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. 

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!


Jeannine Lane

Position: Speech Lab Coordinator 

Graduate Program: M.S. in Communication

Favorite Speaking Tactic: I used to believe that effective public speakers didn’t get nervous. As soon as I learned how untrue that was, it became clear to me that nervousness is normal and is not indicative of one’s ability to speak well! Now I use this knowledge to embrace my nervousness and encourage myself to become a better speaker with every presentation I give.

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. She is obsessed with communication, and since working at the Speech Lab she has discovered her true passions for research, leadership, and speaking empowerment. Jeannine is the winner of the National Association of Communication Centers' 2019 Huddy-Gunn Graduate Paper Award and the 2018 Bob and Ann Weiss Undergraduate Paper Award for her research on staff relationship development in communication centers. 


Justin Sims

Position: Graduate Consultant 

Graduate Program: M.Ed. in Higher Education

Undergraduate Degree:  B.B.A. in Marketing and B.S. in Sports Management

Favorite Speaking Tactic: If you have trouble looking people in the audience in the eye when speaking, look right above their eyes at their hair! It appears you’re making eye contact with them without actually doing it.

Justin is our sporty, dog AND cat loving, pizza enthusiast. He was the President of the GVSU Roller Hockey Club, and also served during his time as an undergrad 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.

Josh T.

Josh Trussler

Position: Consultant 

Major:  Film & Marketing

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Preparation and Practice is the key to lowering speaking anxiety. The more you prepare and practice, the better you will feel while presenting. And remember, be confident!

He is a lover of off-roading, working on cars, and the outdoors! Josh hopes to someday work as a producer on commercials and movies. When he's not at the Speech Lab or traveling up north with his friends, you can most likely find Josh browsing the aisles of your local AutoZone.


Hannah Karwat

Position: Consultant 

Major: Information Systems

Minor: Business

Favorite Speaking Tactic: Connecting to your audience is one of the most important things to do when you are giving a presentation. Just because you are an expert on the information, doesn't mean that your audience is. Make sure that the words you use and the visuals you choose help guide the audience to understand what you are talking about. Use a story as an attention getter to paint a picture for them to engage them right from the beginning. 

When she is not studying or working at The Lab, she can be found on her laptop with her headphones creating oddly specific Spotify playlists, reading a new book, drawing on her Ipad, or obsessing over anything Star Wars. 


El Setera

Position: Consultant 

Major:  Theatre 

Favorite Speaking Tactic: I like to listen to calming music (mostly instrumentals) on my walk to the classroom to ensure that I am relaxed when I arrive. I also like to arrive as early as possible to get comfortable with the space and make sure I am prepared to present.

Fun fact about El, they have ambitions to be an international high school theatre teacher. They also love to travel and have visited more than 20 countries. They love to read, hang out with friends, and dye their hair new colors in their free time. If El isn’t at the Speech Lab, you can probably find them at the Performing Arts Center on campus working on the upcoming play (which you totally should come see!). 


Cassidy Johnson

Position: Consultant 

Major: Health Communication

Favorite Speaking Tactic: When I am anxious about a big speech I will go to the room before the class or when I have to present to get comfortable with my surroundings and find points in the back of the room to focus on to keep from looking down at my notes. Also don’t forget that being nervous is completely normal so don’t sweat it you’ve got this. 


Victor Carter

Position: Consultant

Major: Advertising/Public Relations with an emphasis in PR

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!

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. 


Leah Kerr

Position: Consultant 

Major: Multimedia Journalism 

Minor: Advertising & Public Relations

Favorite Speaking Tactic:  I always try to go in smiling and remembering the illusion of transparency. Staying positive and light-hearted helps me get through.

If she isn't at the lab or studying, she can be found taking pictures (check her out), listening to rock, adoring her beautiful golden retriever Bentley or simply hanging out. Her achievements include binging Game of Thrones in less than 5 weeks and becoming a little more like her mother every day. 

Landyn Teachout

Landyn Teachout

Position: Consultant 

Major: Communication Studies 

Favorite Speech Tactic: Practice makes perfect! Practice your speech multiple times out loud to a pretend audience. That will make it so that when you actually have to give the speech, it comes naturally.

When Landyn isn’t studying or fulfilling her duties as an Resident Assistant at GVSU, she is watching ride-throughs of Disney World attractions on YouTube and pretending she’s there. In her free time, Landyn enjoys watching Netflix, reading, writing, listening to music, and drawing. Landyn is excited to work with you through the Speech Lab! 

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. 

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. 

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!  

Brooklin Karwat

Brooklin Karwat

Position: Executive Assistant

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Favorite Speech Tactic: Going into your speech with confidence! You need to go into it knowing that you are the expert on the information and that all of your hard work will shine through when presenting. 

When Brooklin is not studying for engineering school or working at the Lab, you can find her watering her plants, learning about crystals, or listening to music. 

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