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 2021-2022 OURS Student Ambassadors

Seth Ockerman

Contact: ockermas@mail.gvsu.edu
Major: Computer Science

Seth Ockerman

I am a junior majoring in Computer Science with minors in Writing and Math. I am hoping to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in machine learning. My hobbies include running, crossfit, reading, ministry, and longboarding.

My involvement in research came about as a bit of an accident. In one of my introductory courses, I gained a reputation as the class question asker. My curiosity turned me into a regular office hours attendee (great thing- would highly recommend). As I built a relationship with that professor, he  eventually explained that “question asking” is more formally called research. Before I knew it, I was his research assistant, and after a summer working under him, I realized I wanted research to be my full time job. Under a different professor, I came up with an independent research project and  eventually applied for the 2020 Summer Scholars Grant. I was lucky enough to receive the S^3 grant, and Professor Carrier and I partnered on a project analyzing mask usage trends on social media using machine learning. I have had the opportunity to present my early findings at GVSU and MSU and currently am in the process of publishing our findings in an academic journal.

Over the last 3 years, I discovered that curiosity, determination and patience are often more important to successful research than innate ability. When I first got involved, I often felt like an imposter surrounded by geniuses who were impressive beyond belief. I have learned that research isn’t just about smarts -- it is about wanting to learn and find answers to questions that interest you, and ironically, often as a result you find yourself excelling. I hope to share my research experience with students to encourage them to get involved and find out if research is a path for them. It changed my perspective on education and what a career can be. Please reach out if you have any questions about what it is like to research at Grand Valley.

Noemy Parra-Cano

Contact: parracan@mail.gvsu.edu
Majors: Sociology & Psychology

Noemy Parra-Cano

I am currently a senior at Grand Valley double majoring in Sociology and Psychology. My hobbies include impromptu adventures with friends, going on walks, shopping, and baking.

Grand Valley, through the McNair Program introduced me to research which I though was only for supreme geniuses. I realized that research is not about being intellectual, but about having enough curiosity about a topic to dig deeper into it. I spent the last two summers as a McNair Scholar doing research through faculty mentorships. I have gain presentation experience as well as completed two manuscripts. My research interest for now seems to fall in the middle ground of sociology and psychology with minoritized populations. I received the Racial Equity Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year. My experience with research was not necessarily gradual; I jumped in and loved it! These past summers my research abilities such as critical thinking, analytical writing, and synthesis has improved drastically. My present research is about the perception and attitudes Latinos and Hispanic Immigrants have about mental health and therapy in West Michigan. This project is my first qualitative research piece, which has allowed me to further grow as a researcher.

Sharing my experience with research enables me to empower other to try something new as well as remove the perception research has. It seems that people tend to stay away from research because it seems difficult and very abstract. Explaining to people that research is not as abstract as it seems. As undergrads, we are learning and will receive all the help we need.

Lauren Proctor

Contact: proctola@mail.gvsu.edu
Major: Cell & Molecular Biology

Lauren Proctor

I am currently in my senior year at Grand Valley studying Cell & Molecular Biology with an Applied Statistics minor. I am hoping to attend graduate school next fall to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical research. My hobbies include baking, hanging out with friends, watching my favorite shows, and going for walks around campus.

Before I was a student at Grand Valley, I never would have expected to become involved in a pivotal research project. Being involved in research and forming connections with faculty has changed the trajectory of my academic career. I received the P. Douglas Kindschi Undergraduate Research Fellowship in the Sciences for the 2019-2020 academic year and was later accepted into the Student Summer Scholars program for Summer 2020. Both of these experiences have played crucial roles in the development of my research abilities and interests. My current project is researching planarian behavior and regeneration following RNA interference (RNAi) and injury. This project plays a vital role in identifying genes important for neural regeneration, which could provide insight to better understand human diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Diseases.

Research gives me a passion to help others, as well as drives me to better myself as a scientist and person every day. While research might seem intimidating at first, it is a great way to learn and equip yourself with skills that will benefit you tremendously in your personal life and career. As an OURS Ambassador, I would love to share my research experience with others and help them find their passion. If you have any questions about research at Grand Valley, please reach out!

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 $500 per semester
  • Development of public speaking, communication, and marketing skills
  • Working with administrative staff, GVSU faculty, and students of all ages


Page last modified December 7, 2021