Marisa Charley, coordinator of student service leadership and research with the Shepherd Poverty Program at Washington and Lee University, was recognized as a second-year National Bonner Fellow for the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation.
“Being a fellow has offered me the opportunity to explore my personal and professional development in new ways,” Charley said. “The chance to work more closely with the Bonner National Network has provided me with enriching conversations and experiences, as well as sharpening my skills around resource development, large scale public speaking and presenting, and articulating the unique work happening at Washington and Lee.”
At W&L, the Bonner Program integrates community-based research into the student developmental curriculum. Each Bonner in the class of 2016 will have completed a community-based research project on issues from education to health and nutrition which are intended to match a student’s academic and professional interests with community need.
“My work at W&L has helped to frame my sense of the opportunities and challenges around effective and responsible community engagement work,” said Charley. “This has helped me to think critically about the national scope of community engagement and how we can continue to align our work with best practices.
“I believe my work as a two-year national fellow will help me to leverage the vast knowledge of my peers and experts in our field to impact our work at W&L, in the Rockbridge area and at the campuses I have the opportunity to work with nationally.”
“Marisa brings years of experience with Bonner and a passion for transformative community engagement to our program and our University,” said Howard Pickett, the director of the Shepherd Poverty Program. “In addition to her tireless work with students and community partners as coordinator of our Bonner Program and Community-Academic Research Alliance, Marisa has also spearheaded our community’s AmeriCorps VISTA project to address local hunger and health issues. Her experience and talent as a Bonner Fellow remains invaluable to University efforts to enhance community-based learning opportunities that connect our students with community agencies.”