People Over Profits

A picture of Jose Benitez

The first community that Jose was part of was the international community at Dordt. Connecting with other international students, Jose found that they all had much in common. But he also realized how his culture is unique in its own way, and switched from playing basketball to the more familiar soccer. Jose also began tutoring as a work study, getting involved in the Spanish community on campus.

Jose appreciated the off-campus community, especially from the host parents that international students have.

“I still hang out with my host parents every Sunday,” he says. “They’re going to host my actual parents, who are going to come from Paraguay. They were great during all four years; they came to every single game that I played. It was awesome.”

Through the engineering program, Jose was able to gain plenty of experience through various projects and classes. He especially enjoyed the process of building a steel bridge and designing a building to replace Dordt’s East Campus. Jose also spoke about the senior design projects, which connects classroom learning with real projects. One of the benefits of the senior design projects is that it gives students real-world experience, which helps them gain confidence before entering the workforce. Jose learned that it is okay to ask for help and make mistakes.

Jose also joined the Civil Engineering Club, which provides opportunities to attend conferences and participate in competitions, such as building a concrete canoe. Through this experience, Jose met many professional engineers and got his first internship.

One of the things that stands out to Jose about Dordt is the support from professors. He found that Dordt professors challenge students out of their comfort zone, truly love what they teach, and support their students in class and life in general.

Jose is grateful for the fact that despite Dordt’s small size, people hear about it and remember it -- which is important when you are competing for a job position. Additionally, Jose appreciates that Dordt teaches a good framework for life after graduation.

“Dordt does a good job of making sure that students know they should have an impact on the community. We’re not going to work at a company that puts profit in front of people. Dordt students, I think—especially engineers—will see that as a red flag rather than an opportunity. I think [the company that I work at] does great about caring for people and that was a major factor for why I chose it.”