Meet Our Staff: Best in the Nation!


Dr. Carl J. Brown

Position: Director 

Degree:  PhD in Interpersonal Communication

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Positive thinking is one of the most important things you can do before giving a presentation. Tell yourself that everyone in the audience woke up excited to hear you today and you are the star of the show. 

About Carl: 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!


Victor Carter

Position: Student Director

Major: Advertising/Public Relations, PR emphasis

Minor: Digital Studies 

Favorite Speaking Tactic: The four step breathing is a great way to focus on something other than your speech. It makes you focus on taking deep breaths and counting to four... and before you know it you are ready to kill your presentation!

About Victor: An interesting fact about Victor is that Victor isn't even his real name! His real name is Royal Victor Carter, but has gone by Victor ever since he could talk. He is constantly listening to music... which usually ends up being mainly J. Cole. When he is not working, studying, or jamming out to J. Cole, you can find Victor playing basketball in the rec, watching Netflix or playing on his Xbox. 

Skye Gregory-Hatch

Skye Gregory-Hatch

Position: Graduate Consultant

Major: Audiology (AuD in progress)

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Understanding that NERVOUS IS NORMAL and embracing it! Use that nervous energy to fill your presentation with enthusiasm and drama.

About Skye: Skye is a graduate student working on her doctorate in Audiology (all things hearing). Her secret talent is being able to have a conversation about anything, especially if it's medical or food-related. She is passionate about mental health, public health, and animals! Ask her about her garden, her pets, or what book she is reading, and she'll never shut up!

Landyn Teachout

Landyn Teachout

Position: Consultant 

Major: Communication Studies 

Favorite Speech Tactic: Begin preparing for your speech early! An outline and brainstorming will go far in helping you create an entertaining and comprehensible presentation. By working on your speech ahead of time, you can help reduce nervousness and have more time to make adjustments. The day of your presentation, make sure to hydrate, eat, and try to be as relaxed as possible!

About Landyn: When Landyn is not helping consultants with their presentations, she can also be found biking around campus, studying in the library, or spending time with friends. Landyn is also a second year Resident Assistant at Grand Valley, and loves chatting about any and all things campus life. Landyn loves movies, music, and pop culture. She is excited to be working with the Speech Lab again, and is looking forward to seeing what this year has in store.

Brady Mills

Brady Mills

Position: Consultant

Major: Advertising/Public Relations with an emphasis in PR; Public and Nonprofit Administration

Minor: French

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Excitement. No matter what the topic, the audience, or your feelings on your speaking skills, find something about your message that excites you. When you convey genuine joy and passion, people want to listen. 

About Brady: Brady is a passionate people-person. He spends his free time doing anything that allows him to interact with, learn about, and entertain others. He enjoys playing tennis, he dabbles in piano, and he is an incredibly average disc golfer. One day, he hopes to host a talk show.

Hannah Shelton

Hannah Shelton

Position: Consultant 

Major: Pharmacy 

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Use the power of visualization to control stage fright! The key to this tactic is to create a vivid mental blueprint in which you can see yourself succeeding in your speech. Concentrate on communicating with your audience and be authentic in your message. This will also create a feeling of comfort that will help ease anxiety. 

About Hannah: I believe a significant part of our educational journeys is learning the foundations of proper communication in order to excel in our future professions! Working as a pharmacy technician has opened my eyes about how essential it is to be an effective communicator. When I am not counting pills, I enjoy running, doing DIY projects, and hiking with my dog Milo! But my favorite thing to do is help others learn and utilize their fullest potential!  


Bryce Thomas

Position: Consultant 

Major: Communication Studies

Minor: Criminal Justice

Favorite Speaking Tactic: When speaking, I look right above people's eyes at their eyebrows. It eases my anxiety since I'm not looking at someone right in the eyes, but still keeps the audience engaged (which is very important!).

About Bryce: Bryce is a compassionate listener. His free time is spent reading books, playing various musical instruments, and hanging out with his dog, Diesel. He has a passion for travel, exploring different cultures. and meeting new people. His future plans include attending graduate school to study social work to become a therapist. When Bryce isn't working at the Speech Lab, you can find him practicing piano, listening to Harry Styles, or watching The Walking Dead (because he has a serious obsession with that show).


Niabh Keenan

Position: Consultant 

Major: Secondary Education and Social Studies

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Breathing! Sometimes I forget to do enough of this, and my thoughts end up as intelligible as a doctor's handwriting. Five seconds of breathing to focus when I get to a microphone has always helped with this. This pause also gives me a moment to look around the room and make eye contact with a few members of the audience.

About Niabh: Niabh is an enthusiast of all things people and the outdoors. She thrives when in meaningful conversations, spending time with family and friends, and traipsing through any wilderness that happens to be nearby. In a rare quiet moment, she can be found reading or practicing guitar. She hopes to learn more through her career and the people around her after graduation.


Elise Taylor

Position: Consultant 

Major: Multimedia Journalism

Minor: Writing

Favorite Speaking Tactic: When the nerves start to hit you, channel your nervous energy into excited energy. This is especially easy if you are passionate about your topic.

