Lisa Bodziner grew up in Savannah, GA and then graduated from the University of Wisconsin—Madison for her undergraduate degree. She lived in Israel for four years where she attended the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and received her Master’s Degree in Jewish Education. After leaving Israel, Lisa taught 6th-12th grade for three years in California and then moved to Reisterstown, MD to work at the Pearlstone Center as an experiential educator and signature program coordinator where she also met her, now, husband (he talked about Towson a lot on their first date). Lisa became the Director of Educational Engagement at the Macks Center for Jewish Education and received a certificate in experiential Jewish education from the Yeshiva University. Lisa has now been the Executive Director of Towson University-Hillel since 2017 and has loved every moment. She is currently completing a fundraising intensive facilitated by Hillel international. Lisa also participates in community service work, loves hosting Shabbat meals, and adores being with her husband, son and daughter and playing with their new Italian mastiff, Bella.
Jake comes from “across the pond” in sunny Sydney. An Australian trying to live the American dream, he was previously the Executive Director of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, the Jewish Student Life Coordinator of Hillel at Florida State University, and before that, a Mentor team leader and high school English and History teacher. Currently studying for his MBA with a specialization in social impact, and passionate about learning and continuous growth, Jake has a Graduate Certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, Masters in Gifted Education, Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a double major in English and History, as well as a Bachelor of Education majoring in Secondary Education. Jake loves to cook and makes the best darn curry you’ve ever had—guaranteed! In addition, he’s a taekwondo instructor and a right proper fan of getting lost in the bush on hikes. Jake’s also a pretty tragic supporter of his beloved Cronulla Sharks rugby league team and cried like a baby fresh out the womb when they won a Grand Final. His number one hobby, however, is Jewish communal organizing and for that, he is so lucky to have made his passion his career.
Leora was raised in Harrisburg, PA before moving to Maryland to attend Towson University. As an undergraduate she played women’s Ultimate frisbee, co-founded and served as music director of an a cappella group, staged an original musical in the Smith Hall Planetarium as an Honors College independent study, and regularly led Friday night services for Hillel. She has been a song and prayer leader for the Harrisburg JCC Day Camp, Bolton Street Synagogue, and Beth Am Congregation. After graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, Leora served for two years as a full-time AmeriCorps literacy tutor in a Baltimore City school through The Literacy Lab while playing keyboard and singing in a nationally touring indie-pop band. Leora has enjoyed being a Moishe House Without Walls host leading song circles and Shabbat/holiday events in the apartment she shares with three other Towson Hillel alumnae. Leora cherishes the friendships that enrich her life, many of which have arisen through shared hobbies such as running, contra and swing dancing, African drumming, hula hooping, camping, kayaking, road-tripping, and urban farming. Leora hopes to connect Jewish students at Towson to other students, events, organizations, and service opportunities that will add fun and meaning to their college experiences and beyond.
McKenna Bates grew up in Chesapeake Virginia, just a few minutes drive from sunny Virginia Beach. A lifelong Girl Scout and Jewish activist, McKenna combines the lessons she learned from her Gold Award project, her extensive leadership training, and long history of community service work to better her communities. She has been to Israel over five times, both to visit family and to live for a short time in Jerusalem, and loves to ramble about it! During her undergraduate studies at George Mason University, McKenna was highly involved in leadership in the Jewish community and was President of the Israel advocacy group for two years. McKenna has a B.A. in Government and International Politics, Honors College, with a Double Concentration in Comparative Politics and International Relations, a minor in International Security, and a focus in Middle Eastern Politics, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Outside of her academic studies, McKenna is learning to cook without using Google and how to win her friends' annual four-day Catan Championship. McKenna has multiple hobbies and little interests, but her biggest passion point is connecting Jews to Israel, and she is so happy to have found her niche.
After Mark graduated from Towson University he spent five years assisting Graphic Novelist and Director, Frank Miller, followed by a plethora of work in film and television production. He went back to school in 2014 to continue his education in Graphic Design at CUNY, Baruch College in NYC. Since then, Mark has been working as a self-employed graphic artist and web designer and is currently redesigning the Towson Hillel website. Mark just completed Towson Hillel’s new business cards, digital and print advertisements for the Towson University Visitor’s Guide (2019-2020), various promotional materials for Towson Hillel’s 21st birthday event, as well as the 2019-2020 Board Manual and 2019 Annual Impact Report. He assisted in redecorating the Hillel lounge and designing new give-away items for the 2019-2020 school year. For more information about his work at Towson Hillel and beyond, visit www.markdelgallo.com.
The Jewish Faculty and Staff Association (JFSA) works to provide Jewish cultural and dynamic programs for faculty, staff, students and guests on campus. The JFSA raises awareness around the Jewish community, experiences, services and opportunities on campus.