PCEC Advising Staff

Tim Born Professional Headshot

Timothy L. Born, PH.D.

Associate Professor, Associate Dean, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing

Office Address: 332 Kennedy Hall of Engineering
Phone: (616) 331-8643
Email: bornti@gvsu.edu

Tim is excited to be part of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing advising team. He received his BS in Biochemistry from Calvin College in 1990 and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School in 1996.  He joined the Chemistry faculty at George Mason University in 2000, after spending four years as a post-doc at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  In 2013 he moved back to Grand Rapids and joined GVSU. His research interests include the development of novel antibiotics and the effect of post-translational modifications on enzyme activity and function.  But he mostly enjoys working with students and setting them on a path to their degree.

Tim spends most of his spare time chasing (and picking up after) his three small children. He also tries his best to avoid yard work and has been known to go out for the occasional jog. He recently started biking and is looking forward to his first 100-mile ride. He’s a fan of the Washington Nationals and the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

Sara Wheeler Professional Headshot

Sara Wheeler, M.Ed.

Director, PCEC Advising Center

Office Address: 101 Eberhard Center
Phone: (616) 331-6025
Email: wheelesa@gvsu.edu

Sara is a proud alumnus of Grand Valley and brings fifteen years of student services experience to the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing Undergraduate Advising Center!  Having lived and worked in various regions of the United States, Sara is a strong advocate for student and academic success.  What does Sara like best about her job?  Engaging with students to learn their stories, challenging students to do their best, and cheering graduates as they cross the stage during commencement.   

Sara is proudly married to a United States Marine turned Sheriff Deputy.  After 16 years of active duty, she is thankful to not have moved since 2015 (this is a record!).  Sara has two very animated children and a sneaky but brilliant pup, Max.  She cherishes family time, reading, and traveling.  Sara is addicted to chocolate, Broadway, and come August, may display a borderline obsession with Fantasy Football.

Mary Nuznov Professional Headshot

Mary Louise Nuznov, M.A.

Senior Academic Advisor, PCEC Advising Center

Office Address: Mackinac Hall & 101 Eberhard Center
Phone: (616) 331-6025
Email: nuznovma@gvsu.edu

Academic advising is one of Mary's passions and she enjoys working at her alma mater. She received her B.A. in Communication Studies from Grand Valley State University in 2009 and her M.A. in Communication Studies from Ball State University in 2011. In 2017 she completed a graduate certificate in Academic Advising from Kansas State University. She previously worked at Indiana University where she received a departmental distinguishment for her service in academic advising. Mary also taught public speaking and interpersonal communication courses at Ivy Tech Community College. She is proud to teach the R.I.S.E. Grant section of University Studies Career Education Course (US 102). Outside working at universities, Mary has worked at several museums including; The Henry Ford – Greenfield Village, Minnetrista and the Dearborn Historical Museum. Her projects often included fundraising, collections management, public speaking, museum blogging and conducting educational tours.

When she isn’t working she enjoys reading mystery novels, camping, writing, knitting and playing her dog, Skye. Mary is an avid Harry Potter fan and a proud Hufflepuff.

Elizabeth Brand Professional headshot

Elizabeth Brand, M.Ed.

Senior Academic Advisor, PCEC Advising Center

Office Address: 101 Eberhard Center 
Phone: (616) 331-6025
Email: brandeli@gvsu.edu

Elizabeth is a proud Laker for a Lifetime! She graduated from Hope College with a B.A. in Communications and earned her Master’s degree from Grand Valley in College Student Affairs Leadership in 2015. During graduate school, Elizabeth worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Career Center and completed a graduate internship in the CLAS Advising Center. Elizabeth returned to GVSU after advising First Year Engineering students at Michigan State University. She is passionate about student success and wants to be a resource for students to help them be successful both inside and outside of the classroom. She loves helping students navigate the ins and outs of college and also loves learning from them! 

In her pre-COVID spare time, you'd catch Elizabeth volunteering at an animal shelter and doing yoga. Right now she tries to make the most of the nice weather by getting outside whenever she can, has fun making memories with her husband and son, and cuddling with her two cats, Jax and Opie. Elizabeth enjoys trying new restaurants so let her know if you have any recommendations! 

Audra Pretty-Smith Professional Headshot

Audra Pretty-Smith, M.A.

Academic Advisor, PCEC Advising Center

Office Address:
 Mackinac Hall & 101 Eberhard Center 
Phone: (616) 331-6025
Email: prettyau@gvsu.edu

Audra is thrilled to be working as an academic advisor with the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing. Audra first joined the GVSU community in 2016 while working as a Counselor in the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships.  She received her B.A. in Social Work and Psychology from Hope College in 2013, and her M.A. in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education from Ball State University in 2015. She previously worked as an Assistant Residence Hall Director while at Ball State, and with the Academic Advising and Support Office at Elon University in North Carolina.  In her variety of roles, Audra has found a passion for advocating for her student’s success.

