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Meet Francisco Bencosme


Major: Political Science

Minors: Middle East and South Asia Studies and Communication

Hometown: Astoria, N.Y.

Francisco is a first generation immigrant born in the United States with two parents from different Hispanic countries, and he is the first in his family to attend college. He can speed-read around 450 words per minute. “I’ve learned to appreciate and take advantage of anything life sends my way. And I try to do something new and exciting every moment I get — either to create memories or to experience something new.” Francisco plans to intern over the summer at the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C.

Did you know you wanted to study politics?

I had a pretty good idea I would be a political science major, but after taking my first international politics class, I definitely decided I had found the right major. My involvement with the debate team helped me bridge my interest of travelling, research and learning about new cultures in a political setting.

Was there a class you dreaded that it turned out you enjoyed?

I was concerned about the writing seminar. I thought it would include dull literature. But it became one of my favorite classes. The class discussions were some of the most interesting and engaging I have ever experienced at Wake.

What extra curricular activity have you enjoyed most?

The Wake Forest Debate Team has affected every aspect of my college life. It taught me the skills of logical decision-making, while giving me the opportunity to compete at the national level in intellectually stimulating discussions. It gave me a place to call home on campus and a group of family and friends that I will never forget. Debate has given me critical thinking skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my career. No other activity could have inculcated me with the skills to write a 100-page research paper in a night or to better articulate arguments.

Best advice you received during college?

It was spring break of my first year when I received a call from my debate coach. He told me that if I worked hard towards my goals, I would achieve success. He told me that I shouldn’t let anything stand in my way — to be tough and fight for what I believed in, otherwise it wouldn’t come to me. These are words I will bring with me always wherever I go.

Favorite memories?

I’ll always remember…

… walking up to the fourth floor of Carswell Hall and seeing a room full of people with whom I could argue about anything I wanted to for hours and hours whether it be on the meaning of life, philosophy or whether we should decrease nuclear weapons.

… rallying support against Amendment One and trying to help protect hundreds of NC families for our Ghandi class project.

… working for late hours into the night with my group preparing for our mock trials in constitutional law class.

What will you miss most when you graduate?

There is something unique about the four years people spend in college. It’s about being able to go back to your suite on a Sunday night and be surrounded by intelligent people that can converse on the meaning of life. Where it’s okay to think you’ll be a doctor one day and then decide you’ll be an entrepreneur the next.

Your best advice for first-year students?

Go to that speaker series that interests you, even if none of your friends want to go, because you never know when you will have another opportunity like it.