Price Benowitz Social Justice Scholarship: Past Winners

Despite receiving a great many applications from impressive students around the country, we are tasked with awarding the Price Benowitz Social Justice Scholarship to one outstanding individual every year.  The following is a list of the past winners, whose dedication to the cause of social justice stands as a reminder to us all about the importance of equality and human rights everywhere. 

2017 Award Winner: Ellen Soyka

Make a Difference Scholarship Award Winner Ellen SoykaEllen is currently in her fourth year out of five in the International Studies BA/MA program at Indiana University Bloomington. Within International Studies, Ellen’s primary research interest is human rights and international law, focusing especially on education policy, women’s rights, racial inequality, religion, and nonprofit organizations. In pursuing these areas of interest, Ellen has interned in London working for a large international church and in Madrid helping human trafficking survivors transition back to a healthy life through counseling, teaching, editorial, and legal work. In the future, she hopes to work for a nonprofit organization abroad, researching, analyzing, and implementing education policies that benefit women and girls, especially those of color. Her goal is to continue learning about human rights, analyzing how they can be better recognized, teaching policymakers how to make rights-focused decisions, and ultimately helping more people achieve their goals and live fully.

In Her Own Words:

“I am so grateful for this scholarship. Balancing accelerated coursework with multiple jobs to support myself is difficult, so I am thankful for any help! Receiving this scholarship due to my experiences and goals makes me especially proud of what I have achieved, and will help me continue to “work hard at work worth doing.””

2016 Award Winner: Delaney Henderson

Delaney Henderson is the award recipient of our 2016 Price Benowitz Social Justice ScholarshipIn 2016, Delaney Henderson, a sophomore at Eastern Florida State College, is the winner of the Social Justice Scholarship, celebrating individuals who have overcome adversity and are in the pursuit of furthering their education in order to accomplish social change.

Delaney is currently working on developing a high school-based curriculum on sexual assault and bullying prevention with the national nonprofit organization she co-founded last year, SafeBAE. This program is hopefully going to be implemented in every high school across the nation by the time she is able to graduate with her bachelor’s degree at Florida Atlantic University. She is in pursuit of a degree in Criminal Justice and eventually plans to attend law school.

Creating SafeBAE was essential for Delaney in her pursuit of helping others by education young men and women on the dangers of sexual assault and the societal change that needs to surround it, and she hopes this organization will spark a change in culture, and her commitment to her education and service of the community showcase as inspiration to all.

Upon receiving this scholarship, she was humbled and overjoyed in the encouragement of her finishing her education and furthering her ability to accomplish her dreams in the future. Her impressive perseverance in times of life’s hardships and service to others show us that this is only the beginning of great things to come from this young woman.

2015 Award Winner: Mario Castillo

Price Benowitz Social Justice Scholarship Winner

In 2015, Price Benowitz selected Mario A. Castillo, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, as the inaugural winner of the Price Benowitz Social Justice Scholarship. 

Enrolled in the Transatlantic Master’s Program sponsored by UNC, Chapel Hill, Mario’s stated vision is to “promote intercultural dialogue in societies with rapidly changing demographics” via the study of international law.  Through his master’s program, Mario is pursuing his goals overseas—travelling to several international institutions, including Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. 

In his personal statement, Mario wrote about how he personally prevailed over significant socioeconomic obstacles to acquire a liberal arts education.  Using these past experiences as motivation, he explained his dedication to developing through intensive study “a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by minority groups in Western democracies.”  This knowledge foundation, he explained, would be invaluable in his future work to promote dialogue between cultures and foster awareness of minority issues.

Prior to applying for the Price Benowitz Social Justice Scholarship, Mr. Castillo developed an extensive social justice resumé, which included advocating for immigrants’ rights on Los Angeles, working to provide healthcare for Spanish-speaking HIV patients, and even working with U.S. military veterans.

What really became clear, however, upon reviewing Mario’s application is that he was just getting started.  He communicated his motivation to foster a dynamic professional network across several very different countries: the United States, Turkey, Germany, and Mexico.  Using diversity as a paradigm for the cross-pollination of ideas and problem-solving, rather than as a barrier to integration, Mario gave us confidence in his commitment in crafting a better future for under-served populations everywhere.

Upon receiving the scholarship, Mr. Castillo stated that it reaffirmed his dedication to his studies and to give back to the international community.  He was extremely motivated to involve himself with organizations that strive to address key human rights issues, minority rights, trans-national migrations, and cross-cultural awareness.