"The Families of GVSU" suite of photographs was a project created in the summer of 2006 by the Grand Valley State University Student Senate, the College of Education and coordinated by Melissa Flores and senior photographer, Beth Burnside. The photographs and accompanying personal texts in this project affirm and celebrate the rich diversity of families from the GVSU community. They challenge prejudice and intolerance, and show that love and caring are basic to all kinds of families.
Prior to being installed in GVSU's Eberhard Center, the "Families of GVSU" series of photographs was exhibited in the Kirkhof Center on the Grand Valley State University Allendale Campus, from December 2006 through August 2007. Due to the tremendous positive and enthusiastic reponse from students, faculty, staff, and visitors the exhibit was extended four months from the original closing date in April to August. Today, the photographs are displayed on the 3rd and 6th floors of the Eberhard Center.
Melissa Flores began to take an interest in art at the age of 4 when her father, a drafter by trade, introduced her to a broad assortment of drawing tools. Since that time she has pursued and continued to hone her craft. Several years (and many sheets of drawing paper) later, in December 2005, she graduated from Montgomery College (now known as Lone Star College) with an Associate's degree in Art. In December 2008, Melissa graduated again from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor's degree in Studio Art.
Elizabeth Burnside is an alumna of Grand Valley State University who graduated in 2006 with her B.S. in Health Sciences and a minor in Spanish. While at Grand Valley she worked at the Lanthorn Newspaper, first as a receptionist and later as Business Manager. She continues to live in Grand Rapids where she works as a pharmacy technician.