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.
Marla has worked in various aspects of higher education since 1998. After 10 years of teaching at three universities, she completed her graduate work and moved to California, where she transitioned into a career in student services and support. While working as an academic counselor in San Francisco, she developed a guide to LGBTQ community resources to help students access health care and other critical services. In California, she also volunteered for a community literacy program and worked with incarcerated students through the Prison University Project at San Quentin until she relocated to Grand Rapids in 2014.
Marla is passionate about education as a justice issue and about providing students with access to critical resources. She is dedicated to working collaboratively to create a supportive, challenging, and empowering learning environment for LGBTQ students. Marla holds a BA from Montana State University, an MA from Ohio University, and PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
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.
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 worker staff photo credit: Zachary Carlson, 2014.
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.
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.
DeAndreah Hollowell is a third year student with a major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a minor in Sociology. DeAndreah identifies as a Black Feminist, who thoroughly enjoys debunking popular myths about social inequality. She is a co-facilitator of the Queer and Trans People of Color student organization, and an Intersections Ambassador. When she’s free, she enjoys singing to Beyoncé, reading graphic novels, dancing, and making art.
Danielle is a sophomore with a major in Advertising and Public Relations, a double minor in Writing and Public/Nonprofit Administration, and a Certificate in Intercultural Competency. She hopes to use her degree to consult businesses and corporations on how to implement philanthropic work better and more effectively. She identifies as a Queer Black Intersectional Feminist and co-facilitates First-Year Queer Alliance. She is also a member of Intersections Ambassadors, Loud & Queer and the student-run Queer People of Color group. In her free time, she raps, runs a streetwear blog, and attends punk shows in basements
Ezra Smith is a second year student at GVSU, majoring in Geology. He is a proud member of the Queer and Trans People of Color student organization, and Loud and Queer, and is very passionate about social justice. Ezra writes, sings, and plays bass guitar in his freetime. With a Geology major, he hopes to bring fresh water to countries in need with the least amount of consumerism possible.
Jo is a sophomore majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minoring in LGBTQ Studies. Her goal is to pursue a graduate program for Student Affairs and bring LGBTQ centers to public, more accessible, and earlier educational institutions. She is currently secretary of the student organization Out ‘N’ About and spends her free time writing music, consuming popular media, and often, dissecting both.
David Alvarez, Professor, English Department; Affiliate faculty for Middle East Studies; member of Healing Children of Conflict
Liam Bailey, Visionary Director, QGR (Queer Grand Rapids)
Andy Bui, GVSU Student, Student Senate Diversity Affairs Committee
Danielle DeMuth, Chair and Associate Professor, Women, Gender, and Sexuality 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
Jessica Jennrich, Director, Women's Center
Tony Josephson, Director, Human Resources, Stryker Corporation
Cael Keegan, Assistant Professor, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies/Liberal Studies
Marlene Kowalski-Braun, Assistant Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Rhonda LeMieux, Student Services Assistant, Dean of Students Office
Steven Lipnicki, Assistant Dean of Students, Division of Student Services
Donald Mitchell, Professor, College Student Affairs Leadership
Matthew Mokma, Liaison to the Board of Trustees, Chicago Architecture Foundation
Andrew Plague, GVSU student, intern for the Vice President of Inclusion and Equity
Mark Sampson, Clinical Director, Counseling Center
Colette Seguin Beighley, Director, Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center
Judith Snow, Therapist and Author
Kathleen VanderVeen, Assistant Vice President of Inclusion and Equity, ADA Coordinator
Doug VanDoren, Pastor, Plymouth United Church of Christ
Gary VanHarn, Allies & Advocates Chair, Padnos International Center Staff