Bio: About Kayla Benjamin
Kayla Benjamin is a freshman at American University, studying journalism and political science. In addition to her studies, she volunteers as a tutor for DC Reads, a city-wide collaboration working to raise literacy rates in our nation’s capitol; babysits for children of all ages; enjoys Shabbat dinners with campus Jewish organization Chabad; and copy-edits for AWOL, a campus investigative journalism magazine.
Kayla is also a member of the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program, where she focuses on developing leadership skills while collaborating with a 6-person team to complete research on education and standardized curriculums. Following a semester of research on that topic, she worked with her group to implement a social action project. The group planned and executed curriculum-relevant experiential learning lessons in two DC public school classrooms.
Prior to starting at American, Kayla spent 10 months with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). Living and working with a team of nine, she completed over 1700 hours of community service working with nonprofits all over the southeast US. Her team’s 4- to 8-week projects included disaster recovery in north Florida after Hurricane Irma; building houses with Habitat for Humanity in Baton Rouge, LA and southwest Florida; and restoration of a neglected African American cemetery in Richmond, VA, among others. In addition, Kayla served as her team’s Media Representative — writing pieces, editing an informational portfolio following each project, and reaching out to local media for coverage. Her time in AmeriCorps cemented passions for both journalism and community service.
These interests were formed and nurtured during high school in Chesterfield, MO, where Kayla served as Editor in Chief of her school’s newspaper and President of a volunteer tutoring organization working in Ferguson, MO. She also spent 4 years on the Speech and Debate team and worked at her synagogue’s Sunday school as an aide for students with special needs. Finally, she spent two years involved in the Conflict Free Campus Initiative, coordinating with school and district officials to enact technology purchasing policies that encouraged buying from companies with better human rights records.