The Bonner National Fellowship engages experienced staff from across our network to play a dynamic role in providing leadership, support, and coaching to others in the Bonner Network.

As a hands-on leadership learning and opportunity for experienced individuals, these Fellows will help to bolster the quality and effectiveness of our programs by lending their experience, creativity, expertise, and innovation. Bonner National Fellows provide support to campus programs in order to discuss and offer their experience on topics like training and meeting design, staff transitions, student leadership development, working with community partners, and integrating capacity-building and higher-level positions and trainings, develop new resource material and offering support through webinars and phone calls, and assist with the development of tracks and workshops at national Bonner Meetings.

Meet the 2015-2016 fellows, who have demonstrated a professional commitment to the Common Commitments, a desire to share and grow their leadership, and a love for the Bonner Network.


April Backus, Siena College

April Backus, Siena College

April is the Associate Director for Undergraduate Programs in the Center for Academic Community Engagement at Siena College. In this role, April directs the Bonner Service Leaders Program and oversees Partnership in Athletics Civic Engagement (PACE) and Connect4Change community engagement programs. She enjoys navigating strategies for the Bonner student developmental model and transforming placements into life long partnerships for students. During her undergraduate career at Siena College and as a Bonner, she developed strategies for maintaining sustainable youth programs and guided her fellow Bonners through trainings to sharpen their leadership skills. April has a strong passion for working with at-risk youth and first-generation college students.


Brad Brewer, Christopher Newport University

Brad Brewer, Christopher Newport University

Brad is the Director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Christopher Newport University. He also directs CNU’s Bonner Service Scholars Program and manages the Service Distinction Program, with its 1,200+ student participants. Brad majored in Communication Studies and minored in Leadership Studies as an undergraduate at Christopher Newport University. He then earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the College of William and Mary. Prior to his work at CNU, Brad toured nationally as a performing songwriter and speaker, focusing much of his message on community development and reconciliation. He is passionate about equipping students to navigate with civility, courage, and compassion, the challenging situations and relationships they will encounter in their personal, professional, and civic lives. A unique focus area for Brad within the Bonner Program is the development of Bonner Cornerstone Activities, which are leveraged as integral training tools for each cohort of CNU’s program. Brad also works closely with city leaders and corporate and community partners to build cross-sector relationships that strengthen Newport News and the Virginia Peninsula.


Marisa Charley, Washington and Lee University 

Marisa Charley, Washington and Lee University 


Marisa is currently Coordinator of Student Service Leadership and Research at Washington & Lee University.  She has been a part of the Bonner Network since 2007 and brings a wealth of experience, especially around student development, training & enrichment, community partnerships, and community-based research.  She is a graduate of Allegheny College, where she majored in Communication Arts and a focus in Values, Ethics, and Social Action.  Marisa served as a Bonner Leader and was actively involved in the Bonner Network, including as a Foundation Summer Intern working on PolicyOptions.org.  As a student, she developed a capstone research project connected to her work as a Bonner.  She is also a proud Semester at Sea alumna. Upon graduation, she stayed at Allegheny to serve as an AmeriCorps*VISTA co-coordinating the Bonner Program at Allegheny College for two years following her graduation.  She now directs the Bonner Program, coordinates the Shepherd Poverty Program’s community-based research work, and oversee an AmeriCorps*VISTA program which grants members to four local anti-poverty agencies.  As Coordinator of the Coordinator of the Community-Academic Research Alliance, Marisa has been working to foster the integration of capacity-building and community-based research projects by students and faculty.


Matt Cummings, DePauw University

Matt Cummings, DePauw University

Matt holds a Masters of Arts in Urban Studies and Community Development from Eastern University and enjoys how student volunteerism, service-learning, and civic engagement plays an integral part in local and global community development. At DePauw University, Matt is the Assistant Directer of Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice in which he helps connect students to service opportunities, leads office wide program assessment and evaluation, and is always enthralled with implementing new tech solutions to the workplace.Matt first connected to Bonner through his AmeriCorps placement at Carson-Newman University and developed a passion for connecting college students to service opportunities. Matt is the father of two wonderful children and is currently celebrating his ten year wedding anniversary this year. He also enjoys cycling, all things tech, and blogs on occasion for the Student Affairs Collective. You can connect to Matt over LinkedIn or follow him Twitter at @mattwcummings.


Savannah-Jane Griffin, Stetson Univeristy

Savannah-Jane Griffin, Stetson Univeristy

Savannah-Jane Griffin is the Director of Community Engagement at Stetson University. She has worked at Stetson University on building relationships with DeLand's community partners, educating students and faculty on the importance of community engagement, and enhancing a number of community engagement programs on the university's campus. In her role, Savannah-Jane provides long-term leadership and strategic planning for the university's community engagement areas. She graduated from Stetson University with a bachelor's degree in business management in 2007 and a master's degree in business administration in 2008. Savannah-Jane served as the lead administrator for hosting the 2012 IMPACT conference at Stetson University and has served as the chair of the IMPACT Planning Committee and its Board of Directors.  She has an exceptionally strong focus on student leadership.  With an emphasis on organizational systems, she has overseen the integration of tracking systems, using OrgSync, and can offer expertise to others in this area.  Savannah also brings excellent experience with strategies to enhance community engagement of faculty and integration across Academic and Student Affairs.  She has taught in Stetson’s First Year Experience program and steers its work to engage and develop faculty, including through the Bonner High-Impact Initiative.


