Round Table with Governor Whitmer

This past Monday, April 18, 2022, the Black Africana Student Union and their Advisor Chiquital Clay was invited to a round table discussion with Governor Whitmer, her staff, and Commissioner Robert S. Womack. 

The community along with others have a wonderful discussion on social injustice, a safer and equitable place for all in Michigan and the killing of Patrick Lyoyo.

My GRCC Story: GRCC Foundation scholarship helps Fabiola Carrillo Esparza pursue her college dream

Fabiola Carrillo Esparza smiling.

When Grand Rapids Community College holds commencement on April 29, it will be the end of three stressful years for Fabiola Carrillo Esparza. It will also be the culmination of a long-held dream, one that started in 2007.

Back then, Esparza couldn’t join in when her fellow high school seniors talked about their plans. 

“For me, it was different,” she said. “The circumstances didn’t allow me to continue school back then. I came with my parents and my brother at the age of 11 years old to the U.S. as tourist visitors. My parents did not come with a plan to stay, but God had different plans for us. Soon after, our visas expired, and we became illegal immigrants.”

Her parents’ hard work kept the family fed and clothed, but they didn’t have the means to send her to college. And her status as an illegal immigrant disqualified her from accessing help by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA.

So after graduation, she got a job making bouquets, which paid enough to meet her personal needs but not enough for college tuition.

She married in 2010 and gave birth to a son. Raising him helped her realize that her dream of attending college was still there – and now there were resources that could help.

“Thankfully, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) started in 2012, and I was able to obtain a work permit,” Esparza said. “I started working at Interpreter Network as an interpreter and office scheduler. In the meantime, we came across Justice for Our Neighbors, an organization that helps low-income families in West Michigan with legal services. I was blessed to obtain my permanent residency, a process that took close to a year.”

After the birth of her daughter, Esparza began working at the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, a coalition of community organizations that educates young children in vulnerable areas of West Michigan. She discovered her passion: teaching. She applied for a T.E.A.C.H scholarship from the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children and started at GRCC in 2019.

While Esparza was excited and thankful to finally pursue her college dream, the past three years have been difficult.

“Being a wife, mother of two young children, and working a part-time job was very difficult,” she said. “It meant going to sleep past midnight to spend some time with my children after work, and then do homework.

“I was exhausted all the time, stressed, and, at times, I felt like giving up.”

But Esparza was surrounded by support: her husband, her parents and GRCC Foundation scholarship donors. She received foundation scholarships that allowed her to be a full-time student this final year.

Esparza shared her story on Friday at the foundation’s Creating Connections gathering, where scholarship recipients meet supporters.

“I want to thank the donors of the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation, who have faith in us and support our education,” she said. “I want you to know that it was a big blessing for me, and I am sure it has been – and will continue to be – for many others.”

Esparza doesn’t regret the “challenging” path she took to college and is excited for commencement.

“This means so much to me and my family,” she said. “I will be doing my internship this summer, God willing, then I hope that in the fall, I can start doing what I love to do: working with children.”

Photo by Andrew Schmidt.

Tech Tips: Microsoft Windows and Office license notifications

As we continue working remotely, Information Technology would like to bring to your attention a notification that you may see in the coming days or weeks on your campus provided computer from Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office Suite notifying you that the license may expire soon.

Don’t worry if you see this message. You won’t see any loss of functionality for quite some time, but you will still need to get the license validated.

If you are a student utilizing the loaner laptop program, you will simply need to swap your loaner at the library. 

If you are a staff/faculty, you can validate your license by simply stopping by a GRCC building, restarting your device,  and connecting to our Secure wireless network for a minimum of 15 minutes will revalidate your license automatically.

If you need to come into a campus building, please make sure to follow any posted COVID protocols

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

Learn from the Best: Nancy Forrest helps students see math is the foundation of everything

Nancy Forrest smiling holding a mathe book.

Students enjoy being in Nancy Forrest’s math classes because she breaks down hard concepts and problems in a way they can understand. Her students know that she truly wants them to succeed.

“GRCC students are a joy to work with,” said Nancy.

Come to GRCC and learn from the best.

Forrest helps students relate to math and overcome their challenges in the subject by celebrating with them that mathematics is the foundation of everything.

She also focuses her teaching around the knowledge that math can bring with it more challenges than simply solving an equation.

“If students don’t like math it’s often because they felt embarrassed about incorrect answers in the past,” Forrest said. Her goal is to help them understand that it’s okay to make mistakes during the learning process.

Forrest earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in environmental studies from University of Rochester.

Teaching math to college students was not how Forrest started her career.

“I started out in the field of biology and switched to mathematics,” she said. “At the high school level, I taught biology, physical science, earth science, chemistry, and physics. I love all the sciences.”

