Charlens Beneche '18: Leader and awardee

The Lamar McClinton Leadership award represents the legacy that leadership can create.

  • Year: Class of 2018
  • Major: Biology
  • Hometown: Brockton, MA
  • Honors & awards: Unsung Hero; Pillar of the Community; Lamar E McClinton Leadership; Frederick Douglass Unity Award; Distinguished Service Award
  • Leadership & service: President Treasurer Vice President and Social Chairman of Sigma Phi Rho Fraternity Inc Mu Chapter; Founder and President of Moors Engaged Noble; Black History Four Season Committee; Senior Resident Assistant; Student Government Senator; program assistant for Frederick Douglass Unity House; Treasurer of UMD Step Team

The impact of leadership

The Lamar McClinton Leadership award meant the most to me, as it represents the legacy that leadership can create; that no matter where we come from, there is always a chance for greatness in all of us.

I have learned that a true leader is someone who focuses on the development of others and helps them strive to be better. A leader invests time in people and motivates them to rise to the challenge.

Experience as biology major

As a biology major, being active was crucial to my college experience. In the hard sciences, people and social interactions are rarely mentioned, and the focus is on numbers, elements, and reactions. But through being active, I have realized that the purpose of knowledge is to help people be better. In a field like science, the potential to help people improve their lives is enormous.

Without a doubt what makes UMassD unique is the people. The biggest goldmine that this university has to offer is the talent, compassion, and hope that walk these campus grounds.

Next step: clinical research

After graduation, I want to enter the clinical research and development field, especially in oncology and immunology. While my academic journey has felt like a roller coaster, I'm not done yet. I plan to eventually get into an MD/MBA program to increase how I can use my knowledge to better my community.

Overcoming challenges

My greatest challenge has been financial and family issues. Having to work to afford school has made it difficult to increase my experience outside of the classroom before graduation. Family issues definitely distracted me, but I am thankful I was able to stay focused and finish.

Advice for future UMassD students

Dream big. Do everything that you can to grow academically and personally. GPA does matter, but so does what you do outside classroom. This is the best time to make mistakes and learn from them.


College of Arts and Sciences, Features Commencement