Congratulations to Graduating Political Science Majors!

April 25, 2020

Congratulations to Graduating Political Science Majors!

Final exams at GVSU ended yesterday, and today is the day our graduating seniors would have walked across the stage during commencement ceremonies at Van Andel Arena and celebrated their accomplishments with family, friends, fellow students, and their professors. The ceremony has been postponed until October, but we want to acknowledge our graduating Political Science majors today as well.

The Political Science faculty heartily congratulates each one of you. We are proud of all that you have accomplished, and we wish you all the best as you leave GVSU and enter the next stage of your lives. You will be missed! Congratulations!

We offered graduating seniors the opportunity to have their name, major, and minor acknowledged here, along with a short statement about their future plans or a highlight of their time at GVSU. Listed here are those who responded and gave their permission to have this information posted. This is not nearly all of our graduating seniors, but it gives a taste of the accomplished and interesting students in our program and the exciting things ahead for them.


Austin Avison
Woodhaven, Michigan
BS in Political Science and Religious Studies (double major), minor in Psychology
After graduating from Grand Valley, I will be entering into a Masters of Arts program studying Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University, where I have been granted a teaching assistantship for an undergraduate course in religious studies. After graduating from the Master's program, I plan to pursue a doctoral degree within the discipline of psychology or an interdisciplinary study of religion, culture, and politics. 

Humzah Azeem
Grand Rapids, Michigan
BA in Political Science
I enjoyed my time at Grand Valley and am looking forward to using my experience to pursue a sales career in New York City.

Terra Bielby
BS in Political Science, minor in Philosophy
May 1st I will begin working as a field organizer in Kalamazoo with the Michigan Democratic Party. In 2016, I switched from majoring in Biology to Political Science with the hope of the exact position for the 2020 election. Last month, I participated in a program called Organizing Corp that really made this all possible, and despite the circumstances, I could not be more excited for my future.       

Berkley Bretschneider
Wolverine Lake, Michigan
BS in Political Science, minor in Criminal Justice
After graduation I will be staying at GV to get my master’s in higher education with an emphasis in college student affairs leadership.  I will also be working as a graduate assistant in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Center!

Miranda Bryan
Lake Orion, Michigan
BA in Political Science and Religious Studies (double major), minor in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
I plan on moving to Arizona and working until I can attend law school, hoping to focus on civil rights and family law.

Ryan Edward Fritz
Muskegon, Michigan
BA in Political Science and Communications (double major)
Despite our ending, I am extremely grateful to have met lifelong friends and tremendous colleagues. Thank you to my professors who worked tirelessly one on one with me to make sure I had every opportunity to succeed. I would not have traded my experience for the world and will be eternally grateful to Grand Valley for setting me on a path for success. I hope to enter into Public Relations in the Grand Rapids area, continue to learn throughout my career, and leave the institution as a Laker for a Lifetime.

Samuel R. Fyfe
Traverse City, Michigan
BA in Political Science
My future goals begin with hopefully being accepted into the Teach for America program, with an emphasis on attending Law School later down the road!

Daniel G. Giddings
Grand Rapids, Michigan
BS in Political Science and Business Management (double major), minor in Anthropology
While I am unsure what the future holds, I yearn to travel and live abroad before eventually returning to the U.S. to pursue a career in politics and public service.

Daniel Gil
Grand Rapids, Michigan
BS in Political Science, minor in Juvenile Justice
Future Goals: Get into law school. Career goals: Become a practicing lawyer.
Highlights of GVSU: It got me out of my comfort zone, it expanded my narrow world, and I got to meet great peers and professors.

Carter Houtman
Sanford, Michigan
BS in Political Science, minor in International Relations
I enjoyed my time at GVSU being part of Student Senate working on important projects that I’ll help students for years to come. This summer I will be working for Congressman John Moolenaar on his campaign starting in late April.

Michael Woodward Jackson
Rockford, Michigan
BS in Political Science
I returned to GVSU after a brief 15-year hiatus. The campus was just as it was before in many ways, with many improvements. The Political Science Department has some great new professors and I was thrilled with the re-entry process.  I will be entering the business world, but someday I plan to run for public office. I hope GVSU continues to hold free speech and public discourse as sacred in the future. I am sad to leave, but happy I came back to finish.

