For the first time this coming academic year, 15 incoming IUPUI freshman who are part of the Sam H. Jones (SHJ) Scholarship program will have the distinction of being known as Bonner Leaders and be part of a national program of 3,000 service scholars from across the country.
This change comes as an effort to provide students with more consistent opportunities for growth and engagement. The Bonner Leaders Scholarship program provides incoming first-year students with the opportunity to renew their scholarship of $3,000 a year for the next three years for a total scholarship award of $12,000 over four years.
“I see this as an exciting evolution for some of our SHJ programs, one that allows us to be thoughtful about our commitment to both student success and our deepening relationships with partners,” noted Charli Lienemann, program director for community service and civic engagement who oversees the Bonner program at IUPUI.
The Bonner Leaders will also have the opportunity to work with a community partner with the support of the federal work-study program. This will provide them with the opportunity to build relationships with those they work with and networking opportunities that can benefit them through college and beyond.
Other added benefits of being a Bonner Leader include being able to participate in the Bonner Summer Leadership Institute, attend national events, and engage in networking and leadership opportunities with Bonner students across the country.
“I'm excited to be a mentor for the Bonner program next year to see all of the new and improved changes we are making,” stated Kailey Vernon, first year Bonner mentor. “The thing I am most excited about is watching the students learn and grow throughout the year. Not only will they grow the first year, these students will be in the program for the next three years as well. In my opinion, this will allow them to truly gain vast knowledge about community engagement, themselves as an individual, and IUPUI and the Indianapolis community.
By being a part of the Bonner Program, these students will be changed individuals,” continued Vernon. “Coming from personal experience being a part of a scholarship program for the past three years, I am a more well-rounded individual. I can confidently say that I understand who I am and how I can improve the community by serving and volunteering.”
The Bonner Scholarship program was established in 1990 in partnership with Berea College in Kentucky. The mission of the program is to provide diverse, low-income students with the opportunity to attend college while engaging their talents and educations in building and supporting communities. With the addition of AmeriCorps Education Awards in 1997, the Bonner Leader Program enabled other campuses to replicate the model, using other resources like federal work-study. The program is the largest privately-funded, service-based college scholarship in the country. It provides students with high financial need and an ethic for service with four-years of financial aid support and an opportunity to participate in an intensive cohort experience. More than 60 campuses nationwide now engage around 3,000 students annually according to the Bonner website.