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Benton Bio: Andrew Isaacson ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on April 1, 2014
Andrew Isaacson

Benton Scholar Andrew Isaacson ’17

First-year Benton Scholar Andrew Isaacson is passionate about giving back to his community.

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Andrew gained his first experience with volunteer work when he joined the staff of an emergency shelter, which assisted people living on Chicago’s south side. He has also extended his passion for community engagement to the medical field. Last summer, Andrew interned at the University of Chicago Medical Center in the psychiatry department, where he spoke with and assisted gambling addicts.

Andrew is also a firm believer in the importance of foreign travel and has brought that belief to Colgate. As a member of the international club, he speaks often about the importance of going abroad: how it helps us grow as people, how it brings more diversity to our educational experience. Perhaps not surprisingly, Andrew plans to major in Economics and minor in International Relations. He also hopes to attend graduate school and find employment in finance. In his spare time, Andrew likes to cook, read, crew (rowing) and play piano.


Benton Bio: Erin Huiting ’17

By Peter Tschirhart on March 10, 2014
Benton Scholar Erin Huiting '17

Benton Scholar Erin Huiting ’17

Erin Huiting is a first year from Evergreen, Colorado. Her passion for giving back to the community led her to Belize during the summer before her senior year of high school. While there, she assisted local hospitals with diabetes prevention education and outreach. Erin’s volunteer activities have also bolstered her passion for public health. As a member of the Global Health Initiative at Colgate, she discusses current issues of public health and plans to volunteer with the group in Hamilton. She is also a member of Habitat for Humanity. Erin intends to major in Molecular Biology at Colgate University, then pursue a Ph.D. in Epidemiology. She also plans to visit underdeveloped countries, where she will continue to pursue her interest in global health by serving the sick. During May, Erin will travel with Professor John Palmer and ’17 Benton Scholars to South Korea.


Benton Bio: Hanna Atwood ’14

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

394123_2350479121456_1558391376_nHanna Atwood is a double major in English and studio art at Colgate. Hailing from Dedham, MA, she has committed herself to Colgate and the surrounding Hamilton community. In addition to her academics, Hanna has been involved with other groups on campus outside of The Benton Scholar Program. As a member of Konosioni Senior Honor Society, she is involved with the planning of an annual auction that raises money to be put directly back into supporting local business endeavors. As a volunteer for Friends and Mentors Program, Hanna works alongside troubled youth of Madison County serving as a mentor and role model. She is also a member of Women’s Club Squash and enjoys cheering on any and all Colgate athletic teams!

The Benton Scholar Program encourages a global perspective. Hanna adopted this global perspective on the Benton Scholar funded trip to China after freshman year, and also traveled to Aix-en-Provence, France to study abroad for fall semester of her junior year. Hanna has also spent a significant amount of time in South Africa working with Ripples of Hope organization which engages families in community service projects; the organization partners with local non-profits in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

Benton Bio: Saffiate Ba ’14

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

Ba picSaffiate (Saffi) Ba ’14 is from Long Island, NY and is majoring in political science at Colgate. During her junior year she studied off-campus in Washington D.C. and interned in the United States Senate.

Saffiate is very passionate about education policy and youth development. She has worked as a camp counselor for four consecutive summers and is incredibly grateful and thrilled to work with some of Boston’s youth at Camp Harbor View this summer, as part of the Jim P. Manzi ’73 Fellowship. On campus, she works as a first-year mentor as a member of Link Staff and is actively involved as a leader for Colgate’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity as well as a children’s literacy group called Liberty Kids.

Saffiate is a Student Caller for the Annual Fund, a chapter leader for Students for Education Reform, and former philanthropy chair for her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Recently, she was admitted to Konosioni, the senior honor society that works to connect the Colgate student community to the greater Hamilton community through service work and leadership. Saffiate’s interest in the non-profit sector was sparked when she participated in Colgate’s Spring Immersion Fellowship in Washington D.C., where she and a group of students met with executives of non-profit organizations in Washington.

After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in the field of law, education or public policy; or pursue work in the non-profit sector.


