Student, Alumni and Faculty Voices

Sydney Caldwell, sophomore, Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
(Received the St. Benedict Transfer scholarship, Benedictine Grant, Illinois MAP Grant, Phi Theta Kappa)
“Since the first time I visited, I knew Benedictine was the right school for me. The admissions and financial aid staff were very friendly and open particularly with my family situation with my mother being diagnosed with breast cancer over the summer. They let me know about all of the different scholarship opportunities that I was able to apply for and found every way to help me when I made a late decision to attend Benedictine. They were so personable and really lent a helping hand.” 

E'Laina Craven, junior, Social Science
(Received Benedictine Grant, Scholarship Displaced Earner, Federal Pell Grant, Illinois MAP Grant, Federal SEOG Grant) 

“The scholarships and grants I’ve received have given my family and I peace of mind. I understand that these days it’s hard for students to avoid taking out loans to pay for college, but my awards have helped to lower some of those future expenses for me significantly.” 

Idris Habeeb Shokunbi, C12, Environmental Science
Idris Habeeb Shokunbi, C12, Environmental Science, felt anxiety and uncertainty at the thought of finding employment after earning his degree. 

Then he met alumnus Anthony McCain, M.B.A.’93, C84, Business and Economics, who shared his personal story of career advancement and encouragement. Now Shokunbi is inspired to persevere. 

McCain gave Shokunbi advice on how to build a network that supports his career goals and introduced him to environmental scientists who work at Nicor Gas. 

“As an African-American and first-generation college student, I am inspired by his story of humble beginnings,” Shokunbi said. “Mr. McCain helped me to believe that hard work does pay off and that faith and consistency are the keys to success.” 

Eraj Din, B.S. in Biology, C12
Eraj Din chose Benedictine for its strong reputation in the sciences as part of a plan to pursue a career in the field of pediatrics and neonatal care. 

“Benedictine’s small class sizes helped me take advantage of great learning opportunities. I learned to appreciate the impact science and research have on the world. Additionally, I participated in a student organization called Rotaract where I met some of my closest friends and formed my fondest memories."

Sharif Hassanein, Political Science, C07
Sharif Hassanein graduated from Benedictine with the drive to make a difference in the lives of others. 

Sharif-01His passion for international affairs began as a student at Benedictine, volunteering with student visitors from the Middle East through the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) program and participating in Model United Nations, where he competed as captain of the mock trial team. 

Hassanein was inspired to volunteer for the Peace Corps as an English teacher, and further developed his passion for global issues while working in a remote Middle Eastern village. 

“Benedictine helped in my decision to join the Corps by expanding my interest in international affairs with programs like MEPI and class trips to Mexico to see the economic, social and political challenges of others.” 

Erik Rickert, C13, Management and Organizational Behavior 

This school has helped so many including myself. My education and college experiences, such as football, would not have been possible without support from donors.” 

Nirav Ashok Shah, M.P.H.’10 

“I never felt that I was the odd one out. Professors were always there to help guide me, always there to listen. They saw my strengths and appreciated my work, and that meant a lot to me. Benedictine is where it all came together, and without the support of my friends and my professors, I would not be doing what I am doing today.” 

David Klinger, M.S.’11, Management and Organizational Behavior, C09
“From the first time I set foot on campus, I truly felt like I was home and that the community was like one large family. The continued emphasis of Benedictine values helped me grow not only as a student, but as a person. Each day within my work and my life, I focus on retaining the tradition of hospitality and carry myself with the utmost respect and dignity.” 

Ismail Dogar, C13, Health Science and International Business and Economics

“I am so fortunate to have participated in so many programs during my undergraduate career,” Dogar said. “It has made me more aware of so many cultural elements, and I believe it has given me a unique perspective that I can bring to my professional career.” 

Cristina Dister, junior, International Business and Economics

“I have come away with a deeper understanding and respect for the way to carry on business than I would have had if I never left the United States,”
Dister said of her Benedictine University study abroad experiences. “I plan on continuing to study abroad to further my understanding of culture and business so that one day I can successfully maintain a truly international business that many global partners will actively want to be a part of.” 

Nayeli Vazquez, Social Science and Criminal Justice

“I value all of the friends I have made here – especially since I have made friends with such a diverse group of people,” Vazquez said. “I have great friends who are Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, and I’m always excited and happy to learn something new about them and their culture.” 


Ryan Nguyen, a senior majoring in Social Science and Criminal Justice 
Ryan Nguyen, a senior majoring in Social Science and Criminal Justice who was born in Vietnam, came all the way from California to Benedictine not only for its small classes and personal attention, but for the diversity of its students and faculty. 

“I value the diversity of this University so much because it influences and teaches the student body to interact and learn from different kinds of people that one would not expect to come in contact and hold a dialogue with in their everyday lives,” Nguyen said. 

Sarah Ray, Social Science major from Elk Grove Village

“The fact that I go to a very diverse university has helped me to open up and interact with others of different backgrounds,” Ray said. “Because of Benedictine, I have become more open to meeting and learning from new people of different religious backgrounds. Benedictine helped me to step outside my comfort zone."

Tim Comar, associate professor of Mathematics at Benedictine helps students gain real-world research skills through the University’s Summer Research Program. 

“This is something that actually sticks with students, rather than something that comes and goes for an exam,” Comar said.“This gives them a much more hands-on experience than a classroom environment, and it’s preparing them for future work in the workplace or graduate school. 

“At Benedictine, undergraduates work closely with faculty on their research projects,” he added. “They’re not just a low-level person in a lab only doing what they’re told to do. They are heavily involved in the research and problem solving process.”

Career Development:
Preparing students for graduation is not the only role of a college or university. Benedictine University believes we must also prepare students for life.

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Students can choose from more than 40 student-led organizations in which to apply leadership skills, volunteer and serve the community, or further pursue their academic or career interests outside of class.

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