of Hamilton’s men’s basketball team and the youngest captain honoree in program history. He was a nominee for the national Good Works team award, and took third place in Hamilton’s 2016 Pitch Competition. Pucci was also an assistant teacher at Hughes Elementary School and Whitesboro High School.
The Bristol Fellowship was begun in 1996 as part of a bequest to the college by William M. Bristol Jr., (Class of 1917). The purpose of the endowment, created by his family, is to perpetuate Mr. Bristol’s spirit and share it with students of the college that was such an important part of his life