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Professional Staff

Dr. Nykia D. Gaines, Assistant Vice President for Federal TRIO Programs

Nykia D. Gaines

Assistant Vice President for Federal TRIO Programs, Division of Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach

Nykia D. Gaines, also known as Dr. G., started her journey at Grand Valley in the fall of 1994. As a freshman from Detroit, she was enthusiastic about her new life as a Laker. After earning her B.S. in Criminal Justice in 1998 from Grand Valley, Nykia pursued an M.Ed. with a specialization in College Student Affairs and Leadership in Grand Valley's Higher Education Master's Program. During her master's program, Nykia worked as a Graduate Assistant in Health and Wellness and in the Office of Housing and Residence Life. She also interned at the University of Detroit-Mercy in the office of International Services. After graduating with an M.Ed. in 2001, Nykia accepted a full-time position at GVSU as a Living Center Director in the Office of Housing and Residence Life. In the summer of 2008,she pursued a doctorate full-time at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Bowling Green, OH. As a doctoral fellow, Nykia worked in the College of Education and Human Development as an academic advisor. In May 2012, she graduated from BGSU with a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. Less than one-year post-doctorate, Dr. G. accepted her a position at GVSU. She is excited to be able to once again give back to a school that has continued to give to her, a Laker for a Lifetime. In her free time, Dr. G. enjoys caring for and playing with her rescue dog, Karma. She also enjoys traveling abroad, attending church, Skyping with distant friends, and spending time with her family.

You can email Dr. G. at [email protected]

Linda Rettig

Linda Rettig

Interim TRIO TPSSS Program Contact

Linda Rettig started at Grand Valley State University in 2007. She has served in a few other departments but mostly worked with first generation students. Linda is very eager to continue the work TRIO is doing. Prior to GVSU, Linda was a K-12 educator. She is married with four grown children, one granddaughter, a dog, and a cat. Family is very important to Linda, who sees TRIO students as a part of her family. 

Being a first generation student herself, Linda knows the importance of having support and resources and that is exactly what she offers.

You can email Linda at [email protected]

Jeanine Heemstra

TRIO TPSSS Program Advisor

Jeanine joined the TRIO TPSSS team in November 2022, and currently serves as the Program Advisor.

You can email Jeanine at [email protected]

Photo of TRIO TPSSS Graduate Assistant, Jasmine Wilson

Jasmine Wilson

Graduate Student Assistant

Jasmine Wilson was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and is a current Graduate student obtaining her Masters of Education with an emphasis on College Student Affairs Leadership. Jasmine recently received her undergraduate degree in English and Secondary Education at Grand Valley State University and minored in History. Jasmine has been in the TRIO TPSSS program since her first year at Grand Valley, so she is excited to have a position here where she can pour into First-Gen students the same way she has been! As an undergraduate Jasmine was involved in many organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated where she served as president.  Jasmine’s career goals include creating inclusive, anti-racist, and safe learning environments for marginalized groups.

Student Office Assistants


Clementine is from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a current Graduate student obtaining her Masters in Social Work. She obtained a degree in English from Grand Valley State University. Clementine participated in the TRIO TPSSS program during her undergraduate studies at Grand Valley, so she is excited to have a position where she can give back to students the way the program supported and guided her.  Clementine’s career goals include creating a space for disadvantaged students in academic settings. A fun fact about Clementine is that she has a dog that is 85lbs, more than double the weight he should be.


Ajanae is from Detroit. Her major is Social Work, and she plans to graduate in 2023. A fun fact about Ajanae is she used to have six guinea pigs. Her favorite spot on campus is the hiking trails.


Brendan Webster is majoring in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Group Social Studies. He is from Port Huron, Michigan. He expects to graduate in 2025. A fun fact about Brendan is that he earned about 60 transferrable credits from his local community college while attending high school and that should hopefully save both time and money here at GVSU.

Peer Mentors


Jessie Webb resides in Grand Rapids, MI.  She is majoring in Education and English, with a minor in Elementary Certification. Outside of her love for education and
being a mom, she enjoys coaching and being involved in sports. Helping others is the primary she became a peer mentor for TRIO TPSSS. 

Page last modified December 5, 2022