Looking back to teaching during the pandemic, Forrest enjoyed the opportunity for roommates, family members and pets to join the virtual classroom and even faculty meetings.

“My cats got to put in their two cents during my Zoom meetings,” she said.

Looking for opportunities in any challenge is one of many characteristics Forrest shares with her hero, President Abraham Lincoln.

“Lincoln is my hero because of his integrity, compassion, intelligence, wit, sense of humor, and service to others,” she said.

You can experience Forrest’s enthusiasm for all things math when you watch a video she created for her online students called “The Number Tau,” or her GRCC Mathematics Seminar “PI, My Favorite Number.”

Or, take one of her classes and you may get to learn about Mole Day, or how the Chinese abacus has been used to calculate and record numbers for over nine hundred years.

You will find Forrest teaching MA 107 Intermediate Algebra, MA 108 Trigonometry, MA 110 College Algebra, MA 131 Precalculus, MA 133 Calculus with Analytic Geometry l, MA 134 Calculus with Analytic Geometry ll.

GRCC In the News 04/22/2022

NAACP discusses police relations after shooting death of Patrick Lyoya

4/20/22 FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The shooting death of Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids police officer reignited important conversations in the community.

… The NAACP recently had a “know your rights” training with Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).

GRCC Lakeshore Campus wins national recognition

4/20/22 Grand Haven Tribune

HOLLAND TWP. — The transformation of a shuttered JCPenney department store into a vibrant learning hub that is now the Grand Rapids Community College Lakeshore Campus earned national recognition for the architectural and engineering firms leading the projects.

GRCC’s Ender Hall renovation earns national recognition for design


The renovation of historic Steven C. Ender Hall in Grand Rapids into a new student space and transformation of a shuttered JCPenney department store into the vibrant learning hub that is the GRCC Lakeshore Campus earned national recognition for the architectural and engineering firms leading the projects.

Community College Pays The Cost Of 20 Students’ Tuition For Celeb ‘Diversity’ Lectures

4/21/22 The Daily Wire

A Michigan community college spent roughly $124,000 – the average cost of tuition for twenty students – to host speeches by left-wing activists, including Nikole Hannah-Jones, according to contracts obtained by The Daily Wire.

The speeches at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), part of a “diversity lecture series,” were made throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. The school spent $25,000 for Hannah-Jones, the founder of the 1619 project, $40,000 for actor John Leguizamo, and $15,000 for a GOP-bashing appearance by Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown — plus more for others.

Chippewa Hills shortstop makes college announcement

4/21/22 The Pioneer (Big Rapids)

REMUS — Brynn McArthur is looking forward to a very competitive season with Chippewa Hills’ softball team.

She’s also looking beyond this season when she begins a collegiate softball career at Grand Rapids Community College.

USFL: Michigan Panthers game score vs. New Jersey Generals: Time, TV channel and more info

4/22/22 The Detroit Free Press

USFL: Michigan Panthers (0-1) vs. New Jersey Generals (0-1)

… The Generals also have tight end Nick Truesdell, formerly of Grand Rapids Community College, on the roster, but he didn’t appear in Saturday’s season opener; eight other players were targeted with at least one pass.

Commencement 2022: in person and virtual

Grand Rapids Community College is offering commencement in two sessions to provide students with a safe, in-person celebration. Both ceremonies will be held in the Ford Fieldhouse.

The School of Arts & Science ceremony will be held at 4:30 PM, and the doors will open at 3:30 PM.

The School of Workforce Development ceremony will be held at 7:30 PM, and the doors will open at 6:30 PM.

Students’ loved ones unable to attend can watch the ceremonies LIVE.

School of Arts & Science available live at 4 PM

School of Workforceavailable live at 7 PM

See you there!

We ask volunteers to arrive around 3:15. 

Wellness Champions: Sock collection centers across campus until April 22

Wellness Committee April Initiative: 

Earth Day is April 22–Let’s focus on the Environmental Dimension of Wellness! 

Socks are the most thrown-away piece of apparel.

GRCC can help with that! The Wellness Champions are teaming up with Smartwool’s Second Cut Project to create a more circular economy and give every sock a second chance at life.

Smartwool has partnered with Material Return circularity platform to deconstruct socks and upcycle them into new products, like dog beds.

The Wellness Champions have identified 9 locations around campus for sock drop-off and those are listed below! This initiative will go from April 8-April 22 and we hope you can participate! 

Drop-Off Site Locations Are:

  • RJF 305
  • Student Financial Services – 1st floor RJF
  • Admin Building – 2nd Floor
  • Math Dept – 2nd Floor CPP
  • GRCC Police – Main Office
  • Calkins – Science Computer Lab, Room 104
  • ATC – Tutorial and Open Computer Lab, Room 215
  • Lakeshore Campus – Main Office Room 101
  • Fieldhouse – 2nd floor office 211