Bonner Leaders Program

Established in 2013, the Bonner Program is intended to heighten the overall education students receive at Wagner College. This intensive, multi-year program asks students to engage in ongoing civic and community-based work and helps them develop the experience, skills, knowledge, and values necessary to make their work meaningful and lasting. Grounded in civic engagement, students have opportunities to get involved with on-campus initiatives, faculty projects, and the vibrant Staten Island community.

Part of a national organization, Bonner Leaders at Wagner join the Bonner Foundation’s mission to “transform students, communities, and campuses through service.” As participants in the program, Bonners have access to this national network through conferences, program visits, and leadership committees.

Designed to enhance the students’ academic experiences by fostering real-world, community connections, the Bonner Program is made up of a unique cohort of driven and committed students. Marrying the Civic Engagement Minor with this community immersive program allows students to graduate with a holistic skill set to best prepare them to be emerging leaders in their field.

We invite you to navigate the page to learn more about the Bonner Program. Please take advantage of our learning opportunities below.

2022-2023 Bonner Leaders

  • Emily Chavela 
  • Humaiara Europa 
  • Artan Shaini 
  • Sara Shirazi 
  • Asia Wickramanayake 
I am currently a freshman and planning on majoring in Nursing.  My Current Bonner Project: I work with La Colmena in the Port Richmond community. As a member of the organization, I am learning about the economics of the community.  How did you decide on your current civic engagement project?
I learned that I desire to help people, and when I am helping, it makes me feel like I play an essential part in my society. I am passionate about lending a hand and helping others to strive.  What next for you?
I plan on working with La Colmena; however, I look forward to doing something in the medical field. 
I am a sophomore and a second-year Bonner Leader. My major is Biology, and I am also in the Commuter Student Club.  My Current Bonner Project: I work with Professor Lori Weintrob at the Holocaust Center.  How did you decide on your current civic engagement project?
Being a Bonner Leader and attending meetings, I learned that there are different types of Bonner Leaders, and they have their own unique way. I figured out what type of leader I am by learning more about how to use my strengths and work on strengthening my weaknesses.  What’s next for you?
I want to attend medical school in the city and work on my residency there. I want to stay in contact with the Bonner Program for future events in the health field. 
I am a Bonner Leader and sophomore at Wagner College, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry with a minor in Civic Engagement and Chemistry on the Pre-Med track. I am president of Wagner College’s Chapter of the Food Recovery Network and the president of Wagner College’s Pre-Health Society.  I work with the Food Recovery Network, which collects leftover food from the Dining Hall and partners with Project Hospitality to distribute the recovered food to those in need. As part of my work, I’m also focused on reintroducing a food pantry to campus so students and staff facing food insecurity can access what they need when on campus.  How did you decide on your current civic engagement project?
I have always wanted to help people. Whether it is helping my community alone or a larger population. I plan on helping more people as I pursue a career in the medical field. I have started helping people in this field since becoming an EMT.  What’s next for you?
I plan on attending Medical School after I graduate from Wagner College and continue to help people along the way. 
Sara ShiraziI am a Senior Bonner student majoring in Health Sciences and minoring in Art and Civic Engagement. I am also the Treasurer of the Muslim Student Association.  My Current Bonner Project: I work with Dr. Edna Aurelus from the Nursing Department. My project involves discussing mental health, diabetes, and primary care prevention with the Port Richmond community on Staten Island. I enjoy making an impact on the people I work with so that they can bring their questions and concerns to us. In the few meetings I have had at El Centro Immigration in Port Richmond, I worked with a Spanish translator and found pleasure when the audience felt satisfied with the answers they were receiving and loved the helpful information being handed out to them that I had put together. As a current medical assistant, I was able to pick up skills, communicate efficiently with my patients, and help them to the best of my ability to get what they needed.  I decided on my current project by following my interest in patient advocacy. As someone interested in the future of healthcare, I would want to make sure patients have the ability to raise concerns about their treatment or what they are going through and create a safe space for them.  I plan on pursuing nursing as a career after graduating from Wagner College, continuing to keep my connection with the Bonner Program, and telling others about my journey and how I got to where I am eventually in the future. 
I am a sophomore pre-nursing track with a civic engagement minor. I am Staten Island, born and raised. I come from a proud Sri Lankan immigrant family. I enjoy expanding the world around me, whether it is by watching documentaries or volunteer work.  I am vice president of the Wagner Food Recovery Network (FRN). FRN aims to combat food insecurities and waste by repackaging leftover dining hall food and redistributing it to local food pantries. As vice president, I attend to food recoveries and ensure that operations run smoothly while collecting data. In addition, as part of the Civic Engagement Community of Practice Grant, I am the project coordinator of La Colmena, where I work hand in hand with Professor Sanchez and her students, who all work with elementary school children in the Port Richmond community.  Growing up, my parents always told me to treat others how I wanted to be treated. Along with other lessons from my parents, this encouraged me to start volunteering within my community by starting at the trauma center for RUMC. The endless impact of being civically engaged brings a feeling of warmth, knowing I am helping people within my community.  What’s next for you? As I advance academically, I am hoping to enter the nursing program and be able to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Meanwhile, I hope to revive the BonnerProgram and be able to extend my time to other civic engagement initiatives sustained on Wagner’s campus. 

Interested in becoming a Bonner Leader?

The application to be part of the Bonner Leaders Program Class of 2028 cohort will open soon. In the meantime, contact the Bonner Coordinator to chat about opportunities and how to be part of the Bonner Program by reaching out to schedule a virtual meeting here with Dr. Hawkins at the email address below.

Bonner Leaders Program application.


Contact Us

Looking for more information, or to connect about the Bonner Leaders Program? Reach out to Dr. Taviare Hawkins.

Taviare L. Hawkins

Associate Provost, Office of the Provost 4th floor Union

Passionate educator and researcher. Service-centered advocate for the participation of women and people of color in STEM.