OURS Staff

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship is located in 230 Mary Idema Pew Library, atop the stairs on the second floor. Contact us or come see us today to inquire about undergraduate research and scholarship, schedule a meeting, or give us an update about your success. 


Susan as a bitmoji character.

Susan Mendoza, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Scholar Engagement
Founding Director, Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship
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Dr. Susan Mendoza is the founding director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS). She earned her PhD at Western Michigan University, Master of Arts at Michigan State University, and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and anthropology from Michigan State University with specializations in African Studies and International Development. Dr. Mendoza was also selected as a King, Parks Chavez Faculty Fellow in 2012. Prior to her role with OURS, Dr. Mendoza has held multiple roles at GVSU, Kalamazoo College, and Michigan State University in integrative learning, career development, academic advising, residence life, and internationalizing student life. As a practitioner, Dr. Mendoza focuses on employing innovative programmatic design networks as a mechanism to build equity for students across disciplines and social identities. Dr. Mendoza’s current research focuses on the intersection of disciplinary epistemology, high impact interventions, mentorship, and student agency.


Brenda Tooley Bitmoji

Brenda Tooley, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Undergraduate Scholar Engagement
Program Director of the Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships
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Brenda is an experienced academic administrator and faculty member, with a focus in recent years on international education and international students. She has most recently administered a very active study abroad program, promoting off-campus study, volunteer opportunities and internships, curricular offerings and programs supporting internationalization and globalized perspectives upon complex issues; she has also directed a Peace Corps Prep program and looks forward to encouraging students to explore Peace Corps as well as the many other national fellowship possibilities available to them. Dr. Tooley received her PhD from the University of Notre Dame in 1991. Her training and scholarship initially focused on eighteenth-century British literature and literary theory; her teaching and publication work has been primarily on eighteenth-century satire and novels, Gothic novels, and utopian/dystopian literature, and more recently on the use of English as creative medium by young writers within the former Eastern bloc. She is also a published poet who loves cats, opera, jazz and country music, books of many sorts, long walks, and gardening.


Shelley as a bitmoji character.

Shelley Sickrey, M.A.
Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Assistant
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Shelley Sickrey has been in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS) since its inception. She currently works with Dr. Mendoza on promoting OURS programs, managing budgets, and assisting students, among other roles. Shelley studied at Grand Valley State University as an undergraduate, earning her BA with majors in Legal Studies and English, along with a minor in Political Science. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in English Literature from GVSU. Prior to working at GVSU, she assisted attorneys in criminal law, family law, and intellectual property law. She enjoys being back in an academic setting, almost as much as she enjoys Hogwarts, Westeros, the MCU, and sporting events.


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Courtney Sherwood, B.A.
Office Coordinator
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Courtney Sherwood came to GVSU in 2002. Prior to joining OURS, Courtney was fortunate to wear many hats at the university including records auditor, CLAS Dean’s office support (including grant support), and office coordinator for the Kutsche Office of Local History. Courtney holds a B.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Norwich University. She loves nothing more than traveling with her family (unless it's hiding from them with a good book).


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D'Shyla Hodge
Graduate Assistant
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D’Shyla is from Flint, MI and excited to embark on her new journey at GVSU as a Master of Public Health student. Prior to her graduate education, D’Shyla graduated from Central Michigan University and received her BS in Psychology along with a Cultural and Global Studies Certificate in African and African Diaspora Studies. She aspires to give back to her community and become a leader in the public health field. D’Shyla enjoys watching movies, binge watching her favorite TV shows, and listening to music. Fun fact about her: she can juggle!


Danielle Uribe Bitmoji

Danielle Uribe
Graduate Assistant
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Danielle Uribe is a Master of Public Health student. She was born and raised in Midland, Michigan, and obtained her BS from Central Michigan University as a Community Health Education major and a Multimedia Design minor. Her dream is to become a research epidemiologist, and study adolescent health issues. She loves helping students find what inspires them, and hopes to continue doing so at Grand Valley. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and doing yoga.


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Emily Morrison
Student Assistant

Emily is from Fenton, MI. She is a freshman at GVSU and is majoring in Biomedical Sciences with the intention of becoming a doctor specializing in fertility. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing with her dogs, traveling and baking. Emily loves to learn and wants to use the knowledge she gains at Grand Valley to help others.


LaMaiya as a Bitmoji

LaMaiya Wright
Student Assistant

My name is LaMaiya Wright. I am a junior at Grand Valley State University, majoring in elementary education with an emphasis in English. My biggest goal is to make a difference in children’s lives in any way I can. My favorite things to do in my free time is go shopping or watch movies.