COLA senior wins innovation competition

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Ely Marciano '21

Before Ely Marciano’s last semester on campus, the graduating senior claimed a first by becoming the only student in the College of Liberal Arts to win the Maurice Prize for Innovation.

Launched in 2018, the J. Dolores and Alfred P. Maurice Prize for Innovation was established to foster creativity and resourcefulness in undergraduate students. To encourage them to dare without fear of failure; to risk losing in exchange for an invaluable learning experience. The prize carries a $5,000 award.

Given that the competition germinated in the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center (ECenter) and that Marciano is a philosophy major with a double minor in business and design, it’s not only a nice win but one that underscores the ECenter’s goal of helping to breed the next generation of leaders regardless of their major.

Marciano won the annual prize for A New Dream, a media group he started in 2019 with his friend and fellow UNH graduate Mitchell Carter ’20. Together they create YouTube videos designed to help people in search of ways to better their lives. A New Dream talks of a vision for the future that involves living with intention, growing individually and connecting with nature.

In the process of developing the Maurice Prize presentation, Marciano says they realized they were producing two types of content. That led them to add a second channel. “Created by seekers for seekers,” Learn With Us explores everything from wildlife ecology to philosophy, with an emphasis on how to become good learners. Currently, Learn With Us has more than 4,300 subscribers who engage in discussions regarding their efforts to live in a fulfilling way.

“In today’s world, we are seeing record proportions of the human population living with sickness, both bodily and mentally. We also are currently witnessing the human caused collapse of nature. These symptoms are simply reflections of what we are doing to the natural world that we are a part of,”  Marciano says. “To us, searching for a more fulfilling life means learning how to live in a way that fosters health rather than sickness. We create videos that help people understand these issues and how we can overcome them.”

During his time at UNH, Marciano worked for the Changemaker Collaborative mentoring younger students on how to get the most out of their college experience and preparing them to make the most positive change possible after graduating. The Amherst, New Hampshire, resident also was a student fellow with Health and Wellness for two years, where he talked with students about such things as work-life balance, getting enough sleep and managing anxiety. Additionally, Marciano was a resident adviser in Jessie Doe Hall for a year.

While what comes next remains undecided, Marciano intends to continue creating videos, growing A New Dream and striving to help others — and himself — live the life that sustains them.

“A New Dream is really a representation of our visions for the future and the process of growing into those ways of life,” Marciano says. “It's an encapsulation of how we hope society can shift to live more happily, purposefully and sustainably.”