Bookmark and Share

Joanna Benjamin '20 Embodies 'Rex Factor'

imageJoanna Benjamin '20
07/06/17 -  

Last August, Joanna Benjamin came to Queens from Jesup, Georgia,—"It's near Savannah"—with the ambition to become a research oncologist. She's pre-med, majoring in sociology and belongs to the National Honor Society for Leadership and Success. She figures this academic combination will make her distinctive when it's time to apply to medical school.

"I had always dreamed of going to college, but was worried about how to make it work financially," she says. "A tremendous scholarship opportunity brought me to Queens. The admissions and financial aid counselors—especially Leslie Rivers—were determined to make it work. And they continue to support me now that I am here."

Fulfilled and challenged at Queens, Benjamin has what the admissions team has coined the "Rex Factor"—a perfect fit for the university's community of multi-faceted, involved students. The Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship, specifically designated for deserving female students with financial need, has made Benjamin's fit, and dream, possible.

In addition to her studies, the multi-dimensional Benjamin jumped right into extracurricular life, mostly in the vein of service. "I've worked with Up 'til Dawn, raising funds for St. Jude's Research Hospital. And I'm volunteering for Room In The Inn-a program for the homeless."

She's participated in Collegiate 100, whose members mentor elementary school students at nearby Myers Park Traditional Elementary School. "We spent time with students during recess and lunch, primarily to serve as an example and inspiration," Benjamin says.

Benjamin is also a mentee: "I'm in a program called T2U-Transition to University-where Queens juniors and seniors mentor new students."

And then there's her creative side: in her first semester, she took on three roles in the theatre department's production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, Adam, Corin and Brother Jacques. She worked backstage in the spring semester and plans to be acting again this year.

Pre-med requirements can be daunting. Benjamin is grateful to chemistry professor Greg Pillar for helping her excel. "He's been amazing and so patient-I got my first A in chemistry!"

Benjamin studies, performs and supports several service initiatives. How does she handle this stress? "I prioritize things each day to avoid getting stressed over assignments. I believe in taking piano breaks-piano is a longtime hobby. And I find encouragement from my faith."She sees friendly faces all over campus, in classes, organizations, in her residence hall and in the dining hall.

"So many people here are dedicated to my success", she says.

Related News
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Latest Tweet