Dana Carnes Pursley
Interim Director for the Center for Leadership

Educational background: I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Psychology from Heidelberg University in Ohio and my Masters’ degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the Ohio State University.

Professional experience: My career path includes residence life and leadership development over the past eight years. I started as a graduate assistant at Otterbein University in Ohio, where I worked in residence life as a Hall Director for two years. Following graduation, I continued working in residence life at Wittenberg University in Ohio as an Area Coordinator for three years. Additionally, I served as Wittenberg’s Leadership Initiatives Coordinator, where I cultivated my passion for leadership education and development.

Personal information: I have an amazing dachshund named Buckeye and I love all things Ohio, even the Cleveland Browns! I love watching sports, reading, cooking and baking, working out, yoga, running, hiking, and spending time with my husband.

Why I enjoy working in the Center for Leadership: My passion is helping others find their passions! I am grateful that I get to assist students in developing their identities and cultivating their strengths. It is so rewarding to see the amazing contributions that Elon students make as a result of their leadership experiences.

Favorite quote: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Michael Spencer
Interim Assistant Director for the Center for Leadership

Educational background: I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with minors in History and International Studies from Elon in 2015!

Professional experience: Prior to the Center for Leadership, I worked as a Program Associate for a small non-profit called Adventures of the Mind in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. In that capacity I managed the organizations communications and assisted in program administration. While at Elon, I worked as Student Director of the LEAD Program for three years. As a student director I was very fortunate to be involved with the initial creation of the LEAD Program!

Personal information: I was born and raised in Annapolis MD, however I call Northern Virginia my home! I love reading, podcasts, politics, trying new recipes, and binge watching Netflix.  Thanks to my family, music and the arts have such special places in my heart. I began playing the cello in fourth grade, I sang in my church choir, and I was heavily involved in my high school’s theater program.

Why I enjoy working in the Center for Leadership: When I was a student the CFL had a profound impact on my collegiate experience. Being able to give back to the place that gave me so much is a true honor. I love being able to interact with students and mentor them through their leadership journey!

Favorite quote: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." – Martin Luther King Jr.

Melody Harter
Program Assistant for the Center for Leadership

Educational background: I received my undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, earning a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance (go Commodores!).  I have also taken a course in Human Resources at Harvard University’s Extension School. I am also an alumna of Interlochen Arts Academy.

Professional experience:  My career path includes administrative work at higher educational institutions as well as pursuing music as a piano instructor. I have worked at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, in student affairs at Albion College, and in several positions at University of Chicago, including the Department of Music, Department of Philosophy, and the Dean’s office at the Divinity School.  I also continue to teach piano privately and to learn new repertoire.

Personal information:  I enjoy attending all kinds of fine arts events such as concerts, plays, and exhibits.  When there is extra time, I like to take a hike with my family, watch Dr. Who, and crochet amigurumi .

Why I enjoy working in the Center for Leadership:  I believe in the mission of developing students both in and outside of the classroom. Working in the Center for Leadership allows me to support the wonderful and hardworking students and staff, and to learn about their work.

Favorite quote: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." – John Quincy Adams

Elizabeth Beavers
Graduate Assistant for Student Organization Development & Marketing

Educational background: I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Christopher Newport University (go Captains!) with minors in Leadership and Creative Writing. I am currently enrolled in UNCG's SPAHE (Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education) M.Ed. program (go Spartans!).

Professional experience: My role in the CFL as a Graduate Assistant is my first professional position in the field of Higher Education. As an undergraduate, I worked as a Resident Assistant and had the opportunity to develop diversity training programs for other RAs. I was also involved in recruiting prospective students for our leadership program, worked as an administrative student assistant in our admission office, and chaired a committee on our student programming board where I planned and executed large scale campus events.

Personal information: I love going to concerts, trying new restaurants, yoga, reading, writing poetry and short stories, and binging on Netflix and Hulu. I am a trained vocalist and used to compete in both classical and musical theater. I've been in various choirs for 12 years and was extremely involved in my college acapella group.

Why I enjoy working in the Center for Leadership: The passion my fellow staff members share for their students and for leadership development is infectious! Leadership education was a defining aspect of my own undergraduate experience, and I am thrilled to share that with others.

Favorite quote: "Whatever you are, be a good one." – Abraham Lincoln