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Service-Learning and Civic Engagement


Jonathan White

Jonathan White headshotDr. Jonathan M. White is director of the Bentley Service-Learning Center and associate professor of sociology at Bentley University, having prior taught at Bridgewater State University, Colby College, Bowdoin College, and Framingham State University.  His primary areas of specialization are domestic and global inequality; political economy; globalization and human rights; social entrepreneurship and social innovation; war, peace, and genocide; and experiential and service-learning. Dr. White has received numerous teaching and humanitarian awards, including Faculty teaching awards at Framingham State, Bridgewater State, Colby, and Bowdoin.  He was the founding director of the nonprofit Sports for Hunger and the Hunger Resource Center and has created or helped to develop the international Halloween for Hunger (now We Scare Hunger), We are Silent, 10-by-10, One Night Out, Brick-by-Brick and Pass the Fast campaigns. Professor White sits on, and has chaired, numerous Boards of Directors for nonprofit organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. He also is a strategic consultant who has overseen the strategic planning processes for dozens of nonprofit organizations and has served as Senior Consultant to the AP (Advanced Placement) service-learning program.

Dr. White’s books include The Engaged Sociologist: Connecting the Classroom to the Community (co-authored with Shelley K. White 6th Edition), Sociologists in Action: Sociology, Social Change, and Social Justice (co-edited with Kathleen Korgen and Shelley White, 2014, 2nd Edition), Sociologists in Action on Inequalities: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality (co-edited with Shelley White and Kathleen Korgen, 2015).  Dr. White has authored articles and book chapters in the fields of inequality and globalization, most recently an introduction to the community based learning chapter in the Cambridge Handbook on Service-Learning, a chapter on service-learning for the Cambridge Handbook on Social Problems, and a chapter on the connections between militarism, military budget, and public health in the book Preventing War and Promoting Peace: A Guide for Health Professionals. He also is currently working on a book on hunger in the United States titled Hungry to Be Heard: Voices From a Malnourished America.  Professor White teaches courses on social entrepreneurship; domestic and global inequalities; war and peace; human rights; globalization and political economy; and genocide and political violence and oversees the Bentley Minor in Nonprofit Leadership.  Professor White plays tennis, travels frequently, and is the proud uncle to his 13 nieces and nephews.

Bria Milbery

Bria Milbery headshotBria Milbery is the Associate Director of Programs and Initiatives in the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center. She oversees student leadership committees to bring new initiatives to the campus, while helping students to deepen professional development and leadership skills. Some of these initiatives include an annual Fair Trade Fair, BUIILD (Bentley Unites to Improve International Livelihood and Development) which is an annual initiative to create global awareness and to raise money for education globally, and creating programming centered around the United Nations’ recognized international days in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. Bria sits on several committees across campus, including the Delongchamp Family Fund Committee, Innovation and Student Wellbeing Space Initiatives Steering Committee, LGBTQ+ Steering Committee, and the Swipe Out Hunger Committee.

Prior to Bentley, Bria was a motivational speaker and leadership facilitator with the international nonprofit organization Free The Children. In three years, she spoke to over 45,000 youth and facilitated multiple overseas service-learning leadership trips. She holds a BA in Sociology from Bridgewater State University and is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Human Rights Practice from the University of Arizona. In her spare time, you can find Bria at punk rock concerts with her partner, reading, or relaxing on the couch with her two dogs.

Brian Shea

Brian Shea headshotBrian Shea ’14 is the Senior Associate Director of Students, Programs, and Center Operations. In this role, he oversees the BSLCE budget, manages relationships with dozens of community organizations, and supervises over one hundred student leaders as they manage BSLCE’s community partner programs, facilitate trainings, and spearhead civic initiatives. He also works to optimize outcomes for students, faculty members, and community partners by leading program enhancement initiatives, serving as a liaison for external organizations and campus offices, and connecting nonprofit organizations with pertinent resources. A firm believer that strong leadership is a catalyst for social justice, Brian designs, establishes, and evaluates opportunities for Bentley students and Greater Waltham community members to make a meaningful impact in addressing some of the most pressing issues faced by the community, the state, the country, and the world.

Before taking on his current role, Brian served as the Yawkey/Dorr Foundations Fellow in the BSLCE. His primary responsibility in this role was to launch the Bentley Nonprofit Internship Program, including identifying and forging relationships with partner organizations; recruiting and overseeing student interns; and liaising between student interns, the nonprofit and government organizations where they are placed, and the BSLCE. Brian continues to teach the course component of the Bentley Nonprofit Internship Program, which focuses on equity, social change, and nonprofit management.

Previously, Brian held positions as a Community Engagement Fellow in the Stevens Service Learning Center at Merrimack College and as a Senior Community Development Manager at the American Cancer Society. He also serves on the Board of Directors for four nonprofit organizations in Waltham. Brian has presented at multiple local, regional, and international civic engagement conferences. When he is not at Bentley, he finds excitement in watching any sporting event, listening to thought-provoking podcasts, putting his Spotify playlists on shuffle, and finding restaurants that make great chicken parmesan subs.

Brian earned a B.S. in Marketing from Bentley University, where he also served as a Student Director at the BSLCE, and a M.Ed. in Community Engagement from Merrimack College.

