Oh, The People You'll Know: Benita Ning
Walking around campus with Benita Ning makes you feel a little bit like you’re famous. She somehow manages to know at least a few people seemingly everywhere on campus. She carries a tremendous spirit driven by energy, adventure, and friendliness with her wherever she goes.
Initially, Benita wanted to go into stage management because she was drawn to the focus on communication and the opportunity to help organize people. She ultimately chose mechanical engineering because she wanted to exercise her engineering brain.
Upon arrival at campus, she hit the ground running. Freshman year she joined multiple committees in ASME, was a committee chair in SWE, and joined Imagination Dance Team. The following year she worked as a tour guide for the university, was an officer on the board of SWE, was on the executive board of her dance team, and served as the Social Director for ASME. In this role, she created the Dessert Crawl, which is a fun and inclusive event for all members of ASME that want to participate to sample desserts around campus. She said her time as social director was one of her favorite experiences in college.
In her upperclassmen years, in addition to her school work, she began to prioritize some self-actualization and exploration. In the second semester of her junior year she studied abroad in Sweden, and then she spent the subsequent summer in Japan. She was grateful for the opportunity to make friends all around the world, and to broaden her own cultural understanding. She appreciated the peaceful and respectful culture she found in Japan.
Also in her junior year, she worked as an Engineering Learning Assistant, which ultimately showed her part of what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She enjoys mentorship, and her experience as an ELA and eventually head ELA helped her to realize that communicating effectively, and aiding others makes her feel powerful in that she can make an impact anywhere she goes.
Because of this realization, upon graduation Benita will be working for Teach for America as a Secondary Science teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada. She equated her placement in Las Vegas as a side quest in a video game, as it will be an unexpected adventure. She believes in upholding core education, which determines eligibility for higher education in the child’s future, and working for Teach for America will allow her to be a direct influence in quality education for many kids.
Benita is about to embark upon a path that is somewhat outside of the expectations of what one may see a mechanical engineer initially pursuing after college. In retrospect, she said she would still pick mechanical engineering as her major because it challenged her to improve herself, taught her many skills, and introduced her to hardworking and intelligent people. She said it gave her a cool lens through which she can look at the world. She is demonstrating how a degree in mechanical engineering can give us a broad base of knowledge, and open doors for a wide range of opportunities upon graduation.
There is no doubt that Benita already has a tremendous impact on the people around her, and will continue to spread her wonderful energy and knowledge wherever she goes.