- Director of Applicant Operations, Teach for America, New York, NY
- Ceramic Artist
- Next Pioneer
Among all the spaces she came to call her own during her years here, some of Rachel Embraza’s fondest memories are of the pottery studio in VAPA. “Its earthy smell is so distinct, and I’ll never forget the quiet of VAPA late at night, when you know there are others in the building but you’re alone and get completely involved in your work.” In VAPA, and in so many other spaces on campus, Rachel believes that she learned how to think in a creative and unique way. “The freedom at Bennington really pushed me—it was a very powerful experience.”
A few years after graduating, Rachel made her first gift to Bennington when a scholarship was established in memory of her friend and classmate, Kamal Shaikh ’02. She has been a loyal donor ever since and is now on the Steering Committee of The Next Pioneers, Bennington’s leadership giving program for alumni from the 80s, 90s, and 00s.
“I received a scholarship to attend Bennington and, if I can, I’d like to give that back for another student,” Rachel explains. “I want others to have the same opportunity I had.”
Rachel now lives in the New York area and works for Teach for America, although she spent her first years after graduation working in Bennington’s admissions office. The experience of meeting high school seniors who would become Bennington students, and later, graduates was a powerful one. “To see who those people are now, and reflect on who they were when they applied, is very motivational and inspirational. I want to provide the opportunities I had to more students like them.”
Large or small, your gift to Bennington makes you a philanthropist. Learn more about becoming a Next Pioneer. Questions? Call 800-598-2979 or e-mail Ellen Janis.