Angela Bonfiglio, a junior at Augsburg College, works in many ways to create a more just society. Angela rebuilt the campus service organization, doubling its membership while deepening issue-based work. In North Minneapolis, Angela is researching community perceptions on the achievement gap and working to close that gap. She coordinates an afterschool program at Redeemer Lutheran Church to ensure that youth have dependable adults, homework help, and dinner. Angela is dedicated to social justice, including environmental work, youth development, interfaith work, and racial equality.
Angela Bonfiglio demonstrates her civic leadership through a wide array of efforts on and off campus. She focuses on addressing systemic change and root causes of social issues. As a sophomore, Angela reorganized Community LINK, a student organization that engages students in service projects and connects students with issue based work. Angela activated dozens of new students, deepened her understanding of social issues in neighboring communities, most notably, poverty, literacy, education, and racial inequality. Angela amplifies her efforts by engaging others, and directly contributes to the leadership development of fellow students. Angela has done community based research on Interfaith Youth Work and is researching community perceptions on the achievement gap. She coordinates an afterschool program at Redeemer Lutheran Church in the north Minneapolis Harrison neighborhood where she built an infrastructure for young people to take leadership roles and see themselves differently than they do in other areas of their lives. Angela’s primary motivation comes from her faith. She is self-directed, accountable to her partners, a natural leader, organizer, and mentor. Angela continually makes space for others to take leadership roles. She seeks feedback on her own performance, and is not afraid to raise controversy when she’s doing the right thing.
Margaret Crenshaw is a junior at Hamline University majoring in social justice and education. Margaret is president of Hand in Hand, a mentorship program pairing Hamline students with elementary school students at Hancock-Hamline University Collaborative Magnet School. Margaret is also a senior fellow of the McVay Youth Partnership where she plans and leads programming for Karen middle and high school youth. She also researched Karen refugee students in the Twin Cities, was an MPIRG student leader, and taught English as a second language at St. Paul’s Neighborhood House. She also has completed community-based collaborative research on Karen refugee students in the Twin Cities, was an MPIRG student leader, and taught English as a second language at St. Paul’s Neighborhood House.
Her exemplary work on campus and in the community shows her strong, civic commitment to creating educational opportunity for all. Margaret leads by taking direct action and mobilizing the knowledge, skills and relationships she has built at Hamline University toward positive social change. Currently, Margaret serves as president of Hand in Hand, a mentorship program pairing Hamline students with elementary school students at Hancock-Hamline University Collaborative Magnet School. In 2011-2012, almost 100 Hamline students participated in Hand in Hand. Margaret is also a senior fellow of the McVay Youth Partnership where she plans and leads programming for Karen refugee middle and high school youth as part of McVay’s after-school mentorship program. Based on her commitment to the Karen community, Margaret completed a community-based collaborative research project entitled “Karen Refugee Students’ Academic and Social Experiences in Twin Cities K-12 Schools,” which she presented at two conferences. Margaret supports campus-wide dialogue about race and racism as a student leader on Hamline’s National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) team, was an MPIRG student leader, and taught English as a second language at St. Paul’s Neighborhood House
Pertesia Gadson has engaged in a variety of volunteer and research activities related to social justice and health disparities during her time at the University of Minnesota Rochester. As an undergraduate pursuing a degree in Health Sciences and a career in medicine, Pertesia mentors at-risk youth, recruits other students to volunteer, and has conducted research about risky behaviors among youth and teens.
Pertesia Gadson is a second year student at the University of Minnesota Rochester pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences degree. She aspires to continue her education in medical school, where she can continue to address issues related to social justice and health disparities. For the past year and a half, Pertesia has volunteered at the Salvation Army Medical and Dental Clinic in Rochester, MN and with Miracle Empowerment Center in Minneapolis, MN. Pertesia was selected to join UMR’s Students in Service AmeriCorps program and completed more than 450 hours of service over the course of one year. As one of the co-founders of a campus resource called Raptor Recruits, she acts as a peer advisor to help engage other students in community-based work. Lastly, Pertesia worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the University of Minnesota last summer, and conducted research focusing on teens, alcohol use, and risky behavior. She has recently begun working with Justice and Opportunity for Youth (JOY) to mentor the highest-risk youth in Rochester. Pertesia understands the deep-seeded causes of systemic injustice; she has demonstrated tremendous courage and resiliency throughout her life and as a student pursing her dream of becoming a physician.
Pertesia Gadson has engaged in a variety of volunteer and research activities related to social justice and health disparities during her time at the University of Minnesota Rochester. As a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and a career in medicine, Pertesia’s volunteer experiences have involved working with under-served community members and mentoring at-risk youth, as well as helping to build organizational capacity to serve these populations. She actively recruits other students to become engaged in community issues through volunteerism, and has conducted public health research to learn about risky behaviors among youth and teens.
Molly Kalina is studying to be a teacher, and she strongly believes that education is the key to addressing the root causes of issues. Molly has been part of the College of Saint Benedict‘s service sorority, acted as a mentor and tutor for underprivileged youth, and assisted several teachers in local schools and even in a primary school in South Africa. She participates in the Bonner Leader Program for student service leaders.
She is a firm believer in taking time to educate everyone, whether it be in the classroom, at a new job training, or in everyday experiences. She believes that education gives people the tools to succeed. In addition to being passionate about education, she also is involved in other social issues (like sex trafficking, domestic abuse, and hunger) through her involvement in the Bonner Leader Program. Molly has planned events to get others informed and involved in these causes as well as researching the issues, holding fundraisers for relevant organizations, and attending a national leadership conference with other civically engaged college students. She is a very dedicated and caring person with the necessary motivation to work diligently for a problem she believes needs to be solved. Her past experience and strong leadership skills will help her work with others to make a difference in the future.
During her time in college, Molly has been part of the College of Saint Benedict’s service sorority, acted as a mentor and tutor for underprivileged youth, and assisted several teachers in local schools. She participates in the Bonner Leader Program, which has allowed her to become even more involved in service and civic engagement on campus and in the community. She is currently in South Africa volunteering at a primary school in an extremely poor area. Molly says that her time at CSB has opened her eyes to a whole new set of social issues.
Amee Vang is a junior majoring in Math Education and with a minor in Women’s Studies at St. Cloud State University. She uses creative, ambitious and powerful strategies to support social change and justice in racial, immigration and women’s rights. Vang is the fundraising chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, St. Cloud chapter (12 in the nation), a member of the Hmong Student Organization (former treasurer) and Women’s Action at SCSU. She is also the co-director of the 2012 V-Day event, The Vagina Monologues, and has volunteered many hours of service to ensure a successful event knowing that performance art is a powerful tool and that fundraising is essential to social change efforts.
Vang participated in legislative briefings and lobbied in Washington, DC in January 2012 for NAPAWF; organizes events and initiatives to promote sexual assault and stalking awareness, pay equity and reproductive justice and is an invaluable staff member of the SCSU Women’s Center doing programming, developing educational campaigns, assisting students, advertising events and more.
Her leadership success is framed by passion, hard work, self-awareness and knowledge, as well as use of political structures, campus and community organizing, and performance art.