Liberal Studies students participate in a variety of activities, events, scholarship and research. To learn more about their involvement, see the stories below and check out the alumni and undergraduate Spotlights.

Liberal Studies Major, Mark Wilson,  
Named one of Traverse City's 40 Most Influential Under 40

The list, published every September, highlights the forty most influential individuals in the region under age 40.

To narrow the field from more than one hundred nominees to the final forty, the judges look first and foremost at each applicant's overall impact in the region over the past year, as well as leadership in the workplace and community involvement. 

First Accelerated Leadership Cohort
begins in Fall 2014

Students in the first cohort of the Liberal Studies Leadership Program met for orientation August 12 at the DeVos Center.

Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisplinary Studies, welcomed students; the program is housed within the college. Simone Jonaitis, executive director of the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies, said students then heard from faculty members who will be teaching courses in the program in addition to other staff members who will serve as resources for the 19-month accelerated degree program.

Students enrolled in the program take one five-week class at a time at the Pew Grand Rapids Campus; it’s geared toward working adults who have earned about 72 credits and are at least 24 years old. 

A second cohort will begin at the Meijer Campus in Holland in the winter semester. For more information, visit

Liberal Studies Major, Mark Wilson,  
Elected to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottowa and Chippewa Indian's 
Tribal Council.

Read the full article here: Two newcomers, one former official elected to tribal council

Suzanne Katerberg Awarded the 
Grand Valley Peace and Justice Activist Scholarship Award

Established in 1987, the scholarship is awarded to students who have intentionally combined their classroom learning with practical experiences to focus on justice and peace issues in their home communities or abroad. 

Liberal Studies Majors Ashley Flees and Katy Bertodatto
to Travel to Brazil as Fellowship Recipients 

Flees (left) and Bertodatto (right) were among a group of students from the Traverse City area selected for the fellowship by U.S.-Brazil Connect, an organization that works to strengthen educational ties between the U.S. and Brazil. Flees and Bertodatto have spent the last month connecting online with their assigned Brazilian teens, and will live in Brazil for a month-long internship where they will work with the teens to improve their English skills.

Read the Full Article Here 

Congratulations to 
Jane Marsman
Outstanding Liberal Studies Major 

Jane Marsman was awarded the Outstanding Liberal Studies Major award at the Annual Awards Celebration in April.

Marsman graduated with honors in April 2013, receiving her degree in Liberal Studies with minors in Philosophy and Psychology. 

Jane plans to continue her education, pursuing a Master's degree in Education. 


Dmitri Westbrook

Dmitri Westbrook will graduate from the Liberal Studies program in April 2013 with an emphasis in Breaking Systems of Oppression. Westbrook plans to pursue  a graduate education in an interdisciplinary field. 

Westbrook is an active student and is a member of Act on Racism, ReACT!, Office of Multicultural Affairs ambassador 
program, in addition to serving as a resident assistant. 
Westbrook also received the Positive Black Woman Scholarship in 2012, making history as the first male to receive the scholarship. 

Congratulations to Women's Center Outstanding Student Award Winners:

Sherri Slater

Sherri Slater will graduate from the Liberal Studies program in April 2013 with an emphasis in Non Profit Leadership with an focus on Women's Motivation. Slater is actively engaged in not only the Grand Valley community, but also the Muskegon community in which she resides. Slater has has worked on projects to increase the reach of the arts in her Muskegon community. She is also an actor and playwright, having written one play and currently at work on another play and a performance lecture.  

Slater has also received the Athena Scholarship, and was most recently named the Glen A. Niemeyer Outstanding Student.



Liberal studies senior Jose Jimemez was highlighted for his Summer Scholars research based on the Young Lords, a political organization he helped establish in Chicago in the 1960s. Read more about Jose's research and work in the online version if  GVNOW..





Liberal Studies senior Gabriel Carter received the Bolton-Mac Vicar Best Presenter Award for his presentation at the National Student Advertising Competition National Championship in Texas. Read more..




Gabriel Carter, second from right, and other presenters with faculty
advisor Frank Blossom.

Lib Studies Students Accepted into Cook Leadership Academy

Tori VanDragt and Darris Sawtelle who were accepted into the prestigious Cook Leadership Academy in the Hauenstein Center! Tori and Darris are two of only 25 students selected!

Corey Oostveen featured as Pay it Forward Person of the week

Corey Oostveen, Liberal Studies senior, was featured as the Fox 17 Pay it Forward person of the week for his volunteer work with the community non-profit Code Red Robotics. See the full story on the Fox 17 website.




Page last modified August 28, 2014