Meet the Class of 2016: Through Tragedy, Garrett Benner Finds His Calling

Garrett BennerJune 18, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—Recent Honors Program graduate, Phi Theta Kappa member, and Liberal Studies major Garrett Benner, of Wyncote, recalls the debilitating collision that left him with a fractured skull and severe bruising three years ago.

“The officer on site… thought I should’ve been dead [given] all the blood I [had] lost,” Benner shared.

The injury forced him to put school on hold—he was only about two weeks into the fall semester at MCCC—while he underwent surgery and an extensive period of recovery, which included physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Incredibly ambitious and determined to make the best of his situation, Benner took the opportunity to audit online college courses, hoping to determine his future career goals. His affinity for science—reinforced by his newfound interest in biomechanics, the design of surgical devices and technology behind artificial limbs—and his propensity to help others encouraged him to pursue a career in biomedical engineering.

Garrett finds inspiration from “those tools that kept [him] alive,” and hopes to be a part of engineering surgical tools and machines that aid in rehabilitation.

“I’m alive for a reason…I should be helping others because I feel like I was given [my] life back,” he reflects.

Wanting to help others propels Benner’s long-term career goals, as well as his more recent endeavors, like working as a peer mentor. He explains that he felt “the responsibility and need to give back to the community after so many people have helped me get to where I am today.”

Benner was also vice president of the Honors Club and senate chair of the Student Government Association. Holding these two positions, while taking demanding, science-heavy course loads every semester, pushed Benner to his limits, and at times, he admits, it was overwhelming.

“That’s something I’ve learned… not to stretch myself too thin.”

While he doesn’t regret his leadership positions and involvement on campus, he plans to make his academics a priority at Temple University, where he will be attending this fall. However, it is those leadership positions and responsibility he took on at MCCC that makes Benner confident and prepared to tackle a degree in biomedical engineering.

- Kayleigh DiGiacomo

Garrett Benner

Dr. Anne Livezy, interim assistant dean of health sciences, presents Garrett Benner (far left) with the Al Owens Spirit Award during the Student Awards Reception on April 29, 2016. Photo by Sandi Yanisko