Meet the Staff

Exploratory Advisors

Doris Penn

Office Address: C-1-140 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: penndo@gvsu.edu

Greetings! I am so excited to be part of the CLAS Academic Advising Center! I was born and raised in the Peruvian Amazon and moved to the United States in 1996. I had worked in a variety of areas including community development, information technology, human resources, K-12 education, and higher education. I attended Grand Valley State University where I earned a B.A. in Business Administration and a M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Leadership. Because I believe in learning and have the passion for assisting people, during my time at GVSU as a student, I joined the International Student Organization, became a mentor for NIARA, advised a Sorority Student Organization (Sigma Lambda Gamma), and became and still am an advisor for the Latin American Studies Program. Since 2014, I am a member for the Laker Familia Orientation committee, and a member of the LAFSA committee. In my free time, I enjoy being with my family and volunteering with Grand Rapids community initiatives, such as teaching English to adults who are in the process of getting their GED through the West Michigan Literacy Center, collaborating with the Women’s International Club, and volunteering with the GRPS schools.

Doris Penn

Katherine Sanders Photograph

Kate Sanders

Office Address: C-1-140 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: sandkath@gvsu.edu

Born and raised in New Jersey, I moved to the Midwest to complete my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I have a MA in Clinical Psychology, but discovered part way through the program that I was not interested in practicing therapeutic work! Instead, I began my career in education. I worked for 5 years at the Noble Network in Chicago, Illinois, which is a public charter high school system. After moving to Grand Rapids in 2018, I began working at GRCC and now with Exploratory Study students at GVSU. In each job I've had, my favorite things have always been helping orient students to the educational system they are part of, giving them space and resources to discover themselves, and provide information to ensure they are maximizing the time and opportunities that they have during this time of life. I would love to meet with you to hear where you are on your educational journey. When I’m not in the office, you’ll find me hanging out with the 2 most awesome little girls in all of Grand Rapids - possibly in all the country - my daughters, or checking out one of the several trendy restaurants in GR with my husband.

Karel Swanson

Office Address: C-1-140 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: swankare@gvsu.edu

I began my career journey at Grand Valley in 2001 when I was hired to coordinate academic support programs for primarily Science and Mathematics courses. In 2003 I launched the Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) program which is also an academic support program for historically difficult classes. SLA provides support through workshops which are connected to the course and are supported by both faculty and student facilitators. I made a career shift in 2008 when I added academic advising to my daily work activities. It is truly my passion to help students succeed, whether that be through academic advising and helping students find the major that is their best fit, or by providing academic support via improved learning strategies. I have a BA in Group Social Studies and a M.Ed. in Higher Education. In my free time I enjoy communing with nature whether it be walking in the woods or on a beach, collecting rocks and stones, growing flowers and vegetables, rescuing a turtle who is crossing a busy road or watching birds on our feeders. Reading and cooking are always favorite activities as well.

Karel Swanson


Julie Amon-Mattox

Office Address: C-1-120 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: amonju@gvsu.edu

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.

Julie Amon-Mattox


Emily Davis

Emily Davis

Office Address: C-1-140 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: davisem1@gvsu.edu

I’m so excited to be joining the CLAS Advising Center!!  I’m from Marne, Michigan, which is a tiny little farm town about ten minutes north of Allendale.  I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University with a major in Journalism and a minor in French. I worked in housing for a few years before deciding to attend grad school at Grand Valley.  I graduated from Grand Valley’s Masters of Education in College Student Affairs Leadership program in 2015, so I’ve been at GVSU since 2013!  After graduating in 2015, I worked at Grand Valley as a Living Center Director for just over three years before making the move over to CLAS Advising!  In my free time I love spending time with my family and friends, and anything related to sports, music, water, or animals.  I’m excited to meet you all!!!


Brian Eikenhout

Office Address: C-1-120 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: eikenhbr@gvsu.edu

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 basketball, volleyball, soccer, and hockey. 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 oversee the drop-in tutoring centers on campus so if you are interested in becoming a tutor please don’t hesitate to contact me. I also serve as the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) representative for our office and we host a GRE workshop every fall and winter. As part of the Pre-Professional team, I help students plan courses for their programs and select meaningful extra-curricular experiences to build strong applications. I advise the Pre-SOMA Club on campus which is a group that is focused on pursuing osteopathic medicine. I also advise students who are exploring majors and even teach a section of US 102-Career Education Class once a year to first- and second-year students to assist them in finding a major that best aligns with their interests/skills. In my free time I like to watch and play sports, run, sing, and volunteer. You can often find me in the Rec Center doing something to stay active.

