Career Page-Vitae

Maya Thomas-Benke
511 Hickory Ridge Ct.
St. Louis, MO 63131

OFFICE ASSISTANT (2017-present)
*Employee at Baker Hall East and Busch House
*Receive and distribute mail to residents, check out desk items for resident use, issue loaner keys, act as a resource for students, maintain a welcoming and friendly environment
BASKIN ROBBINS (2017-present)
*Shift Leader
*Worked with others scooping ice cream, as well as making other frozen treats, handled customer service concerns and made sure store was clean, worked the register
FROYO (2017-present)
*Shift Leader
*Worked alone for both opening and closing shifts, making yogurt, cleaning the store, and checking out customers
LOU FUSZ SOCCER PARK (2015-present)
*Worked the concessions stand, sometimes alone but most often with one or two other people
*Stocked the food, made pretzels and popcorn, worked the register
REFRESH (2016-present)
*Worked the register, tagged, priced, and, sorted clothing, dealt with foster children and parents, accepted donations, cleaned the store
*Most often worked alone, but sometimes with another volunteer

*Volunteer at the James Cancer Hospital two hours per week, as well as other various service projects
*Plan and implement a gala in March benefitting the James Cancer Hospital
*Volunteered four hours a week for a semester
*Tutored adult refugees from areas such as Somalia, Syria, and Kenya in English and job skills
Volunteer/Youth Board member/Award recipient
* One of five volunteers ever to receive a Board of Directors’ Outstanding Youth Service Award
* Collected donations totaling $8,751 (2013-present); contacted and arranged to pick-up lost & found clothing donations of numerous middle schools and high schools; sorted, laundered, tagged, and valued donations
* Member of the Youth Board, which included volunteering at FACC’s clothing store and helping plan a Foster Parent Appreciation luncheon (2013-14)
* Created video still shown regularly at FACC luncheons
* Gave dance lessons to foster children at 4 events
* Donated birthday gifts to FACC’s Birthday Buddy program
* Volunteered in mother/infant and acute medicine units
* Job shadowed in surgery and the emergency room
AFS (2014-17)
* Hosted a Persian-Norwegian sister
* Organized several get-to-know-you parties to help assimilate the exchange students into the Parkway South community, and provided students with transportation
* Volunteer for AFS Missouri Gateway team for since 2015, volunteer at AFS River Valley Ohio since July 2016
* Helped build a home for a family in Mexico in 2014 and 2016
* Used $600 of my personal funds to return to help build another home in 2015, and again in 2017
* Volunteered and job shadowed a physical therapist for 15 hours

*Assist in events around campus and initiate campus-wide policy
Leadership Training Committee Member/ Team Global Captain
*Participate in a variety of community service projects, such as cleaning parks around campus and assisting with festivals in the area
*As a member of the Leadership Training Committee, plan and initiate events within Mount Leadership Society
*As a captain of Team Global, direct my team in brainstorming community service ideas, contacting local agencies, planning and budgeting the events, and implementing the three original community service projects in the span of two weeks
MORRILL SCHOLAR (2016-present)
*Received a four-year full-tuition scholarship to The Ohio State University
*Act as an ambassador for diversity on campus
Founder/Lead Coach
* To grow the Parkway South High poms team, recruited teachers to sponsor poms clubs at both middle schools feeding into PSH; advertised, choreographed, and taught dances to middle school students; recruited other poms team members to help; posted practice videos; and arranged performances
* Varsity Patriettes team – 11th and 12th grade
* JV Patriettes team – 9th and 10th grade
* Only member of team invited to apply for Universal Dance Association staff position (2015)
* Requested permission to discuss use of the “N word” at PSH. Instead the principal created a Diversity Day. I co-led a workshop about diversity at PSH (the school district’s diversity director led the very popular “N word” workshop)
*Coordinated and lead an effort to create a video series about understanding and embracing cultural differences in Parkway students
DANCE (outside of school) (2012-16)
* Member of dance studio’s hip hop competition team (2012-13)
* Dancer in two small group hip hop performances at Pulse on Tour dance convention in Atlanta and Chicago (2013, 2014) We were one of 5/85 performances given a “fast track” to America’s Got Talent auditions
* Vice President of Philanthropy _ 12th grade
* Vice President of Patriot Recognition – 11th grade
* Treasurer of sophomore class – 10th grade
* Member – 9th grade
MINI MEDICAL SCHOOL I/II program– Washington University (2014-2015)
* Attended a total of 28 hours of the lecture series with labs
* Attended a 24 hour summer workshop including cadaver demonstrations
* Attend monthly meetings and volunteer at events inside and out of school
* Helps students new to Parkway get assimilated at South

My Volunteer Experience at ETSS

Through my ESHESA 2571 class, I had the opportunity to volunteer with ETSS, an organization that helps the refugee community in Columbus. At my specific location, I was able to tutor some adults from places like Syria, Somalia, and Kenya in English. At first I was nervous to volunteer because I thought that it would be hard to communicate and form bonds with the language barrier, but I soon learned that was not the case. I became friends with several of the clients there and had so much fun going every week. I’ve had experiences with the refugee community in my hometown, so it was cool to compare the two. I love learning about different cultures and languages, and ultimately I want to serve communities of people from various countries, both in and outside of the US, who don’t have adequate access to health care, so volunteering was a good starting experience affirming what I want to do in life. At the end of my time volunteering, they threw us a surprise party, which is pictured here! Everyone brought in amazing food from their home countries and brought us a cake, it was such a fun experience! I will always remember the time I spent volunteering there, and I hope I get to continue eventually!


