A Different Kind of Funny Scholarship Offered this School Year


Bennett Nestok graduated from Mariemont’s Class of 2009 and attended the University of Cincinnati (UC). He earned a Bachelors of Science in Interaction Design, and minored in Information Technology. He won the annual invention contest at UC, which was recently ranked third best design school in the world behind MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), two of the most selective design schools in the country. He was the president of the Master of Design students and his thesis won the Directors Choice Award. Later Nestok attended Harvard University for his masters in Education, Technology, and Innovation.

Nestok said some of his favorite classes in high school were physics, art, French, and English. He loved these classes the most because they would all allow him to be as creative as possible in the different projects that he was assigned. According to Dr. Renner, Nestok’s mix of creativity and knowledge gave him the potential to do anything that he wanted to after he graduated. Renner said “He was the kind of person I could never see becoming something traditional like a doctor or lawyer. I always thought he would be the kind of person to create his own job.”

Nestok said, “In high school, it was a purposeful novelty and creativity. In college and grad school, it was a bit of elitism.”

Mr. Wiseman who taught Bennett when he was a freshman and senior said, “Bennett was the student who was always willing to help his fellow student whenever they needed it.” When Wiseman heard Nestok was giving back to the school he wasn’t surprised because according to Wiseman, he was the kind of the student “who wanted to help others.”

This 8.5×11 graphic created by Nestok himself was given to Mr. Wiseman before Nestok graduated. (PHOTO BY RYAN)

Bennett remembers he loved high school. He said, “I sincerely love(d) all of them, fascinating people, I remember Mrs. Leatherwood told me to take my beanie off so I threw it upward and it stuck to that porous ceiling. We all had a good chuckle.” Nestok also talked about how he loved getting to know all of the students during the four years he was at the high school, he added, “I always enjoyed getting to know everybody’s quirks.”

Bennett is now offering help to a Mariemont student pay for college with a scholarship. However, it is not based solely on GPA. To apply to the scholarship the student will have to write an essay about a project, activity, or experience that they’ve had in high school. An experience that shows how you are able to use humor and creativity throughout the different projects and assignments that you have. This isn’t just based on humor, it is based on how you are able to use it in your daily lives.

When asked what gave him the idea to offer a scholarship and why, Bennett said, “One day I was alone in my tiny apartment eating a pizza and thought, did I do enough in high school? Did I have enough fun? Did I try hard enough? Nope. Who does?! Then I pulled up the MHS website and I began clicking around and I wound up on a scholarships page. Then I thought what if I give back?! I transformed that vague regret into clear-cut delight. Who knows? Perhaps this venture will evolve over time.” Nestok wanted to base the scholarship around humor instead of GPA and other requirements because he wanted to let the creative students get a chance to fully express themselves and show how they treat school projects as much more than just a way to boost your grade in the class.

“The scholarship rewards pursued interestingness, formative funniness. Humor serves a purpose! So I want to give a funny person some dough. Apply for it! Make your application zany if need be,” exclaimed Nestok.

Nestok can be reached on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/bennettnestok4