Terry Jackson
Howell, Michigan
BS in Political Science, minor in Philosophy
I plan to attend law school with the hope of working in the federal bureaucracy in the law enforcement or national security sector.

Madalynne Kowalik
Schoolcraft, Michigan
BA in Political Science, minors in Human Rights and in Middle East Studies
I am spending a gap year in Washington D.C. and then will be attending law school in Fall 2021. I plan to complete a dual-degree program to receive my JD and my LLM in international human rights law simultaneously.

Ashlyn LaBrenz
Frankenmuth, Michigan
BA in Political Science and Philosophy (double major), minor in Human Rights.
At Grand Valley, I was the president and a founding member of the Debate Club. I was also a member of the Fencing Club. One of the biggest highlights of my senior year was having my thesis accepted into an undergraduate philosophy conference in Grand Rapids. After graduation, I intend on taking a gap year to decide how I want to proceed with my education and career. I hope to someday complete a master’s program in either public or non-profit administration. My goal is to become a lobbyist for a human rights organization.

Kate Marsh
Oxford, Michigan
BS in Political Science
I was just offered a position with Teach for America in Detroit teaching Secondary Mathematics. After my two years with TFA, I plan on attending law school and practicing human rights law. I found my experience at Grand Valley to be too short! I truly loved my experience that I had in and outside of classes. I could never have asked for a better college experience, from joining the improv team, Subject to Change and meeting my best friends, to working as a Student Manager at GV brew with amazing coworkers!

Morgan Mattler
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
BA in Political Science, minor in Economics
While I eventually plan to move to our nation's capital to pursue a Fellowship and eventual graduate degree, I will first be traveling the United States as a Leadership Consultant for Alpha Epsilon Pi, the International Jewish Fraternity. I am very grateful for all of my experiences and professors at Grand Valley that helped shape me, broaden my perspective, and encouraged me to serve others and make a difference

Erin McIntosh
Royal Oak, Michigan
BA in Political Science, minor in Public Administration
I will be pursuing my Master’s degree in Public Administration at Grand Valley after one year in the Student Initiated Combined Degree program. My emphasis is Policy Analysis, Advocacy, and Evaluation. I'm super excited to continue school at Grand Valley, and call Grand Rapids my new home! My goal is to work in local government and work with municipal policy.

Elvia Mendez
Greenville, Michigan
BA in Political Science, minors in Spanish and in Human Rights
I am hoping to give college students the support they need to be successful during their four years of college, just as I have found the support I needed during my time at GVSU.           

Andrew Nurmi
St. Clair Shores, Michigan
BS in Political Science, minor in Legal Studies
This fall, I'll be starting at Wayne State Law (Class of '23), and I hope to go into labor and employment rights law. I'll always remember my time at Grand Valley as the happiest years of my life, and I owe so much to so many, but I especially thank the Political Science department - faculty, staff, and fellow students - for being a great program that made my years of study so enjoyable and worthwhile.

Delaney Walsh
Livonia, Michigan
BS in Political Science, minor in Philosophy
I am hoping to begin law school in the fall!

Wesley Wilson          
Norton Shores, Michigan
BS in Political Science and Public/Non-Profit Administration, with an emphasis in Community Development/Planning, Personnel Management, and Budgeting & Finance (double major)
Plan to work in the Michigan Legislature to advance legislation that focuses on criminal, economic, and environmental justice to help make Michigan a more equitable place for working class families. Fun Fact: I am an elected (2016-2022) School Board Trustee at Mona Shores Public Schools!

Becca Winalis
New Baltimore, Michigan
BS in Political Science and Legal Studies (double major), minor in International Relations
I hope to eventually become a lobbyist in dc fighting for accessible and affordable healthcare.

Ellen Yope
St. Clair, Michigan
BS in Political Science, minor in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
The best part of my time at Grand Valley were the opportunities I had to present educational workshops on intersectionality, sexuality, and religion to others in the community.



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Page last modified April 25, 2020