A Servant to the People: Meet Amy Bontrager G'12
“I think what I have learned in my life can be summed up in these words: There is no prescribed pathway to success. Who I am today and how I am as a leader has been a result of the journey. I didn’t have a 10-year or even a five-year plan. I leaned into the spirit of being adaptable and identifying opportunities to make an impact.
“I met my husband when I was an undergraduate, and he was in the military. We married, and I found myself in Iowa. When he was deployed to Afghanistan, I finished my education at Northwestern College with a degree in religion and theology. Why that major? I am a person who continues to be curious about understanding the human condition. My capstone was the connections and intersection of commonality between religions and spirituality.”
As a military spouse, Bontrager has been stationed at bases across the country, moving from Iowa to North Carolina, Georgia to Louisiana, and now to Washington, D.C. In the midst of these transitions, and while having her first child, she enrolled in Bay Path’s Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy program.
“Bay Path afforded me an opportunity to further my education by offering online master programs that were not widely common in 2010. In addition, as a military spouse in Georgia with a future move, in-person programs were not accessible. As a virtual learner, I still was able to connect with my professors and feel a part of the Bay Path community. By going to graduate school, I felt it contributed to building a strong foundation for our family. Like many, I experienced big life moments while in grad school, including an 18-month deployment and welcoming our first daughter. The Bay Path community played a role in successfully navigating these times.”
It is apparent when you speak with Bontrager that she is a person who deals with life one step at a time. She has an infectious can-do attitude that has helped her through unexpected and unplanned situations.
Since earning her degree from Bay Path, Bontrager has built a career around leadership development and workforce policy. For the last several years, she served as the director of the White House Leadership Development Program. She recently was asked to join the U.S. Digital Service at the White House, where she is now focusing on developing civic technology workforce across government. The U.S. Digital Service is a start-up at the White House that focuses on the use of design and technology to deliver better services to the American people. Founded by President Obama, the organization brings in top talent from Silicon Valley and across the country to work on a variety of challenges.
“My degree in nonprofit management gave me the foundation of many skills I still use today. I learned about budgeting, how to lead and motivate people. It gave me a foundation of how to show up in the workplace. There is a value when we humanize those we work with and serve. I give credit to my time at Bay Path for grasping our ability to make an impact for good.”
Bontrager and her husband, Nathan, are a team, serving our country. After seven deployments, he now is a 1st Sergeant in The Old Guard. They live in Northern Virginia with their three children.
“I like to think we model to our children to be of service to those around them and that they witness we can all play a role to build connected and stronger communities.”
The Bontragers support our country in different ways, but they are both passionate to be of service to their community and our nation.
Please visit the MS in Nonprofit Management & Philanthropy program page to learn about curriculum, faculty, program options, and more!