Benton Bio: Viktor Mak ’15

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013
Viktor Mak '15 in Uganda

Viktor Mak ’15 traveled to Uganda with the Benton Scholars program.

Originally from Hungary, Viktor Mak ’15 has lived in the United States since 2000. He graduated high school in Fort Myers, Florida before coming to Colgate. Viktor is majoring in global studies, a major traditionally not offered at Colgate, but inspired by the Benton Scholar Program. He is also minoring in Philosophy.

While on campus, and in addition to his involvement with the Benton Scholars, Viktor participates in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, serves on the executive board of the Student Government, volunteers for the Hamilton Mayor’s Office, founded The Open Society. He also serves as the Google Student Ambassador to Colgate.

After his freshman year of college, Viktor traveled to Uganda with the Benton scholar program where he began a philanthropy photo project. Viktor captured the images of over two hundred children, printed hard copies of the pictures, and then distributed them to the photo subjects. For some, it was the first picture of themselves they had ever seen. He spent the rest of the summer in Guatemala working for a Mayan weaving cooperative and in Budapest, Hungary interning at the Central European University.

Viktor plans to study abroad in Latin America in the Spring of 2014.


Benton Bio: Jacq Zier ’15

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

At Colgate University, I am a happy, busy student majoring in molecular biology and minoring in German. My home is on beautiful Orcas Island in northwest Washington. I attended a small public high school and served as vice president of the student government and captain of the rowing team. I graduated as a co-valedictorian of my class.

In high school I joined the Orcas Island Youth Delegation to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Each May I traveled to the U.N. Headquarters in Manhattan to participate with the Youth Caucus at the CSD. There I learned about issues of sustainable development, how to collaboratively write statements, and practiced lobbying government delegates. I also had the nerve-racking experience of giving a statement myself in front of hundreds of delegates at a plenary meeting.

In 2011, I joined the Alas de Rio Project, a documentary project featuring international youth working in sustainable agriculture. In June of 2012 I traveled with Alas de Rio to present our documentary at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I received partial funding from the Benton Scholars Program to attend Rio+20.
jacq rio picIn high school I also began my study of German. My high school didn’t offer German language classes, so I took online classes and attended the EF Language School in Munich, Germany, for a few weeks during the summer of 2010. Living alone in a youth hostel in Munich with limited language ability is certainly an experience I will never forget.

Now I have a heightened appreciation for the real German classes I take at Colgate. I hope to spend time in German-speaking countries after I graduate.

As a first-year Benton Scholar, I traveled to Rwanda and Uganda to conduct environmental health projects with my class. That was a fantastic, eye-opening experience. I now have the privilege of working with Professor Frey, a leader of the Uganda trip, in a lab that analyzes the data we collected.

Over last winter break, I also traveled with a Colgate group to Moscow. We visited historical landmarks and learned about Russian history. We stayed in the U.S. Embassy, which also gave us another interesting lens through which to view the city.

This upcoming summer I will do a short internship with the SeaDoc Society on Orcas Island and hopefully with the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs as well.


Benton Bio: Colin Shipley

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

ShipleyI am currently a sophomore Benton Scholar majoring in Chemistry and Economics. My interests include renewable technologies, entrepreneurship, soccer, and ping pong. Additionally, I have a passion for international travel, and I make a conscious effort to take advantage of any opportunity Colgate offers to travel abroad.

Since I arrived at Colgate I have traveled to nine countries, either with a Colgate group or having received funding from a Colgate organization. My favorite trip occurred in May after my freshman year when the 2015 Benton Scholars traveled to Rwanda and Uganda. From exploring the capital city of each country to helping with water sanitation testing in a rural village, everything about the experience seemed like an alternate reality.

I strongly believe it is important to explore the world outside the one in which you live and to learn and understand how others choose to live, whether next door or across the world. Colgate and the Benton Scholars program have helped me to pursue this goal to the utmost extent, and I know incoming students, Bentons and non-Bentons alike, will be afforded the same multitude of opportunities to get to know the world and better understand ours in the process.

