Ana Benitez, a third year Kinesiology student at the University of La Verne, is an engaged student leader on and off campus. She inspires her peers, faculty, staff, and the broader community through her advocacy of STEM and first-generation Latinx college student programming. Her experiences with service, dialogue, and community building have inspired her to take on leadership roles within various student organizations to find long-term solutions that create lasting change. She currently serves as a Resident Assistant with the Housing and Residential Life Department to keep a positive housing environment for the 32% of the student population that live on campus. She also serves the Alumni Relations Office to connect and support the 30,000 plus Alumni to the University. In addition to her leadership roles, she is a Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority National Panhellenic Delegate Chair, a 2019-2020 TELACU College to Success Program Scholar and a First-Generation Mentor with the First Generation and Peer Mentorship Office. Her involvement is endless, but her drive, commitment and personal disposition is inspirational!
I first became aware of the lack of opportunities and resources for Latinx communities and first-generation students in the STEM fields in high school when I entered the Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement Program. As I got older, I became more involved in advocating for Latinx students and the resources they need in order to get in and through college. During my experiences, I came to understand how to leverage the resources available to me, and how to work with Latinx organizations on campus to build community. I am currently involved in the peer-mentoring program to support incoming Latinx First-Generation students to succeed in their academics and engage with their community. I am also involved with Phi Sigma Sigma organization that advocates for education and college readiness for students who at times do not have access to scholastic resources.