Groundswell Staff

GSI Staff

Photograph of Veda Hodges

Veda Hodges, Office Coordinator

Veda Hodges has been the office coordinator for the Center for Educational Partnerships within the College of Education and Community Innovation for over 25 years.

She has worked with the Groundswell Stewardship Initiative since its creation. Veda works hard on many Groundswell projects behind the scenes.

Veda enjoys working with the CEP staff and appreciates all of interactions that Groundswell has with children all over West Michigan.

Office Address: 396 DeVos Building C

Email: [email protected]

Photograph of Allison Palm

Allison Palm, Place-based Education Specialist

Allison is a nonprofit professional who was born and raised in Grand Rapids. She graduated from Albion College with a degree in Mass Media Communication Studies and Sociology. She later earned a master's degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Grand Valley State University. Throughout her career, she has worked at several local nonprofit organizations of various missions; primarily with those in education, community engagement, the arts, and social justice.

Allison will be planning Groundswell Professional Development opportunities, assisting educators in connecting with community partners, and visiting schools to observe and support classes as they pursue their action projects!

Allison lives in downtown Grand Rapids with her husband and loves spending time at Lake Michigan, hiking local trails, and creating art.

Office Address: 356 DeVos Building C

Email: [email protected]

Photograph of Mara Spears

Mara Spears, Project Specialist

Mara Spears graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies, a minor in Environmental Studies, and a Sustainable Food Systems Certificate. Mara has worked with kids for most of her life, and has been volunteering and working with students in the Grand Rapids area since 2016.

At Groundswell, Mara conducts outreach with schools, districts, partners in the greater Grand Rapids area. She also oversees student stewardship project administration, Groundswell funding, and program advancement.

She lives with her husband on the Grand Rapids West Side, with their two cats and a whole lot of plants.

Office Address: 354 DeVos Building C

Email: [email protected]

Photograph of Vicky Wright

Vicky Wright, Center of Educational Partnerships Assistant Director

Vicky Wright currently serves as the Assistant Director for the Center of Educational Partnerships. This is her second time working at GVSU - her first being in Housing and Residence Life as a Living Center Director.  In her current role, Vicky works collaboratively with departments across campus to promote experiential learning initiatives and works cooperatively with faculty to develop and support partnerships in the greater West Michigan communities. She also works closely with program staff to further develop the Groundswell Stewardship Initiative.  

Vicky holds an M.S. in Positive Organizational Development and Change, a certificate in Coaching for Emotional Intelligence, and The Appreciative Inquiry Certificate in Positive Business and Societal Change from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. She is also certified from the Institute for Experiential Learning as a facilitator for the Kolb Experiential Learning Profile. She holds an M.Ed. in Higher Education and Administration from The University of Akron and a B.A. from Aquinas College. 

Vicky is passionate about creating conditions that allow individuals, teams, and organizations to thrive. Vicky draws on her expertise in mindfulness, emotional intelligence and strengths-based mindset to do her work. She is particularly interested in sustainable business practices and how we can support businesses "doing well by doing good". 

Vicky lives in Muskegon, MI with her dog Toby and enjoys camping, hiking, and gardening.

Office Address: 358 DeVos Building C

Email: [email protected]

Student Staff

Photograph of Emma Oresky

Emma Oresky, Student Communications and Web Content Assistant

Emma Oresky is a senior at Grand Valley State University majoring in marketing. 

At Groundswell, Emma’s duties focus on Groundswell’s social media management, website management, newsletter, and overall communications. Emma is passionate about using her skills to further the positive reach of Groundswell to the community.

In her free time, Emma enjoys spending time in nature, hiking with friends, and traveling.

Photograph of Emma Van Eerden

Emma Van Eerden, Student Office Assistant

Emma Van Eerden is a junior at Grand Valley State University. She is majoring in natural resource management with a minor in biology and a certificate in geographic information systems.

Emma's area of focus at Groundswell is assisting her colleagues in order to provide resources for environmental education. 

Outside of school, Emma's hobbies are spending time with her dogs and doing anything outdoors.

Page last modified April 1, 2024