Residence Life Staff
Bonita Bontrager - Director of Residence Life
Bonita Bontrager hails from Montana where she graduated from the University of Montana Western in 2008. Bonita brings valuable experience from working in the Residence Life Department at Western, as well as her role as a principal at a private school in Montana.
Bonita's responsibilities at Grand View include leading the Resident Assistant and Graduate Assistant staff, directing housing placement, working closely with maintenance and food services to care for students' needs, and handling residential concerns and disciplinary issues. While performing her duties at Grand View, Bonita's ultimate goal is to provide a positive college experience for students. Of all the aspects of her job, the part that brings Bonita the greatest joy is connecting with students through conversations in the hall or when students stop by her office to chat.
These many responsibilities fill Bonita's calendar from morning to night. But in her brief free hours she enjoys de-stressing by running and working out, reading a good book, playing keyboard and singing, and hanging out with friends and family where good conversation and laughter flow.
Bonita enjoys it when students stop by her office to chat and update her on their lives, so feel free to drop by her office to voice your thoughts and concerns or just to say hi!
Zach Zehr - Interim Housing Director
Zach grew up in nearby Ankeny, and attended the University of Iowa. At Iowa, Zach majored in psychology. Zach also has a background in counseling, as he has taken a number of counseling graduate courses.
Zach works closely with the Director of Residence Life to implement the vision she has set for Grand View residential life. Zach is also responsible for many of the procedural communications residence life sends to its residential students. In addition to these responsibilities, Zach coordinates the placement process for all residential students. The Residence Hall Association is advised directly by Zach. This group organizes events throughout the year, and responds to student requests for residential improvements throughout the year.
In his free time, Zach enjoys a wide range of leisure activities including reading, playing basketball with friends, attempting to play his guitar, and enjoying video games with friends. Zach has a real passion for working with students and plans to pursue his career in the student and residential life fields.
Robby Patterson - Graduate Assistant Hall Director
Robby oversees Knudsen Hall and Nielsen Hall and directs campus intramural activities. He is originally from Minneapolis, but has lived in Des Moines since attending Drake University where he graduated in 2010 with a degree in advertising management and a concentration in cultural studies. He decided to join the Residence Life team after positive experiences at Drake as both a resident assistant and a peer mentor/academic consultant. He was also involved in Drake intramurals as an official and a participant. Although it isn’t immediately apparent, Robby considers himself to be a deep thinker and enjoys philosophical/spiritual conversations.
Ben Van Walbeek - Graduate Assistant Hall Director
Ben oversees the Hull Apartments and Suites, and is the Viking Brigade advisor along with Colby. He was born and raised in Blue Grass, IA. Ben graduated from Grand View University in 2012 with a Business Administration degree with concentrations in finance and marketing. At his time at Grand View, he was a Resident Assistant for two year, Admissions Ambassador for two years, New Student Ambassador for one year, and involved in an array of other activities. During his free time, Ben enjoys traveling, playing sports, going to church, and building relationships with other people.
Colby Connely- Graduate Assistant Hall Director
Colby oversees the Langrock Suites and is the Viking Brigade advisor with Ben. He is originally from Transfer, Pennsylvania. Colby graduated from Graceland University in 2013 with degrees in Psychology and English. At Graceland, Colby was involved in various activities. He played collegiate soccer at Graceland. He was also involved in Campus Ministries and worked as a House President (similar to an RA) his junior year and as an Apartment Manager his senior year. Colby enjoys hanging out with friends, spending time with his fiancé, being active, and going to church.
**We also have a staff of several resident assistants, living on each floor and in the apartments to assist residential students.