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Across Campus

October 23, 2017


New office supports pre-college initiatives

A new campus office, Pathways to College, has opened with goals to provide pre-college programming to underrepresented middle and high school students and inspire them to enroll in college. 

Jose Contreras, a sophomore majoring in business, articulatedthe office's goals differently. "It's providing the support to help you to go from being led to being a leader," he said. 

Jose Contreras, a sophomore majoring in business, articulatedthe office's goals differently. "It's providing the support to help you to go from being led to being a leader," he said. 

Contreras, from Holland, represents one example how the new office works. He began participating in the Wade H. McCree Jr. Incentive Program through Grand Valley's Office of Multicultural Affairsas an eighth-grade student. The statewide programhosts workshops on college preparednessfor students in eighth-12th grade. 

Contreras and his family moved to Holland from Mexico when he was 6; one of his middle school teachers suggested he apply to the McCree program. 

"Once we got into high school, we had to maintain a certain GPA to remain in the program," he said. "There were overnight stays at Grand Valley, which made me feel comfortable on campus." 


GEAR UP students

Nyasia Montgomery, second from right, was among six students selected to attend the national GEAR UP conference in California; she is now a first-year student at Grand Valley. Pathways to College, a new campus office, provides pre-college programming to students like Montgomery. 

When he arrived at Grand Valley in 2016 as a first-year student, Contreras participated in Laker Familia, an orientation to welcome Latino students and their families to campus. In August, he was a Laker Familia mentor, helping others with their transition to campus life. 

Pathways to College houses the McCree program and Michigan GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs).Pathways Director Bobby Springer said the new office will expand on pre-college preparedness work and engage with schools within and outside of West Michigan. 

"These programs definitely help school counselors and teachers who can't get to everyone," Springer said. "Without these programs, there would be holes and gaps and students wouldn't get the information they need." 

Nyasia Montgomery, a first-year student from Grand Rapids, started in the GEAR UP program as a seventh-grader at Harrison Park Middle School and continued while she attended Union High School. 

"I didn't want to go to college but belonging to GEAR UP changed my viewpoint," Montgomery said. "I was able to get the feel of college, to know how to schedule classes and to understand financial aid. It made me actually want to go, it opened up my mind." 

Montgomery and other GEAR UP participants took summer trips throughout high school that involved a mix of sightseeing and touring colleges. In July, she was one of six students from Grand Rapids Public Schools selected to travel to California for the national GEAR UP conference. 

Enrolling at Grand Valley, she said, was a relatively easy decision. "I felt connected with the campus, felt at home here. I knew during my junior year that I wanted to come to Grand Valley,"Montgomery said. 

Housed in the Division of Inclusion and Equity, the Pathways to College website is


Pipeline programs aid demand of health care jobs

Partnerships and pipeline programs are keys to ensuring the rising demand of health care jobs will be filled, according to panelists speaking at a Health Forum of West Michigan event. 

"Health Care Talent Pipeline" was held October 6 at the DeVos Center. Jean Nagelkerk, vice provost for Health, moderated the event and said the health care industry is expected to grow by more than 4.1 million jobs by 2022. 

Spectrum Health hired more than 7,000 people last year, according toPam Ries, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. She said the area's largest health care system continues to build its internal pipeline of candidates by reaching into the K-12 school system. 

Ries saidSpectrum Health employees participate in a mentor program at Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids, host internship and apprenticeship programs and have a longstanding scholarship fund at Grand Rapids Community College. 

GRCC Provost Laurie Chesley said the college is posed to train and educate students for the health care industry by being responsive to employer needs and offering programs in collaboration with other institutions. Chesley cited themagnetic resonance imaging program, a collaborative effort among GRCC, Grand Valley and four other community college, as an example. 


Wanda Stokes, Maria Cimitile, Pam Ries,Laurie Chesley,Norman Beauchamp and Jean Nagelkerk.

From left are Wanda Stokes, Maria Cimitile, Pam Ries,Laurie Chesley,Norman Beauchamp and Jean Nagelkerk. 


