Welcome Ben Sweet! He's joined our staff as our College Success Manager, and will be working closely with all of our 200 Scholars in high school and college. His goal is to get them to and through college. Ben also will be managing our growing mentor program. He comes to us with several years of experience in college access work, he was most recently an academic advisor in Bard College's HEOP office. Ben has a bachelor's degree from SUNY Oswego and a masters from SUNY New Paltz. We are thrilled to have him on our team!
Where are you from? How did you get to Albany?
I am originally from Pine Bush, New York! It is a very small town located in the Hudson Valley about two and half hours from Albany. I found my way to Albany through my girlfriend who has been living here for the past year. I really enjoyed all the life and vibrancy that the Capital Region had to offer and knew I needed to move here.
What inspires you about Sponsor-A-Scholar's mission?
What inspires me about the Sponsor-A-Scholar mission is its focus on the importance of equitable access to higher education. Nothing about our society is neutral and I really appreciate Sponsor-A-Scholar's recognition of the talent, skills, and intelligence of the Scholars who we serve.
Did you have a mentor either formally or informally? What did that person do for you?
I do! About two years ago when I had finished my masters I had a co-worker who started mentoring me and still does to this day. She was able to show me how to holistically take care of myself when engaging in emotional and mission driven work. I learned so much about the connection between race, gender, sexual orientation, and one's experience in society. She really taught me how to be a bridge builder between different communities, but more than anything else, she is someone I can talk to and gain perspective from.
What are you most excited to do in your job?
I am most excited to get to know the Scholars who I will have the privilege of working with. I can't wait to hear their stories and their goals. I am also deeply excited about starting some new programs and learning from those already involved in our Scholars' lives.
What do you do when you're not at work?
So much! I believe that a proper work life balance is important! I am a human being with lots of goals and communities outside of my work life. I am a member of the Albany Running Exchange and I run a lot! I recently completed my first ultra-marathon (50 miles) and am looking forward to competing in some upcoming races. I also rock-climb, so I am excited to check out Thatcher Park. Outside of this, I spend a lot of time hanging out with my partner, friends, and exploring the Capital Region. Most importantly, I am currently part of an undefeated kickball team; we are pretty great.
Thanks, Ben! We can't wait to see what's next!