Bennett Garner


I came to Pitt as a Chancellor’s Scholar in 2010 with no idea what I wanted to study.  I was surprised by how my undecided major excited the UHC staff.  Throughout my freshman year, I received advice from UHC staff and students on a wide range of classes I should take, ranging from geology to great books.  They encouraged a breadth of study in my freshman year.

I eventually settled on urban studies and communication as my majors, and toward the end of my time at Pitt I completed a minor in French.  I graduated in 2015 but not before taking a year off in 2011 to learn Spanish in Peru and Ecuador; spending the summer of 2013 as a nanny in Marseille, France; and studying development studies in 2014 in Dakar, Senegal.

Following my gap year in Ecuador, I began work for Summerbridge Pittsburgh, teaching writing classes to Pittsburgh’s minority and low-income middle and high schoolers.  Eventually, I took leadership of Summerbridge’s tutoring program, tripling the program’s size and coordinating over 2,500 hours of one-on-one tutoring.  I also researched the effects of the high school transition on students’ academic performance for Summerbridge.  My research received $1,800 in awards from the Honors College’s Community-based Research Fellowship and the Provost’s Spring Undergraduate Research Award.

Whatever I wanted to accomplish intellectually, the Honors College helped me find a way to make it happen.  Through honors housing, book clubs, and fellowship seminars, I found opportunities to sing with the Men’s Glee Club, act with theater students, be a founding member of Pitt’s Student Civic Engagement Council, and tell others about my experience as an Honors College ambassador.  I was honored to receive the G. Alec Stewart Award in 2014.  My Pitt experience was shaped by the Honors College, and I’m grateful to the honors community for the support and high expectations they gave me during my time at Pitt.

I now live in Washington, DC where I’m an analyst for the Washington DC Economic Partnership, ACT prep tutor, and author of a weekly newsletter.