My name is Baneen Al-Akashi and I was born and raised in Erie, PA. I am the oldest of four children and the only daughter. Erie is a wonderful city that is very diverse and is well known for its connection to the lake. My college path was decided based on the Bonner program that is at Allegheny College. There I have been serving as a Bonner since I started at Allegheny and continue to grow because of the experiences that are presented to me. I have been part of Allegheny for almost two years now and will continue there for the next two years of my undergrad career. I am a rising junior with an intended Psychology major with a Middle Eastern and North African studies minor. I hope to continue on to grad school and hopefully find a job that I will be able to work with children. I love to build puzzles, scrapbook, and cook!
I started college as someone who was unsure of themselves and very insecure. My fellow Bonners could probably all say they did not really know me will because I was so quiet the first couple months. However, because Bonner is known to push you outside your comfort zone and challenge you, I became more aware of my abilities and people around me recognized the passions I had in spreading awareness about Islam. My fellow Bonners and Bonner administration encouraged me to take on leadership roles within Bonner and outside of Bonner. Due to their positive outlook on me I became courageous enough to take up the leadership position of running the Islamic Cultural Association (ICA) at Allegheny College and have been President of the club for two years now. I have managed to tie both Bonner and ICA together through interfaith and service work, which ties into the common commitments of Bonner. But that’s not all, because of Bonner I was guided towards starting up a new Bonner site and being the Coordinator, which is known as the Ben Franklin School of Industry (BFSI).
This summer working at the foundation I am hoping to gain the skills and experiences that I am able to take back to our campus and apply that knowledge at our Bonner program. I am also hoping to build relationships with my fellow interns as well as the staff here at the foundation that is both memorable and lasting. I am looking forward to exploring the Princeton area and learn as much as I can. I would also like to be able to gain as much insight about Mr. and Mrs. Bonner and learn about how Bonner was started and how it continues to grow.