Siena Alumni Profiles

Here are some of our featured Alumni and their stories of community involvement:

Benjamin Van Son, Class of 2004

Benjamin Van Son, in foreground, in Cambodia with Princeton in Asia fellows and friends from other NGOs

Benjamin Van Son, in foreground, in Cambodia with Princeton in Asia fellows and friends from other NGOs.

Siena also inspired a sense of humility that is incredibly important in my line of work.  Many foreigners fall into the trap that they are here to save the local people.  A mind-set that poisons direct service work with arrogance and cultural insensitivity, said Ben.

“After graduating from Haverford College, I began a career in direct service that led me to Southeast Asia.  Currently, I am a Princeton in Asia Fellow stationed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Princeton in Asia (PiA) provides work placements in six distinct fields: business, teaching, public health, environmental advocacy, journalism, and non-governmental work.  By working and living in Asia, Fellows promote opportunities for cultural exchange while gaining an immersive abroad experience.  I am a Teaching Fellow at the Royal University of Phnom Penh working with scholarship students that have moved to the capital from the surrounding rural areas.

I believe my interests in direct service developed based on my time as a student at Siena.  During our daily activities Siena guided us to remember others and to try and make a positive difference in other people’s lives. From service trips to donation drives, I learned about the needs other face and how I can help.  At the same time, I think Siena also inspired a sense of humility that is incredibly important in my line of work.  Many foreigners fall into the trap that they are here to “save the local people”.  A mind-set that poisons direct service work with arrogance and cultural insensitivity.  Siena always asked us to keep our mind and heart open to others, which I still appreciate.  By staying humble and open-minded I have met some of the most resilient, intelligent, fun, and resourceful people I have the privilege of knowing.  I have gained unique experiences like learning how to drive a motorbike through unrelenting traffic or speaking phrases in Khmer.  The qualities I gained at Siena have influenced both my career and life, for which I am so grateful.”

Benjamin Van Son

Relief Work in Nepal

Beau Miller, Class of 1997, Coordinates Relief Work in Nepal

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Alumnus Beau Miller ’97 is back in Nepal coordinating relief efforts for Aythos, an NGO he co-founded and for which he serves as Executive Director.  He is pictured here with Chhewang Dolma Lama who lost her life and that of her granddaughter in the recent earthquake. We pray for them and all the victims and for those who serve.  Your support for their work is appreciated #SupportAythos.

Friendships Formed at Siena Carry On

Jennifer Osborn, Class of 2002, Works in Local Radio

Osborn, Jennifer

Alumnus Jennifer Osborn, Class of 2002, wrote to us:

I am a proud alumnus of Siena Catholic Academy. I graduated St. Louis School in 2000, and it was time to choose a middle school. My parents gave me the choice of either going straight to Mercy and stay there until I graduated high school or going to Siena in between. I decided that I was not ready to go into the high school building yet, so I chose to enroll in Siena that fall!

I made friends and had experiences at Siena I will cherish forever. At Siena, I was able to become a leader early and prepare myself for high school. Having just middle school students enrolled in the school helped us all get through those tough pre-teen years together. I was given an excellent education and social skills training for the next step in my learning path. The friendships I formed at Siena are priceless and still continue through today. I was actually just in my friend’s wedding who attended Siena with me!

Currently, I am an Account Executive at iHeartMedia here in Rochester and am loving it! Siena Catholic Academy definitely was a solid step for me to get where I am today.

Thank you Siena and good luck to all current and incoming students!

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