Alumni Profile

30 Bonner Alumni Career Profiles

Since 1990, the Bonner Program has engaged more than 15,000 students as Bonner Scholars and Leaders across more than 65 colleges and universities in the United States. As reinforced by evidence from the Bonner Alumni Survey and Bonner Student Impact Survey, being a Bonner has a deep, lasting impact on graduates in many ways.

The Bonner experience shapes students' majors and academic interests, career and personal aspirations, leadership abilities and skills. Additionally, program participation often help graduates develop tools to succeed after college, including a sense of equanimity and well-being.

Bonner graduates continue to stay civically engaged after college, through their vocational choices, and through expression of personal values and commitments.In the summer of 2018, the National Bonner Interns and Foundation staff embarked on a project to capture the stories and perspectives of Bonner Alumni. Thirty alumni participated in interviews with the interns, sharing stories which were then used to develop new Alumni Profiles (which highlight key parts of their journeys during and since college) and Job Profiles (which describe the work they do now in many sectors to continue to contribute to positive social change). 

We invite you to watch and listen, then peruse the thirty profiles on this site. Special thanks to Aleah Qureshi, Alexander Nichols, Ashlee Renich-Malek, Kai Mangino, and Taylor Clarke for their work to develop these profiles, as well as to Samantha Ha and Ariane Hoy in guiding this process. Extra special thanks to Jasmine Rangel for her creative vision and expertise in making this video!After watching the video, be sure to visit and read the Alumni Profiles!

Oberlin Bonner Alum is a Singing Doctor

Oberlin Bonner Alum is a Singing Doctor

Elvis Francois, Bonner grad from Oberlin College, and William Robinson are resident doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and they recently gained attention after a video of them singing in the hospital lobby went viral. Ellen chatted with them about their kind gesture, and the duo performed a cover of Mike Yung's "Alright."

Our Harvey Hero - Maria De La Cruz

Our Harvey Hero - Maria De La Cruz

This profile of Maria De La Cruz, a Bonner alum from Middlesex County College '04 and The  College of New Jersey '06, appeared in the Fall 2017 MCC Alumni magazine (page 21).

To most New Jerseyans, the wreckage of Hurricane Harvey is mostly sorrowful images on TV and sad stories in the newspaper. 

For Maria De La Cruz ’04, it is her reality. 

Bonner Alum begins Peace Corps service in Costa Rica

Bonner Alum begins Peace Corps service in Costa Rica

Theresa Kedinger, 29, of Fond du Lac, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Costa Rica on Feb. 20 to begin training as a community economic development volunteer.

Kedinger will work at the community level to build one-on-one relationships with women, youth and potential entrepreneurs. She will advise business, marketing, financial management and product design plans, in addition to teaching literacy programs and facilitating business workshops.

Graduate is Honored with Alumni Recognition Award

Graduate is Honored with Alumni Recognition Award

Acceptance, diversity and inclusion are more than just nice words for Jonathan Zur, ’03. They are the ideas around which he orients his life.

As president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC), a nonprofit organization that works with schools, business and communities to promote inclusion, he works throughout the state to help people and groups “value and respect diversity.”

Graduate Putting Leadership and Public Speaking Skills to Work in Cambodia

Graduate Putting Leadership and Public Speaking Skills to Work in Cambodia

You are headed to Cambodia to volunteer with the Peace Corps. What will you be doing?

I’ll be a community health education volunteer, which entails living with a host family in a rural village somewhere in Cambodia and working in the local community health center. My other main responsibility will be biking to nearby communities to deliver presentations in Khmer, the local language, on healthy living while focusing primarily on maternal health and disease prevention.

Commitment to Service Stays with Jepson Alumnus Long After College

Commitment to Service Stays with Jepson Alumnus Long After College

Eric Van Der Hyde, ’08, first saw the Jepson School of Leadership Studies as an eighth grader. A small town native, Van Der Hyde had grown up on a dairy farm in rural Virginia, an upbringing that instilled him with not only a strong work ethic but also a desire to do something different. He visited his aunt and uncle in Richmond to learn more about what it took to get into a good college, and on that trip, he saw the University of Richmond.

Rebecca Madill: Researcher

Rebecca Madill: Researcher

Rebecca Madill wants to make the education of children more effective. For the 2007 E&H graduate, among the chief obstacles to achieving this goal are government policies that are not informed by the best data.

Thankfully, after earning her doctorate degree from Pennsylvania State University in June of 2014, Madill, who resides in Washington, D.C., landed her first job as a research scientist at Child Trends, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts research on the well-being of children.

Kristi Matthews: Challenging the Status Quo

Kristi Matthews: Challenging the Status Quo

Kristi is committed to making communities more inclusive. It’s what she did at Guilford, and it’s what she’s doing in Washington.

Kristi Matthews ’06 knew she wanted to attend Guilford College years before she graduated from Greensboro’s Dudley High School.

When her sister Sunny Matthews ’04, older by two years, toured colleges, Kristi joined her. And when they visited Guilford, Kristi knew it was the place for her.

They visited the community center in the basement of Founders Hall and talked to staff member Judy Harvey. “I really just loved the sense of community,” Kristi says. “It felt like family.”

