Meet Cole!


Cole Benson he / him

Hi my name is Cole! I have worked within the foster care, educational, and juvenile justice systems for about 8 years now. I previously worked as a check-and-connect mentor in the Salt Lake School District, a teacher in the YIC program at Horizonte, and with First Star Academy/Impact Scholars. Currently, I work as a Senior Research Analyst at the University of Utah's Social Research Institute. My research is primarily with DCFS to improve workforce development and understand how to best serve families. I also sit on Utah's Trafficking in Persons Task Force and work part-time as a clinical mental health therapist! 

I graduated from Utah State with bachelor's degrees in psychology and exercise science. Since then, I received an MS in Psychology from the University of Utah with a focus on childhood trauma, foster care, and trust development research. I also gained an MSW from the U and currently am working toward my LCSW.

Working in numerous capacities of Utah's child welfare system, it has always been clear that there are major gaps in support for many youths and young adults. Additionally, many of the resources and communities available lack leadership or input from those with lived expertise. I am so excited to be a founding part of 1999 Collective as we are led by lived experience and aim to ensure those with experience in the foster care system have every opportunity and capability to thrive.

"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept" - Angela Davis