My GRCC Story: Ryan Langrick uses online classes to finish his GRCC degree – from New Zealand

Ryan Langrick and fiance smiling.

It’s 1:45 a.m.: For Ryan Langrick, that used to be time to start his virtual class at GRCC — 8,457 miles away.

“A couple years ago, I started my travels to explore the world and ended up here in New Zealand,” said Langrick, who is originally from Fremont. “While here, I met my loving fiancée, who I’ll be marrying in the next month or so, and I’ve stuck around with her while she finishes the last steps of her Ph.D. and she should actually be done in about 10 days.”

GRCC has for years offered online classes, but dramatically increased hybrid, and virtual real-time classes this year because of the pandemic. The formats have been helpful for students scheduling classes around their home and work responsibilities – or those completing their degrees from the other side of the world.

New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean about 1,200 miles southeast of Australia.

All but one of Langrick’s GRCC classes are traditional online courses, which means they have no set meeting times. His Honors Program capstone course is the exception: a hybrid class that does require attendance at a set class time.

For a while, that put Langrick in the virtual classroom at 1:45 a.m. New Zealand Standard Time.

“The professor for that class, Leigh Kleinert, has been beyond helpful in making it work for me through recording classes and letting me attend only the ones that my attendance was absolutely required at,” he said. “Also, the group I’m working with has been great and scheduled our group meetings on the weekends at a time that it doesn’t kill me to show up.”

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Highlighting staff who help our students

Elizabeth VanPortfliet smiling.

Always remember, at GRCC, you are surrounded by people who want you to be successful and are ready to walk with you on your educational pathway. We are here to help!

Meet Elizabeth VanPortfliet. Elizabeth is an academic adviser in GRCC’s Academic Advising and Transfer Center.

She knows what it’s like to transfer credits to a four-year college or university, and how to help you take your education to the next level, whether that is seeking a degree or gaining career skills.

“It is my professional mission to help students navigate the college experience, plan for successful completion of their educational goals, and connect them with the resources to help them do so,” she said.

Elizabeth is a proud first-generation college student and a GRCC graduate. She earned an associate degree before transferring credits to Grand Valley State University and earning a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. She’s working on a master’s degree in Counseling Education – College Counseling from Western Michigan University. She is a National Certified Counselor working towards the Michigan State Certifications.

Elizabeth worked in higher education as a student employee and administrative professional before becoming an academic advisor. She has experience working at GRCC’s Tassell M-TEC helping students in the Job Training and GRCC Workforce Training programs. Elizabeth also supported the Disability Support Services and the Occupational Support Grant Program.

She is currently advising and supporting students attending GRCC’s Workforce Training programs and knows much about attending tuition-free through Michigan’s Futures for Frontliners program.

She believes in lifelong education and enjoys learning new things through reading and taking classes. When she’s not helping students, Elizabeth enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, biking, and camping with her family.

Connect with Elizabeth and other members of the Academic Advising and Transfer team to get assistance and learn how GRCC is your best choice for pursuing your academic or professional goals. You can email, call (616) 234-3900 and schedule an in-person or virtual appointment at 

Tech Tips: Experiencing a technical outage

Is a GRCC system not working right or appear to be down? Please visit GRCC IT Status for at-a-glance status updates of all Information Technology’s services – from Blackboard to PeopleSoft. From this website, you will be able to see the current status of all of our services, and a historical record of any service disruption or maintenance. The website is available to both students and employees and is designed to be accessible even in the event of a major network outage. 

Are you trying to run reports from CSProd but everything is moving at a snail’s pace? Maybe it’s heavy traffic, something on your local computer, or a campus wide issue. GRCC IT Status will let you know of any problems we’re detecting. Don’t see anything posted to GRCC IT Status? Then give us a call. You may be the first one to experience an issue that we need to look into. 

For more information, please visit the Status Hub or contact the IT Customer Support Desk.

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing