Meet the Staff

Bonnie O'Connell

Director of Academic Support


Bonnie O'ConnellBonnie is a strong student advocate who is passionate about helping students succeed in their academic pursuits at Manchester. Her passion for student success has led her to work with professors to incorporate intervention strategies for high-risk students in all of the schools in which she has served. She firmly believes in addressing the needs of the whole person regardless of real or perceived barriers including age, language, mobility, or cultural differences. Bonnie is skillful at helping students, faculty and staff identify ways to make classroom adaptations for students who have learning difficulties.

Bonnie came to Manchester University after 31 years of experience in public education, mostly in the Fort Wayne schools, as a teacher and administrator. She has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Saint Francis, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and IVY Tech in Fort Wayne. As a school administrator, Bonnie chaired key educational committees related to performance-based accreditation, staff development, training and leadership, curriculum development, multicultural education, and programs for high ability and at-risk students.

Bonnie has traveled to Ecuador with teachers to establish professional relationships with four impoverished schools. Staff development strategies shared with these school staffs included methods and materials for teaching English, while sanitation and textbooks in Spanish have been the focus for the schools with the fewest resources.

E-mail Bonnie

Laura Turner-Reed

Assistant Director of Academic Support

Writing Center Coordinator


Laura Turner-ReedAfter teaching for three years as an adjunct instructor in the Manchester University English Department, Laura Turner-Reed became the Assistant Director of Academic Support and Writing Center Coordinator in August 2011.

In addition to serving as the Assistant Direrctor of Academic Support, Laura also currently teaches Introduction to Writing, College Composition, Women in the Arts, and Introduction to Gender Studies.

Before coming to Manchester University, Laura was employed at Academic Success, a non-profit organization based in Gainesville, Fla., that provides support to post-secondary students with learning disabilities through academic tutoring, mentoring and life skills coaching. She worked closely with college students diagnosed with learning disabilities as a life skills coach, tutor, mentor and Director of Guidance. She understands that no two students are alike and works to develop individualized plans to help students succeed both inside and outside the classroom.

Laura also has taught courses including English Composition, Literature, Reading Strategies, and Film Studies as an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Community College (Wabash/Peru/Kokomo, Ind.), Santa Fe College (Gainesville, Fla.), and Heartland Community College (Normal, Ill.).

Laura holds a bachelor's degree from Auburn University and a master's degree from The University of North Texas, both in Radio, Television and Film.

E-mail Laura

Sandy Bendsen

Administrative Assistant, Success Center

International Student Recruiter


Sandy BendsenSandy came to Manchester University, her alma mater, in 1996 as a secretary in the Admissions Department. She assists students who come to the Success Center for tutoring or academic counseling and is responsible for international student recruitment for Admissions. Sandy has a degree in history education and training as a Montessori instructor for pre-K through age 8. She loves to travel and has visited 14 contries.

E-mail Sandy

April White

Alcohol and Drug Prevention Coordinator/

Academic Support Retention Liaison

April WhiteApril received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Manchester University in 2003 after which she worked in a home visiting setting for approximately nine years.  She assisted families through crisis intervention and problem-solving to attain needed support and access resources to strengthen their parenting ability. 

April earned her master’s degree from the Indiana University School of Social Work in 2011.  During that time, she completed her field placement within Manchester University’s Counseling Services department and gained an understanding of concerns specific to college students.  Prior to returning to her alma mater, she worked in a community corrections setting and was most recently employed by a local community mental health center, both of which provided her the knowledge and ability to intervene and respond to issues pertaining to substance abuse and mental health.

April comes to Manchester University with a strong background in solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, and goal-setting which will allow her to support students in attaining success as they navigate their college experience.  She understands the need for individualized approaches to accommodate the unique needs of all students and is excited about partnering with students as they find their place at Manchester.

April’s office is located in the Success Center on the second floor of the Jo Young Switzer Center.

E-mail April

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