OURS Student Ambassadors

Launched in the fall semester of 2014, the OURS Student Ambassador program allows former student scholars to continue their work with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS). OURS Student Ambassadors represent the office by providing outreach and guidance to GVSU undergraduate students interested in getting involved in research opportunities. OURS Student Ambassadors have had a positive undergraduate research experience to share with others, and are dedicated to spreading the word about Undergraduate Research at Grand Valley State University. They also work with the OURS staff on improving outreach efforts and programming.

How Ambassadors Can Help You


  • Answer questions that you may have about the process of research, ranging from how to ask a research question to how to disseminate your research
  • Mentor you through the Student Summer Scholars program application and research process


  • Give a short presentation to your class or department about their experiences in research and the support that OURS can provide to GVSU students
  • Share their personal experiences and opinions on best practices regarding their direct collaboration with a faculty mentor


Request an Ambassador

To request an OURS Student Ambassador for a presentation, please fill out our online request form. If you have any questions, please email the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship at ours@gvsu.edu or give us a call at (616) 331-8100.

Submit Request

Meet the 2017-2018 OURS Student Ambassadors

Brandon Beltz

Contact: beltzb@mail.gvsu.edu
Major: Biology
Minor: none

Brandon Beltz

It is quintessential for the progress of humankind that we encourage curiosity, maintain a passion for discovery and facilitate the pursuit of the unknown. This has been the mantra, so to speak, that I have used to explain where my love for research is founded from. In high school I was accepted into a highly competitive, research-based STEM program, and was given a chance to experience the research process. Although I had never previously considered research as a career choice, I quickly fell in love with the inquisitive nature of my work and decided that I would pursue research as a career. Sure enough, my passion for exploration and discovery survived high school and motivated me to get involved with undergraduate research in Biology, my major, at Grand Valley. I have been working on, and continue to work on, a 3-year long exploration of genetic differentiation in the Bold Jumping Spider, Phidippus audax, with Dr. Michael Henshaw of the Biology Department. During my time as an OURS Ambassador, I will share my research experiences across campus, and provide the means for students of all backgrounds to experience research first-hand. If I am able to help even one student discover the same passion that I have for research, I can leave Grand Valley knowing that I’ve not only made a difference in a life, but have helped facilitate the progress of humankind.

“To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it.
Henry David Thoreau

Mark Hosea

Contact: hoseam@mail.gvsu.edu
Major: Biomedical Science
Emphasis: Pre-Professional Preparation (Predental)
Minor: none

Mark Hosea

I am presently in my junior year with my major being Biomedical Science emphasizing my career path towards dentistry. “Research” is undoubtedly one of my favorite words. I have a job at a company called Directions in Research as a Research Specialist while being involved in research here at school furthering my evidence for my favorite word. The research I am participating with here on campus consists of casting and molding protocols of extinct and extant mammal dentition. Even though I am a Senior Lab Member now, there is still so much for me to experience such as CT scanning based computer software with topography-like dental analysis. Many misnomers involving research on campus have been instilled in students’ attitudes that hinder their true potential. Some misnomers, just to name a few, consist of not having enough time, not applicable to career path, and a general disinterest. The only way to truly get a feel for the whole research atmosphere is for students to try it for themselves. A classic saying which speaks truth along the same principles is “you do not know unless you try”. Feel free to contact in order to get more information if you were ever thinking of doing on-campus research. Learning is a lifelong process in which research can help anyone get a head start. To further my aspirations in learning and research, I hope to be part of the Student Summer Scholars, Student Scholars Day, an Academic Conference, and be part of a publication. Some extracurriculars I have been a part of are Predental Club, Club Swim, dental assistant at Exalta Health, and Make A Difference Day to name a few.

Megan Plekker

Contact: plekkerm@mail.gvsu.edu
Major: Chemistry
Minor: Environmental Studies

Megan Plekker

I’m currently heading into my senior year at Grand Valley majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Environmental Sciences. Besides doing homework, my hobbies include riding and caring for my horse, playing volleyball on summer nights with friends and taking part in Intramurals on-campus.

Last summer, I was blessed to be part of the Student Summer Scholars Research Program, which focused on new and up-and-coming technology of eye-tracking. I used a machine that tracked the eye movements of students in order to help teachers present chemical structures in a format that will enable students to understand and learn more efficiently. After I completed my project, I presented my findings at the American Chemical Society Meeting in California this past April and now I am planning on publishing my work in the Journal of Chemical Education.

When I first started the research project, I was not sure what to expect, but I wanted to see if the area of research was even for me. Through this ambassador opportunity, I hope to encourage students to try research, even if they aren’t sure it’s for them, because one day it may lead them down a path they might have never taken.

This summer I was able to continue my path of research by being part of BISSELL where I helped formulate pet sprays and cleaning products for homes. Although this is different than eye-tracking, it gave me a unique perspective on the field and showed me just how wide reaching chemistry really is. If anyone has any questions about this program or even about college in general, please feel free to contact me.

What Does an Ambassador Do?

An OURS Student Ambassador is responsible for the promotion of undergraduate research throughout GVSU and the larger West Michigan community (high schools, middle schools, prospective GVSU students). Ambassadors are tasked with increasing awareness of undergraduate opportunities at GVSU among their peers by presenting to groups of students, offering seminars and workshops, and being available to mentor students during the process of research. In doing so, Ambassadors will help interested students develop the skills needed to embark on undergraduate research, increase number of GVSU students that begin undergraduate research prior to their junior year, and increase attendance at the Undergraduate Research Fair, Student Scholars Day, and other events or programs coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. More information can be found in the job description.

To be considered for an Undergraduate Research Ambassador position, a student must have been a recipient of a GVSU funded research award or program, including (but not limited to):

Being an Undergraduate Research Ambassador comes with a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Tuition grant of $250 per semester
  • Development of public speaking, communication, and marketing skills
  • Working with administrative staff, GVSU faculty, and students of all ages


Page last modified April 30, 2018