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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Alexandria Bennett

Finding and Funding Your Passion

Alexandria Bennett ’21 arrived on campus in 2017 ready to excel in the School of Engineering.

“I came into UD as an engineering major, and I was really excited about it,” said Bennett. “I did a STEM camp at UD a few weeks before moving onto campus, and I got to meet a lot of multicultural STEM majors. I was so glad I had this community already.”

But life doesn’t always go as planned and, after her first year, she wondered if engineering was right for her.

“I was figuring out that the class content wasn’t exactly what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life, but I thought maybe I should stick it out. Maybe my first internship and some real hands-on experience would help me see the end goal.”

As much as she loved the people in the program, she ultimately decided engineering wasn’t her passion.

“I started thinking back to the things that I have always loved to do,” said Bennett. “All I did as a kid was read and write. And on campus the things I loved about engineering were the leadership opportunities. I was doing photo shoots for the engineering department. Doing presentations for incoming freshmen and prospective students. Then I was like, hold up. This might be a whole career opportunity on its own.”

That’s when Bennett decided to talk to a trusted instructor in the Department of Communication from her first year, Stephanie Sweet. It turns out that Sweet started college in engineering before finding her way to communication, too. After talking to Sweet, Bennett met with Heather Parsons, the director of advising for the Department of Communication. Together they put together a solid plan to keep her on track for graduation with a degree in communication. But there was a significant hurdle that still needed to be resolved — funds.

Bennett couldn’t have attended UD without the financial aid and scholarships she had earned — and she’d earned a lot of them. The problem was that they were almost all tied to engineering.

“When I did switch majors, I lost all of those scholarships. That was a huge financial burden and really jolting for my family,” said Bennett. “I was debating leaving UD and maybe going to a cheaper school. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was just a mess. But I had a support system at UD.”

Bennett met with a financial aid adviser who helped her look for resources. She applied for and was awarded a donor-funded scholarship which provided her the resources to earn her degree in communication at UD.

When asked what she’d like incoming students to know about finding their passion and their way through college, Bennett encouraged students to take that class you're curious about. Use your resources. And go and talk to the professor because they know what you’re going through.

“Their experiences will really help you out with whatever you’re going through because your experiences are not that unique. People have gone through the same struggles before.”

And, perhaps most important, “Everyone is out to help you. Everyone wants you to succeed.”

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