Benny grew up in Los Angeles, CA. He moved to Northern California to attend Stanford University, where he majored in Psychology. He also minored in Spanish and studied abroad in Madrid. Throughout his time at Stanford, he participated in research that aimed to understand classic questions of child development and cognitive science: how do we learn to communicate using language? How can we use experiments to tap into what is going on inside the busy mind of a developing child? In the process of trying to answer these questions, Benny worked with famed scholars in the field of child development and interacted with hundreds of young children from all over the Bay Area. In his current position as a Research Coordinator at the Language and Cognition Lab at Stanford, he is using the data analytic skillset he acquired as an undergrad to understand how very young children use spoken speech to make inferences about social categories such as race, gender, and age.
Benny has worked as a teacher, tutor and mentor with students of all ages and from diverse backgrounds. In high school, he was his school’s calculus tutor. In college, he mentored and tutored elementary and middle school students from East Palo Alto, and he also taught a writing course to 7th grade students as an Education and Youth Development Fellow in the East Palo Alto Stanford Academy (EPASA). These experiences have formed the core tenets of his educational philosophy: that students do best when a mentor is invested in them—when they receive the opportunity and encouragement to nurture their true interests. He knows first-hand the power of having a supportive and caring community of mentors, and he strives to contribute to that community with each one of his students at ESM.
Outside of research and mentoring, Benny’s passion is musical performance. He is a classical clarinet player and received his training at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. He has been a member of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra for 5 years and has had the great fortune to perform with his ensembles in Mexico, Cuba, Italy, and Spain. Aside from playing music, Benny spends his leisure time swimming, playing cards with friends, and attempting to recreate his grandmother’s legendary cuisine.