Assistant Director of Student Life, Leadership and Service Initiatives
Valerie joined the GVSU Office of Student Life staff in August 2008 as the Assistant Director for Leadership and Service Initiatives. She directly oversees the Laker Leadership Programs and the Community Service Learning Center staff, programs, and resources. Additionally, Valerie serves as a resource for student organizations on campus and is the direct advisor of several service organizations at GVSU, including Alternative Breaks and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honorary. Prior to arriving at GVSU, Valerie spent several years working at the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) in the service and leadership office. Valerie earned her undergraduate degree from Central Michigan University and M.Ed in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU. She is originally from west Michigan and resides in northwest Grand Rapids with her husband, Nate. Outside of work Valerie is a dance instructor at a local dance studio, enjoys cooking, biking and spending time with her family.
Community Service Learning Center Coordinator
Before joining the GVSU CSLC staff in 2014, Melissa served as the founding Program Director for the Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities Cook Library Scholars program, a pipeline program for students from first generation immigrant families in Grand Rapids. There, she co-facilitated an innovative university-community partnership, linking the Grandville Avenue community to GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History through the development of a youth-led neighborhood oral history project. Prior to that, Melissa was a GVSU faculty member in BCOIS Liberal Studies Department. There, Melissa developed and implemented a number of innovative academic service learning courses, including an international service learning course which led students to Guatemala in order to explore the relationship between global problems and local solutions. She was recognized for her achievements in the area of academic service learning by Michigan Campus Compact and GVSU in 2010 when she was nominated to serve as a Presidential Service Scholar. Melissa has extensive experience working in Central America and with the Latino community locally as a community organizer and through teaching ESL to migrant farmworkers. She is a Spanish speaker and is interested in using community based service learning as a tool for developing critical consciousness in students and mutually beneficial relationships between university and community. Outside of work, Melissa finds great joy in spending time with her three children, Chloe, Asa and Ocean. She loves bike riding, swimming, playing basketball, going to the beach, kayaking, dancing, reading and being with friends and family.
Civic Engagement GA
Brendan is an alumni of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and received his B.A. in Elementary Education. While in undergrad, he was involved with various service initiatives, student activities, student government, and human rights advocacy groups. Brendan is pursuing his M.A. in Higher Education with an emphasis in college student affairs leadership. His responsibilities here at GVSU entail overseeing leadership development initiatives such as the I am Grand Valley program, Venderbush Leadership Lecture, Leadership Summit, and Leadership University.
Civic Engagement GA
Nicole Wilson is an alumna of Calvin College where she earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with minors in Mathematics and Integrated Science. Nicole is from a small town in Indiana and has loved living in Grand Rapids the past four years. While in undergrad she was highly involved in new student Orientation, Weekend Programming, and Residence Life. She is now pursuing her M.Ed in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU. Nicole loves being a part of the Student Life team and can';t wait to plan and facilitate programs to help GV students become stronger leaders and thoughtful community members.