Brian Eikenhout


Tom Fellows

Tom Fellows

Office Address: C-1-140 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: fellowth@gvsu.edu

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.


Dani Lauer

Office Address: C-1-120 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: lauerd@gvsu.edu

Hello! I am delighted to be a part of the GVSU family as a CLAS Academic Advisor working with pre-professional students.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Interpersonal and Public Communication with a Spanish minor from Central Michigan University.  I worked on campus at CMU for five years before returning home to pursue my Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Cornerstone University.  Throughout my Master’s I gained additional experience working as a therapist in the university counseling center as well as providing academic and career advising for graduate students.  I love to travel and some of my favorite experiences have been in Chile, Argentina, Cambodia, and Spain.  When I am not planning my next adventure abroad, you can find me exploring new coffee shops and restaurants, going to see live music, or hiking with friends.  I look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your academic goals while at Grand Valley!

Dani Lauer Photograph


Jason Prowant

Jason Prowant

Office Address: C-1-120 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: prowanja@gvsu.edu

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!


Michelle Redmond

Office Address: C-1-140 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: redmond2@gvsu.edu

The CLAS Academic Advising Center warmly welcomed me to the Laker family as their new Director in June of 2017.  Since I was raised in western Michigan, this is my chance to return home, a place that’s very special to me.  I bring with me nearly ten years of advising experience from two institutions: Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma City Community College.  My educational background includes an Associate’s Degree from Windward Community College (Oahu, Hawaii), a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Oklahoma State University, and a Master’s Degree from Kansas State University.  Some of my favorite collegiate experiences include doing two semesters of research on prospective memory as an undergraduate, participating in all the homecoming festivities at an institution steeped in traditions, and studying abroad in Italy as a graduate student.  I wish I had been able to spend an entire semester or even a year abroad, but my 10-day immersion was enough to confirm the value of such an experience.  Now I enjoy the excited anticipation of students who are about to explore the world and their stories upon returning home.  Someday I may resume my global adventures, but these days my husband and I are kept busy by our young son.  He loves to “help” his parents in the garden, and he’s a bookworm just like his mommy.  He also has a great sense of humor, which is important when I share with him advice like, “Be alert.  The world needs more lerts.”  For more great advice or a friendly chat, stop by my office in C-1-140 MAK!

Michelle Redmond


Alexis Schewe

Alexis Schewe

Office Address: C-1-120 Mackinac Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8585
Email: scheweal@gvsu.edu

I joined Grand Valley in July 2016 when I started in the Student Academic Success Center as an exploratory/undecided academic advisor.  I got my advising start at Davenport University working with business and paralegal students, and then moved to St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota to continue advising aspiring business students.  During this time I also completed my Master’s in College Counseling and Student Development.  My family relocated from central Minnesota to West Michigan in 2016 which was a homecoming for me since I grew up on the west side of Grand Rapids.  I am happy to be part of the Laker community and to join the Pre-Professional advising team in CLAS.  In my free time I can be found chasing after my two (very active) boys – Sam and Ben. 


Nick Woodward

I hail from Lake City, Michigan, a small town in the Northern Lower Peninsula. I attended Central Michigan University for my undergraduate degree and earned my Bachelors of Applied Arts in Interpersonal and Public Communication. As an undergraduate, I competed with the Speech and Debate program for 4 years, was involved with other communication related student organizations, and was a member of the orientation staff. I then came to GVSU to complete my Masters of Education in College Student Affairs Leadership. I was fortunate enough to work in the CLAS Academic Advising Center as a Graduate Assistant so it has been great to come back to the center as a full time advisor just prior to the fall 2016 semester. I returned to CLAS Advising after having spent 2 years at Purdue University working for the Purdue Promise scholarship program. In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball and running, walking my dog, and spending time with my family and friends.

Nick Woodward