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Photo of Betty Schaner

Betty Schaner, M.Ed.
Assistant Dean of Advising and Student Services and Director, CLAS Academic Advising Center

Originally from a small town on the eastern side of the state (Gregory, Michigan), I moved to the west side of Grand Rapids as a teenager. I’m a graduate of Aquinas College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a focus on Interpersonal Communications and I completed a Master’s Degree in Adult and Higher Education at GVSU in 2004. I worked in sales and marketing for a number of years after completing a bachelor’s degree and made the transition to higher education when I accepted a position as a graduation auditor in the Records Office here at Grand Valley State University in 1993. Best decision I ever made! I’ve worked in several student support positions since starting at GVSU and moved into academic advising in 2001 when I was named the director of the SMART Center, an advising center for students majoring in science and mathematics. As our student population grew so did the need for a comprehensive advising center for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The CLAS Academic Advising Center opened in Fall 2008 and I was honored to be named the director. I am so fortunate to work with such a committed team of professional advisors here in the Center and have the privilege of meeting and advising so many wonderful students here at GVSU. I am a strong advocate for study abroad and try to encourage all students to find a way to fit this into their undergraduate experience. I spent a semester in Ireland as an undergrad and it was an incredible, life-changing experience! In my spare time I enjoy traveling with my family (hubby Steve, daughter Sam and son-in-law Alec), fishing, reading and gardening. We are season ticket holders for GVSU Football and tailgate at every home game. Go Lakers!

Advising Areas: Geography and Planning, Mathematics, Natural Resource Management, Statistics, Secondary Education certification areas in Mathematics and Physical Education Elementary Education certification in Mathematics, and minors in School Health Education and History of Science.

Assistant Director

Kelly McDonell

               Kelly McDonell, M.Ed.
                   Associate Director


Originally from the east side of the state, I moved to the Grand Rapids area to attend GVSU for my undergraduate degree. During my time as an undergraduate student I participated in Student Council for Exceptional Children and worked in the Honors Office. After earning my B.A. in English/Language Arts and graduating from the Honors College, I substitute taught and ran an afterschool program for several years before returning to Grand Valley to earn my M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Leadership. I was hired in the CLAS Academic Advising Center in August 2010 and have been here ever since. Outside of work I enjoy taking continuing education classes in metalsmithing and painting at Kendall College of Art and Design and volunteering for the Schools of Hope program through United Way.

Advising Areas: Art, Art History, Classics including Greek and Latin, Comprehensive Science and Arts for Teaching (CSAT), Spanish, French, German, Secondary Education certification area in English, Elementary Certification area in English/Language Arts, and minors in Applied Linguistics, Arabic, and Chinese.



Academic Advisors

Julie Amon

                  Julie Amon, M.Ed.
                   Academic Advisor

           Pre-Professional Programs 


I have been with the CLAS Academic Advising Center since September of 2012 as part of the Pre-Professional Advising Team. I love working with pre-professional students because of their compassion, drive, and desire to help others. In addition to being an advisor in the CLAS AAC, I also advise the Pre-Professional Clubs Council, Pre-Dental Club, Pre-MD/PhD Club, and co-advise the Pre-Chiropractic Club. Prior to my current position at GVSU, I worked at Northern Illinois University for four years as an academic advisor for students pursuing Nursing, Public Health, Health Education, and Physical Therapy. I grew up in the Grand Rapids area and attended Grand Valley for both my undergraduate and graduate studies-I’m a Laker for a Lifetime! I hold a B.S. in Psychology and a M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education/College Student Affairs Leadership. Some of my favorite things to do in my spare time are golfing, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and taking my rescue dog Lexi on walks and other adventures.

Advising Areas: Biomedical Sciences, Biology (Non-teaching), Cell & Molecular Biology, Chemistry (Non-teaching), Physics (Non-teaching) and all pre-professional students.



Heather Chafin

              Heather Chafin, M.Ed.
                 Academic Advisor 


I started my educational journey as a student at Grand Rapids Community College, where I was lucky enough to work in their Enrollment Center as a student employee. It was there that I found my passion of helping college students fulfill their goals. I transferred to Grand Valley, where I continued working with students as a student employee and completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2009. I then worked as a graduate assistant, advising College of Education students while I completed my master's degree in College Student Affairs Leadership in 2011. Since then, I have been happily working in the CLAS Academic Advising Center. As one can tell, I am definitely a Laker for a lifetime! I grew up in Boulder Colorado, which made me a lover of all things outdoors. When I am not advising, I am most likely trekking around in the woods with my two pugs.

Advising Areas: Behavioral Neuroscience, Biopsychology, Psychology, Geochemistry, Geology, Secondary Education certification areas in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science, Social Studies, and Elementary Education certification areas in Integrated Science and Social Studies.




