Meet Our Staff

Dr. Nykia Gaines

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

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

Full-Time Position: Assistant Vice President for Federal TRIO Programs, Division of Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach
Office Address: 200 STU
Phone: (616) 331-5430
Email: [email protected]


L Rettig

Linda Rettig, M. Ed., Director

I am so excited to be the Director for the TRIO STEM program and look forward to this new role. I have been with Grand Valley State University since 2007. I have worked in a few other departments but mostly worked with first generation students. Each of my supervisors have encouraged me to grow and learn which have prepared me for this position. I am very eager to continue the work we are doing but to get our students more involved in our planning processes. My favorite event is the Alternative Spring Break which we haven't be able to do because of COVID. I like to travel with students so hold on as we find ways to do this together. 

Prior to GVSU, I was a K-12 educator. I am married with four grown children, one granddaughter, a dog, and a cat. Family is very important to me. As TRIO STEM participants each of my students become my family. 

Being a first generation student myself I know the importance of having support and resources and that is exactly what I am here to offer. 

Full-Time Position: Director, TRIO-STEM Health Services
Office Address: 200 STU
Phone: (616) 331-5430
Email: [email protected]

Raven McClinon

Raven McClinon, Assistant Director

My name is Raven McClinon and I am honored to serve as the Assistant Director for TRIO STEM.  My journey with TRIO began during high school when I was a part of the TRIO Upward Bound Math/Science program at Grand Valley State.  After high school, I decided to continue my education at Grand Valley where I earned my bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees, and joined the team at Facilities where I worked as an Assistant Facilities Supervisor for 16 years. 

During my time at GVSU, I volunteered with TRIO STEM as an outreach coordinator, worked with Office and Multicultural Affairs to support student programming for Black Excellence 365, Wade McCree, and NASA PowWow, co-chaired the Black Graduation Celebration committee, and served as a Conflict Resolution Facilitator for the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.  My current activities at GVSU include staff advisor for the student group K-pop Group Evolution, co-Vice President of Positive Black Women, and an Inclusion Advocate.  I have always felt a sense of community at GVSU, whether volunteering to mentor students or sharing my personal knowledge or experiences.  I look forward to bringing experiences to TRIO. 

In my free time, I enjoy singing in the praise team and volunteering with the media ministry at church and spending quality time with family and friends. 

Full-Time Position: Assistant Director, TRIO-STEM Health Services
Office Address: 200 STU
Phone: (616) 331-5430
Email: [email protected]

Graduate Assistants

Headshot of Alexander Lowe

Alexander Benjamin Lowe

Greetings, I am Alexander Benjamin Lowe and I am excited to work as your Graduate Assistant. I grew up in Covington, GA and completed my undergraduate experience at Fort Valley State University, where I earned my Bachelors in Mathematics.

At GVSU, I am a first year Masters Student in Applied Statistics, graduating in Spring 2024. I am passionate about pursuing a career in Education Statistics. I look forward to bringing my experiences and energy to TRIO STEM. 

In my free time I enjoy watching basketball, video games and dancing.

Part-Time Position: Graduate Assistant, TRIO-STEM Health Services
Office Address: 200 STU
Phone: (616) 331-5430
Email: [email protected]

Student Assistants

Cassandra D. Headshot

Cassandra Denhof

Cassandra Denhof (she/her) grew up in Byron Center, MI and is in her second year at Grand Valley. She majors in elementary education and minors in Spanish. Cassandra is graduating in Spring 2024 and has plans to become a Spanish immersion teacher. This is her first year working in the TRIO STEM office. Cassandra enjoys hiking and listening to music in her free time. 

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Page last modified January 31, 2023