Skip to main content

Meet the Staff


Mayra Fortes González

Mayra Fortes González

¡Hola! I am the Faculty Director at the International House and an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department. I am originally from Puebla, Mexico. I received my PhD in Hispanic Literatures from Vanderbilt University and I started working at GVSU after graduating from Vanderbilt, in 2009. I teach courses about U.S Latino culture, U.S Latino literature, Composition and Conversation, Literary Analysis, Reading and Telling Stories...all in Spanish! I love teaching about my language and my culture. I have been involved with the Latin American Studies minor and I have helped to organize the Day of the Dead event at GVSU, an event co-sponsored by the International House. I have taught a course on Latin American immigration to the U.S in the Honors College and I will be teaching a course on Latin American culture in the winter 2016. I enjoy working with students because they are full of energy and have good ideas, especially at the International House! 

Contact Information

142 Murray Living Center
(616) 331-3804


Kevin Neitzert

Kevin was born and raised here in Michigan and earned his Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.  He came to Grand Valley after having taught Elementary German at MSU, where he also completed his Master’s degree.  Kevin taught English for two years at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and still visits close friends there every few years to keep his language sharp.  “I love my work here at GVSU.  Working with students who are seeking different perspectives is really rewarding.  I catch a little feeling of excitement when they explore the world.”

Contact Information

142 Murray Living Center

Professional Housing Staff


Jasmine Padin
Living Center Director 

Jasmine is a full time Living Center Director in Housing and Residence Life. She oversees about 750 residents living in Murray Living Center, VanSteeland Living Center and Grand Valley Apartments. Within these living centers are two academic communities (International House and Woman’s Leadership House).  She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Leadership with a minor in Business and a Master’s in Education. She is also the academic advisor for Women's Lacrosse and Women's Basketball.

Contact Information

104 VanSteeland Living Center
(616) 331-4297

Brandon Shamoun

Brandon Shamoun
Assistant Living Center Director 

Brandon Shamoun is from Sterling Heights, Michigan and went to Wayne State University.  There, he received his bachelor's degree in secondary education with a Spanish focus with a minor in English as a second language and a dual degree in romance languages with a Spanish focus.  He loves languages and linguistics!  During his last year at WSU, he taught Spanish and technology in a middle school in Detroit for 6 months, and after graduation, he moved to Seville, Spain to teach English at an elementary school for a school year.  Brandon is currently working on his Master’s at GVSU in College Student Affairs Leadership with a hope to eventually work in student life and campus programming after graduation.

Contact Information

104 Murray Living Center
(616) 331-4294

2016-17 Resident Assistants


Chantal Suhling

Chantal is a senior at Grand Valley majoring in Photography and Communications with an emphasis in film. She is an international student from Bremen, Germany. Chantal is a very laid back, fun and passionate person who loves to meet new people. Some of her passions include watching movies, Grey’s Anatomy, spending time with friends, skiing, writing and baking. Though she was born and raised in northern Germany, this is her fourth year at Grand Valley, and she is looking forward to being a resident assistant in the International House for 2016-2017. As a Resident Assistant, Chantal is most looking forward to meeting all her residents and creating a diverse and fun community where everyone feels welcome and gets the chance to make college a one in a lifetime experience. She is also looking forward to meeting and helping the new international students with adjusting to the American culture.


Douglas Chambers III

Douglas Chambers is a third-year student at Grand Valley studying Nursing and Spanish. He is a passionate, energetic, caring individual who is always willing to talk or help out. He values open mindedness and enjoys settings where people can enjoy the freedom of discussion. As well as being a Resident Assistant, Douglas works with the Central Housing Office in the Holton-Hooker Learning & Living Center. He is from Clinton Township, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) with his parents, brother and sister. His favorite activities include learning languages, studying medicine, painting and drawing, going on random adventures, cooking, and thinking of ways to improve the world. Some of his interests include plants and nature (He always has a garden in his room), meditation and mindfulness, sustainability and environmental issues, world news, and healthy living/eating. He aspires to become a D.O. and travel the world, helping out those who cannot receive medical treatment. After that, he hopes to settle in his favorite country and build a community of like minded individuals dedicated to saving the earth, living a healthy life, and helping others around them.

2016-17 Peer Mentors


Ariana O'Neal

Ariana is a sophomore studying international business with a minor in French who also speaks Spanish fluently after living abroad for a number of years. She's from Plymouth, Michigan, but has lived in a number of other places as well. She loves the world and wants to learn as much about it in addition to various cultures. So if you pass by her, talk to her, she'd love to hear the stories you have to tell!


Lavar Green-Jackson

Hello beautiful people! My name is Lavar Green-Jackson, and I'm beyond honored to call myself a peer mentor of the International House for the 2016/2017 school year. I am from Clinton Township, Michigan; located in the Metro-Detroit area. I am a sophomore at Grand Valley, with behavioral neuroscience as my major and international relations as my minor. My passion for making connections with new people from different backgrounds inspired me to take on this position. In my spare time I like to exercise, play sports, meet new people, and travel. As a peer mentor, I hope to build lifelong connections with people and be a role model to not just the international community but others as well.


Maribell Funwie

Hi, my name is Mari-bell Funwie, and I am from Farmington Hills, Michigan, but I was born in Cameroon. Even though I was born in a country that speaks both French and English, French is a foreign language to me. I speak three languages: Pidgin, Nkwen, and English. I am a legal studies and criminal justice major. This will be my fourth year here at Grand Valley, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to work as a peer mentor in the International House. I hope to learn a little bit of culture and hopefully teach you all something about mine!


Molly Ritsema

Molly is a junior at Grand Valley majoring in nursing. She grew up in the beautiful Traverse City, Michigan. Molly is a friendly, fun-loving person whose passions include anything outdoors, biking, running, hiking, gardening, baking, spending time with family, and making new friends and learning about their lives. She is very excited to be a peer mentor for the 2016-2017 academic year! As a peer mentor, Molly is most looking forward to meeting all of the international students and getting to know them well!