Courtney Johnson-Benson has a passion for education. As Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for the University of Akron, she helps students pursue their dreams of higher education, while navigating them through the complexities of the college admissions process.
When she joined United Way of Greater Stark County’s Young Leaders Society (YLS) in 2016, the organization’s focus on education seemed like a natural fit.
“When I first joined the steering committee, I was looking for a different way to be more engaged in Stark County,” she said. “I was looking for something more involved, where I could extend my resources that I have from working at a college.”
Johnson-Benson joined the YLS Hoodies for the Holidays committee, an initiative that inspires high school seniors to pursue higher education by providing them with a hoodie and an alumni letter from the school of their choice.
“I had colleagues who were working at several local universities, so [Hoodies] was a way for me to use my network to help the committee in a different way,” she said. “Two years ago, we had a ton of students who wanted to attend the University of Akron. It was really cool because even though I didn’t recruit students in Stark County, I was able to see how they were super engaged and loved the university. They were really excited about having someone from admissions at their high school. It reminded me of my purpose — finding the best fit for students.”
Johnson-Benson is also a member of the YLS textbook scholarship committee, which awards $1,000 scholarships, renewable up to four-years, to first-generation college students to help them offset the expense of textbooks.
Through her involvement with YLS, she continues to advocate for education and encourages other young professionals to do the same.
“If I could give advice for anyone who is looking to make an impact, it would be to look at what you do day-to-day in your full-time job,” she said. “I know a lot of young people are afraid to approach their supervisor or boss about getting engaged, especially if it’s taking them out of the office, but volunteering is an excellent way to tie those two things together. It looks great for the company that you’re working for, and you’re able to give back your time to the community.”
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