Our Staff


Headshot of Jessica Chung wearing a fuschia dress
Jessica Chung
Interim Director, Curriculum & Instruction Coordinator

Jessica Chung (she/her) first connected with the Minor in 2011 and has been passionate about leadership education since. Since receiving her Master’s degree at Bowling Green State University, Jessica began teaching, developing curriculum, supporting instructor development, and overseeing marketing efforts. She co-leads the study abroad course in Bali, Indonesia to study globalization and culture during May term. In her publications, she explores Asian-American leader identity and how we might expand the definition of a leader in all levels of our organizations as well as disrupting dominant culture in our processes and systems. She hopes to help create a world where students see themselves and others as a gift. You'll probably find her at an ice cream shop, at a dance class, geeking out over her Bullet Journal, or at yet another musical.

Headshot of Jenn Showers
Jenn Showers
Academic Systems Coordinator

Jenn Showers serves as the Academic Systems Coordinator for the Leadership Minor. In her role, Jenn coordinates academic and advisor-related systems and technical responsibilities, oversees the Leadership Student Associates and Leadership Minor Interns, coordinates events and human resources, and runs day-to-day operational tasks. Jenn graduated from the Leadership Minor in Spring 2016 and feels so lucky to have returned back to this community in a professional setting. Outside of work, Jenn's interests and passions include fitness and nutrition.

Headshot of Evonne Bilotta-Burke.
Evonne Bilotta-Burke
Teaching Specialist & LEAD-IN Coordinator

Evonne Bilotta-Burke is the LEAD-IN Coordinator for Instructor Centered Development for incoming adjunct instructors and a Teaching Specialist for the 1000-level course of the Leadership. She has worked on campus since 2000 with a majority of those years as part of the Office for Equity and Diversity. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies, an interdisciplinary degree with a focus of video production, theatrical direction, and emphasis on marginalized cultural patterns of change. She is author of the semi-documentary script, Inside the Gate: Perspectives of a Protest; based on the 1988 and 2006 Gallaudet Presidential protests, a work chosen as the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Performing Arts Center 2007 Diverse Voices Project. She has been facilitating for the last 18 years on local, regional, and national platforms. She considers herself a cat and dog person, loves a good rainstorm, and is an avid watcher of sunsets.

Headshot of David Hellstrom.
David Hellstrom
Teaching Specialist & Alumni Coordinator

David Hellstrom is currently a Teaching Specialist with the Leadership Minor, as well as serving as the Student Advisor and Alumni Coordinator for the Minor. David’s history in the Minor has included collobaration with much of the original curriculum development of our courses, as well as co-founding the Intentional Emergence model alongside colleague Dr. Linnette Werner. Previous to working for the University of Minnesota David worked as a campus leadership trainer and has been lucky enough to have conducted workshops and presentations at more than 300 colleges and universities. David believes that students are magical creatures that bring courage, innovation, and hope to a world in great need of those things. David loves movies, metaphors and mojitos.

Headshot of Laura Wiesner.
Laura Wiesner
Teaching Specialist & 1000-Level Coordinator

Laura Wiesner has been teaching with the Leadership Minor since 2012. She holds a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration & Higher Education and a certificate in College & University Teaching. She previously worked with students in residence life, financial aid and veteran services. Laura excels at resolving technical problems to make space to tackle adaptive challenges. She is committed to creating curriculum that advances equity and honors the unique identities and experiences of individuals. Beyond leadership, Laura loves learning about culture, cognition and cooking.

Headshot of Melanie Buford.
Melanie Buford
Teaching Specialist & Field Experience Coordinator

Melanie Buford is a Teaching Specialist and level lead for the field experience course in the Leadership Minor. Melanie has worked for a wide range of universities and mission-driven organizations as a professor, career coach and data analyst. She has focused on developing programs and curriculum to support students in designing authentic post-graduate lives. Her research exploring the intersections among personality, identity and the pursuit of meaningful work has been featured in both academic and practitioner journals, and by popular career outlets such as Puttylike.com, Truity.com and the Happen to Your Career Podcast series. In 2019, she received the Ralph W. Tyler Award for examining the efficacy of career courses on Millennial and Gen-Z students. She was named a 2017 YWCA Rising Star for community leadership. Beyond her work in higher education, Melanie explores themes of identity and meaning-making through novel-length, character-driven fiction. She has a master's degree in Human Development from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Wesleyan University.

Headshot of Maggie Harris.
Maggie Harris
Teaching Specialist & 4000-Level Coordinator

Maggie Harris joined the Leadership Minor in 2010. She holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership and teaches all core courses across the Minor, as well as a study abroad course. Maggie worked for over a decade as the founder and executive director of a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and, prior to that, with Houghton Mifflin and Yale University supporting funding and research for public schools. She has served as a board member for multiple organizations and has dedicated her time as a leadership consultant to over one hundred universities, schools, corporations, and nonprofit groups across the United States and Canada. Maggie has been honored as a Girl Scouts Centennial Woman of Promise, is the recipient of the B. Warren Hart Award for Public Service, and was one of the Ten Outstanding Minnesotans of 2011. She infuses her experience with and dedication to leadership development into dynamic, engrossing curriculum development and classroom instruction. When not adoring her time with her partner and children, Maggie travels extensively and has lived and worked in 5 different countries. Her international experiences drive her passion and practice in developing global leaders.

Student Associates

Headshot of Brynn Nguyen
Brynn Nguyen
LEAD 1961W Student Associate

Brynn Nguyen joined our Leadership Minor Community during her first semester at the U of M in the fall of 2020. Taking the 1000 level class as a recommendation from an advisor, she quickly found a passion and a sense of belonging that prompted her to become a Student Associate. Here, Brynn works as a 1000 Level Instructor Support Specialist, is part of the LEAD-IN and Coffee Talks team, and coordinates department purchasing.  Outside of the Leadership Minor, she is a Carlson School of Management student who loves to travel, particularly to her father’s home country Vietnam, learn about different cultures, practice music, and continue to try to be the best version of herself.

Headshot of Trey Feuerhelm in blue suit jacket, shirt and tie
Trey Feuerhelm
Leadership Minor Intern (LMI) Coordinator Student Associate

Trey Feuerhelm discovered the Leadership Minor through his Welcome Week Leader and immediately took the first two courses his first year. Having such a transformational impact on who he is, Trey knew LEAD-UP was the place for him to apply all of the skills developed in the classroom to a real world setting. Trey is studying Conservation Biology and Park Management, and beyond the classroom, he loves to be outdoors, spending time with friends, and advocating for students' basic needs.

Aavni Varadhan
Aavni Varadhan
Leadership Enrichment Programs Student Associate

Aavni is a Leadership Student Associate that works on supporting, developing, and managing the Leadership Enrichment Programs and the Leadership Minor. She is also involved in incorporating Leadershape in our campus this Spring. Aavni is a sophomore majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development with a minor in Leadership studies and Technical Communications and Writing.  Leadership is important to Aavni because our world is not perfect and change is vital to allow all voices to be heard. Leadership is the platform to develop amazing ideas, values, and individuals.  Fun fact: She loves all things dance and is on Junoon, a competitive Bollywood dance team!

Image of Rohan Rokkam
Rohan Rokkam
Technology Coordinator Student Associate

Rohan Rokkam began his Leadership Minor journey in the Spring of 2021 and has never looked back since! He is studying Computer Science with a minor in Leadership. Here, Rohan is responsible for maintaining, fixing, and improving all technological devices and applications that the Leadership Department uses. Outside of the Leadership Minor, Rohan loves to play tennis and go hiking up north during the summers, ski during the winters, and take an extensive amount of naps all year round!