GRCC In the News, 3-30-18

GRCC mourns death of alumnus, longtime supporter Armen Oumedian

March 29, 2018; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College is mourning the death of alumnus and longtime supporter Armen Oumedian, who died on Wednesday, March 28.

GRCC montará Torneo de baloncesto NJCAA Región XII en 2019, 2020

March 29, 2018; El Vocero

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN. – Los mejores jugadores de baloncesto comunitarios de la región se presentarán en West Michigan durante los próximos dos años, con la selección de  Grand Rapids Community College  para albergar el torneo de baloncesto NJCAA Región XII en la temporada 2019 y 2020.

(GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN. – The best community basketball players in the region will perform in West Michigan for the next two years, with the selection of Grand Rapids Community College to host the NJCAA Region XII basketball tournament in the 2019 and 2020 seasons.)

West Shore earns high ranking for nursing

March 29, 2018; Ludington Daily News

West Shore Community College has been recognized as the No. 2-ranked LPN program in Michigan by the Annual State LPN Program Rankings.

… WSCC had an overall score of 98.08, just behind Muskegon Community College, which had 99.64 total points. Lansing Community College was ranked third with 98.02 points. Grand Rapids Community College was ranked seventh with 97.04 points. More information about the ranking methodology is available at

Maranda’s Guide to Spring Break Fun!

March 20, 2018; WOTV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Spring break is here and if you’re staying close to West Michigan, there are so many options for family fun! Check out Maranda’s Guide to Spring Break Fun, including her picks of the day! To get a list of family-friendly activities emailed to you each week, click here!

… Kent District Library

Staying in town for spring break? We can help keep your kids happy, busy and entertained… and we will even sneak in a little education (but they will never know)!

… Big Time Builders at M-Tech

Get your hands on a virtual welder and try out some construction techniques and other maker projects at West Michigan’s premier training center. Try these unique maker projects at GRCC’s Leslie E Tassel M-Tech. For grades 4-8.
Wednesday, April 4, 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
M-Tech, 622 Godfrey Ave SW, Grand Rapids


Physical Sciences Department recognizes Sam Johnson, Katie Schumann, Christopher Klap

The Physical Sciences Department would like to congratulate their winners for student of the year in physics, geology, and chemistry. From left to right: Sam Johnson for excellence in physics, Katie Schumann for excellence in geology, and Christopher Klap for excellence in chemistry. The student winners were presented their their awards at the GRCC Student Leadership Banquet on March 29, 2018.

Sam Johnson, and Katie Schumann hold awards and Christopher Klap holds a certificate.


GRCC In the News, 3-29-18

Beacon of Soul: Forty Acres Soul Kitchen plants its flag in ‘Gentrification Central’

March 28, 2018; Revue

Forty Acres Soul Kitchen, a modern adaptation of traditional Southern-style food opening this month, will be Grand Rapids’ only African American-owned full-service restaurant — that means a host, waitstaff, full bar and food menu. Let that sink in for minute. In the states second-largest city of 200,000 people. In 2018.

… (Chef Trimell) Hawkins, 34, attended the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College. He was formerly the executive chef at Black Heron on the West Side. He said the menu reflects classic dishes he grew up on and putting a new spin on it, reinventing some soul food classics.

One more trophy lift for Peter Firlik at Addix Champions all-star game

March 28, 2018; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS – Peter Firlik is getting used to lifting big basketball trophies.

… The Stripes team was coached by Kim Elders, the head coach of Cornerstone University and his assistant Eric DeSantis. The Stars team was coached by Luke Bronkema and Mel Selmon of Grand Rapids Community College.

David Cope’s latest ‘American Elegy’: The Invisible Keys

March 28, 2018;

So, what’s in a retrospective collection of poems spanning 1975 to 2017?

“My whole life,” says David Cope, former G.R. Poet Laureate and Grand Rapids Community College Professor. There are poems about workers and the union, protest poems about war and environmental destruction. “Always war,” Cope says. “Every war America has been involved in during my lifetime.” But there are also poems about love, family, and a deep connection with the natural world.




GRCC retiree biography: Jim Steensma

Jim Steensma will be retiring from GRCC on March 29. He has worked in maintenance as a carpenter for the entire 25 years that he has been employed by the college.

