Staff Directory

Valerie Guzman

Valerie Guzman

Assistant Director of Student Life - Leadership & Service Initiatives

Valerie joined the GVSU Office of Student Life staff in August 2008 as one of several Assistant Directors. She directly oversees the Laker Leadership Programs and the Community Service Learning Center staff, programs, and resources. Additionally, Valerie serves as a resource for all Service & Advocacy groups on campus and is the direct advisor of several service organizations at GVSU, including Alternative Breaks and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honorary. Prior to arriving at GVSU, Valerie spent several years working at the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) in the service and leadership office. Valerie earned her undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University and M.Ed in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU. She is originally from west Michigan and resides in northwest Grand Rapids. Outside of work Valerie is a dance instructor at a local dance studio, enjoys cooking, and is working toward her EdD.

StrengthsQuest Signature Themes: Discipline * Achiever * Responsibility * Harmony * Focus

Nicole Wilson

Nicole Wilson

Graduate Assistant- Laker Leadership Programs

Nicole joined the GVSU Office of Student Life in August 2014. Prior to Grand Valley, Nicole earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Calvin College where she was involved in residence life, new student orientation, campus activities, and admissions. Nicole is now pursuing her M.Ed in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU where she loves overseeing and coordinating the Laker Leadership Programs and service initiatives through the Community Service Learning Center as well as advising Colleges Against Cancer. Nicole is passionate about student involvement, civic engagement, and leadership development.

StrengthsQuest Signature Themes: Positivity * Relator * Developer * Achiever * Strategic


Brendan Gallagher

Brendan Gallagher

Graduate Assistant - Leadership Development

Brendan joined the GVSU Office of Student Life in July 2014. Prior to Grand Valley, Brendan earned his bachelors degree in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. While in undergrad, he was involved with the Student Activities Board, Student Government, Amnesty International, Alternative Spring Break, as well as taught at the UM-Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center. Brendan will be pursuing his master's degree in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU. He is looking forward to working in the Office of Student Life at GVSU and making a positive difference in the campus community.


Maria Beelen

Leadership Staff Assistant

Maria Joined the Leadership team in the fall of 2014. She works with the various leadership opportunities in the Office of Student Life, and facilitates the annual "I am Grand Valley" nomination process and reception. She is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is currently in here senior year, she sits and the Vice-President for Education on Grand Valley's Student Senate, and is the president of Women in STEM Fields; she is studying Geology with a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality studies.


Leadership and Service Internship Team

The Community Service Learning Center and Laker Leadership Programs would like to announce and welcome aboard our 2015-2016 Leadership and Service Intern Team. This group of talented individuals will be an integral part of leadership and service initiatives that occur throughout the year!

Our interns are equipped to provide the campus community with presentations, workshops, or general information about leadership and service to your class, group, or student organization. Contact Nicole Wilson,, for more information.


Emily Cabot

Emily is a sophomore at GVSU, studying Public and Nonprofit Administration with and emphasis on Budget and Financing. She has two minors in Spanish and Religious Studies. She is from Kalamazoo, Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, skiing, and having quality conversations with her friends and family.


Amber Gerrits

Amber is a sophomore at Grand Valley majoring in Group Social Studies and Education with minors in Elementary Certification and French. She plans on becoming an elementary teacher, and hopes to one day grow into an administration role. On campus, Amber is a member of the Frederik Meijer Honors College, Alternative Breaks, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the Grand Valley Swing Dance Club. She also plans on studying abroad in France this coming summer. In her free time Amber enjoys listening to music, playing card games with friends, exploring antique shops, and doing community service.


Ryker Huizinga

Ryker is a junior who is studying Communication, Public Relations and Nonprofit Administration. In addition to being a Leadership & Service Intern, he also works as a Writing Consultant for the Meijer Center for Writing and manages PR and recruitment for Alternative Breaks. In his spare time, he enjoys running, traveling and playing the ukulele. 


April Urbanowski

April is a junior here at GVSU where she is majoring in International Relations and Geography. She is currently president of the Book Club on campus, and she is involved in Alternative Breaks and College against Cancer. One day April would love to work as a manager at a nonprofit.