Health and safety have always been top priorities for biology major Nicholas Benjamin.
As a member of his high school robotics team in Billerica, Massachusetts, Benjamin was drawn to the role of safety captain, responsible for making sure everyone knew general first aid and how to use the tools safely.
As an Eagle Scout, his service project was to construct elevated beds for dogs and cats at local animal control facilities, so that they wouldn’t have to sleep on cold, concrete floors.
And as a student at UMass Lowell, he has worked as a club sports supervisor — carrying a first aid bag and defibrillator in case he needs to act as a first-responder — and as a campus shuttle bus driver for the Office of Transportation Services, making sure students get to and from classes safely.
“From as early as I can remember, I always wanted to work in the medical field,” says Benjamin, who is open to any biology-related career, “from performing tests in a lab to rehabilitating wildlife to finding ways to revive dying ecosystems.”
Growing up in the area, Benjamin noticed an “up and coming” feeling at UMass Lowell.
“One of the things that drew me to UML is that it’s constantly growing, both in size and in reputation, and I love being a part of that,” he says. “It’s large enough to have Division I sports and tons of opportunities for students, but not so big that I could get completely lost in the crowd.”
Benjamin says he found his place in the crowd when he started working for Transportation Services his sophomore year.
“I have worked many different jobs, from retail to referee to camp counselor, and none of them came close to how incredible this job is,” says Benjamin, who trained as a shuttle driver before becoming a dispatcher his junior year. “The transportation family is just that: We are a close-knit group of people who are far more than just colleagues. We can all depend on each other whether we’re on or off the clock.”
Benjamin is proud of how the team has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic — when taking care of people’s safety has taken on added importance.
“When classes were moved online, we had to adapt to the new guidelines very quickly. We did a very good job keeping up with the latest protocols,” he says. “And over the summer, our professional staff did an incredible job getting us ready for this year.”
Like everyone, Benjamin looks forward to life on campus returning to the way it was before the pandemic.
“At UML, there is a sense of purpose,” he says. “Being from the Greater Lowell area, it gives me a sense of pride having such a great university so close by.”