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Batten Leadership Institute faculty & staff

Abrina Schnurman-Crook Abrina Schnurman-Crook, Ph.D., executive director

Abrina holds a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech and a Certificate in Management from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. She is a licensed professional counselor with a background in crisis and clinical work. Her interest in conflict management and experiential methods for skills acquisition serves as the platform for helping participants develop and refine their ability to navigate personal and professional relationships. As Executive Director of the Batten Leadership Institute at Hollins University, Abrina teaches Leadership Skills, an experiential introductory course, for the Certificate in Leadership Studies and conducts the Certificate in Professional Leadership program, along with selective consulting opportunities in the area. Her interest is in merging external executive coaching with undergraduate case study training opportunities, advancing leadership development capacities through a parallel process of growth and understanding of core challenges as they occur individually and across systems.

Katherine Walker Katherine Walker, founding director

Katherine Walker received her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and her master's and doctoral degrees at Virginia Tech. She is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist. Her clinical work focused on adolescent development and female identity formation. This experience, combined with her ongoing academic interest in leadership studies, led her to develop the Institute's focus on personal growth and skill development.

Jill Hufnagel Jill Hufnagel, Ph.D., associate director

Jill teaches in all levels of the program and constantly works to develop and refine the program as a whole. Batten’s use of a wellness-counseling model is a powerful fit for how she sees the world and how she understands growth and change. She is engaged by the work of helping students understand their core values, examine their default ways of interacting with others, seek critical feedback, and think and lead adaptively. On a daily basis, she strives to create an environment built on experimentation; just as she asks students to try out new skills and to trust the messiness of process, she, too, has myriad opportunities to push herself and work her own edge. She loves the below-the-neck energy of navigating the complexities of interpersonal dynamics, and nothing feeds her like seeing students expand their own comfort levels, find the wiggle room, and become!

Read an article about Jill in the Blue Ridge Business Journal.

Jen Brothers

Jen Brothers, assistant director

Jen teaches, leads communication skills groups, and facilitates experiential learning through group processing. She also works one-on-one with students for the development of personal leadership skills. Jen has a special interest in the connections between self-actualization, personal communication skills, and leadership growth. Jen holds an M.A. Ed. in Counselor Education from Virginia Tech and a B.A. in Communications as well as Spanish from James Madison University.

Rachel Nunez

Rachel Nuñez, Batten professor for the History of Women and Leadership

Rachel Nuñez received a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University, where she studied modern European history and the history of women and gender. Her dissertation, titled "Between France and the World: The Gender Politics of Cosmopolitanism, 1835-1915" explored the use of cosmopolitanism as a feminist political strategy. Before coming to Hollins Nuñez taught at Southwestern University. She has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. She teaches courses on modern Europe and modern France, the history of women and gender, nationalism, and imperialism.