Bennie Connections

For Hanna Sobhani ’22 of Burnsville, Minnesota, a big part of the magic of Saint Ben’s comes in the network of Bennie friends and alumnae –specifically Melissa Petrangelo Scaia ’96, director of international training at Global Rights for Women (GRW).

Hanna reached out to Melissa during summer 2020, looking for opportunities. The result was a seven-month research project compiling state standards on batterer-intervention programs. Hanna’s hard work there resulted in an internship offer for summer 2021 (for which she was awarded a fellowship from the Fleischhacker Center for Ethical Leadership in Action). She focused primarily on projects based in Haiti and Georgia with U.N. Women. “A moving takeaway,” she recalls, “was to hear back from Georgian interviewees how the laws and procedures GRW helped create have contributed to the country’s social attitude change toward violence against women.”

Hanna impressed so much that when her summer fellowship ended, GRW hired her for the rest of the summer as a policy assistant. Not bad for the first undergrad to ever be offered a GRW internship!