Juanita Davis

                 Juanita Davis, M.A.
                  Academic Advisor 


I am a native of Chicago, Illinois. I have lived in the Grand Rapids Area for the last 12 years. I earned my Bachelor's degree from Grand Valley in History and a Master's Degree in Counseling from Cornerstone University. I have been married for eight years to Ty Davis (who is also a GVSU alumni) and we have two wonderful boys. In my recreational time, I am supporting my children in their athletic activities which include baseball, basketball, football and soccer. When I am not spending time with my family you can find me singing in my church choir, working with young people through the Ministry of Education and Youth Ministries at Renaissance Church, reading or playing board games. Professionally, I enjoy working with 1st generation college students as well as students from underrepresented populations. I currently serve as the CLAS liaison for the Freshman Academy, The Office of Multicultural Affairs and The Educational Support Program. I also serve as a mentor with Niara through the Women's Center.

Advising Areas: Aging and Adult Life, Art & Design, Art History, Dance, Music, Sociology, Writing, History, and Secondary and Elementary Education certification area in Group Social Studies, and Modern Language & Literature (French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese)

Brian Eikenhout

              Brian Eikenhout, M.Ed.
             Senior Academic Advisor 


I have been working in the CLAS Academic Advising Center since December 2010. I earned my B.S. in Psychology and my M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Leadership from GVSU. As an undergrad, I was a member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. I also played intramural sports. As a graduate student, I worked in the College of Education as a technology research graduate assistant and had the opportunity to do a graduate internship in the CLAS Advising office where I fell in love with advising. I also coordinate international student orientation, MAP-Works, and am the GRE representative for our office. I also teach a section of US 102-Career Education Class to students who are exploring major/career options. In my free time I like to watch and play sports, run, sing, and volunteer. I’m love watching the Red Wings and Lions.

Advising Areas: Anthropology, Archaeology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Biopsychology, International Relations, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Pre-Law, and School of Communications

Tom Fellows

                Tom Fellows, M.Ed.
             Senior Academic Advisor 


Originally from the Lansing area, I attended GVSU and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Physical Education with a Coaching concentration and a master's degree in General Education with a concentration in Adult and Higher Education. My experiences at GVSU as a student include working as an adjunct instructor for the Movement Science Department, and working as a tutor in the Laker Academic Center, where I also served as an intern for the Life Skills Program. I also spent time volunteering through the Athletes Who Care program and participating with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. I have been working at GVSU as an academic advisor in the CLAS Academic Advising Center since January of 2010. I have other work experience with the Upward Bound Program at Central Michigan University as well as the Upward Bound Program at Michigan State University, where I also worked in the Student-Athlete Support Services Office. I also currently enjoy volunteering through the United Way Schools of Hope Program.

Advising Areas: Comprehensive Science and Arts for Teaching (CSAT), Psychology-Special Education, Athletic Training, Exercise Science, Physical Education-Sport Leadership.



Nikki Gaines

                 Nykia Gaines, Ph.D.
              Senior Academic Advisor 


Hi, I'm Nykia D. Gaines, also known as Dr. G. Welcome to CLAS Academic Advising Center! I started my journey at Grand Valley in the fall of 1994. As a freshman from Detroit, I was enthusiastic about my new life as a Laker. After earning my B.S. in Criminal Justice in 98', I pursued a M.Ed. with a specialization in College Student Affairs and Leadership. During my master's program, I worked as a graduate assistant in Health and Wellness and in the Office of Housing and Residence Life. I also interned at the University of Detroit-Mercy in the office of International Services. After I graduated with my M.Ed. in 2001, I accepted a full-time position at GVSU as a Living Center Director in the Office of Housing and Residence Life. In the summer of 2008, I decided to depart from my beloved Grand Valley to pursue my doctorate full-time at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Bowling Green, OH. As a doctoral fellow, I worked in the College of Education and Human Development as an academic advisor. In May 2012, I graduated from BGSU with a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. Less than one year post-doctorate, I graciously accepted this position at my alma mater. I am excited to be able to once again give back to a school that has continued to give to me, a Laker for a Lifetime. In my free time, I enjoy caring for and playing with my rescue dog, Karma. I also take pleasure in traveling abroad, attending church, Skyping with distant friends, and spending time with my family.

Advising Areas: Advertising and Public Relations, Broadcasting, Communication Studies, Film & Video, Health Communications, Journalism, Multimedia Journalism, Photography, and Theater.

Jo Ann Litton

Jo Ann Litton, M.A.
Assistant Director, Pre-Professional Advising 

I was born in southern Indiana. I attended Ball State University, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. I was certified to teach that and my minor, home economics. From there I went to Bowling Green State University (OH) and earned a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel. In my 30+ years in higher education I have: Been the director of a residence hall Advised fraternity and sororities Worked in GVSU Admissions for 13 years: recruitment at high schools, new student orientation and my last eight years were as Director. Worked another 13 years in Financial Aid before accepting the position here as a Senior Academic Advisor. I LOVE MY JOB because I get to work with the awesome pre-professional students. It keeps me very busy, but that's the fun of it. Personal interests include spending time with my family and friends, hula hooping, my lab Max, travel, scrapbooking and the re-colonization of my sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma here at GVSU. Personal facts: two beautiful daughters who both have earned degrees from GVSU.

