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CSAL Class of 2014
Dean of Students GA
Bradley University Alumni
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Welcome to the CSAL newsletter for the 2012 Fall semester! Please continue to stay in touch with us and send any updates on your contact information, job status, awards, accomplishments, and family by visiting the CSAL website at http://www.gvsu.edu/csal/keep-us-posted-3.htm.
Stay Connected - CSAL Alumni Facebook Page!
The CSAL Alumni Facebook page is a great way to keep in touch with GVSU CSAL alum working in all parts of the country. Join and start networking today: Click me for great opportunities
Come join us at the Campus Expo during Homecoming tailgating on October 20th. There will be a CSAL table, so come by to say hello, catch up with other alumni. Lubbers Stadium has been improved and expanded, so take this opportunity to check it out and catch up with other CSAL alumni. If you would like tickets to the football game, Dean Merkle will provide them. Email Ginger Randall at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your request by October 12th.
For more details about homecoming activities, go to http://gvsu.edu/homecoming/.
Hope to see you then!
It’s a privilege to be one of you, or should I say one of us? We are CSAL – I greet you! I’m Donald Mitchell, Jr., the new assistant professor for the CSAL program. I am excited about joining Drs. Cooper and Alston in the department, and more importantly, I am excited about serving our students and alumni. After about ten hours of interviews and meet-and-greets, I realized there was no better place for me to begin my career as a scholar-practitioner than at Grand Valley State University, and I’m glad the search committee agreed.
Several things sparked my interest and helped me decide to accept the position:
The only thing that kept this job from being utopia is GVSU is not located on a Caribbean Island, but I’ve lived in Minnesota, so I should be ok.
1. Current position and major responsibilities:
Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life for Academic and Student Support. I meet with Judicial and behavioral students within Housing & Residential Life, I am the Housing representative for the University Behavioral Team, and the Housing representative for the CSAL professional development committee. I also have a number of offices that I work with on campus to provide student support and resources.
2. Best memories during CSAL program:
One of the best memories that I had during my time in the CSAL program was when our cohort group got together and went downtown for the Matthew Shepard memorial. This was Lorraine’s first year and it really brought our group together. The group was amazing and we did quite a few things together. Also, being able to work on my masters project with two colleagues and friends that I really admire, DeWoyne White and Jason Alt.
3. How did your assistantship/practicum help you as a professional in the field?
During this program, I was a full time staff member and full time student at one point. I was working in Housing as the Robinson Hall Director and during my last semester also ended up with part of Laker Village. This experience taught me some semblance of balance as well as time management. I really enjoyed the classwork because I was able to put everything into practice with my job. I saw the connection to the work and it made sense. My favorite classes were the Theories class and the Law class. These were the most salient classes to me and really helped me put into perspective what I really wanted to do in the future.
4. What advice would you give to current students in the CSAL program?
Enjoy the time that you have in class with each other. My colleagues within the program were a great support system and are great resources and colleagues to this day. Take advantage of the different opportunities and get experiences outside of your area to challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
1.How did you become interested in Student Affairs?
I received my first insight into Student Affairs when I was hired in the Jazz Studies department as an administrative assistant/production manager during my undergrad at Michigan State University. I had the opportunity to advise jazz students on what courses they should take and which professors to avoid. After my undergrad, I was offered a grad assistantship at Oakland University in the Music department where I had the opportunity to advise and give guidance to students, who were unsure about their future. I also met to discuss classes and tutor those who needed extra assistance. After having many different experiences with students in the university setting, I realized I had a passion with helping college students attain their goals. I was very fortunate to have had a helpful academic advisor in the College of Music, which also contributed to my interest in Student Affairs. She provided me with options and resources as to how I could achieve my goal. She recommended institutions that offered a degree in Higher Education…GVSU was one of them!
2. Why did you choose Grand Valley’s CSAL program?
My first impression of GVSU was very favorable. I was impressed with how organized interview day was conducted because I felt it gave a great representation of the faculty and the pleasant ambiance of the university. I thought the CSAL faculty showed that they really cared about the education of the students and the current students shared meaningful, positive comments. I was also ecstatic when I was offered an assistantship in Career Services! I felt an instant connection with the people in this department and was excited to assist students in their career endeavors.
3. At this point, what is the most interesting thing about being a graduate student?
I have enjoyed learning the backgrounds and identities of my fellow CSAL students. I appreciate all the similarities and differences we share because it creates a beautiful diversity and helps us to learn about qualities that we might not have had much exposure to.
4. Where are you considering doing your summer practicum?
I would like the chance to do my summer practicum in Ecuador to immerse myself in a foreign environment and gain more insight into my heritage.
