Nancy Benda ’17
From Mentor and Student to Grad-School Peers
At Hope, Ellen Tanis ’90 Awad and Nancy Benda ’17 were mentor and student. Three years later, they have each completed graduate studies at the University of Georgia as friends and peers.
Both pursued advanced degrees in student affairs at the Mary Frances Early College of Education of the University of Georgia at Athens. Awad earned her Doctor of Education degree in student affairs leadership while continuing in her role as associate dean of student life at Hope, where she has been on the staff since 1995. Benda earned her Master of Education degree in student affairs administration while holding a graduate assistantship in UGA’s Career Center.
They had started their studies at different times, but their journeys concluded simultaneously with the college of education’s celebration on April 29 for graduates of all of its programs (which because of the COVID-19 pandemic was held via Zoom). In addition, Awad and Benda were each chosen by their respective cohorts’ classmates to be the featured student speakers for the Ed.D. and M.Ed. programs during the event. Awad also received the Diane L. Cooper Award, which recognizes an outstanding student in the student affairs leadership program for commitment to learning as demonstrated by academic performance, scholarly practice and leadership in student affairs, and strong relationships with faculty, students and colleagues.
Awad is continuing in her leadership role in student life at Hope, while Benda hopes to move west and continue to work in higher education serving students.
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