Advising Areas: Biomedical Sciences, Biology (Non-teaching), Cell & Molecular Biology, Chemistry (Non-teaching), Physics (Non-teaching) and all pre-professional students.

Jason Prowant

              Jason Prowant, M.Ed.
                  Academic Advisor 


Hello Lakers! I am a new Academic Advisor in the CLAS Advising Center and will work with pre-professional students in the health majors. I am a graduate of GVSU with a B.S. in Physical Education with a Coaching Emphasis and a M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Leadership and  am excited to be back at my alma mater.  While at GVSU as an undergrad I was a member of the Cross Country/Track and Field teams. Prior to joining the CLAS Academic Advising Center I was an Academic Advisor for student-athletes at Davenport University. In my free time I enjoy playing golf and spending time with my family and friends. I look forward to meeting you!


Advising Areas: Biomedical Sciences (Pre-med), Athletic Training (PA or PT), and Exercise Science (PA or PT).

Graduate Assistants

Samuel Cho

                   Samuel Cho
              Graduate Assistant


Hello Lakers, my name is Samuel Cho and I am a second year graduate student in the College Student Affairs and Leadership program. I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea for 16 years and moved to the U.S in 2006. I earned my Bachelors of Science degree from GVSU where I majored in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I love exploring and learning different cultures. During my undergraduate, I was a member of nine cultural organizations in GVSU . Currently I’m an Alumni Advisor for GVSU Asian Student Union. I enjoying playing sports, board games and hanging out with friends and family.  


Advising Areas: Art, Art History, Classics including Greek and Latin, Comprehensive Science and Arts for Teaching (CSAT) for Special Education and Spanish, Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Spanish, French, German, Secondary and Elementary Education certification area in Group Social Studies, Modern Languages, Art, and Music.


Gwen H

                  Gwen Higgins
              Graduate Assistant


I am a second-year graduate student in the College Student Affairs Leadership program and excited to be working in the CLAS Academic Advising Center! I am originally from Livonia, Michigan and graduated from Madonna University with a double-major in English and Communication. While at Madonna I enjoyed working with students in the admissions office and financial aid, and serving as a peer mentor helping to lead freshman orientations. I am enjoying living in Grand Rapids so far and experiencing West Michigan. I love reading, traveling, and spending time in the sun. I am happy to continue working in a college and eager to help students through advising and transfer orientations. 

Advising Areas: Athletic Training, Biology Teaching, Chemistry Teaching, Earth Science, Exercise Science-Clinical and Health Fitness Instruction, GeoChemistry, Geography & Planning, Geology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Physical Education-Teaching, Physics, Physical Education-Sports Leadership and Coaching, Statistics, and School Health Ed.



Nicole Rombach

               Nicole Rombach
              Graduate Assistant





Hello all, my name is Nicole Rombach and I am a first-year graduate student in the College Student Affairs Leadership program here at GVSU. I am originally from Davisburg, Michigan (on the east side of the state) and graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Psychology, with minors in Child Development and Spanish. As an undergrad, I studied abroad twice, volunteering in Mexico for three weeks as part of a service-learning course, before spending a semester in Costa Rica. I was also able to participate in Alternative Breaks, various research endeavors and intramural sports while working for University Recreation. In my free time I love to travel, and enjoy doing yoga, hiking, reading and playing soccer.

Advising Areas: Biomedical Sciences, Biology (Non-teaching), Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry (Non-teaching), Natural Resource Management and Pre-Professional students




Blaine Harvey

                  Blaine Harvey
               Graduate Assistant



My name is Blaine Harvey and I am a first year graduate student in the College Student Affairs Leadership Program. I grew up in Illinois and attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale where I studied history and secondary education with an emphasis in social studies. During this time I also worked as a resident assistant for an international living community and had many great experiences with students from all over the world. After graduation I taught English to elementary and junior high school students in rural Japan for three years through a Japanese government program called JET (Japanese Exchange Teaching). I am very excited to be back in a university environment and work for the CLAS Academic Advising Center. In my spare time I enjoy cooking and baking, studying languages, and spending time outdoors.

Advising Areas: Anthropology, Dance, English and English Teaching, International Relations, Philosophy, Political Science, School of Communications, and Sociology

Office Staff


Sandra Briggs

                     Sandra Briggs


I was born and raised in Muskegon. I am married to Greg and have two children. I started at GVSU in January 2010 after 25 years of working in a financial institution. I love working in the CLAS Academic Advising Center, "working with the students makes it such a rewarding day"!