Hai Yan Chen: Working with Honors Students

Hai Yan Chen: Working with Honors Students

Alumna Hai Yan Chen returned to Emory & Henry College last year to work in the Honors Program, the same organization she participated in while a student at the College.

“I love being back on campus,” said Chen. “I love the atmosphere. Since I worked closely with some of the staff and professors while I was a student, it actually was not a hard transition for me.”

Since August 2014, Chen has worked as assistant director and recruitment coordinator of the Emory & Henry Honors Program. “Having graduated from the Honors Program and having an idea of the things that students need has made my job a lot easier. In fact, I had projects in mind even before the first day of work.”

Zach Triplett: Career Takes Off

Zach Triplett: Career Takes Off

Zach Triplett said the values he learned at Emory & Henry are shaping him into a successful person who isn’t afraid to reach for the stars, or rather, the clouds.

Triplett is a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, a job that allows him to travel throughout the world. “And, I actually get paid for it, too,” said the 2010 alumnae, a resident of Port Orange, Florida. “I love my job because no day is ever the same.”

The sky is the limit for the E&H grad. In the Spring of 2013, Triplett received his Private Pilot certificate and in the next couple years, he plans to earn the remaining ratings and licenses in order to become a commercial airline pilot.

Henri Fitzgerald: Success Inspired by Service

Henri Fitzgerald: Success Inspired by Service

While most of his classmates were adjusting to being away from home, Emory & Henry alumnus Henri Fitzgerald was juggling a college education and raising a family.

“I was a parent for most of my time at Emory & Henry, so my family was very important to me,” said Fitzgerald. “I wanted to set a good example, so I tried to excel at everything I tried. This included being a father, husband, athlete, volunteer and good citizen.”

It’s clear the alumnus is no stranger to accomplishing the goals he sets for himself. In 2000, Fitzgerald graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business management and a bachelor of arts degree in political science.

Full Circle: Guilford Connections with Refugee Communities

Full Circle: Guilford Connections with Refugee Communities

Experiential learning through community engagement is a long term investment. Sometimes the payoff takes decades because Guilford College's stewardship is built on the idea that some good things can't be measured by quarterly returns or academic semesters. Bonner Center for Community Service and Learning and its student coordinators and teams of student volunteers have run some community sites for years, long enough for refugee and immigrant children who were tutored by Guilfordians to have grown up ready for college themselves.

Alumni Profile: Peter Coats

Alumni Profile: Peter Coats

"The Bonner Scholars program not only showed me the world, it changed the way I see it. Bonner Scholars who complete their service hours during the school year receive a stipend to cover travel and living expenses on an international service trip of their choice each summer. I was able to study and complete my volunteer work in Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Dubai, China, and India."

Van Tran: Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

Van Tran: Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

You could say Van Tran got the most out of her college experience.

Tran graduated cum laude from Emory & Henry College in 2005.  She was a Bonner Scholar for three years. And she received the outstanding senior scholarship at graduation.

Despite those accomplishments, Tran said she most appreciates the community service she performed while a student --- swinging a hammer for Habitat for Humanity and being a friend to youth with disabilities at River’s Way adventure center.

Bonner Scholar Lives out Boy Scout Slogan

Bonner Scholar Lives out Boy Scout Slogan

oseph "Joey" Courtney exudes a volunteer spirit as he heeds the call to serve in the Boy Scouts of America, living out the Boy Scout slogan "Do a good turn daily."

Courtney, a 19-year-old sophomore at Maryville College, hails from Knoxville, Tenn. He is a Bonner Scholar who volunteers at least 40 hours per month in exchange for scholarship monies to apply toward tuition and books.

Teach for America and Berea College: A Continuing Partnership

Teach for America and Berea College: A Continuing Partnership

Taylor Ballinger, ’07, had a very influential friend during his undergraduate education at Berea College. This friend was a special needs child who was a member of the Berea Buddies program, which pairs Berea student mentors with children from the community. Ballinger saw in this child the same boundless potential that Berea College had recognized in himself. Their close relationship inspired Ballinger to pursue a future as a special education teacher with Teach for
America (TFA).

Bonner Alumnus and Wife Start Charitable Business

Bonner Alumnus and Wife Start Charitable Business

Residents of Maryville and Alcoa can now help local charities while receiving a low-cost grocery delivery service.

Maryville College alumnus Trey Brewer and wife Brett recently created a grocery delivery service, “In the Bag Delivers,” to fulfill their passion to help their community and local nonprofit organizations.

“I grew up in Maryville and benefited from the overwhelming support of parents, teachers, coaches and the general community. Now that I have graduated from Maryville College, I want to do my part to make the community a better place for the future,” said Trey on the business' official website.

Community Engagement Gives Bonner Scholar Context for Economics Major

Community Engagement Gives Bonner Scholar Context for Economics Major

Economics major and Bonner Scholar Miki Doan, ’14, has been engaged with the community ever since she arrived in Richmond. But her work has also taken her well beyond the city limits, with Thailand, Vietnam, Uganda, and the Dominican Republic serving as global classrooms to reflect on her social work interests.

As a sophomore, Doan attended a Givology Spiders meeting where she was introduced to the Circle of Peace School. Givology is an online community and marketplace that connects microfinance donors with smaller educational community initiatives around the world. The University’s chapter focuses on supporting the Ugandan school through finance and awareness.