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Our Event Staff

Deborah Droppers

Founder & Executive Director


"My mom, Shirley Van Hoeven, inspires me every day and it is in her spirit that I founded the Center.  She lived her life for college students when she was teaching at Western Michigan University.  Her impact still resonates through her Scholarship Fund in the Communications Department.


This center is my dream. I love working with non-profits and enjoy the chaos of working with interns. I am inspired to think of new ideas to make events more interactive, customer-focused, and multi-layered.  I teach at Western Michigan University and run the Event Management Minor.  It's insanely fun.  Every day I learn something new in preparation for the lectures that hopefully engage, inspire, transform.  Within this pledge, we celebrate the passion of the product and the people we serve.


 It's an amazing adventure".   

Kaitlynne Burns

Program Director


A recent graduate from Western with a degree in Public Relations and Social Media Marketing, Kaitlynne has built a solid foundation through various roles: from Entertainment and Marketing at The Growler's, to Social Media Marketing and Executive Assistance at Outlier Events, and even taking on the persona of Buster Bronco while working in WMU athletic marketing.

Kaitlynne's standout moment was the Friday Food Truck event, which holds a special place in her heart. Her motivation to work in events stems from her belief that even the smallest of gatherings can brighten someone's day, especially when they might be going through tough times.

Bringing a practical yet enthusiastic approach, Kaitlynne Burns is all about spreading positivity through her event work. Her experiences and dedication make her an invaluable addition, ensuring that every project she touches leaves a positive impact.

Olivia Darmos

Remote Event Strategist

"The crazy part of events is you never stop learning from them. My internship here has taught me so much, from the details of planning to the anticipation of event day. Working for KELC, and for nonprofits in general, you get that intimate experience with events, you really get to build them from the ground up in some cases, and that's the coolest part. 

Our team is so dedicated to the surrounding community and putting our best foot forward, not only at every event, but throughout the entire process and all that goes into them behind the scenes. I am blessed and so grateful to be doing what I love and surrounded by people as passionate as I am about others, our community, our vision, etc.  

I couldn't imagine doing anything else surrounded by anyone else at this point in my life. I love what I do and who I do it with, & I couldn't ask for more"

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Current Event Coordinators & Interns

Bryce Munn

a Western Michigan University graduate with a degree in strategic communication, complemented by a minor in marketing. Munn joined KELC in 2022.


A dedicated member of both the Public Relations Society of America and Best Buddies International, Bryce brings a diverse skill set to the table.


Within KELC, Bryce spearheads communication and public relations endeavors, both for the organization and its clients.


His passion for fostering connections shines through, as evidenced by his favorite event – New Year's Fest in Kalamazoo. This event's ability to unite diverse audiences in downtown Kalamazoo resonates deeply with Bryce.

Marissa Munson

Meet Marissa Munson, a recent graduate who brings a wealth of experience and a genuine passion for creating memorable experiences to our team. Marissa earned her B.A. in Strategic Communications with a focus on Public Relations, accompanied by a minor in Event Management in June of 2023.


Marissa's journey into the world of events began at a young age – she's been immersing herself in the event scene at WMU since the age of 8, attending everything from sporting events to plays and student gatherings. Her love for events extended to volunteering at various occasions in her hometown and even corporate events in Kalamazoo, further enriching her understanding of the industry.

Among her many experiences, Marissa finds herself most captivated by Roofsit – an event she's worked on at KELC. Despite its demanding nature, Roofsit's dynamic mix of programs and surprises makes for an exhilarating weekend, and Marissa thrives amidst the organized chaos.

Mallory Smith

Major: Sports Management

Minor: Event Management

Favorite Event: Kalamazoo Regional Spelling Bee

KELC Project: Food Truck Rallies

"My favorite thing about working at KELC is getting to experience and play a role in the planning process of all different kinds of events. It makes for a well-rounded learning experience." 

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