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Meet Courtney Johnson-Benson

Courtney Johnson-Benson
The University of Akron
Twitter, Instagram: @cjbmaed

How did you become the Assistant Director of Admissions at The University of Akron? I read that you didn’t take the traditional path to this field.

When I started college as an undergrad, I was determined to go to law school, but ultimately made a last-minute career switch. Upon completing my Higher Education Administration master’s program, I went into the non-profit sector working for two arts-focused programs -- Artful Living at the Massillon Museum (Instructor) and The Ananda Center for the Arts (Director of Education). I was also acting as a contracted dance educator teaching at various studios in Stark County, Ohio. The opportunity to become an admission counselor presented itself at my alma mater and, with hard work and determination, I was promoted in less than a year to Assistant Director of Admissions.

How does NACAC play a role in your career?

I am very involved at the state level with Ohio ACAC. I had an opportunity to volunteer during the national conference in Columbus this past year. This experience was valuable and informative. I took advantage of sessions, networked with higher education professionals from all over the country, and I was even invited to speak at the National Partnership for Educational Access Conference in Boston, MA. 

Do you have any advice for professionals who are new to the field?

Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Be authentic, be invested, be a change agent. Become an asset to your professional community.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing counselors today?

The most challenging part of my job is helping students move past rejection. Receiving a college rejection letter can be devastating. I tackle this obstacle by sharing my own struggles in education and how one huge rejection led to an opportunity to go back to college, finish graduate school, and put me into a position to help students. 

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?

I am proficient in 11 different dance disciplines, so I love to perform. I am also an avid music fan. I have been to over 160 concerts and live shows. I am currently writing a book based on my childhood experiences, and sharing my stories of triumph and turmoil through motivational speaking engagements. 

In my spare time, I volunteer with United Way of Greater Stark County Young Leaders Society, Soroptimist International of Canton/Stark County, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, HeadCount Organization, Akron Hope, CORE Young Professional Akron/Canton Regional Foodbank, Lead Akron, Human Rights Campaign, College Now Greater Cleveland, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the ASPCA.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?

Wonder Woman! She is fierce, strong, altruistic, and independent. Wonder Woman is always fighting on behalf of the underdog and working to bring peace to the world. Plus, she has her own plane.

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