Mark Benya ’14 was hired by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) not long after graduating from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. But landing the software design seat was not surprising for the young graduate who is already the founder and chief executive officer of three successful online advertising companies.
In his position at NASA, Benya will design and develop software that will be used by the Launch Services Program, which helps streamline the various rocket launches.
In 2007 while in high school, he started his own business, Benya Design, the website design company has been responsible for the creation of numerous sites, including StudySesh, OneBead, Starcraft 2 Services, and more. Benya hired full time employees for Benya Design, so he can take the seat at NASA.
Benya is also a co-founder and CEO of StudySesh Inc., and founder and CEO of IL Advertising, LL.C., which is based in the greater Chicago area. Benya was a member to the IT Supply Chain of the McDonald’s Corporation, where he led the creation of an intern recruitment program, built “SharePoint” sites, developed software, and established the Best Coding Practices for the IT Supply Chain Department.
“My experience working at McDonald’s Corporation actually prepared me the most for my job at NASA. Part of my responsibilities while at McDonald’s was to gather user requirements for anything ranging from websites to pieces of software, and then attempt to design the most elegant and efficient solution. Currently at NASA, I am expected to do the same for the projects I am working on.”
In addition to operating his businesses while attending HWS, Benya served as an Emergency Medical Technician on campus. He graduated magna cum laude with a double major in computer science and English, and served as the goalkeeper for the varsity soccer team.
On the soccer team, Benya was one of eight soccer team members to earn a spot on the 2012 Liberty League All-Academic team.
Benya says he’s excited to begin this next journey of his life at NASA. “It is an incredibly exciting feeling to be able to assist with the overall space exploration efforts of our country and one with literally ever-expanding possibilities.”