Graduate Spotlight: Dawn M. Bennett

Graduation cap, diploma, and ribbon

Dawn Bennett As we honor the Class of 2021, we're shining a spotlight on a few of our amazingly talented, hardworking and determined graduates who've persisted through personal obstacles, a global pandemic and unprecedented instructional change to achieve their degree or certificate. To all of our 2021 Graduates: You are UNSTOPPABLE!

Meet 2021 graduate Dawn M. Bennett (she/her)! A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Dawn first came to South to earn her Associate of Arts (AA) degree, before enrolling in South's Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Hospitality Management degree program. 

A proud resident of Kent, Wash., Dawn has spent her professional career as a tireless advocate for parents and children who are left behind or marginalized in her community. She has worked in city governments and nonprofits, and most recently as a co-founder of the Multicultural Education Rights Alliance (McERA), which focuses on advocating for a mix of multicultural families and youth throughout Washington state. 

In addition to graduating this year, Dawn has recently announced her candidacy to run for mayor of Kent! 

We asked Dawn about her experiences as a student, her goals and dreams after graduating, and any advice she has for students as they pursue their degree at South and beyond. 

Why did you choose to study at South? What inspired you to choose your program of study?

I decided to study at SSC because it had a small and comfortable campus. There were also folks that looked like me, including faculty. Because I was comfortable, and there were faculty that were Black and Brown that believed in me, I was able to make the Dean’s List and the President’s List because they made me believe in myself.

When I got here, there were also folks that were White that believed in multiculturalism as well. My instructor Jean Horan [former SSC instructor] was the best! She and I talked a lot about culture and what it means to engage with folks that are different than yourself. She made my college experience amazing.

What have you enjoyed the most about your time studying at South?

Because I am working in the hospitality industry, my instructors Hana Gala and David Krull really explained the in’s and out’s of what I was doing. I was sort of punching in the dark before I met my hospitality professors. 

What are you most proud of from your time here at South?

Being on the Dean’s List and the President’s List when I was getting my AA. I was also proud that I was able to transfer and then graduate, of course!

What are your plans after graduation? What are your future career plans?

I plan on taking on bigger leadership roles, other than just supervisor. Because I earned my AA, I was able to become an executive director of my own organization. My future goal after earning my BAS is to run for public office.

You persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic to complete your education, and that takes great dedication and perseverance. What do you attribute your success to?

Having my instructors David Krull and Hana Gala there to truly teach us, and understanding when we needed some extra help. They would understand when to slow down and make sure we understood the key points. Our professors were amazing.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an incoming South Seattle College student?

Really ask questions of your professors. My professors were very supportive.

Congratulations to Dawn and all our 2021 graduates!