Here is how I’ve been satisfying each of the University’s GOALS:

Global Awareness:
I hope to become more of a global leader by studying abroad for a semester. I would love to go to Spain to solidify my Spanish-speaking abilities and become fluent. Afterwards, I would love to travel around Europe to learn more about its history as well. I’d like to continue my service with the refugee community in Columbus in order to learn more about their culture and the problems they face coming to the US, and help to ease their transition.

Original Inquiry:
I have not yet looked much into research, but I am hoping to get a position as a research assistant over the summer to advance my understanding and experience in the medical field.

Academic Enrichment:
In addition to my declared major (Health Sciences), I decided to add a Global Public Health minor to my studies so that I can increase my global awareness and learn more about health in other parts of the country.

Leadership Development:
I have taken several leadership opportunities in my extracurriculars, including being a co-chair for the Leadership Training Committee for my scholars program, and assisting in several projects in the Undergraduate Student Government. Through these experiences and several more I am hoping to accomplish in the future, I am learning how to be a more effective leader.

Service Engagement:
I am currently volunteering at ETSS and the James Cancer Center, both of which are helping me get connected with various communities and learn about issues and opportunities around Columbus.

Homes of Hope

Homes of Hope
For the past 4 years, my family and I have traveled to Ensenada, Mexico on a three-day trip to build a house for a needy Mexican family. Each time seems to be more memorable than the next. This specific picture is special to me because it was my second time here, and I had spent over $600 of my own money to come with my dad, so I felt a lot more independent than I did before. This picture was taken on the shopping trip, which occurs on the second day of building as we are finishing the house. The mom and the children go out with a translator and two to three volunteers and are able to spend $200 at the local Wal-Mart-type store. I was lucky to go with everyone because it meant I was able to interact on a more personal level for the kids whose house we were building, and to improve on my Spanish. Together, I was able to help them each pick out a treat, check out at the grocery store by myself, and communicate pretty accurately with the kids, which gave me a huge confidence boost in my Spanish-speaking abilities. Overall, that trip was one of the most inspirational and thought-provoking experiences I’ve had, and I can’t wait to return again this year!

Fun Facts About Me


Hello! I am a first-year student studying Health Sciences in the hopes of becoming a Physician’s Assistant socializing in surgical procedures. I have one brother who is a sophomore in high school this year. I am a member of Mount Leadership Society Scholars, and I am a Morrill Scholarship recipient. I moved to Columbus from St. Louis, Missouri. In high school I was a member of the Dance Team and my school’s Student Council for four years. In addition, I enjoyed participating in Key Club and Diversity Club. One of my biggest accomplishments senior year was assisting in the creation of a brand new Winter Dance. I enjoy community service and learning about different cultures. I raised over $10,000 in clothing donations for a resale stop benefitting a nonprofit called the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, and for the past three years I have traveled to Ensenada, Mexico to build a home for and underprivileged family. As well as this, I volunteer for the international exchange organization AFS, assisting at orientation camps and aiding the students with any adjustment problems they may be having. One of my favorite high school experiences was being a part of the Summit, which paired a county school with a city school in order for the students involved to learn about each other’s differences and help fight racial bias and stereotyping, which was especially important after the Ferguson controversy.

Year in Review

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Summit on Diversity

I lived about 20 minutes away from Ferguson when that controversy arose a couple years ago. A few of my friends went to the various protests, and my high school got significantly stricter policies. As the Black Lives Matter movement came to light, it was easy for me to see the racial divide in everyday life. In response to this, there was a program started called the Summit, which brought together suburban schools, which had a majority white population, and city schools, who had a predominately African American population. We visited each other’s high schools and sat in for classes, and the differences were staggering. The quality of the facilities at the inner-city school were nowhere near as good as ours, they didn’t even have a track! We were able to discuss the differences in teaching as well. At my school everyone noticed that the teachers wanted to be friendly with the students and interacted lots, whereas the teachers at the city school gave them worksheets and spent the majority of the class yelling at them. One of the coolest things to do however was hear about the different opinions on several of the racial issues which were exposed throughout the country. I remember reading an article with everyone about the Oklahoma SAE chapter incident, where a video was surfaced of them singing an extremely offensive song. Instead of insisting that the boys be expelled and the chapter disbanded, it talked about how the more effective response would have been to use this as a teachable moment. Use the publicity from this to educate people about the history of African American struggles in that area and let them experience for themselves how offensive the song was. This was powerful for me because before that I had used my gut reaction of pure anger and disbelief to make the judgement that the boys should all be kicked out of the school, when really the more intelligent option would have been not to erase the memory of the incident, but publicize it in a new light, using it to add fire behind the BLM movement.