The Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement is located in 230 Mary Idema Pew Library, atop the stairs on the second floor. Contact us or come see us today to schedule a meeting, inquire about getting involved in undergraduate research and/or applying for fellowships, or give us an update about your success.
Full Time Staff
Dr. Susan Mendoza is the founding director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS). She earned her PhD at Western Michigan University, Master of Arts at Michigan State University, and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and anthropology from Michigan State University with specializations in African Studies and International Development. Dr. Mendoza was also selected as a King, Parks Chavez Faculty Fellow in 2012. Prior to her role with OURS, Dr. Mendoza has held multiple roles at GVSU, Kalamazoo College, and Michigan State University in integrative learning, career development, academic advising, residence life, and internationalizing student life. As a practitioner, Dr. Mendoza focuses on employing innovative programmatic design networks as a mechanism to build equity for students across disciplines and social identities. Dr. Mendoza’s current research focuses on the intersection of disciplinary epistemology, high impact interventions, mentorship, and student agency.
Brenda is an experienced academic administrator and faculty member, with a focus in recent years on international education and international students. She has most recently administered a very active study abroad program, promoting off-campus study, volunteer opportunities and internships, curricular offerings and programs supporting internationalization and globalized perspectives upon complex issues; she has also directed a Peace Corps Prep program and looks forward to encouraging students to explore Peace Corps as well as the many other national fellowship possibilities available to them. Dr. Tooley received her PhD from the University of Notre Dame in 1991. Her training and scholarship initially focused on eighteenth-century British literature and literary theory; her teaching and publication work has been primarily on eighteenth-century satire and novels, Gothic novels, and utopian/dystopian literature, and more recently on the use of English as creative medium by young writers within the former Eastern bloc. She is also a published poet who loves cats, opera, jazz and country music, books of many sorts, long walks, and gardening.
Shelley Sickrey, M.A.
Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement Assistant
Shelley Sickrey has been in the Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement (CUSE) since its inception (as the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship) in 2010. She currently works with Dr. Mendoza on organizing CUSE programs, managing budgets, and assisting students, among other roles. Shelley studied at Grand Valley State University as an undergraduate, earning her BA with majors in Legal Studies and English, along with a minor in Political Science. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in English Literature from GVSU. Prior to working at GVSU, she assisted attorneys in criminal law, family law, and intellectual property law. She enjoys being back in an academic setting, almost as much as she enjoys Gotham, Hogwarts, Westeros, and sporting events.
Courtney Sherwood, B.A.
Courtney Sherwood came to GVSU in 2002. Prior to joining CUSE, Courtney was fortunate to wear many hats at the university including records auditor, CLAS Dean’s office support (including grant support), and office coordinator for the Kutsche Office of Local History. Courtney holds a B.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Norwich University. She loves nothing more than traveling with her family (unless it's hiding from them with a good book).
Part Time Staff & Partners
Teegan is a graduate student in the Public Health program at GVSU. She previously attended Aquinas College where she received her BS in Health Science and worked as a student researcher. Upon completion of her graduate degree, she aspires to be an Epidemiologist. In her spare time, Teegan enjoys caring for her house plants, biking, and rock climbing.
Jack is a graduate student in the Social Innovation Program at Grand Valley. He also attended his undergrad at GVSU, earning his BS in Political Science with a minor in Human Rights. His areas of interest revolve around human rights and sustainability. While in Grad School, he serves as the Fellowships Graduate Assistant through the Center for Undergraduate Scholar Engagement. He enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, and drinking coffee with friends.
Brynn is a freshman double majoring in Dance and Advertising and Public Relations. When she’s not dancing or in the library Brynn likes to read, go on hikes, and hang out with her friends.
Haley is a third year student at Grand Valley studying Secondary Education and Chemistry. When she isn't in the office, Haley is probably in Padnos studying or down by the Grand River with the Rowing Club. In her spare time, she enjoys finding her next favorite song or facetiming with her family in Illinois. Haley plans on teaching high school Chemistry and Biology once she graduates from GV.
Jess is a junior writing major. When she's not writing poetry, she loves to read. Museums are her favorite places to go.
Kylie is a freshman at Grand Valley State University majoring in Nursing with the intent of becoming a Midwife. Kylie is a proud Oliver Wilson Scholar. She enjoys reading romance books, playing video games, as well as going swing dancing downtown Grand Rapids. A fun fact about Kylie is she can recite word for word the full movie of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
OURS Faculty Fellow
Professor Hammersmith’s areas of specialization are aging, health, parent’s relationships with their adult children, caregiving, as well as union dissolution and formation in later life. At GVSU, Professor Hammersmith mentors students in many disciplines (e.g., Sociology, BMS, Movement Science, and Nursing) on all types of social science research projects including students’ own independent research, faculty led work, as well as Honor’s Projects.
OURS Faculty Fellow
Dr. Hunt has spent a lifetime studying and improving the lives of vertebrate animals. Dr. Hunt loved working with undergraduates from her first day teaching a Human Anatomy laboratory at SDSU in 1987, and knew soon thereafter that her career would emphasize working with undergraduates in the classroom, laboratory and field. She mentored her first undergraduate research collaborator while still a graduate student at KU, and continued collaborating closely with undergraduate researchers since her first year at GVSU in 1995.
OURS Student Ambassador
Ian is a senior majoring in Statistics and French and minoring in Math and Psychology. He hopes to obtain a Master’s degree in Data Science and maybe a Ph.D. in Computer Science. He is currently interested in creating algorithms for music personalization and recommendation. Outside of school he enjoys writing, listening to, and recording music; walking his dog, Sadie; and collecting fun-printed socks.
OURS Student Ambassador
Mary is a senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in biochemistry with the goal to earn her PhD in biochemistry. She is currently doing research with Dr. Powers on novel boronic acids as cross-class inhibitors for β-lactamases to overcome antibiotic resistance. She is an OURS Student Ambassador, a chemistry tutor at the GVSU Chemistry Success Center, and the president of the GVSU Euchre Club. A few of Mary’s hobbies are swimming, hiking, playing cards, and relaxing on the boat. Fun fact: Mary loves to skydive!
OURS Student Ambassador
Owen is a junior at GVSU studying Finance and Economics with a certificate in Applied Data Analytics. He is involved with the Frederik Meijer Honors College and the Seidman Investment Portfolio Organization. Outside of school, he enjoys watching sports, reading, and playing Spikeball. Owen hopes to work in real estate or corporate finance once he graduates from Grand Valley.
OURS Student Ambassador
I am a senior at Grand Valley studying Computer Science. I am also a student ambassador so feel free to reach out with questions. I enjoy running, spontaneous adventures, and reading. A fun fact about me is that I am really good at telling the depth of puddles : )
SMART Lab Director
Gayle is the director of the SMART Lab, a program to embed undergraduate research experiences into the LEADS degree-completion program in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. She is also the library liaison to Education, in the College of Education and Community Innovation. Gayle has an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a Master of Library and Information Science. She co-edited and contributed to two books on librarianship and information literacy. Gayle’s a proud mom to two Laker grads, and she enjoys good food, good wine, traveling, movies, long walks, Tigers baseball, and summer.