Jenna Bensko

Hometown: Mystic, Connecticut
College: Agriculture and Life Sciences
Major: Nutritional Sciences
Year: 2019

Jenna Bensko admits she applied to Cornell University without knowing much about it. An overnight visit to campus for Cornell Days, an annual event for newly admitted students, helped her realize she had made the right decision.

“I instantly knew that those were the kind of people I wanted to be surrounded by for the next four years, people that would inspire me to work harder and pursue my goals no matter how unattainable they seemed,” said Bensko.

In the pursuit of those goals, the Cornell Tradition Fellow has made the Dean’s List three times, traveled to Nicaragua on a service learning trip, been a research assistant for the Community Supported Agriculture Project and volunteered for the Cornell Bridges to Community program, Big Brother Big Sisters, the CALS Ambassador program and the Public Service Center.

“It’s easy to get caught up in what I call the ‘Cornell Bubble,’ but I knew community engagement would allow me to give back to more than just my school and appreciate the town it is located in,” she said.

Bensko and her older siblings are the first generation in their family to attend college, and her siblings influence has been essential to her success at Cornell. Because their parents were often working to support the family, her siblings took it upon themselves to be positive role models for her and offer guidance. Their lessons helped her to become the first in the family to attend an Ivy League school.

“My siblings have all worked hard to get themselves into college and taught me to embody that same drive and passion,” she said.

Representing Cornell, she says, is both “a blessing and an opportunity.”

“I want to further contribute to the name and reputation that Cornell has already earned itself,” said Bensko. “Not only does this mean upholding the reputation of academic excellence, but it also means being a leader and being an engaged and kind citizen in any community I find myself a part of.”