Max Benezra ’15
Hometown: Jericho, N.Y.
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2015
• Co-Director, Epic-Glee
• Assistant Coordinator, OASIS/HAVEN
• Senior Resident Assistant/Community Development Assistant, Deyo Hall
• Student Ambassador
After he began working at the summer camp he’d been attending since childhood, Max Benezra soon realized he wanted to work with kids. He thought he’d pursue elementary education, but by the end of high school, he knew he wanted to enter the psychological counseling field.
“I thought I’d be better in a counseling setting because I can provide more support that way,” said Max. “I have a lot of experience with helping kids through different things, and I had many parents tell me I really helped their kids out. I realized that’s what I was good at.”
During his freshman year, Max was one of only three first-year students in the psychology department’s Crisis Intervention course, an experience that “opened up my eyes to how good of a listener I am,” he said. “It also made me realize I can be a good leader. Not only am I able to listen, but I’m able to motivate and persuade people, which is something I’ve learned along the way.”
Co-curricular opportunities create rich college experience
Upon completing the course, Max joined the OASIS/HAVEN peer support service group on campus, and now serves as an assistant coordinator. He is also a senior resident assistant and community development assistant in Deyo Hall, co-director of the campus Epic-Glee club, and a Student Ambassador with the Office of Undergraduate Admission.
“It’s cool to talk to families and give them a glimpse of what New Paltz is all about,” he said about being an Ambassador. “Part of the reason I came here was because of my Student Ambassador when I had my tour, who was the same major as me and into a lot of the things I was into. It was a perfect match. I knew that was something I’d eventually want to do.”
“I had many parents tell me I really helped their kids out.
I realized that’s what I was
In August 2013, Benezra represented SUNY New Paltz at the American Psychological Association’s Annual Convention held in Honolulu, Hawaii. Along with his mentor, Dr. Kathleen Tillman (Psychology), they presented their research titled Factors Influencing Whether Or Not School Counselors Report Childhood Physical Abuse, and won an award from their division on their poster presentation. Benezra received a Student Travel Award (STA) from Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Creative Activities (RSCA) to support his trip.
“I got to talk to psychologists, students, professors from other schools – it was great,” said Max. “As an undergraduate, this experience is invaluable. It means so much to me, for my future and for all that will come my way.”
Beyond his studies at SUNY New Paltz, Max has future plans to pursue his doctorate in counseling and hopefully work in a private practice or a school setting.
Foster home internship “shocking, in a great way”
Max, now a senior, jumped at the chance to complete an internship with the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie last year. As an intern in the clinical department, he assisted with play therapy sessions for foster children and performed research for the clinical director.
“When this internship opened up, I knew it would be something I wanted to do,” Max said. “I’d never done anything like it. I worked for years with kids at camps, but I never got this type of experience. … A lot of things I’ve been exposed to here were kind of shocking, in a great way. I never realized what some kids go through, and this opened my eyes to that.”