Best in the Nation!

Meet Our Staff:


Carl J. Brown, Ph.D: Director

Most days you can find Director Carl Brown in the Speech Lab. If he is not doing paperwork, crunching numbers, or digging through research, he is likely chatting it up with the consultants. Carl earned his PhD from The University of Southern Mississippi and has been interested in the power of words for most of his life. He has been a competitive speaker, a debate coach, and a professor, but his favorite thing to do is, without question, lead the GV Speech Lab!


Justin Sims: Student Director/Consultant

Up next is our sporty, dog AND cat loving, pizza enthusiast, Justin! Justin is a majoring in both Marketing and Sports Management. He is the President of the GVSU Roller Hockey Club, and also serves on the GVSU Club Sports E-Board. In his free time, Justin enjoys golfing, bowling, watching Grey's Anatomy, and taking BuzzFeed quizzes with Jeannine at the Lab.

Justin says, "I hope to use my knowledge of public speaking to help preach and speak out to many different people about different causes I care about, and use it in my profession to help speak out about my work and convince and persuade people do good in the world."


Jeannine Lane: Student Director/Consultant

In the Fall of 2016, Jeannine marched up to Carl and told him he should give her a job and the Lab hasn't been able to get rid of her since. A Communication Studies major and Advertising/Public Relations minor, Jeannine has been a "talker" from a young age and working at the Lab has helped her discover her true passions for research, leadership, and speaking empowerment. Jeannine and former consultant Jane Ulrey recently won the National Association of Communication Centers Bob & Ann Weiss Undergraduate Paper Award for their research on staff relationships within the Speech Lab. When Jeannine isn't at the Lab working with a client or forcing Justin to take BuzzFeed quizzes, she can usually be found taking pictures with a stranger's dog, memorizing Kanye West's entire discography, or thinking about food. Jeannine's goal for every session is for the student to walk out feeling better about their speech than they did when they walked in, so come on in and work with her!

Jeannine says, "My knowledge of and passion for public speaking has helped me gain so much confidence. I know being a strong public speaker will be a huge asset for me as I'm hoping to pursue a career related to communication centers or public relations!"

Sage H.

Sage Hyatt: Graduate Consultant

“There’s no such thing as being too busy, if you really want something you’ll make time for it” - author unknown. For Sage who is in her first year of her Master’s program this could not be more true. When she is not furthering her knowledge in classes, at clinicals, or volunteering you can catch her outside soaking up the sun. While her schedule may always keep her on the go she never hesitates to stop and have a Transformers marathon. Although some days are exhausting, it is her love for coffee and her passion for helping special needs children that keep her going through this crazy thing called life.

Liv P.

Liv Passe: Consultant

Meet Liv! Liv is working toward her degree in Advertising and Public Relations (with a minor in Psychology) and will be starting her first semester at the Lab this fall!  She is a Cleveland sports enthusiast and loves talking to strangers. Did you know she can recite all 50 states in 15 seconds?!

In addition to her work at the lab, Liv is a member of the GVSU Women's Lacrosse team and serves as the Social Media Coordinator for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Liv says, "I hope to use the knowledge that I gain to relate to others so that I can positively impact those around me."

Josh T.

Josh Trussler: Consultant

Josh is working toward degrees in film and marketing. He is a member of GVTV and is an avid lover of cars and off-roading!

Josh says, "Marketing involves a lot of public speaking in a business setting. The more I know, the more professional I can be."

Matt C.

Matt Collins: Consultant

Matt is working toward his degree in Sports Management and has started his first semester at the Lab. He's always appreciates a good pun, and never passes up an ice cream run. In addition to his work at the lab, Matt is also celebrating his third year on the rowing team!

Matt says, "My knowledge of public speaking will help me engage with people with many different backgrounds as well as allow to feel confident when presenting in front of others."

Allie V.

Allie Vanstone: Consultant

Today we're thrilled to introduce our consultant, Allie! Allie is a double major in English and Education and is starting her first semester at the Lab. In her free time, you might find Allie singing songs from Broadway musicals, baking (most likely with Shaunna), or watching/creating YouTube videos (check her out)! She absolutely loves dogs and will never turn down coffee flavored ice cream!

