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Mackowiak wins Goliard for stars

Photo by GUY COCHRAN | The Rice Thresher
Mitch Mackowiak

4/22/15 6:51am

Stargazing sophomore Mitch Mackowiak was recently awarded the Goliard Scholarship, a $2,500 travel grant described by the Goliard Board as a “whimsical effort … to encourage an international understanding in Rice University’s leaders of tomorrow.” In a proposal titled “Look up and try not to trip: stars and hills in Houston’s opposite” he submitted as his application, Mackowiak, a Lovett College sophomore, detailed his plans to “hang out with the sky” for at least two weeks in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. 

According to its website, the Goliard Scholarship stems from the definition of a Goliard as a wandering student in medieval Europe “disposed to conviviality, license and the making of ribald and satirical Latin songs.

Mackowiak, an architecture major, said he felt he had stumbled upon a gem of a scholarship when he found the prompt, which merely asks, “Where would you go with $2500, and what would you do?”

“The magic of the question lies in its asking,” Mackowiak said. “Even if you didn’t get the Goliard, you might still follow that proposal when you do get an opportunity to travel.”

Mackowiak said he is considering pursuing a nocturnal lifestyle in Atacama, although he does have additional plans to explore Santiago and camp in the Andes. However, he will keep his belongings to a minimum.

“I need to find some astronomer’s binoculars, a nice camera and as much Spanish as I can pick up in a little more than two months,” Mackowiak said. “Otherwise, [I’ll bring] as little as I can.” 

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