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Kelly Benkert

1999 Campus Drive


Evanston, IL 60208
March 4, 2016
Leezel Ramos & The SDA Portfolio Review Committee
Seattle University
901 12th Ave., PO Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122
Dear Portfolio Review Committee:
I am thrilled to write this letter in support of Leezel Ramos as she approaches the completion of
her degree in Student Development Administration. Leezel and I spent the 2014-15 academic
year working together at Seattle Universitys Center for Community Engagement. Throughout
that time, I was consistently impressed by Leezels passion for justice, ability to think creatively
to imagine new ways to engage students, and skill in supporting students as they navigated
finding purpose and meaning in the complexity of community engagement work. It was a great
pleasure to observe Leezels growth and comfort with an increasing amount of responsibility and
autonomy.
One of the main components of Leezels work was to co-lead the Partners for Action and
Community program, a cohort of student leaders dedicated to justice and service. It was clear
from the beginning that students responded to Leezels enthusiasm for justice, even as she
challenged them to think more deeply about their own identities, power, and privilege in the
world. Her structured support of their work allowed the students to take even greater ownership
of their projects, and her patient coaching led to high student learning, deep engagement, and
sparked a new generation of leaders for a just and humane world. Through her leadership,
students were inspired to opt into her invitations for greater involvement and learning.
As part of her work, Leezel supported students who organized and led winter and spring break
service immersion trips. Her work with the students led to phenomenally transformative trips for
the students, but Leezel wasnt satisfied with the levels of participation or outcomes. She
proposed to me that we change the branding of the programs and reexamine some of the
structures. Through this process, I was highly impressed by her ability to simultaneously run a
series of programs, diagnose a problem, and think through a creative solution that could be
implemented the following year. Though I am no longer at Seattle U, I get excited every time I
see the new branding pop up in my Facebook feed! Leezel followed through on her vision
beautifully and I have no doubt that it has greatly improved the program.
In a demanding graduate assistantship, one with a high volume of programs and a large number
of students to engage and supervise, not to mention being part of the complexity of the Seattle
University Youth Initiative, Leezel has continued to grow as a creative, dedicated, and efficient

Northwestern University Campus Life Leadership & Community Engagement


Norris University Center 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208

professional. She has had some hard fought gains in understanding her own limitations and has
come out on the other side stronger and even more fired up to do good work.
Leezels promise to the student affairs profession is great. She has both breadth and depth to her
experience, a deep understanding of the academic bedrocks of the profession, a willingness and
hunger to continue to learn, and a passion for nurturing student growth. She lives her values in a
way that is a model to students and staff alike. I have no doubt that she will prove to be an asset
at any institution, and that she will thrive in a myriad of positions. I am proud to be Leezel
Ramos colleague, and I look forward to our continued work together.
Sincerely,
Kelly Benkert, SDA 11
Director, Leadership & Community Engagement
Northwestern University

Northwestern University Campus Life Leadership & Community Engagement


Norris University Center 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208