Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies
College/School: Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Honors College
Beyssa Buil always suspected that she was different from other children.
In elementary school, she was routinely pulled from class for occupational therapy, where she learned to use scissors and tie her shoelaces. It wasn’t until a professor at Miami Dade College noticed Beyssa’s academic struggles and recommended her for testing that she learned that she had a cognitive disability.
When her son London was diagnosed with autism, Beyssa saw history repeating itself. The cruelty and intolerance directed toward him nearly broke her. Looking back, she views that time as one of growth – when she found her inner strength and resiliency and understood her calling. Today, she is a special needs advocate, providing support to families and working to change policy.
Beyssa’s academic journey has never been easy. Many times, she wasn’t sure she would ever complete her degree, but she credits the accommodations provided by FIU’s Disability Resource Center in helping her succeed. Persistent and dedicated, Beyssa has excelled academically. She graduates with a 3.9 GPA.
She is a member of the Honors College, Phi Beta Kappa honors society and Theta Alpha Kappa national honor society for religion and theology students. She served as vice president for education and advocacy for the UN Women at FIU, a United Nations entity that promotes gender equality. She was awarded the Excellence in Global Learning Medallion and the Excellence in Civic Engagement Medallion of Distinction.
Wanting to give back to others, Beyssa will attend seminary school to earn a Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling and dreams of becoming a Buddhist Chaplin.