Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center Staff

Director - Colette Seguin Beighley

Colette Seguin Beighley became director of the Grand Valley State University Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center in 2010 after holding the assistant director position for two years. Prior to her work at GVSU, Colette was director of communications for Triangle Foundation, Michigan's anti-violence and advocacy organization serving the LGBT communities. Her work at Triangle Foundation began as West Michigan field organizer where she opened their first field office which was located in Grand Rapids. Colette served as Michigan Safe Schools Coordinator for PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) prior to her work with the statewide organization. Colette holds an M.S. in Counseling and Mental Health and is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in both California and Michigan. In clinical practice, she has worked with individuals and families.

Colette has served as co-chair of the Great Lakes region of the National Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals and as co-chair for the Michigan Higher Education Consortium for Equality, an organization which serves existing as well as burgeoning campus LGBT Resource Centers in Michigan. She has also served on the board of Equality Michigan. Currently, she serves on the National Advisory Board for "Expanding the Circle: LGBTQ Studies and Services in Higher Education."

In 2008, Colette received the West Michigan Pride ACE Advocacy Award for her work on behalf of the LGBT community. In 2012, the GVSU Women's Commission presented her with the Maxine Swanson Award for leadership in support of the rights of women at Grand Valley State University. In 2014, Colette received the Milton E. Ford Leadership Award for service to the LGBT community at Grand Valley State University.

Program Coordinator - Carrie Simmons

Carrie Simmons serves as the Program Coordinator and has been working for the center since it opened in the fall of 2008.  Prior to this, she worked in GVSU's Housing and Residence Life department and at Rochester Institute of Technology in Residence Life. Carrie holds a Master's Degree in College Student Affairs and a Bachelor's in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University.

Carrie’s passion for justice issues arose in high school when she started the Recycling Club her junior year.  Since then she has been highly passionate about many topics including environmental, LGBT, gender, economic, disabilities and food justice.

In the spring of 2012, Carrie traveled with 12 GVSU students and a professor to New Zealand to study eco-villages and experience collective living.  This month-long trip, along with the experiences from helping to create, implement and participate in Change U: Social Justice Training, has been integral in shaping Carrie’s passions and professional work.

LGBT Coordinator - Emily West

Emily West graduated from Hope College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Women's Studies. At Hope, Emily was involved in extensive campus organizing. In the three years she worked for Hope College TRiO Upward Bound, Emily served as an Academic Coach and Resident Director. Emily completed a year of service with AmeriCorps at Goodwill Industries of Grand Rapids, working in the Youth Services Department. Emily has worked as a field organizer for both Holland is Ready and Unity Michigan. Emily's work with Unity Michigan focused on amending Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976 to be inclusive of perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Emily has participated in both our social justice training series: Change U 1.0 and Change U 2.0.

Emily is currently pursuing a Master's of Education Degree with an emphasis in Adult and Higher Education. 

Graduate Assistant - Scott Burden

Scott Burden is a graduate of Calvin College where he studied Special Education. Throughout his time at Calvin, Scott worked for the admissions office and new student orientation, which is where his passion for student affairs began. Upon graduation in 2012, Scott began working for a non-profit called Young Life in the Grand Rapids community and, through numerous personal growth experiences, realized his desire to pursue a graduate degree in higher education with hopes of empowering students to lead an authentic life within the context of their undergraduate experience. Scott looks forward to learning more about social justice as he is passionate about radical queer theory and exploring the intersection of athletics and sexuality. We look forward to working with Scott as he pursues his Master’s Degree in College Student Affairs Leadership.

Student Workers

Student worker staff photo credit: Zachary Carlson, 2014. 

Rachael Blansett

Rachael Blansett

Rachael is a fourth-year Communications major with an emphasis in Journalism. She believes in the future of a just world and continuously strives to create an inclusive campus. She is co-facilitator of Loud & Queer and Change U Social Justice Training, an Ambassador for the LGBT Resource Center, a member of the Continuing Trial of Trayvon Martin committee, President of the International Socialist Club, and is a part of the Speak Up Against Bias team.

Andrew Collier

Andrew Collier

Andrew is a third year student at Grand Valley. They are currently pursuing a degree in the Women and Gender studies program. Andrew also has a passion for social justice and radical queerness. A proud member of Loud and Queer, a queer social group, they also look forward to doing meaningful work with the center. In their spare time they enjoy reading, running, and hanging out with friends.

Kayla Martin

Ky Martin

Ky is a second year student at GVSU. Ky is a proud member of Loud and Queer, an LGBT student group on campus. Ky's also the Junior captain of the Women's Ultimate Frisbee Team, the First Class Ladies.

Tyler Stringer

Tyler Stringer - Social Media Representative

Tyler is a psychology major who is passionate about social justice work. He is a co-facilitator for the First-Year Queer Alliance, an Ambassador for the LGBT Resource Center, a member of the LGBT Resource Center's Advisory Board, the undergraduate representative for the LGBT Alumni Association and is on the Speak Up Against Bias team.  

Skylar Wolfe

Skylar Wolfe

Sky is a second year student at GVSU studying a relevant education including the pursuit of a major in Women, Gender and Sexuality studies. He is very passionate about social justice and is a proud self identifying intersectional feminist. He is a member of Triota, Loud and Queer and is currently serving as secretary for Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference.

Advisory Council

Liam Bailey, Program and Office Coordinator, Gays in Faith Together (GIFT)

Scott Berlin, Director, BSW Program; Assistant Professor, Social Work

Lynn "Chick" Blue, Vice Provost and Dean of Academic Services and Information Technology

Steeve Buckridge, Director of Area Studies and Associate Professor of History

Danielle DeMuth, Assistant Professor, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Kyle Felker, LGBT Faculty & Staff Association President

Kevin Gierman, Director of HIV Program Services, The Grand Rapids Red Project

Todd Heywood, Senior Reporter, American Independent News

Grace Hoyer, Academic Community Liaison, Kirkhof College of Nursing

Jessica JennrichDirector, Women's Center

Tony Josephson, Director, Human Resources, Stryker Corporation

Marlene Kowalski-Braun, Assistant Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Rhonda LeMieux, Student Services Assistant, Dean of Students Office

Steven Lipnicki, Assistant Dean, Director of Pew Student Services

Donald MitchellProfessor, College Student Affairs Leadership

Matthew MokmaAssistant Director of Development and Alumni Relations - University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Business Administration

Andrew Plague, GVSU Student Senate President

Mark SampsonClinical Director, Counseling Center 

Colette Seguin Beighley, Director, Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center 

Judith Snow, Therapist and Author

Kathleen VanderVeen, Director of Disability Support Services

Doug VanDoren, Pastor, Plymouth United Church of Christ

Gary VanHarn, Allies & Advocates Chair, Padnos International Center Staff

Emily West, LGBT Coordinator, Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center