About the VCU LEAD Team

VCU LEAD is a four-semester living-learning program for undergraduates who are interested in developing their individual leadership skills and reaching a greater understanding of what leadership can mean for a community.  

The VCU LEAD team is comprised of three full-time faculty/staff members and 8 student interns and teaching assistants who assist with the LEAD, Emerging Leaders Program, and LEAD Explorers programs.  Located on the first floor of the Grace and Broad Residence Center, the faculty/staff are a visible presence in the community and are supportive of activities both within and outside of the program.


Dr. Jimmie Gahagan




World Traveler.  Inspirational Speaker.  Professional Hype Man.  High-key Competitive.

Jimmie Gahagan currently serves as Director of the LEAD program at VCU. He is passionate about helping students develop their leadership skills. He oversees the LEAD, LEAD Explorers, and Emerging Leaders programs and encourages students’ engagement in high-impact practices such as study abroad, internships, undergraduate research, peer leadership, and service-learning at VCU. Jimmie is from Va. Beach and received his undergraduate degree at VCU’s cross town rival the University of Richmond. His master’s and Ph.D. are from the University of South Carolina.

Rebecca Halligan

Assistant Director



New England Proud.  Food Aficionado.  Nerd at heart.  Humble musician.

Becca Halligan is the Assistant Director of VCU LEAD and is dedicated to developing student leaders throughout their journey at VCU. She works with and teaches for all programs and supervises six fabulous student interns. Becca is originally from Vermont and received her undergraduate degree in Music and Psychology from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, PA. Her master's in Higher Education is from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is an ISFJ and her strengths are empathy, positivity, developer, consistency, and harmony.


Dr. Kimberly Matthews

Assistant Professor



Published Author.  Jazz Lover.  Belize Adventurer.  Toastmaster.

Dr. Kimberly Matthews serves as the Assistant Professor in LEAD. She received her Bachelor of Arts from George Mason University, a Master’s of Education and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Matthews has work in the field of higher education for over 10 years. During her tenure as a higher education professional, promoting academic, professional, and personal success among the students she assists has continually been her ultimate goal. Dr. Matthews is inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."


Brianna Bonat

Graduate Assistant

Brianna Bonat is the Graduate Assistant for the Division of Student Affairs Peer Leadership Committee. She is committed to making peer leadership opportunities more accessible to students and improving the overall quality of the peer leadership experience. Brianna is from Gainesville, VA and received her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology & Health Sciences from William & Mary. She is currently working towards her Master's of Public Health at VCU and hopes to pursue a career involving program implementation and evaluation, focusing on aspects of health behavior change and social determinants of health.

VCU LEAD Interns


The 8 student interns are integral to the success of the LEAD, Emerging Leaders, and LEAD Explorers programs.  The interns fulfill roles as administrative and programming support, teaching assistance, and graphic design.  They are fiercely talented and dedicated to the leadership development of their peers.  

VCU LEAD no longer accepts applications for the program.  To apply for the new LLP, VCU Transform, please click here!