We asked him to share his favorite story about GRCC or our students and he said,  “I was able to have been a small part, for a couple of years, of going on a couple of spring break outreaches with students. These two experiences of taking a widely diverse group of young adults down to Missouri, to a church mission outreach daycare facilities. To see such a broad range of young adults getting along so well and working so hard with such patience was an amazing experience. They worked with under-privileged kids in a scary and threatening environment, which was incredible to witness! I was so honored to participate and represent the institution that I worked at. I was told numerous times how grateful that the people at the daycare were for the work we did and the quality of kids that we had brought.”

When reminiscing about his time at GRCC, he recalled a past director of facilities having his staff over to his house for a picnic, which was just the start of Jim feeling like he truly belonged as part of the GRCC family. He said that day was one that he won’t soon forget.

In retirement, Jim is hoping to slow down a bit and work on things around his house that have been neglected. He is planning to take some trips with his wife, Gale, to unplug from their busy schedules for awhile. He said, “We need to go down a few of those roads that we always wondered what was down there. We have driven by so many of them over the past 30 years, and just never had the time to take that road that is less traveled. I am also excited to see what God has in store for me. He has been so good to me, throughout my life! I have been so blessed by Him, and have begun to realize it more and more each day.” Jim has also recently become a grandfather, so he is looking to spend more time with his granddaughter, Anika.

Lastly, he stated, “I would like to thank all the people at GRCC for all the great memories. It has been an honor to work with you all for the past 25 years. I wish you all the best in your lives here and after. I hope you all, too, can experience the great times that I have had while here. Yeah there are those days too! But on a whole the good ones far surpassed the bad ones.”

Jim, congratulations on your retirement. The work you have done for the college is so very appreciated. We hope you will stay in touch. Best of luck in all that you do in retirement!

New employee discount at SNAP Fitness

Grand Rapids Community College employees can enjoy discounts at SNAP Fitness! By presenting your RaiderCard, you’ll receive 24/7 access to any of their nine locations in West Michigan with only $15 down and $30 per month. They also offer the option to prepay for a 12-month membership – only $345! Do you have a favorite SNAP location? Take advantage of their Home Gym discount, which grants access to that location only for $20 per month.

View their website for location information and contact Derek Beaudy at (616) 942-5600 or with any questions.

GRCC In the News, 3-28-18

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” offers insights into the impact of technology on relationships

March 27, 2018;  Grand Rapids Magazine

The “loopy and whimsical” play “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” takes audiences on a journey that explores how technology can bring people together in the “most abnormal way possible.”

The GRCC Players are staging the play, written by Sarah Ruhl and first performed in 2007, on March 29 31 at GRCC’s Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain St. NE.

Lean Goes Beyond Manufacturing

March 27, 2018; Michigan Business Network

On this segment of The Leaning Edge features Alen Ganic. Alen studied supply chain management and also received CPIM Supply Chain Management certification from APICS (The Association for Operations Management) and Lean certification from Grand Rapids Community College.

Youth interaction policy unveiled by Grand Rapids police

March 27, 2018; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A new Grand Rapids Police Department policy guiding officer interactions with youth is now in effect after the final draft was presented to the city commission Tuesday, March 27.

… It instructs officers to prioritize the least-restrictive options when dealing with youth, according to Raynard Ross, a leading member of the public-safety task force and Grand Rapids Community College associate dean.

‘I can finally exhale,’ man’s quest to feel comfortable in his own body nearly complete

March 27, 2018; WZZM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Beau VanSolkema lived the first few decades of his life in the wrong body.

… He has been in therapy ever since that day. VanSolkema enrolled in classes at Grand Rapids Community College and got involved with the LGBT community on campus. It was there that VanSolkema established his voice as an LGBT identifierwhile advocating for others. He also began to learn more about the transgender spectrum.

Emma Pachulski receives Scholar-Athlete Award

March 27, 2018; Ionia Sentinel-Standard

EAST LANSING — Emma Pachulski, a senior from Saranac High School, received the Michigan High School Athletic Associations Scholar-Athlete Award. Pachulski was honored at the 2018 MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, March 24. She was honored at the event by Don Simon, executive vice president for Farm Bureau Insurance, and John E. Jack Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA.

… Pachulski will be using the scholarship funds while attending Grand Rapids Community College and studying theatre & media arts. Pachulski will also be playing volleyball as a GRCC Raider.

Preschoolers keep busy with books, human body study

The preschool celebrated March Is Reading Month! Scott Martin read “The Little Puppy” to kids in the Marsh and Meadow rooms and then brought a real puppy for them to pet and play with! Dr Pink read “Thelma the Unicorn” to the whole preschool and gave everyone high-fives at the end.

