Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Anaya Benzan


Sal Iovino, Digital Managing Editor

Anaya Benzan ‘23 is the recipient of the Bucknellian’s Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award.  Her nomination is a result of voting conducted by the student body, and reflects her impact as a leader and mentor on campus, particularly in regards to advancing the interests and wellbeing of students with a diverse background on Bucknell’s campus.  

Benzan is a senior from Cambridge, MA  graduating this spring with Education and History majors as well as a minor in Spanish.  On campus, she is a Residential Adviser, POSSE scholar, and involved in the Office of Civic Engagement.  After graduation, she will continue to pursue her Masters of Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

When asked to describe some of her most memorable experiences at and through Bucknell, Benzan highlighted her various abroad experiences, citing a trip to Puerto Rico with the Office of Civic Engagement and studying abroad with Bucknell in Denmark and Bucknell en España.  

As an advocate for change on campus as well as someone with a great appreciation for education and mentorship, Benzan sought to build community for diverse student bodies on campus.  In her own words, “To find and build community on campus, I focused on reaching out to people with similar interests as me and people I can learn from.”

Building this community has allowed her to encourage DE&I at Bucknell not only at the policy level, but at the social level as well.  As recognized by receiving this award, the impact that Benzan has created socially may be her most important achievement, as not only do faculty and staff recognize her efforts at the administrative level, but her peers acknowledge the ways she has impacted them as well.

When asked what she hoped campus would look like in a decade, Benzan ‘23 did not hold back, saying, “In a decade, I hope to see the institution recruiting and supporting BIPOC, low-income, and underrepresented students more. It is not enough to recruit a diverse class of students. The university must support and provide resources to these students throughout their time on campus and beyond.” 

As an aspiring educator/administrator, this message certainly seems to be something she hopes to carry forward in her own career, true to her character in promoting structural support for diverse student populations on campus.

Benzan was asked if she had any shout-outs to give or people to thank before leaving campus, to which she replied, “I want to give a shout-out to the Posse community and my Posse Mentor Jim Lavine, Professors Sue Ellen Henry, Jennifer Thomson, Rachel Landsman, and Meenakshi Ponnuswami, Patrick Pike, Dining and Facilities Staff, Multicultural Student Services, the Black Student Union, and Latine Alliance for Community and Opportunity for Students.”

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