As a high school student in Westborough, Mass., Amanda Winer knew what kind of university she wanted to attend.
“I always wanted a school that had professional opportunities, but a smaller feel,” she said. “I wanted a chance to partake in internships, but I also wanted professors to know my name and to be able to have a conversation with them.”
When Winer visited Binghamton University, she asked her tour guide about the best aspects of the school. The tour guide’s answer matched what Winer was seeking: She had found her college home.
“It was as if I was looking at myself in a few years,” Winer said of the tour guide. “That’s why I became involved in admissions through tour guiding and the Student Ambassadors. There really is the potential to be the student who helps someone make a decision that affects the rest of his or her life.”
Today, the 21-year-old senior is not only helping her fellow students and others in several on- and off-campus activities, but she is excelling academically as a triple-major in history, Judaic Studies and classical civilization. Winer was recently named the third-place recipient of the 2011 Exemplary Student Award.
“I’m honored and humbled by this award and every honor I’ve been given at Binghamton University because the caliber of students is amazing,” she said.
Taking a variety of classes in her majors and beyond has helped Winer become a part of that “amazing” group of students.
“I’ve been able to take some practical classes that allowed me to learn how I learn,” she said. “And I’ve been able to take classes in which I’ve just learned things that are interesting. College has prepared me to be a thinker, in addition to a leader, a student and a strong voice.”
Outside of the classroom, Winer is a Faculty-Student Scholarship marketing intern for the University’s Writing Initiative, takes part in the English Conversation Pairs program, is active in the Class of 2012 council (president last year and vice president of public affairs this year), serves as the undergraduate student representative to the History Department and is founder of Shoreshim, which uses Jewish ideals and principles to support the environmental initiatives of students.
Winer also is a coordinator for Challah for Hunger, which produces challah bread with proceeds going to CHOW and hunger relief in Africa. Winer’s Challah for Hunger work extends beyond campus, as she consults with more than 50 chapters worldwide.
Off campus, Winer works with Kids Connection, an afterschool program for children at the Jewish Community Center in Vestal.
“It’s important that students don’t forget that we are in Vestal and Binghamton and are part of a community,” she said.
Wendy Stewart, director of the University’s Writing Center, praised Winer’s relentless work.
“Her extensive knowledge of and involvement in the community, both on- and off-campus, her willingness to both lead and to take her place on a team, and her insight into her fellow students’ challenges and needs make her a compassionate, focused and effective member of the Binghamton University community,” she said.
Winer credited a strong support system of friends and family and good time-management skills for maintaining a busy schedule. She also admitted to being an “early bird” who is up by 6 a.m. each day.
“I wake up early to work out and pray before my day starts,” she said, adding that she was no early riser before coming to Binghamton. “In high school, the bell would be at 7:30 and I would leave my house at 7:22 every day. I guess that’s usually the opposite of what most people do.”
Winer is applying to graduate schools and will look for positions in Jewish education after graduating in May. She hopes to someday work in the non-profit sector and then return to academia to teach ancient culture.
For Winer, choosing Binghamton University was “the best decision I made.”
“I always knew that I was driven, but I didn’t know that I would feel empowered enough to drive,” she said. “Between challenges and successes, I’ve figured out how to be involved in a plethora of different aspects of life on campus and how to bring joy to myself and other people. I’m in a persistent default state of joy when I’m around Binghamton.”