About Elise: Elise is a sophomore who loves to read, embroider, play tennis, and look up cats that are up for adoption. At any given time, she is ready and eager to talk about movies for an extended period of time (especially if they happen to be named The Lighthouse or Little Women). She loves to listen and connect with people and will always be available to lend an ear.

Nick Matthews

Nick Matthews

Position: Consultant 

Major: Communication Studies

Minor: Advertising & Public Relations; Theatre; Economics

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Energy and humor are always some tactics I try to implement to get the audience's attention and keep them engaged. Who doesn't like a good chuckle or a positive and confident person to listen to or be around? As an audience member I appreciate the value of the speaker making the effort to keep a speech lighthearted and relatable.

About Nick: Nick is a well rounded, confident, and caring person. He is happy to help with anything speech-related or any other issue that may arise. Nick is a great listener and is very witty. He loves '80s movies, music, references of all sorts, and he is always willing to share a chuckle or two...or three if the joke is that juicy. He is also a dependable man to get the job done and has tools at the ready no matter the circumstance. Nick is a Junior at Grand Valley and loves sports, movies, adventures, and anything outdoorsy.

Y Hong Nhu Nguyen

Y Hong Nhu Nguyen

Position: Consultant 

Major: Communication Studies

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Be truly confident in yourself! I, too, get nervous before a speech. It is totally fine to have anxiety before the speech, but let's make the worries inside us be part of our confidence. As long as you prepare meticulously, practice many times, and have a great passion for the topic you present, worries then will become normal. Everyone is nervous but it is your careful preparation that makes the difference! So believe in yourself, and you can ace it!

About Y: Y (which is pronounced as "E") is a calming person. In a conversation, she tends to be a listener, since she loves listening genuinely to people's stories. Y is an international student coming from Vietnam, and this is the third year she has been living in the US. If you want to talk and share anything related to culture, come to Y - she is a huge fan of that topic! Additionally, Y loves to help other people in her ability, especially anything with speech! One funny, but weird fact, is that when Y is alone, she usually celebrates a "big" concert just for herself and her cutie squishmallows (Naomi, Avocadi, Pandi, and Speaki - her audience), because she loves singing and dancing without being seen by other people. That may sound like an eccentric hobby, but Y really enjoys it! And that's all about Y - don't hesitate, just ask Y and she will give you a hand!


Briana Drazek

Position: Consultant 

Major: Psychology

Favorite Speaking Tactic: A tactic I like to use while presenting is speaking clearly and pausing when necessary. I find it easier to give a speech when I go at a moderate pace rather than trying to get it done and over with. This way, the audience has a clear understanding of what I am trying to say and can follow along with the speed of my speech.

About Briana: Briana is an outgoing person who is easy to talk to and enjoys helping people in any way she can. Her favorite hobbies are listening to music, traveling, and making food. She is always interested in trying new things and meeting new people. Her future plans include pursuing a major in psychology to specialize in adolescent and adult cognitive therapy. Later in life, she would like to further her career in becoming a lawyer for family and marriage cases, studying the psychological aspects of the issues at hand.


Bella Mersino

Position: Consultant 

Major: Psychology, Communication Studies

Favorite Speaking Tactic: My favorite speaking tactic is including a personal anecdote in my speech. I love being able to speak about my own experiences in a speech because it helps calm me down and makes me feel like I really know what I'm talking about (I like to hope it has the same effect on my audience). I find that it makes it easier for me to speak to a group of people about something if I can tie in my own life experiences. It makes the topic seem less formal or foreign to me and makes me feel like I have a direct personal connection to it, which in turn makes it easier to speak about the subject authoritatively.

About Bella: Bella is a somewhat chaotic person. She loves branching out, being social, and staying busy but also could easily spend a whole week completely by herself doing her own thing and would actually quite enjoy it. She loves the outdoors and being immersed in nature but also loves being curled up indoors playing games, watching her comfort shows, working on her art, and writing, all while listening to music. (Spotify is almost eternally in use with her). She loves staying active and going to the gym very much, but sometimes she has to settle for quick home workouts considering she is a full-time student with two jobs and struggles with time management and sticking to a strict routine. Don't be shy to talk to her about anything and everything!

Rosa Pham

Rosa Pham

Position: Consultant 

Major: Finance; Supply Chain Management

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Believe in yourself that you are well-prepared, and try your best for the presentation! Present in front of your family members or your friends to receive the honest feedback from them. One thing I always do before my speech is come to the class earlier than usual (around 30 minutes) when no one is there yet on your speech day and do a rehearsal speech. It will make you feel less nervous when you already see the background and how it will look like in your "official" speech. Last but not least, tell yourself, "You can do it!" 

About Rosa: Rosa is an international student from Vietnam who is talkative and likes making jokes. She's passionate about stocks (and numbers in general) and really loves swimming, although she doesn't really enjoy swimming in the Michigan winter! Her biggest dream is to become successful to help orphan children and children with cancer to have a better life!

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