Steve Mencarini
Director for the Center for Leadership

Educational background: I received my undergraduate degree in Biology for the College of William and Mary (Go Tribe!) and my Masters’ degree in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland-College Park (Go Terps!). I have also taken several courses in the Leadership Studies Ph.D. program at Gonzaga University (Go Zags!) and am pursuing my Doctoral degree at UNC-Greensboro in Higher Education (Go Spartans!).

Professional: I have had the awesome opportunity to work at great higher education institutions around the country. I started at William and Mary as an admission counselor. I then moved to the University of Maryland working in the Office of Campus Programs, specifically working with the student programming board. I also had a brief stint at Lake Forest College (IL) as the Assistant Director of Leadership and Community Involvement and, finally before coming to Elon, I worked in Residence Life at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.

Personal: I have two amazingly wonderful sons, Sam and J.J., live in Greensboro, and am a die-hard Baltimore Oriole fan.

Why I enjoy working in the Center for Leadership: The students with whom I get the pleasure to work are remarkable. I have the world’s best job in that I get to be able to guide, coach, instruct, and teach students as they learn more about themselves and how they can work with others to make an impact on the world.

Favorite quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead


Dana Carnes
Associate 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 (go Buckeyes!).

Professional: My professional experience started as a graduate student 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: I have an amazing dachshund named Buckeye and I love all things Ohio, even the Cleveland Browns! I love watching sports, reading, baking, working out (which is counterintuitive to my love for baking!).

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


Stacey Rusterholz(Markham)
Student Life Fellow for the Center for Leadership

Educational Background: I received a B.A. in Psychology from Elon University. I minored in Human Services and Non-Violence Studies. I am currently working on my M. Ed. at UNCG.

Professional: After graduating from Elon, I moved to Knoxville, TN to work as a Family Intervention Specialist at Youth Villages. Youth Villages is a non-profit organization dedicated to “helping thousands of emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully.” In August 2012, I started working at Elon as the Coordinator for the Center for Leadership. As a student, I had the opportunity to work in the Center for Leadership so coming back to work here as a professional staff is a dream come true!

Personal: I have been married for a little over a year to my college sweetheart!  I am a big sports fan; I love watching football and basketball (Peyton Manning if my favorite player). I enjoy spending time outdoors and playing with my dog Graham.

Why I enjoy working in the Center for Leadership: Elon students are some of the most exceptional people I have ever met! Their passion and desire to make a different in their campus and in the community is infectious. Working in the CFL, gives me the opportunity to be a positive mentor for students during a critical time in their lives. 

Favorite quote: "What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?"

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:  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:  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