Associate Director for Student Life, Civic Engagement and Assessment
Before joining the GVSU CSLC staff in 2014, Melissa served as the founding Program Director for the Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities Cook Library Scholars program, a pipeline program for students from first generation immigrant families in Grand Rapids. There, she co-facilitated an innovative university-community partnership, linking the Grandville Avenue community to GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History through the development of a youth-led neighborhood oral history project. Prior to that, Melissa was a GVSU faculty member in BCOIS Liberal Studies Department. There, Melissa developed and implemented a number of innovative academic service learning courses, including an international service learning course which led students to Guatemala in order to explore the relationship between global problems and local solutions. She was recognized for her achievements in the area of academic service learning by Michigan Campus Compact and GVSU in 2010 when she was nominated to serve as a Presidential Service Scholar. Melissa has extensive experience working in Central America and with the Latino community locally as a community organizer and through teaching ESL to migrant farmworkers. She is a Spanish speaker and is interested in using community based service learning as a tool for developing critical consciousness in students and mutually beneficial relationships between university and community. Outside of work, Melissa finds great joy in spending time with her three children, Chloe, Asa and Ocean. She loves bike riding, swimming, playing basketball, going to the beach, kayaking, dancing, reading and being with friends and family.
Assistant Director for Student Life, Civic Engagement
Liz joined the Office of Student Life and Community Service Learning Center staff in 2016. Prior to this role, she worked as an Assistant Director of Annual Giving at GVSU for over 2 years, and was also a Coordinator of New Student Programs at Florida Gulf Coast University for 3 years. Both of these roles exposed Liz to many facets of higher education, including extensive work with students, programming, and event planning. Now, Liz is excited to be working with students regarding civic engagement, community organizing, and helping them to find their passions and abilities to impact the world around them.
Liz is originally from Ohio and received her undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!). Additionally, she spent 2 years in Texas at Texas A&M University working and obtaining her masters degree in Student Affairs Administration. Outside of work, Liz enjoys spending time with her partner - Matt, as well as working out, cooking, watching college athletics, reading, and continuing to explore all the wonderful things Michigan has to offer.
Katie Gipe, Eli Bale, Nikki Rakestraw, Tyler Tester, Nikola Gudovic, & Danielle Tanner
Civic Engagement GA
Brendan is an alumni of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and received his B.A. in Elementary Education. While in undergrad, he was involved with various service initiatives, student activities, student government, and human rights advocacy groups. Brendan is pursuing his M.A. in Higher Education with an emphasis in college student affairs leadership. His responsibilities here at GVSU entail overseeing leadership development initiatives such as the I am Grand Valley program, Venderbush Leadership Lecture, Leadership Summit, and Leadership University.
Civic Engagement GA
Nicole joined the GVSU Office of Student Life in August 2014. Prior to Grand Valley, Nicole earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Calvin College where she was involved in residence life, new student orientation, campus activities, and admissions. Nicole is now pursuing her M.Ed in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU where she loves overseeing and coordinating the Laker Leadership Programs and service initiatives through the Community Service Learning Center as well as advising Colleges Against Cancer. Nicole is passionate about student involvement, civic engagement, and leadership development.