Skip to main content

Alumni Highlights

Seth Price

Seth Prince 

2014 Graduate

Major: Anthropology

Minor: Anthropology, Near East Emphasis

After graduation this past year, Seth went straight into more studies by accepting the U.S. Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). With the CLS, David furthered his Arabic language proficiency by studying in Meknes, Morocco with fellow GVSU student, David Leestman. In the past, Seth lived in Israel for two months working with a researching excavation group. His experiences abroad have not only helped his proficiency in Arabic, but had allowed him to connect with the residents of the countries where he conducts work. After leaving Morocco, Seth is looking forward to either teach TEFL English courses for children in South Korea or working a museum internship. 


Larissa Van Wyk

Larissa Van Wyk

2014 Graduate

Major: Business Administration

Human Resource Management Emphasis

Larissa loves working as a recruiter at Spectrum Health Hospital. Although she is a part of the Human Resources branch, she uses her Spanish skills in her career by conducting interviews in Spanish and working specifically with Spanish-speaking members of the community. A part of her job is to do what she can to make Spanish-speaking candidates feel comfortable and valued in the workplace. Larissa plans on remaining at Spectrum long term to further develop her skills within the Talent Acquisition department.


Alexandra Moralez

Alexandra Moralez

2013 Graduate 

Major: Spanish and English

Secondary Education Emphasis

After graduation, Alexandra moved to Ogden, Utah to pursue her passion in teaching and Spanish. She is currently heading the Spanish department at Mount Ogden Junior High. There she teaches all beginning speakers, grades 7-9. In the immediate future, she hopes to further develop the Spanish program and potentially start a Latino Student Alliance Chapter. Also, she will be attending Weber State University to obtain her ESL endorsement. Alexandra continues to dream big with hopes of enlisting in the Peace Corps and earning a Master's in Education. 


 

Marvis Herring

2013 Graduate

Major: Broadcasting

Minor: Spanish

Marvis has worked in Cadillac, MI as a news producer and Peoria, IL as a reporter and news anchor before returning to West Michigan. He is now a reporter for the WOOD TV8 Daybreak crew. His work has covered breaking news, high profile trials and tornado damage.

As a student at GVSU, Marvis studied abroad in Granada, Spain.

You can look at his WOOD TV8 profile here.


Tricia Nichol

Tricia Nichol

2013 Graduate

Major: Spanish Education

Minor: English and Secondary Education

Tricia Nichol jumped right into her desire of Spanish teaching. Shortly after graduation she accepted a Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 teaching position at Coopersville High School. Through her new experience, the Spanish language and its multiple layers constantly surprise Tricia. Since she speaks Spanish on a daily basis, Tricia is learning new things every single day through interactions with her students. Tricia is currently looking forward to furthering her education by pursuing a Master's in Spanish Linguistics. Also, she hopes to host a Spanish-speaking exchange student in the near future!


Aubrey McMahan

Aubrey McMahan

2012 Graduate

Major: International Relations

Minors: Middle East Studies and German

Shortly after graduating, Aubrey McMahan was the recipient of the U.S. Department of State's in Oman. In 2012, she was one of five students across the world to receive a Battuta Merit Scholarship for Peace and Diplomacy, a scholarship which funds tuition and housing for a four-week intensive immersion program. In addition, she also received a Lebanon Summer Fellowship for the Cultural and Educational Exchange Experience for American University Students and was a Truman Scholarship finalist. McMahan's long term goal is to work at the U.S. Department of State in Middle East relations. 


DeAnna Espinoza

DeAnna Espinoza 

2010 Graduate

Major: Spanish

Minor: Hospitality and Tourism Management

DeAnna first fell in love with the Spanish Language and culture in Spanish 101 at GVSU. After she graduated with her degree she worked with Grand Rapids Public Schools as a tutor to migrant students. Shortly after, DeAnna enrolled in Eastern Michigan University to earn her Master's in Spanish. There, she was offered a Graduate Assistant position and worked as Spanish Tutor and led Spanish Conversation tables for a year until she earned the position of a Teacher's Assistant. After finishing her Master's in December 2012 she was offered the opportunity to continue to share her love for language by working as a Lecturer at EMU, a job she is passionate about. She plans on going on to obtain her Doctorate degree in hopes of one day becoming a professor of Spanish. 