The Marsh room visited the science department as part of a study on the human body. Max Spencer and Aaron Flynn led the kids in activities that included creating a body out of different art supplies and exploring models of an ear, eye, leg and skeleton.

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Community geography discussion draws 157

On March 27, Dr. Jonnell Robinson, assistant professor of geography at Syracuse University, captivated 157 students, faculty, and members of the local community in Sneden Hall with her talk on community geography. As one of only 41 Visiting Geographical Scientists listed by the American Association of Geographers and the International Geographical Honor Society, Dr. Robinson spoke on the importance of colleges and universities engaging in collaboration with their local communities in addressing issues and resolving problems through the application of geographical techniques, skills, and strategies. Her lecture, “Points, Lines and People: Connecting People and Place through Community Geography,” was filmed by GRCC Media Technologies and will soon be broadcast on GRCC TV. Dr. Robinson also was interviewed for GRCC’s “Conversation with a Geographer” oral history series, which was filmed by Media Technologies as well.

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Finance and Administration departments team up on Learning Day

GRCC’s Finance and Administration departments got together for a Learning Day on Friday, March 23. Multiple areas and shifts blended together for this exciting event, which included sharing a meal together, team-building exercises, and home improvement tips. Thank you to all who were involved in making this event a success!

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Photos from Spring Open House

Admissions hosted their annual Spring Open House for prospective students this past Saturday, March 24th.  The event was held in the Applied Technology Center.  A total of 154 individual prospective students, representing 54 high schools, and their families attended.  We saw about 500 people in total during the event.  Students were able to attend presentations on Academic Pathways and Admissions & Financial Aid, go on a campus tour, take their placement test, attend a FAFSA completion workshop and meet with staff from 25 GRCC departments.  In addition, six academic departments hosted tours of their area for students.

A huge thank you goes out to all staff who attended the event and connected with potential students.  In addition, thanks are due to Bayard Brooks, Becky Yoder and Chef Luba for ensuring the event was set up perfectly and students and staff were well fed!

Save the date for the Fall Open House which will be held on Saturday November 3rd!

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GRCC In the News, 3-27-18

Four students awarded Rockford Chamber of Commerce scholarships

March 26, 2018; The Rockford Squire

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) is proud to announce that Rockford High School seniors James Bird, Emerson Ross, Hannah Irwin, and Kendra Kalnins were named the recipients of its 2017-2018 college scholarships.

… Kendra Kalnins will be attending Grand Rapids Community College pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.

Making of a champion: Bronkema leads Ferris to national title

March 27, 2018; Cadillac News

BIG RAPIDS — His training, so to speak, began in McBain.

… His (Andy Bronkema) younger brother, Luke, is the second-year head coach at Grand Rapids Community College and led the Raiders to an eighth-place finish in the NJCAA Division II National Championships last week.

Heritage Restaurant Receives Open Table Diners’ Choice Award!

Congratulations to Secchia Institute for Culinary Education faculty staff and students on The Heritage Restaurant being selected by OpenTable diners as one of the best restaurants!

Open Table’s Diners’ Choice Award lists are designed to celebrate top-rated restaurants, giving them greater visibility on Each month they feature Diners’ Choice winners on their website and in seasonal emails that target all of our diners.

OpenTable Diners’ Choice winners are selected according to real feedback from diners who booked through them and dined at the Heritage Restaurant. After their meal, Open Table asks patrons to take a moment to review your restaurant.

This is a great accomplishment for everyone involved in supporting Heritage Restaurant operations!

A SICE student serves something from a platter to students seated at a table at The Heritage.


Automotive Technology students ready to tackle live service, repairs

Brakes rough or squealing?

Hearing clunks or rattles over bumps?

“Check Engine” light on?

Transmission fluid, anti-freeze, and power steering fluid need a flush?

A/C blowing warm air?

Belts squeaking and chirping?

Power window/locks inoperative?

ABS warning lamp on?

Automotive Technology students can help with these issues — and more! The students can perform maintenance and repairs on most vehicle makes and models that are 2007 model year or newer. To schedule an appointment, contact Brett Atchison at Customers pay only for parts and supplies. With no labor charges, the repair costs are half the typical cost. Our session will run for only THREE WEEKS this year, with a start date of May 7.