Bynikini learned the importance of feeling included early on. In high school, she had the opportunity to tour UGA during a dance event in Athens and knew that she was supposed to go to UGA. “The spirit of UGA drew me in,” she said. As she explored going to UGA, recruiters and UGA ambassadors made an effort to genuinely connect with her and her mother. “I felt like I mattered [at UGA]. I wanted to be a part of that.”
At school, she jumped right in and made her voice heard. From leadership roles with the Black Affairs Council to peer mentoring to building connections within the Athens community off-campus, Bynikini sought out opportunities to empower others, serve people, and cultivate her own leadership capabilities.
Beyond that, her professors at the College of Education invested in and challenged Bynikini to grow. She still maintains relationships with her mentors, which she hopes will be lifelong. At the College of Education, she learned how to work with and connect with all different kinds of people, through student-teaching experiences and collaborating with her peers. “I finished college prepared,” she said. “I was ready to teach.”