Samantha Eddy

Samantha Eddy headshotDr. Samantha Eddy is the Associate Director of Academic Programs at the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center. She collaborates with Bentley faculty to develop innovative and impactful service-learning curriculum. Prior to her role at the BSLCE, Samantha taught sociology at College of the Holy Cross, Newbury College, and the Woods College of Advancing Studies. Her courses and research specialized in diversity, equity, and inclusion, exploring mechanisms for social change. Additionally, she has worked as a DEI consultant for over five years, guiding institutes of higher education, nonprofits, and government municipalities in best practices and policies.

Samantha’s teaching and research has received numerous accolades for inclusivity and impact, including the Donald J White Teaching Award, the Bruyn Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Social Economy and Social Justice, and the Porchlight Management & Workplace Culture Book Award. Her work has appeared in Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Sociologica, and Humanities. It has also been published in Political Economy and Justice and After the Gig: How the Sharing Economy Got Hijacked and How to Win It Back. Her research was funded by both the National Science Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Samantha uses her background in research, teaching, and consultation to work with faculty in designing curriculum for the greater good through service-learning and civic engagement.

Samantha earned her B.A. in psychology and sociology from Colby College and her Ph.D. in sociology from Boston College. Alongside her work at the BSLCE, Samantha is an avid gardener and cook. She is happiest when she can combine these passions and serve dishes sourced from her own vegetable patch.

Lynne Johanson

Lynne Johanson headshotLynne Johanson is the Program Assistant II in the Bentley Service-Learning & Civic Engagement Center. She manages the daily office operations of the BSLCE, working closely with staff members and student leaders. She oversees the Service-Learning Certificate Program, working with students to track their community involvement to ensure they fulfill their combined academic and co-curricular requirements in order to successfully complete the program during their Bentley careers. She is the Staff Liaison to one of BSLCE’s Student Committees, and assists both Committees and Program Managers in accomplishing their goals of implementing programs that generate an inclusive atmosphere. Lynne has spearheaded and planned Alternative Spring Break trips through the BSLCE, working collaboratively with the Habitat For Humanity organization, for over 20 years. Additionally, Lynne is responsible for planning and co-planning most of BSLCE’s special events, ranging from Open House to Community Partner Luncheon, to the Social Justice Book Series, to events in the Greater Waltham Community.

In her spare time, Lynne enjoys spending time at the ocean with her family, especially her 2 grandsons.

John Casassa

John Casassa headshot

John Casassa ’17 (B.S.) ’18 (M.S.) is Director of the Bentley VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program of the BSLCE. In this role, he works with Bentley 4th-Credit and other service-learning students in reviewing and preparing tax returns and assisting community members with a variety of tax questions and unique tax situations. As a student at Bentley, John volunteered in BSLCE’s VITA program, and from this first-hand experience of the impact the program has on students and the local community, he is proud to be directing the program today. John also serves as the President of the Chesterbrook Community Foundation (CCF), and in this role works closely with BSLCE students who participate in service-learning at CCF.

John is a manager at AAFCPAs and a Certified Public Accountant in Massachusetts. As a Double Falcon, he received his undergraduate degree in corporate finance and accounting and his master’s degree in taxation. John enjoys traveling with his partner, playing board games with friends, chasing after his dog, playing as much tennis and golf as possible during the summer, and skiing during the winter.

Nic O'Connell

Nic O'connell headshot

Nic O’Connell is the Yawkey Foundation Nonprofit Internship Fellow at the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center. In this role, he partners with nonprofit organizations across the Greater Waltham area, the state, and beyond to create robust and unique internship opportunities for Bentley students. Once these internship opportunities are established, Nic works 1:1 with each student in the program to ensure they have a high-quality experience throughout the semester, as well as liaising with the internship site to ensure a mutually beneficial experience.

Previously, Nic served as a Human Resources Project Coordinator at Boston Scientific, where he led numerous company-wide initiatives, including implementing a new global Human Resources strategy, designing annual employee engagement surveys, and revamping the new hire onboarding experience. Nic also developed critical change management resources for the organization’s Connected Workplace Strategy, an initiative designed to help employees safely return to work after the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, he is participating in several entrepreneurial efforts, including projects driving student loan savings, intellectual property protection, and recruitment for college sports.

Nic earned a B.S. in Business Management from Bentley University in 2020, where he also served as a Student Director at the BSLCE. In his spare time, Nic loves playing sports, spending time with friends, and watching the Bachelor franchise.

Indre Naujokaite

Indre Naujokaite headshot

Indre Naujokaite ’17 (B.S.) ’18 (M.S.) is the Assistant Director of the Bentley VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program of the BSLCE. In this role, she helps to oversee Bentley students who are preparing tax returns for members of the Greater Waltham community. Indre serves as both a resource to the students and a reviewer of their work.

Indre runs her own CPA tax preparation business, Sumner & Naujokaite CPAs, located in Waltham. As a Double Falcon, she received her undergraduate degree in accountancy and her master’s degree in taxation. Indre enjoys beach volleyball, cooking new recipes, reading books, and traveling as much as she can.


Graduate Assistant

Thomas Devlin

Student Directors 

Cassie Dubitsky

Anthony Mariello

Elisa Shao