Ben Schonken

Rider Profile
HometownGlenview, Illinois
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorMechanical Engineering
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Hello! My name is Ben Schonken and I am currently a freshman here at University of Illinois to study mechanical engineering. Although I have been in the States most of my life now, I still carry my Belgian roots. My family moved to Belgium when I was three where I had a great childhood relaxing and playing a lot of video games. This all ended at the start of middle school when me and my family moved back to the states and I had to spend a lot more time on school. Throughout this time from middle school to college I dedicated the majority of my time to academics and tried to do as many activities as I could with the rest. At my high school I participated in cross country, wrestling and gymnastics, and a couple other clubs. Here at UIUC I spend most of my time in academics as well, in my remaining free time I participate in gymnastics and Formula Electric and Illini 4000. I can't wait to make a difference this summer in cancer community.

Personal Statement

After being introduced to Illini 4000 I was captivated by the amount that all of the organizations make use of the funds donated. Hearing about the portraits project and all of the organization all with the goal for to help the cancer society really caught my interest. Although I have few connections to cancer in my family, I have met many people who have struggled with it. While living in Belgium I lived in a heavy smoking society and have seen many families that struggled with many symptoms of it. While living in Belgium I have seen the struggles that many families go through because of cancer. By joining Illini 4000 I hope to be able to help some families that are having similar struggles, and to be able to better understand the American struggle against cancer by meeting new people through the portraits project. I hope to pass along lots of love and a message of hope through the portraits project.