The Virtual Annual Meeting is coming up soon! Mark your calendars for Monday, May 10th from 5:30pm – 6pm. Make sure to get acquainted with this year’s board nominees before then! Read on to meet the 2021 nominees who will be voted on during this year’s annual meeting.
A native of Seattle, Washington, Cynthia Browne was a transplant to Grand Rapids twenty years ago and has been fascinated by the women’s history of her chosen city. She is currently a circulation specialist in the library of the Grand Rapids Community College, where she has the unique ability to connect both non-traditional, older students and younger learners with resources and often to serve as their continuing mentor. Also at the GRCC, Browne has taken the lead in library initiatives, such as the Exam Cram food supply, student employee training, and a library food pantry. A lifelong-student, Browne graduated from Ferris State University in 2019 and is now interested to help the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council unearth and preserve the stories of little-known local women who have impacted our past and to bring them into the city’s present. Her special interest is in African American women’s history and the many roles they have played in the area.
Will Katerberg is currently the curator of Heritage Hall, archive of Calvin University, and is editor of its print and online magazine, Origins. A professor of history, Will is also the director of the Mellema Program in Western American Studies and is actively working on a book on nineteenth-century Massachusetts senator Henry L. Dawes and his daughter Anna Laurens Dawes, who were both influential in promoting reform movements and legislation regarding the acculturation of Native Americans to U.S. life and values. His rephotography projects—comparisons of past and contemporary photographs—explore Dutch American and local history sites in West Michigan and throughout the state. Generously, Will has already been contributing to GGRWHC board life for much of the pandemic year.
Gabe LaGrand is a graduating senior in history at Calvin University, with minors in philosophy and German. Throughout his time at Calvin, Gabe enjoyed multiple women- and gender-focused courses starting with Kristin DuMez’s Women and Gender in U.S. History. From former board member Kristin, he first learned about GGRWHC. Then, supervised by Kate van Liere and Jo Ellyn Clarey, he began work in early 2020 as an intern on the Women Who Ran project and began learning more about the group. While Gabe was disappointed that his microfilm scrolling in GRPL’s archive and his official internship were cut short due to the pandemic, he has already begun continuing work on the electoral history project, which will continue during his time on the board. But he is also excited to engage with the organization’s other projects and pursuits. Bottom line, this Grand Rapids native is curious to learn more about his hometown and contribute to its history.
Sue Thoms is a writer and storyteller who has enjoyed over thirty years in journalism. In 2014, while writing for The Grand Rapids Press/MLive, she was captured by the story of the Grand Rapids women scientists who created the whooping cough vaccine and saved the lives of countless children. Thoms wrote a feature article pointing a spotlight at the groundbreaking work of these extraordinary women, which was in turn placed on the front page above the fold by the first female editor of the Press and our board member, Julie Hoogland. Together, they have kept up their work on Kendrick, Eldering, and Gordon, starting with a GGRWHC annual reception; then a GRPL exhibit; a Community Legends sculpture unveiling; and, most recently, a presentation for the Historical Society of Michigan. Thoms currently writes medical features for Spectrum Health Beat, the news site for Spectrum Health. She is especially captivated by stories that involve medicine and children and is the author of six children’s books, including The Twelve Days of Christmas in Michigan.