Hidden Figures: Bonny Sucherman

RHD Bonny Sucherman.

Photo by Caroline Garrow.

Residence Hall Directors are there to provide students with a fun and engaging college experience within their residence halls. They plan different activities to help students get to know each other and take a break from homework. They also ensure that Lawrence is a home away from home. I was lurking through the halls of Hiett Hall until I came to the office of Bonny Sucherman.

Sucherman is a Residence Hall Directer in Campus Life as well as the Wellness Programs Assistant for Wellness Services. The most unique part of her job is her collateral assignments that allow her to work with other departments across campus. Some of her main responsibilities include overseeing Hiett and supervising RLA staff by assisting them with programing efforts, getting to know students and student support. She will also follow up with behavioral concerns or when students are in conflict. Outside of Hiett, Sucherman oversees all fifteen small group houses and supervises RLMs of each house. For Wellness Programing, she works in tandem with Director of Wellness and Recreation Erin Buenzli. She is involved in multiple organizations involving health and wellness, including the SHARE Committee, Title Nine awareness and education and prevention work, community organizations, and HIV testing on campus. Sucherman does not prefer one position over the other.

“It is a unique role to dive into another area outside of campus life. I like working with wellness programing because there is such a need for it on a campus with Lawrence’s busy culture and stress levels,” elaborated Sucherman

For her undergrad, she attended Beloit College and double majored in secondary education and English, then afterwards attended Western Michigan University studying higher education and student affairs. Sucherman went to a small liberal arts college similar to Lawrence and enjoyed the campus community. She later worked for a larger state institute, and the community did not feel the same. When she came to campus, the tight-knit community among students, faculty and staff was what she was looking for in a work environment.

Sucherman’s favorite part of her job is engaging and working with small groups of students, especially working with RLA staff to see a larger difference on campus and within their hall. She likes to see how things are going with her fifteen RLMs, asking them how to make their day better, how to make their term better and find support on campus.

Sucherman loves to cook as a creative outlet, but does not follow recipes. Instead, she loves getting into the kitchen and experimenting. Outside of campus she enjoys playing trivia once a week with a local trivia team in Appleton.

Prior to Lawrence, Sucherman worked in the Illinois Math and Science Academy, a residential high school, as an Residence Director, where she oversaw 28 students. She went back to Western Michigan for grad school and became the hall director. She has worked in housing and residence life in various institutions.

Sucherman didn’t always think she would choose working in residence life and student affairs as a career path. She always thought she wanted to be a high school English teacher. In her current position, she considers herself an educator, but in a nontraditional role.

One thing students may not know is that Sucherman is obsessed with her cat she adopted six month ago named Butterscotch. In her words, “He’s fantastic.”

When asked her inspiration, Sucherman replied, “My inspiration is not a who or a what, but I am inspired by seeing other people making positive changes in their life or doing good in the world or making a difference in someone else’s life. My work has inspired that. I can make the world as just one person.”

Sucherman is a hidden figure of note because she is hard working and genuinely dedicated to make a difference. Her door is always open, even for students who do not live in Hiett. Stop by to check out her cool miniatures and decorations.