Allie says, "I'm going to be a teacher, so feeling confident talking in front of any age group will be extremely important!"


Vivian Niestrom: Consultant

Vivian is a communications major with a minor in German & anthropology. She loves to travel and has spent lots of time abroad in Germany and Haiti. Vivian also loves primates, her pug, and Justin Bieber. She is currently the social chair for her sorority, so you can tell she loves to talk! 

Vivian says, “I find public speaking extremely empowering. It’s the best feeling when I can get up in front of a group of people and nail a presentation. It seems scary but it's so fun! I want everyone to feel as confident when public speaking as I do.”



Jenna Johnston: Consultant

Jenna Johnston: Consultant

Meet Jenna! Jenna is working towards a degree in Health Communications and will be starting her first semester in the Speech Lab! She is an animal lover (especially her orange tabby cat Tallulah) and you will find her strolling through gardens looking for dogs to pet. When she's not petting animals she's working at an Urgent Care clinic or brushing up on her Disney Trivia! Did you know Cinderella's missing glass slipper was the left one? In addition to working in the Speech Lab and Urgent Care clinic, Jenna is a member of the Humane Society and Coalition of Health Communication.

Jenna says, “Being able to effectively communicate with people is important in both the professional and personal world. I hope with this job I’ll have the opportunity to help people become more confident with their communication skills!”


Scott Hilgendorf: Consultant

Scott is working toward a degree in marketing with a minor in economics. He is usually spending his time relaxing, watching movies, or playing on his Xbox. When the weather is nice you can find Scott outside playing disc golf, hitting the driving range, or working on his jump shot on the court. He loves striking up a conversation with people and will always try to keep that conversation going. 

Scott says, " I hope to use my knowledge of public speaking to help encourage people to use their voice, speak up for what they believe in and most importantly - be successful in anything that they do."


Hannah Karwat: Consultant

Meet Hannah! Hannah is working towards her degree in computer information systems with a minor in business. She loves to play sports, color in adult coloring books, and binge watch Friends while eating chocolate chip cookies. “How you doin’?” Hannah also is a music enthusiast and is rarely seen without some form of music around her. She is always willing to share and hear music recommendations because she feels that is the best way to connect and understand people. 

Hannah says, “Since going to the speech lab, the consultants have given me a whole new sense of confidence that I never thought I could have. I am so excited to join the team to return the favor and impact someone just like they did for me.”


Dom Cassisi: Consultant

Meet Dom, the new consultant many are calling "The Bomb."  Dom is an Advertising & Public Relations Major with a minor in Marketing. He is the Vice President of Programming on Grand Valley's Greek Life Council. When he's not studying or at the Speech Lab, you can find Dom getting his money's worth at Fresh. His favorite TV shows and movies are Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Office, Avatar, and Holes.  

Dom says, "The only time I set the bar low is for limbo."


Kenzie Sorrell: Consultant

Meet Kenzie! Kenzie is a double major in Communications and Multimedia Journalism. Kenzie has spent a lot of time traveling and loves experiencing new cultures. Out of all the places she has been Australia is definitely her favorite! When she’s not traveling, you can find her playing sports, somewhere outside (if it’s warm) or eating mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Kenzie says, “I find public speaking so empowering because I get to use my voice for good. I hope to give others the confidence to communicate effectively and have fun while doing it!”


Syd Henning

Sydney Henning: Executive Assistant

Sydney is an Allied Health Science major working towards her degree in Nursing. She loves traveling, cooking, singing, and talking about the Kardashians with Jeannine!

Sydney says, "My knowledge of public speaking will help me be able to communicate with those around me and in the work force effectively."


Jaclyn Sawdon

Jaclyn RhoGam: Executive Assistant

Jaclyn is an Allied Health Science major who is starting her second year at the Lab this fall. She is an active member in her sorority and is avid lover of baking, Netflix, and meeting new people!


Page last modified September 7, 2018