Luisa De Guzman
Coordinator of the Bonner Program and Social Justice Education
Since 2005, the Bonner Program has been a catalyst for student-led community transformation and social justice at Stetson University. Bonner students work with partners in our community in many ways, each intent on collectively and collaboratively solving challenges in our community such as poverty, homelessness, education, and health care through long-term service internships.
- Intern with a non-profit community partner for eight to ten hours per week for four years
- Begin their internship by learning about the partner's strengths and needs, then gradually increase their responsibility by taking on leadership of programs, research projects, volunteer recruitment and training, and other efforts that increase the capacity of the community partner
- Align their internship with their academic and career goals so that they graduate with the skills, knowledge and experience needed for graduate school or a career in their area of interest
- Can be any major
To help Bonner students complete this work, need-based financial aid packages are available:
- Students with high need (e.g., those who have less than a $10,000 expected family contribution (EFC) per the FAFSA or the CSS PROFILE) will have 100 percent of their demonstrated financial need (DFN = cost of attendance minus your EFC) covered through grants, scholarships and/or loans. Applicants seeking this scholarship category MUST have their FAFSA and/or CSS PROFILE completed and sent to Stetson University's Admissions Office by February 15, 2016.
- Students with low need (e.g., those who have $10,000 or more EFC) receive a fixed scholarship of $500 per semester.
As a bonus, all Bonner students are eligible to count their service hours toward fulfilling their student employment requirements (e.g., for federal work-study or university employment) so that they do not need to have an on-campus job while completing their Bonner requirements.
Bonner Program Requirements
All Bonner students are required to do the following:
- Commitment to eight or more hours of community service per week through an internship with a local non-profit community partner
- Commitment to two hours of personal, professional and/or leadership training per week
- Minimum 2.5 GPA each semester
- Attend orientation and the annual Bonner fall retreat
- Enrollment and completion of the first-year Bonner course, Self and World (first semester, first year)
- Enrollment and completion of the Certificate of Community Engagement academic minor program
- Complete two "Summers of Service" summer internships (financial assistance available)
- Complete the "First Year Bonner Trip" - a three-day local service project (requires travel, which is paid for by the university)
- Complete the "Sophomore Exchange" - a four-day service project carried out with Bonners from another college or university (may require travel, which is paid for by the university)
- Complete the "Junior Capstone" - an intensive research or program development project that aligns with your major and career interests
- Complete the "Senior Legacy" - an intensive reflection and career preparation project
Past Bonner Students
Born in Argentina, Florencia Abelenda has a passion for eliminating the educational and economic inequalities suffered by minorities - especially Latin-American immigrants - which led her to develop youth tutoring and empowerment programs at La Plaza Comunitaria, a local center for migrant farmworkers. Abelenda is currently traveling the world while shooting documentary films with an independent film company.
Major: Political science
With a keen interest in politics and working through the government to enact social policy changes, Jack Kelly worked with Habitat for Humanity and the Humane Society to learn more about the shortcomings of current social policy so that he can later work with governments to change those policies. Kelly is currently an AmeriCorps*VISTA for the nonprofit Affordable Housing Partnership through Siena College in New York.
Major: Global development studies
After developing a passion for understanding the roots of poverty and inequality - particularly food access and sustainability - Maria Wrabel interned with The Neighborhood Center and was appointed to a position on their board of directors as a student. After graduating, Wrabel spent a year working in Vietnam through the nonprofit Volunteers in Asia and is currently a research fellow with the Jessie Ball-duPont Fund.
Major: Business management
Combining her interest in business with her value of social justice, Scarlett McCoy directed Stetson University's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and served as a marketing intern with The United Way of Volusia/Flagler Counties. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.
Bonner students work directly with many local non-profit organizations. The specific responsibilities depend on the needs of the organization and the student's academic and career interests, but can include tutoring, recreation, marketing, program development, volunteer coordination, research and grant writing. Organizational partners include:
- Boys and Girls Club of Volusia/Flagler Counties
- Volusia County Schools
- The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia
- Chisholm Community Center
- Volusia/Flagler Coalition to End Homelessness
- The United Way
- Haven Hospice
- My Angel with Paws
Application and Timeline
- Applications will be due on February 25, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. EST.
- Finalists for interviews will be notified by March 2, 2016.
- In-person interviews for finalists will take place immediately following the Admissions Open House on March 19, 2016. Finalists who are unable to attend the in-person interviews will be able to interview via Skype on March 20, 2016.
- Students accepted to the Bonner Program will be notified during the week of March 28, 2016.
Orientation for first-year Bonner students begins approximately one week before the university's fall move-in day. All new Bonner students are required to attend the entire Orientation.