Outside of work, Audra enjoys traveling ‘up north’ as often as possible, yoga, spending time with her husband and family, watching a variety of sports, and all things Disney-related.

Colin DeKuiper professional headshot

Colin DeKuiper, M.Ed.

Academic Advisor, PCEC Advising Center

Office Address: 101 Eberhard Center 
Phone: (616) 331-6025
Email: dekuipec@gvsu.edu

Colin is excited to join the PCEC Advising Center and support student success within the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing.  Colin received his B.A. in Communication from DePaul University and worked extensively as a touring and recording musician before returning to DePaul University where he earned his Master’s degree in Counseling (College Counseling and Student Affairs).  He has previously worked as an Assistant Director with Northwestern University’s Office of External Programs, Internships, & Career Services within the School of Communication.  He also served as a Career Advisor at Columbia College Chicago and as a Technical Trainer at DePaul University.  Colin looks forward to supporting the academic experience for PCEC students.

In his spare time, Colin enjoys thumbing through stacks of new and used LPs and building out his record collection.  He will also take any opportunity he can to play golf and still actively performs and records music. 

Rebecca Kolodge professional headshot

Rebecca Kolodge, M.Ed.

Academic Advisor, PCEC Advising Center

Office Address: 101 Eberhard Center
Phone: (616) 331-6025
Email: kolodgre@gvsu.edu

Rebecca is happy to return to Grand Valley and the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing! She first joined PCEC in 2009 as a Student Assistant for the PCEC Dean’s office and Student Services office while earning a B.S. in Allied Health Sciences. She also worked as an Academic Advising Graduate Assistant in PCEC from 2017-2019 while she earned an M.Ed. in Higher Education through GVSU’s College Student Affairs Leadership program. Rebecca’s higher education experience also includes working at Kettering University in the Computer Science department as an Administrative Specialist and completing graduate internships at Grand Rapids Community College in the Experiential Learning department and Aquinas College in the Center for Opportunity, Resources & Excellence. Most recently, Rebecca was an Academic Advisor at Purdue University (West Lafayette) for a learning community of First Year Engineering Students.

Rebecca loves all things Michigan and is happiest when she’s near Lake Michigan or Up North. She has two cats, Buttercup and Gatsby, but is also a big fan of dogs and animals in general. Rebecca also enjoys concerts, kayaking, and taking ghost tours with her sister when they travel together. 

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Shelby Harrison

Office Coordinator, PCEC Advising Center & Outreach

Office: 101 Eberhard Center
Phone: (616) 331-6025
Email: harshelb@gvsu.edu

Shelby Harrison is happy to return to Padnos College Student Services as she worked as a Student Receptionist when she was in her undergraduate schooling here at GVSU. She previously served as the Secretary for the School of Computing here prior to this role. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with an emphasis in math education and elementary education. Her passion for higher education has grown over the years as she knows the impact she makes now will influence the other levels of education and the people she interacts with. Shelby's role is to help with the administrative side of advising and outreach for PCEC.

Shelby loves to cook, bake, garden, travel, drink coffee, and spend intentional time with her family and friends. Shelby is an avid college football fan as fall is her favorite season of the year. Her favorite place to vacation is Bois Blanc Island in Northern Michigan. 

Graduate Assistants

Travis Smith professional headshot

Travis Smith

Graduate Assistant, PCEC Advising Center & Outreach

Travis is very excited to be a part of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing's advising team. He is originally from Bend, Oregon, and has received his bachelor's degree in political science from Western Oregon University. He is very passionate about student success and doing whatever is possible to help the student succeed in their goals. He is striving for a career in higher education where he can pursue his passions every single day. Travis is currently enrolled in GVSU as a master's student in the College Student Affairs Leadership program.

When he isn’t working, Travis loves playing any sport possible, hiking or fishing, and studying philosophy. He loves the Miami Dolphins, so if he is grumpy on a Monday it probably means they lost the day before (which tends to happen a lot).

Calli Ackles standing on a hillside overlooking a lake in the background

Calli Ackels

Graduate Assistant, PCEC Advising Center & Outreach

Calli graduated from Alma College in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She chose the CSAL program after being active and exhilarated in her undergraduate organizations and jobs. While at Alma College, Calli worked in the Conferences Office, the Sports Information Department, and the Recreation Center. Calli was also the President of the Greek Honorary Order of Omega and Vice President of Alma’s Panhellenic Executive Council as well as other leadership positions. She is very passionate about creating a positive, inclusive, and rounded social and academic environment for students. 

Outside of work, Calli enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures. Thus far she has been able to visit Germany, Austria, and Ireland. Her simple pleasures include Netflix, playing with dogs, concerts, and supporting her sister’s roller derby team (Go Mountain Town Mayhem!).

Student Assistants

Faith Knop headshot

Faith Knop

Student Assistant, PCEC Advising Center & Outreach

Major: Communication Science & Disorders