Caitlyn Joseph


Graduation Year – May 2023

Hometown – Woodbridge, VA

Do you speak any languages other than English? – No

What is your major(s) and minor(s)? – Double major in Social Work and Leadership Studies with a Minor in Civic Engagement and Social Justice

What are your educational and/or career goals? How do you see your participation in the Bonner program relating to them? – I aim to pursue work in the community sphere of social work and develop or expand programs that alleviate common stressors or tribulations that vulnerable populations face. My goal is to work alongside people to what their needs and ideas first – hand to then create an informed solution that allows the community at hand to be the main catalysts for change and progress in their own lives. Bonner has given me a unique opportunity to work alongside community partners, and more importantly, community members, which has fuelled my passion to advocate for community-based initiatives for sustained change.

What is your service site and service track(s)? – United Way of the Virginia Peninsula and Alternatives, Inc.; Community Development and Youth Development and Education

Other than Bonner and your service site, what organizations are you involved with (on and/or off campus)? – Alternatives is my Social Work Internship, I am currently the President of Alpha Sigma Alpha, and a member of Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Fraternity, Social Work Association, PLP, Where is the Line, and recently began working for the CCE and CESJ minor as the Communications Coordinator

Why did you want to become a Bonner Service Scholar? – I became a Bonner because of my love for service and community engagement, but I stayed a Bonner because of the depth of love and learning instilled in the program and how the diversity of the program provides so many perspectives that allow students to become more well-rounded, informed community members and leaders.

What is your favorite experience that the Bonner Program has given you? My favorite experience has been working at United Way; the staff there are incredible and truly have a passion for bettering the lives of others. They are authentic and welcoming.

What advice would you give to a new Bonner to help them get the most out of the program? – Take every opportunity seriously. As you move through both your service endeavors and academic career, keep in mind that you only do this once and many of the opportunities to serve and learn extended to you are not available for the majority. Stay grateful, stay humble, stay willing to learn and listen!

What have you learned about yourself from being a Bonner? – I have learned that I am passionate about empowering people to see their own potential and spark a love for service and confidence in themselves to continue that chain.

What do you think your role is in creating social change? What do you see yourself doing in the future to further your role? – I think social change can be initiated, propelled, and supported by any and every member of a community. My role is to use my social platform (social media, campus conversations, community partner interactions, etc.) to elevate the stories and voices of people who have been oppressed and underrepresented. My duty is to be an active and willing ally for others, and to be a source of learning and civil discourse for my peers.

What are your hobbies and/or interests (outside of academics and Bonner)? – Reading, crime podcasts, painting, and visiting new places

List your favorite: book, movie, musician/band, food, and quote – Book: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom; Movie: Princess and the Frog; Musician/Band: AJR; Quote: “Accept who you are and revel in it” -Mitch Albom

Share a fun fact – When I retire my goal is to own a free petting zoo and local community farm and cafe where local artists, chefs, and budding entrepreneurs can sell handmade goods and works!