F&M Stories

Microgrants Fund Student Passion Projects

As the old adage goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. 

Nicholas Kozell, a 2023 Franklin & Marshall graduate, took that a step further thanks to a summer microgrant from the Writers House

“I taught myself how to bind my own book, from sewing the signatures together to cutting the fabric to make the cover,” said Kozell, who used grant money to restore old books that would otherwise be discarded.  

“It was so much fun to learn new skills and use my existing ones to have something to contribute to my future as a writer,” they said. 

The microgrants allowed Kozell and five others to explore passion projects aligned with their fields of study. 

Previous recipients have used grants to take online master classes, conduct research and write stories, record music and fund their own publications. 

Below, meet two of the summer 2023 microgrant recipients. 

"Since my first year at F&M, I’ve been coming up with songs to handle the turbulence of living on my own and being away from my hometown for the first time in my life."- Samantha Correa '24


Samantha Correa '24
  • Hometown: Miami
  • Major: History
  • Minor: Film
  • Activities: Kappa Delta sorority, F&M Players, Rumspringas Improv, Sweet Ophelia a cappella, POSSE Miami 10, Film Club
Can you give us a summary of your project?

I’m working on an LP (full-length album). It is a singer-songwriter, indie-folk project with themes of family, love and young adulthood. It will be released on online platforms, and I look forward to performing it in front of live audiences. Listen to a song on SoundCloud 

What inspired you to pursue this topic?

Since my first year at F&M, I’ve been coming up with songs to handle the turbulence of living on my own and being away from my hometown for the first time in my life. I was largely inspired by the soundscapes of Pennsylvania. I was on the rowing team for three seasons. The rivers and lakes we’d row and the elements surrounding them were beautiful; full of sound, color and life. Often, regattas allowed me to withdraw from my inner conflicts and focus on movement and sounds around me. I think, in my darkest moments, I tried to emulate that feeling, that magic, in my music and lyrics. A favorite song of mine is “Flower Boy,” which I was able to produce with my microgrant. 

"It was so much fun to learn new skills and use my existing ones to have something to contribute to my future as a writer." - Nicholas Kozell '23


Nicholas Kozell '23
  • Hometown: Towaco, N.J.
  • Major: Creative Writing 
  • Activities: Harbaugh Club, Epilogue, Writers House, German Club, Art Club
Can you give us a summary of your project?

I took books that were falling apart and restored them. I researched how to repair and re-cover a book that would have been recycled by the library because of how often it had been read. I also restored a cheaply produced mass-market paperback by giving it a hardcover and strengthening the binding. Taking this a step further, I taught myself how to bind my own book, from sewing the signatures together to cutting the fabric to make the cover. It was so much fun to learn new skills and use my existing ones to have something to contribute to my future as a writer.

What inspired you to pursue this topic?

Before I was a writer, I was a reader. Books hold a very important place in my life, and working at a library throughout high school exposed me to the vast amount of ways books are valuable. Not just the fantasy worlds I loved, but books on health and social issues that people found uncomfortable but sparked necessary social change. Libraries and schools are threatened by people who want to and have taken away books that challenge the prejudices of people in power. But libraries are fighting to keep banned books on their shelves and I wholeheartedly support that fight. I wanted to use my microgrant to show the importance of preserving books as physical media. Just because the cover is torn or the pages are bent doesn't mean you have to throw it away. 

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