5. What are you doing in your assistantship?
I’m working in the department of Career Services in the Student Services building. I will get the chance to interact with students as I guide them with questions pertaining to what they can do with their major, assist in resume editing, conduct simulated interviews, lead resume and career workshops, supervise students involved in career connectors and co-teach US 301 Job Search and Strategies. I have the opportunity to help organize fun events like the Career fairs and Etiquette dinner! And lastly, I get the chance to meet with employers that are looking for potential employees here at GVSU!
My trip to Jamaica was one of those things that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Thinking back on the trip, I think the highlight of the trip was staying in the residence hall at the University of the West Indies (UWI) at Mona campus in Kingston, Jamaica. We spent the entire trip meeting with locals and getting to know the rich Jamaican culture. But there was something so special about sitting in the lounge with students who were so curious about me as I was of them. At least fifteen students filtered in an out until almost 2 AM just talking to me. We discussed everything, their education – my education, their family culture – my family culture, politics, and the stereotypes we had of each other. It was a night and interaction free of pretense and I believe to truly experience a different culture, letting go of all restraints is the only way to truly experience something different.
I would absolutely suggest students to go on the Jamaican trip! I was never truly able to grasp all that exists outside of the U.S. My “global” perspective was very limited and very narrow. Especially working in Student Affairs, it is critical that a professional has a strong global perspective that can be reinforced with experience and context. I think about how many times before the trip I urged students to study abroad but didn’t have the experience myself. I think it is important for everyone to experience things larger than us and larger than our worlds. And this trip abroad for me expanded my view of the world I live in and the world I read about.
I remember speaking to a previous supervisor and CSAL graduate Ellen Herion Fingado about whether or not the cost was something I wanted to realistically budget for or not. All I remember Ellen saying was, “Just go!” She spoke to me about taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves. I knew that I was not going to be able to afford the trip on my own. My mother helped me pay out of pocket (no worries, I am paying her contribution back!) and the grant you receive from Padnos helped a lot. The cost is a major factor for all of us that went on the trip. We all explored different options to pay for the trip, paying out of pockets, partial loans, and full loans, but we all wanted to go and we were okay taking on a little extra debt to experience this unique opportunity. We are grad students paying back loans and budgeting bills, but if you can make the cost work, the experience is more than worth it.
Being able to travel to Jamaica was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I never thought would happen! I did not think that I would have an opportunity to travel outside the country if I wasn’t in the CSAL program at GVSU. I made some really great friends and memories that I would never trade in. The trip to Jamaica ended a great first year at GVSU and started an even better second year!
Total: 60 1st Year Cohort: 39 2nd Year Cohort: 21
Male: 27 (44%) 15 (38%) 12 (57%)
Undergrad Institutions - 29
Marushka Baoh – The Ohio State U, Living Center Director
Brian Kurisky ’98 is now the Director of Advising and Academic Programs at Old Dominion University.
Nikki Gaines ’01 completed her doctorate at Bowling Green State University. Congratulations Dr. Nikki Gaines!
Alice Schweihofer ’03 has left The Ohio State University to become the Administrator for Apartment Life at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Sara Spiegel ’03 is now Student Support and Disability Services Coordinator at Illinois Institute of Art.
Cherjanet Lenzy ’04 is now the Associate Director for Intercultural Programs at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Crasha Perkins ’04 left the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign to become the director of Inclusion and Equity at Radford University.
Kerry Day ’05 left the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire to become Assistant Director of Residence Life at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
Michael Seals ’05 – left Willamette University to take a position as Associate Director for Residence Life at Purdue University.
Ellen Herion Fingado ’07, Assistant Director of Student Conduct at Northwestern University was elected ASCA Midwest Regional Representative.
Latoya Gates ’07 is now at Aquinas College as the Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
Brad Dupay ’08 has accepted a new position as the Associate Director of Housing and Residential Life at Michigan Technological University.
Julie Amon Kaiser ’08 has returned to GVSU from Northern Illinois University as an academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising Center.
Katie Bylenga ’09 is Student Conduct Coordinator at Virginia Tech University.
Bobbie Denise Cole ’09 accepted the position of Complex Coordinator at Northern Illinois University and moved to Dekalb in July.
Yug Gill ’09 accepted an Area Coordinator for First Year Area position at DePauw University in Indiana.
Bob Griffith ’09 is now Conduct Specialist at Southern Illinois University.
Jessica Sullivan Watson ’09 took a position as Administrative Assistant in the Dean of Students office at Northwestern University.
John Gipson, Graduate Assistant - Student Information and Services Center College of Education – named the Chair of the Social and Networking Committee (Formerly Membership and Social/Networking Committee) for NASPA's Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Knowledge Committee.