2015 DRF Summer Interns

John Bradner

John is a rising senior from North Carolina State University and is working towards his B.S. in Economics with a minor in Business. He has lived in Caswell County for the majority of his life and has been a part of the Cub Scouts as well as soccer teams in Caswell. His goals at DRF are to continue the excellence past interns have done and help further progress in each area DRF impacts. He hopes to use his skills in economics as well as his local heritage to improve the area that shaped his early life.


Jennifer Chen

Jennifer is from New Jersey and a rising senior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is studying Medicine Health and Society, an interdisciplinary major focused on the social and societal influences of health and illness, with a minor in Corporate Strategy. She is passionate about minimizing health disparities through innovative and efficient technological approaches, community advocacy and public health education. Jennifer is pursuing a career in health administration and public health.

Katie Cordova

Katie was born and raised in Williamsburg, VA, but she is excited to spread her Virginia roots to Danville and its surrounding regions. She currently studies Global Studies, Education, and Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is a proud Tar Heel! Katie has previously worked with foundations and non-profits, and she is thrilled to be a part of the Danville Regional Foundation. She has a sincere desire to serve, as is shown through her participation as a Buckley Public Service Scholar and Cultural Competency Leadership Institute Scholar.

After graduating in May 2016, Katie hopes to continue to work with foundations and pursue teaching fellowships both domestically and abroad.

Ato Ghansah

Originally from Ghana, West Africa, Ato is an MBA student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a focus in Finance. He has an undergraduate degree in business administration with a minor in Marketing. He is also currently taking his Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (UK) exams. Prior to joining DRF, Ato worked in nonprofit and philanthropy in Africa working for organizations like Millennium Cities Initiative and Opunimagine Leadership Organization.

Ling Guo

Ling Guo is a rising senior at Virginia Tech working toward a B. A. in Political Science with a concentration in National Security and a minor in Sociology. She is currently a resident of Danville, Virginia. She will be studying abroad in Hong Kong in the fall to improve upon her Chinese reading and writing skills. Ling is interested in analytical writing/research and international politics/affairs. She hopes to engage with and learn from the communities the DRF works with, as well as the professionals within the DRF.

Allison Homer

Allison is a native of Blacksburg, Virginia. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University, and is currently working towards her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Tech. Within the field of Urban Planning, Allison’s thesis project focuses on the creation of social and environmental justice assessment frameworks. This year, Allison was also an intern for the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Planning Commission, and a recipient of the PlanVirginia Fellowship and the Cabell Brand Center for Global Poverty and Resource Sustainability Studies Scholarship. Through this fellowship with the Danville Regional Foundation, Allison hopes to refine her community engagement and revitalization skills, and to spark lasting positive change in the beautiful villages of the Dan River Region.

Veronica Simpson

Veronica is from Matthews, NC which is located within the greater Charlotte area. She is a rising senior studying Health Policy and Management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Veronica gained experience in strategic planning and rural health capacity building while working as a public health nursing consultant. Her passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures has led her to study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark and learn intermediate Korean. After graduation, Veronica plans to pursue a career in International and Comparative Health Law.

Aldrea Speight

Aldrea is from Salisbury, NC and a senior at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro studying Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Education, and a double minor in African American and African Diaspora Studies and Sociology. Her career objectives include working in both the public health and social work fields with study centered on the predisposing factors that cause racial and class health inequalities and disparities.

Her vision is to create an equitable chance for access, achievement, and advancement for every person regardless of socioeconomic status or racial/ethnic background. Her future educational goals include attending a dual master’s program for public health and social work, as well as obtaining a doctorate’s degree in public health, social work, or leadership studies. 

Sarah Turner

Sarah is a rising senior at Virginia Tech studying Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Marketing & Event Planning. A native to Danville, Turner will graduate from in December 2015 and plans to pursue her graduate degree in public administration. 

Shontell White

Shontell is a resident of Danville, Virginia. She′s a junior at the University of Virginia majoring in Youth and Social Innovation and Sociology. Her areas of interests include positive youth development with a concentration in female adolescent growth and development. In the future, she plans to work in the nonprofit sector or become a school occupational therapist. Her goal as a Danville Regional Foundation summer intern is to become fully immersed into her own community by learning to perceive this area through an unfiltered lens. She intends to engage with village community members and champions in hopes of identifying their areas of need and creating an achievable theory of change to accomplish their goals.