 


Benton Bio: Adam Basciano

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

adam picAdam Basciano ‘16
Major: International Relations
Hometown: Randolph, NJ
High School: Randolph High School

For the past month or so, I’ve created a committee and group that will be going to this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) in March in Washington DC. AIPAC PC is one of America’s largest lobbyist conferences and it focuses on the America-Israel alliance and issues. I have been working with members of the Colgate Jewish Union and Blue Diamond Society, as well as Junior Benton Evan Chartier to organize traveling, lodging, and registration for this 4 day conference. I was able to secure funding from the Colgate Jewish Union/Colgate Office of the Chaplains. Our committee will then brainstorm ways to bring AIPAC and its values back to campus, either with Brown Bags or Speakers.

At the onset of this past Spring Semester, I created a committee focused on the American-Israel alliance and the foreign policy that affects it. In early March, our group attended this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) in Washington DC. “AIPAC PC” is one of America’s largest lobbyist conferences and this year it focused on specific issues such as the Iranian Nuclear program, political instability in the region, and US-Israel strategic cooperation. I coordinated the trip with members of the Blue Diamond Society and Colgate Jewish Union, as well as fellow Benton Evan Chartier (Class of 2014) to organize traveling, lodging, and registration for this 4-day conference. I was able to secure generous funding from the Saperstein Jewish Center. Currently, our committee is in the process of bringing an influential speaker we met at AIPAC to discuss the dangers of a Nuclear Iran and the necessary steps to deter it from happening. Other initiatives we are undertaking include a Holocaust Remembrance day for Yom Hashoa and future Israel-related events.


Benton Bio: Muturi Njeri

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

Muturi Njeri ‘15
Major: Psychologoy

muturi picMy name is Muturi Njeri (used to be called Peter too but I dropped it) and I am a proud Kenyan citizen. I am a Psychology student in the Colgate class of 2015. I love a lot of things; top among them Africa, writing and people.

I am a co-founder and publisher of The African Youth Journals, an online interactive forum for African youth to share ideas on current issues affecting and shaping the African continent as well as crowd-source the true image of Africa. My friend and I started this project over a year ago and we have been able to publish over 80 pieces from aver 15 different African countries. As you might have heard before, Africa is the future, and the average African being 19 years old, then this future is for us, the youth.


Benton Bio: Kat Kollitides

By bentonscholars on April 4, 2013

Katherine “Kat” Kollitides

Major: English
Hometown: Rockville Centre, NY
High School: South Side High School

As a first-generation Greek American, Kat is acutely aware of the importance of heritage and culture in an increasingly globalized world.  As a teenager she developed an interest in travel, spending summers in Greece learning about her background.  A passion for current affairs led her to start her high school’s first Model United Nations club, and she spearheaded their participation in the 2009 National High School Model U.N. Conference in New York City.  A National Merit Commended Student, Kat pursued a rigorous academic workload in high school, earning an International Baccalaureate Diploma and several prestigious departmental awards for her achievements.

Kat picAt Colgate, Kat has cultivated her interest in global affairs and multicultural issues.  For the past four years she has worked as a student ambassador at the Africana, Latina, Asian and Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center, where she has done extensive event programming to diversify Colgate student life.  Kat spent the fall semester of her junior year abroad with Colgate in London, England.  She also participated in the Denmark Extended Study in May 2012, as well as the Martinique Immersion Trip in March 2013.  Kat’s time at Colgate has also led her to develop a passion for volunteer work.  She spent her sophomore spring break working with the Oglala Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and the final week of her senior winter break rebuilding homes affected by Katrina in New Orleans.

For the past two summers, Kat has worked as an editorial intern at Scholastic Inc., the largest publisher of children’s books in the world.  She has also interned at her local newspaper, The Rockville Centre Herald.  In her spare time, Katherine enjoys reading the New Yorker, cooking vegetarian meals and kayaking. An avid music buff, she is involved with Colgate’s radio station, WRCU FM, where she hosts a weekly radio program.

After she graduates from Colgate in May, Kat will be serving as a Teach for America corps member in Miami, Florida.

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