Staff Directory

Valerie Guzman

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.


Melissa Baker-Boosamra
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.


Laura Murnen
Graduate Assistant, Service Initiatives

Laura joined the GVSU Office of Student Life in August 2013. Prior to Grand Valley, Laura earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wittenberg University. While in undergrad, she was involved in Student Senate, Greek life, and new student orientation, as well as worked in the Offices of Admission and Alumni Relations. Laura will be pursuing her master’s degree in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU. She is looking forward to this new adventure and is excited to start working on Service Initiatives for the upcoming year! 


Community Service Learning Center Staff Assistant

Shannon Riffel 

Shannon is a senior majoring in Public and Nonprofit Administration with an emphasis on Community Development and Planning and a minor in Sociology.  She is the President of her sorority, Delta Zeta, and loves the sisterhood she found here at GVSU.  Shannon has a passion for serving all people, especially inner-city populations, and hopes to turn this love for people into a career some day.  During the summers, she spends her time coordinating short term mission trips for high school students in large urban cities such as Minneapolis and Chicago!

Community Service Learning Center Consultants

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Ryan Carrier
Ryan is from Holt, Michigan and is a senior studying Biomedical Sciences with minors in Spanish and Chemistry. He is the VP of Community Impact with Alternative Breaks, and highly suggests that you get involved with Service Saturdays at GV! Ryan’s favorite service involves providing medical care to underserved populations. His passion for extending health services to those in need led him to volunteer globally in free clinics in Costa Rica as well as locally at Catherine’s Health Center in Grand Rapids. Ryan hopes to further his passion by becoming a physician and serving the millions of individuals that lack sufficient healthcare.
Alex Case
Alex is a junior majoring in Product Design and Manufacturing with a minor in Art & Design.  After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in Human Factors Engineering.  Alex is the Academic Chairwoman for her sorority, Delta Zeta, and enjoys drawing, photography, and discovering new music.  She enjoys working on team projects and her favorite place to be is under a tree in her hammock.  Alex's favorite volunteering experience was her work with Applied Global Innovation Initiative in Nicaragua, teaching university students and professors the innovation process to help the development of their communities.   

Rosa Fleming
Rosa is a senior majoring in Biomedical Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Business.  She hopes to go to Graduate school for Genetic Counseling next year.  Rosa is President of her sorority Sigma Sigma Sigma, a member of Senior Citizens Club, a tutor in the Math Lab, and also a tutor for many local elementary school students. She loves hanging out with friends, volunteering and staying involved on campus. She also loves helping others and giving back to her community!

Ellyn Goncer
Ellyn is a senior majoring in Clinical Exercise Science with a minor in Nonprofit Administration. Ellyn is involved all throughout campus including being the president for the American Sign Language and Culture Club, serving as a Site Leader for Alternative Breaks, planning the annual Leadership Summit conference, serving as a peer mentor for the Movement Science House, and more! She loves to volunteer through campus activities and has a passion for animal welfare and the homeless population. After graduation Ellyn plans on going to graduate school to pursue a degree in International Education. 

Caitlin Wood

Caitlin is a 5th year senior majoring in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Business. She is a founding member of the sorority Gamma Phi Beta here at GVSU, as well as the President of Alternative Breaks. She does most of her community service through Grand Valley events such as Make A Difference Day, and also goes on week-long service trips to other states through Alternative Breaks. Aside from volunteering, she loves to play all sports, spend time outside or at the lake, and take pictures.

Community Service Learning Center (and Laker Leadership Program Interns

Bios to come!

Page last modified November 5, 2014