Consuelo Gutierrez-Crosby, Macalester College

Consuelo Gutierrez-Crosby, Macalester College

As Civic Leadership Coordinator within the Civic Engagement Center (CEC) and broader Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College, Consuelo oversees the Bonner Program.  Through these programs, she manages over 55 student leaders and over 50 community partners.  She attended Macalester, focusing on International Studies and Sociology.  For her senior thesis, she examined the United Nations Convention more closely, focusing specifically on children’s human rights. Her capstone was a case study of child exploitation in four different countries, including Brazil and the United States. Consuelo went on to earn a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs with a concentration in non-profit management combined with youth and social policy.  Prior to Macalester, she worked in the Twin Cities with several non-profits including the United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and West Seventh Community Center. Consuelo brings experience with Bonner Program start-up and the nuances of integrating Bonner within a larger center and campus infrastructure. She also coaches a team of issue-based student leaders, passionate about social change, who develop community partnerships and engage other students in service.  She also worked on faculty development and engagement, including immersion training experiences in the Twin Cities and Seattle.


Shannon Hoffman, Rhodes College

Shannon Hoffman, Rhodes College

Shannon is the Community Service Coordinator for the Bonner Center for Faith and Service at Rhodes College, where she manages both the Bonner Scholar Program and Kinney Program, two premier service initiatives.  Prior, she had managed the Bonner Scholar Program at Emory & Henry College.  In these roles, she has developed a strong emphasis on student development and advising.  She particularly enjoys designing and leading reflections and educational inquiry, for students, faculty, and staff.  During her undergraduate career at Michigan State University, Shannon was involved in alternative spring break trips to Appalachia. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism (with concentrations in Spanish and public relations) and served as an AmeriCorps GED instructor in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. She earned a Master’s of Education, focusing on Higher Education Administration, at Vanderbilt University.  She worked as a graduate assistant for The Ingram Commons, Vanderbilt’s first-year living and learning community where students live with faculty members. Shannon has a strong interest in promoting college access for low-income students and students of color, mentoring and, reflection.  


Travis Proffitt, Emory & Henry College

Travis Proffitt, Emory & Henry College

Travis Proffitt is the Associate Director of the Appalachian Center for Civic Life at Emory & Henry College.  In his role, Travis oversees co-curricular civic engagement initiatives, provides faculty support in engaged learning course development, enriches community partnerships through training and development, and teaches in the College’s interdisciplinary major in Civic Innovation.  Prior to joining the staff at Emory & Henry, Travis served as the Community Partnerships Coordinator in the Center for Experiential Learning at Loyola University Chicago, where he oversaw significant community-academic partnership development initiatives with a variety of non-profit and government agencies throughout the city.  Travis also served as the Field Coordinator and Director of the Center at the Center for Civic Engagement at Mars Hill University in North Carolina.  Interestingly, Travis began his professional journey in higher education as the Bonner Scholars Coordinator at Emory & Henry over a decade ago and is thrilled to return “home.”  Travis holds degrees in Public Policy & Community Service and Religion from Emory & Henry College and a Master of Arts in Social Justice from Loyola University Chicago.  In his free time, Travis is an avid gardener, outdoor enthusiast, and lover of just about all things Appalachian, especially Dolly Parton.


Caroline Twiggs, Mars-Hill University

Caroline Twiggs, Mars-Hill University

Caroline Twiggs is the Community Partnerships Coordinator at Mars Hill University. Her work in community engagement began at her alma mater, Berea College.  As a Bonner Scholar at Berea, she learned value of service learning and empowered other students to become leaders through the creation of the Hispanic Outreach Project. She completed a Master of Social Work degree, with a certificate in Non-profit Management, at the University of Georgia.  In her internship at UGA, Caroline facilitated connections between the Office of Service-learning, Center for Learning and Service, and Hands On Northeast Georgia. Most recently, she hails from Wingate, North Carolina, where she was the director of the Office of Service at Wingate University. In the four years at Mars Hill University, she has enjoyed developing community engagement relationships throughout Madison County, North Carolina.  Caroline is an advisor to First Year students and an instructor for the First Year Seminar Course.  As an adjunct Professor in the Social Work Department, she teaches students about social welfare policy and how to use advocacy tools to benefit the vulnerable.  Caroline is a founding member of the University Intercultural Committee, which strives to create an inclusive learning environment for all at Mars Hill University. 


Krystal Woolston, Montclair Univeristy

Krystal Woolston, Montclair Univeristy

Krystal is currently the Assistant Director of the Center for Community Engagement at Montclair State University. She directs the Bonner Leader program and the Emerging Leaders Learning Community (ELLC), a learning community for first year students focused on civic engagement and student leadership. She also oversees the EECO AmeriCorps program and service-learning program at MSU. She attended Montclair State University as an undergraduate and graduate students receiving a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Counseling with a concentration in higher education and student affairs. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Family Studies focusing her research on the connection between civic engagement and youth empowerment. She is passionate about getting students involved in volunteering, civic engagement, and student leadership.