Katie Kirouac

Katie Kirouac

2010 Graduate

Major: Political Science

Minor: Spanish

Kirouac joined the Peace Corps shortly after graduation. From May 2010 to August 2012, she served in Ghana testing over 4,000 individuals for HIV and providing information to more than 10,000 others. In the fall of 2013 she returned to GVSU to complete a master's degree in publication administration while beginning work at a nonprofit organization which provides tutoring to underserved and at-risk students. (Grand Rapids Learning Foundation)


Tommy Zoppa

Tommy Zoppa

2010 Graduate

Major: English Language and Literature

Minor: French

For the first two years after graduation, Tommy worked at an international call center using his French language 40 hours a week. After gaining experience on the day to day use of French and customer service he joined Peace Corps. He was assigned to travel to Senegal, West Africa where he lived for over a year working as a Preventative Health Care Educator. There, he further developed his language skills by learning the Pular language. Currently, he is happy to be back in Grand Rapids and is greatly excited to soon relocate to Northern France where he was recently accepted into the French government's English Assistant Teaching program. 

 

 


Kate Lautenbach

Kate Lautenbach

2007 Graduate

Major: Spanish

Minor: Latin American Studies

Lautenbach used her dual passions in Spanish and non-profit organizations to secure a position as a migrant advocate with the Migrant Farmworkers Project, an organization which helps meet the health, educational, and legal needs of migrant workers in Kansas City, Mo. Lautenbach herself works with youth group, the women's group, and the ESL group on site. 


Jessica Knoth

Jessica Knoth

2007 Graduate

Major: Social Studies and Spanish

Jessica Knoth is the principle of Zeeland East High School. Her previous jobs include teaching Spanish and history at Byron Center Public Schools, and serving Wellspring Preparatory High School in Grand Rapids as the assistant principal for 2 1/2 years and principal for 1 1/2. In addition to her undergraduate degree, she also earned two masters degrees at Grand Valley for Literacy and TESOL and Educational Leadership and Administration. 


Jessica Cruz, '06

Jessica Cruz

2006 Graduate

Major: Public Administration and French

Every aspect of work in the life of Jessica Cruz, ’06 is geared toward education equality. She earned two degrees in Public Administration and French from Grand Valley in 2006 and then went on to earn a doctorate from the Teachers College of Columbia University in 2013. Cruz is a founder and the executive director of the Center for Latin@ Studies at Ferris State University and the founder and chair of the Latin@ Scholar Success: A College and Graduate School Conference. In February 2016, Cruz will become the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Northern Michigan University. 

 


Ben Symko

Ben Symko

2005 Graduate

Major: Spanish

Minor: Philosophy

In 2010, five years after graduation from GVSU, Symko was honored with a Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award, one of the oldest and most prestigious recognition programs in the U.S. While providing service work in the Dominican Republic for four years, Symko met Bren Simon, who saw potential in him and later funded his education. Symko went on to graduate with high honors from Thomas Cooley Law School and to hold a position as the Kent County Officer of the Defender. In recent years, he has become a named-partner at the firm Jensen, Dehaan, and Symko, P.C. and was recognized in 2012 and 2013 as a Michigan Super Lawyer, Rising Star. 


Catherine Menyhart

Catherine Menyhart

2002 Graduate

Majors: International Relations and French

For a year after graduation, Catherine found herself working on an organic farm and tending to other odd jobs around Europe. Afterwards she began to work with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) to pursue her passion for international education and exchange. She began working in the Portland, Maine headquarters but soon after transferred to the CIEE Study Center in Dakar, Senegal. In 2006 Menyhart returned to the U.S. and held various positions at the CIEE while earning her master's in Education. Currently, she manages employee training and development programs with a focus on experimental learning and intercultural development. In the future she hopes to continue to help others come into awareness of their own cultural identities and work more effectively and mindfully across cultural differences. 


Jeff Hayes

Jeff Hayes 

2000 Graduate

Major: Journalism

Jeff was a student of Chinese during the developmental stages of the GVSU program. Although Jeff graduated with a degree in Journalism, he was very passionate about the Chinese language while attending GVSU. After graduation, he attended the University of Hawaii on a Foreign Language Areas Studies fellowship to further his love for Chinese culture and language. There, he earned his Master's in Chinese Studies. Returning to Michigan in 2005, Jeff began the Rockford High School Chinese Program. He is currently the head of the department and is working towards a new Chinese exchange program with Weiming Education Group. He plans to continually expand Rockford High School's international program.


Rick Rossow

Rick Rossow

1998 Graduate

Major: Russian Studies

Minor: Economics

Fifteen years after graduating from GVSU, Rossow is now director of operations at the US-India Business Council, the sector of the US Chamber of Commerce responsible for promoting economic policy change in India. 


John Beyrle

John Beyrle

1975 Graduate

Major: French

Minor: German

Thirty-eight years after graduating from GVSU, Beyrle now speaks Bulgarian, Russian, French, German, and Czech! He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria from 2005-2012, as well as a member of the senior Foreign Service and a counselor for political and economic affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Prague.