"Partnerships are so important in advancing the pipeline, and it helps us as a college be relevant and be responsive," she said. 

Maria Cimitile, provost and executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at Grand Valley, said advisory boards and needs assessments help the university stay current with its health professions offering. 

Dr. Norman Beauchamp, dean of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and Wanda Stokes, director of the Talent Investment Agency, also spoke. 

Health Forum of West Michigan events are held monthly, hosted by the Office of the Vice Provost for Health; view the schedule online at


Open enrollment begins

The 2018 Benefits Open Enrollment registration begins at8 a.m. on Tuesday, October 24, and ends at 5 p.m. on November 8. 

The open enrollment period is an opportunity to examine benefit options.Visit and click on “2018 Open Enrollment” to review options; confirmations must be made on dependents and benefit plan coverage, home address, life insurance beneficiary designation and flexible spending and health savings accounts.New this year, faculty and staff members can sign up for the Healthy Choices wellness program during enrollment. 

Benefits staff members are available for one-on-one appointments, visit the website for dates and locations. 


Emergency system test set for Nov. 3

A test of the GVSUAlert! system will take place Friday, November 3, at noon. 

The test will include the outdoor tornado siren system followed by a voice message. 

All students, faculty and staff members will receive a test notification via email; a text and phone test message will be sent to those who signed up for those notification methods. To sign up for text or phone alerts visit

The test will also appear as a banner on Grand Valley'swebsite and will be sentto Desktop Notification computers, which include university-owned computers in labs and kiosks across campus. 


Hundreds of items collected during Food 4 Fines program

Grand Valley's student food pantry, Replenish,is well stocked thanks to donations collected during Food 4 Fines,a program that allowedpeople to donate items to the pantry toward payment for parking citations. 

More than 540 food items were collected during the first run of the new program.From September 25-October 6, nearly 100 people participated in the program by donating high-demand items to the pantry, which serves students who face financial struggles that affect their access to food. 

Lisa Garringer, Parking Systems Managing Operations assistant, said some people donated more items than was necessary to cover the cost of their citation. 

"It was an amazing two weeks of seeing Lakers looking out for Lakers," Garringer said. "My focus has been on creating more positive interactions between Parking Services and the campus community.This program was a great opportunity to do just that, and it directly impacted our students who are financially challenged." 

Garringer learned of similar programs while attending a parking conference in 2014, and Olivia Caton, security staff for Parking Services, wrote a proposal for a program before she graduated in 2016 with a degree in criminal justice. 

The pair planned the program with Sharalle Arnold,associate director of the Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity, who oversees Replenish, as well as campus partners including the School of Criminal Justice. 

For more information about Replenish, visit


CLAS to welcome alumni back to campus for presentations, events

Alumni from 13 departments within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will visit Grand Valley to share their post-graduation Laker Effects with the campus community. 

Below is a list of CLAS Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence who will participate in presentations and lectures October 26-27. 

• Timothy Zeeb, ’02, managing partner of Alpha Azalea LLC (international relations) 

• Aaron Park, ’03, aquatic biologist (Annis Water Resources Institute) 

• Justin Sjogren, ’06, ’08, manager of biostatistics (statistics) 

• Nathan Schout, ’11, physical education and health teacher at Bostrom Alternative High School (movement science) 

• Michael Brower, ’07, co-founder and director of sales and marketing for Pigeon Hill Brewing Company (philosophy) 

• Angela Mrozinski, ’04, outreach and events director for Connecticut River Conservancy (biology) 

• Holly Chadwick, ’01, associate director for refugee processing for Church World Service (anthropology) 

• Robert Bodziak, ’97, geophysicist at Geophysical Technology (geology) 

• Joshua Duram, ’12, U.S. history and biology teacher at Coopersville High School (history) 

• David Jagusch, ’09, instructional specialist and teacher for Detroit Public Schools (English) 

• Brittland DeKorver, ’07, assistant professor of chemistry at Grand Valley (chemistry) 

• Adam Cuthbert, ’10, composer and sound designer (music, theater and dance) 

• April Conant, ’09, professional archivist (Classics)