Laker Connections

Laker Connections Student Success Programs

Brothers: Black Male Scholars (designed for students who identify as Black men), Laker Familia (designed for students who identify as Latino/a/x), Niara (designed for students who identify as women of color) and Queer Connections (designed for students who identify as LGBTQIA+) are designed to create an environment where students can achieve their full potential at GVSU while being their full, authentic selves. These programs are open to all students and a reflection of our values of inclusiveness and diversity and our core mission of student success.

Purpose & Pillars

The purpose of the Laker Connections Student Success Programs is to help students achieve success at GVSU.

  •  Students will experience intentional environments that are reaffirming and encouraging of students’ identities.
  •  Students will be exposed to a variety of experiences to help them develop skills necessary for college and beyond.
  •  Students will know that faculty/staff care about them and believe they can succeed.
  •  Students will develop meaningful relationships with other students.
  •  Student will develop a sense of belonging and greater satisfaction with their college experience.

 Students will…

  •  Make connections to the larger community outside of GVSU
  • Understand how to engage in the democratic process
  • Have opportunities to engage in dialogue

 Students will…

  • Feel a sense of agency in their ability to lead
  • Understand their strengths/growth areas
  • Learn about opportunities to engage in leadership

 Students will…

  • Understand the academic rhythm of the year and key milestones
  • Connect to academic resources
  • Explore their purpose/passion

 Students will…

  •  Have a relationship with a faculty/staff member(s) and feel confident they care about their success

Mentor: a faculty/staff person at GVSU who has committed to helping a student succeed while at GVSU by providing personal support, resource/referral information to on-campus resources, and other assistance as needed.

Program Coordinators

Relando Thompkins-Jones

Relando Thompkins-Jones, Brothers



Adriana Almanza

Adriana Almanza, Laker Familia



Alex Montgomery

Alex Montgomery, Niara



Marla Wick

Marla Wick, Queer Connections



2019-2020 Meetings

Coming Soon.

  • 9/16/19 (4-6pm, 2266 Kirkhof Center)
  • 10/4/19 (12-2pm, 2266 Kirkhof Center)
  • 10/14/19 (12-2pm, 2266 Kirkhof Center)
  • 11/11/19 (4-6pm, 2266 Kirkhof Center)
  • 12/9/19 (12-2pm, 303C DeVos Center, Grand Rapids)
  • 1/13/20 (4-6pm, 2266 Kirkhof Center)
  • 2/10/19 (12-2pm, 2266 Kirkhof Center)
  • 3/9/19 (4-6pm, 2266 Kirkhof Center)
  • 4/6/19 (4-6pm, 2266 Kirkhof Center)
Queer Connections

Queer Connections is specifically designed to match LGBTQIA+ undergraduate students with OUT faculty, staff, or graduate students. Mentoring pairs meet regularly over a six-month period, based on student day/time availability. Student registration is available at the start of the fall semester.