2024 National Voices Fellow
Natalee Benzing
Co-Executive Director, Access Opportunity

Natalee is a proud first-generation college graduate and champion for college access, equity, and inclusion. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College, studying Applied Psychology and Human Development, and is months away from completing her Master’s degree in Higher Education from the University of Denver.

Natalee’s career in education was inspired by her experience as a participant in a TRIO Upward Bound program in northern Vermont, which supports first-generation, high financial need high school students to access higher education. After graduating from the program, she returned as a residential counselor for three years, which fueled her growing passion for educational equity and helped her discover her professional calling. Her time with Upward Bound ultimately led to her selection as a Truman Scholar in 2018, the nation’s premier scholarship for public service leaders.

She now serves as the Co-Executive Director at Access Opportunity, a six-year college access and success program in Colorado that supports high-potential students from low-income households to achieve their college and career goals. She also spearheaded the #CollegeForAll Fair – a national, virtual college fair highlighting institutions committed to access and equity – at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to her work with Access Opportunity, she has served in leadership roles locally, nationally, and globally, with various organizations who share her belief that strategic innovation and collective action are the best levers for systemic change. In her (albeit limited) free time, Natalee loves soaking up the Colorado sunshine, spending time with her husband, Henry, and their two fur babies, and curling up with a good book.

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