Deana DiBenedetto ’21, a Saint Michael’s College sophomore political science major with a Crime and Justice minor from Hannacroix, NY, is the Fall Semester 2019 recipient of the Brian Lacey International Fellowship in Social Justice award.
She will be studying “away” at American University’s Washington Semester Program, announced Peggy Imai, Saint Michael’s director of study abroad. Her chosen concentration is “Justice and Law,” and as part of the program she will be conducting research and participating in an internship.
In her application letter for the scholarship, DiBenedetto said she plans to “conduct an intensive analysis of a Washington-prominent or international social justice issue of interest that utilizes the knowledge I will have acquired in my two seminar classes, as well as the internship component of the program.” She said that through her research she is eager to “take a cross-cultural approach and discover how Washington compares to other immersive study experiences throughout my time at Saint Michael’s College, including the field trip I have taken to Ottawa, Canada, with my Canadian Government and Politics Class, as well as the academic study trip I will participate in this coming Spring to Wales, United Kingdom with my Environmental Sustainability class.” Her goal is to publish her research paper and make a multimedia presentation on campus about her experience when she returns.
Outside of the classroom, DiBenedetto is a very active member the Student Government Association (SGA), and is vice president for the class of 2021, which involves attending weekly Senate meetings, making and voting on motions regarding school activities, and representing the collective interests of both her class and the entire student body. Moreover, she is a member of the student activities committee and the new ad hoc sustainability committee that plans and promotes campus-wide student life and sustainability projects.
Outside of student government, she also spends a lot of her time working as an administrative assistant at the Academic Enrichment Commons Tutoring Center, where she keeps and organizes detailed records on all tutoring sessions held at Saint Mike’s.
This summer, she will be participating in the academic study trip to Wales, UK, with her adviser Professor Ayres. While there, she plans to research Wales’ renewable energy capacities to explore whether the nation can generate 100 percent of its energy from low carbon, renewable sources by 2035. When she returns home, she hopes to return to her prior position interning at the District Attorney’s Office in her home county, as well as spending some time shadowing other lawyers in her area.
"I would like to thank my family for always believing in me and pushing me to strive for greatness," DiBenedetto said. " Without their constant love and support throughout my whole life, I most certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. Moreover, I would like to thank Professor Ayres and Professor Hughes from the Political Science Department at Saint Michael’s College for providing me with an engaging environment conducive to learning and deep thought about the subject matter that sparked my interest even further in the study of politics and the law."
The Brian Lacey International Fellowship in Social Justice is designed to encourage and honor students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement as well as a dedication to a deeper understanding of issues and social-justice. This merit-and need-based award is intended to recognize students who show initiative, imagination and motivation to apply their academic skills to the betterment of humanity. Said DiBenedetto, "I would also like to say thank you to Brian Lacey, an alumnus of Saint Michael’s College, as well as the entire Fellowship Selection Committee, for allowing me to take part in this remarkable opportunity."
The fellowship is offered once each semester. They are funded through gifts from Brian Lacey ’72 -- president of Lacey Entertainment, a New York-based worldwide television marketing, production and distribution company. Lacey is also founder and director of the Kilkea Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages and honors excellence in the humanities, arts and sciences. This benefactor also has established the Henry G. Fairbanks Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Saint Michael’s through the Kilkea Foundation.