Maria Hererra Belmares recognized for her work

Earlier in January, Human Resources celebrated Maria Herrera Belmares and her excellent work with Benefits here at GRCC.

Maria and GRCC were named a best-in-class employer for its strategic investment in benefits, compensation, retirement and employee communication. 

Mike Hagerty, Senior Vice President at Gallagher Benefits and Ashley Contreras, Account Executive, were on site to present the award.

When presented with the award, Mike shared with Maria that, “Your support of employee health, financial security and career growth shined through in your responses to the 2022 Benefits Strategy and Benchmarking Survey, distinguishing you and GRCC as an award-winning employer of choice in a competitive job market.” 

Learn From the Best: Chad Sytsma emphasizes the importance of meeting students where they are, connecting with resources for success

Chad Sytsma smiling.

Chad Sytsma has been educating students for more than 15 years at Grand Rapids Community College, and is still excited to engage with students every day.

“My experiences with the students in my classes have always been so positive. They are there for a purpose and are working hard to get their degrees. I am always impressed with how seriously they take their education,” Sytsma said. 

Sytsma is the  faculty liaison for the Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies Department, teaches in the Business Department at GRCC, and teaches at Hudsonville Public Schools. In his free time he can be found coaching young athletes on the football, baseball, and softball fields.

Sytsma recalled “so many” things to like about teaching at GRCC. He appreciates the ability to teach classes in person, virtually, and in online formats. He emphasizes the importance of meeting students where they are, and providing resources to empower them to be successful. 

Sytsma said community is at the core of GRCC. His work with the DLIT department allows him to support faculty and staff in their use of instructional technology. He feels supported by faculty and administration, making it a great place to work. 

“At first we tend to think it is only about the content of our class, but relationships and relevance can be really helpful to getting our students to understand the content even deeper”, Sytsma said.

Programs at GRCC offer real world, relevant skills and information that help students achieve success. Faculty and staff are trained professionals in their field, who are able to teach from personal experiences. 

Sytsma got his Bachelors of business Administration from Davenport University, and his Masters of Education from Aquinas College. His experience teaching for over twenty years provides him with a wealth of knowledge that he enthusiastically shares with his students. 

More information about the Business Department courses can be found here. More information about the Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies department can be found here.

Inaugural GRCC men’s soccer team prepares for fall launch, signs first four players

The Grand Rapids Community College men’s soccer team signed its first four players as its looks ahead to its inaugural season this fall.

“We have a group of great individuals on and off the field,” coach Damiekco Smith. “Glad to be able to sign some hometown heroes.”

The GRCC Athletic Department has added soccer in response to a growing interest in the sport internationally and an increasing number of requests from potential student-athletes.

The first four players to commit to the team have experience playing at the high school level.

Ian Gunderson played for Northview High School and graduated in 2022. He is a center back and received an All-District award his junior and senior years, along with All-Conference, All-Region, and Honorable Mention All-State his senior year.

Gunderson was also a captain and received an award his senior year from his team, showing it voted for him as its most prominent leader and support on and off the field. He played club soccer on a SCOR National League team for three years.

Brett Miller also attended Northview High School, where he was a three-year varsity player. Brett produced 11 clean sheets – when a team concedes zero goals in a match — and only allowed 0.6 goals per game.

His 93 percent save average was rewarded by making first team All-State in Division II his senior year as a goalkeeper. He was also a part of the All-Conference and All-Region teams.

Hani Alturkmani played his high school soccer at Wellspring Prep Academy, where he was named to the All-Conference team during his freshman and senior years. He is a striker with an innate ability to find the back of the net. He also played his travel soccer with the Revolution.

Yosia Mukanda is a graduate of Potter’s House, where his team won the school’s first-ever state championship in 2021. His dream has always been to play collegiate soccer and is happy GRCC is where his dream will come true.

Women’s soccer was also introduced this past year, with Lizzie Hornack guiding the team.

There are still opportunities for students looking to be a part of both teams.  Recruiting questionnaires are available here for the women’s team and here for the men’s team.

GRCC In the News 01/20/2023

Single mom goes back to school at same college as daughters, creates art business

1/18/23 WZZM

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — A stay-at-home mom of 18 years decided to go back to school to set an example for her daughters. Along the way, she combined two of her passions — geology and art — to create a product for sale right now at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

… Tiensivu now goes to the same school as her two daughters: Grand Rapids Community College.

New Presidents or Provosts: Ave Maria U, College of St. Mary, Grand Rapids CC, Honolulu CC, Kapiʻolani CC, Lake Area Technical College, Skidmore College, U of Louisville, U of Rhode Island

1/19/23 Inside Higher Ed

… Charles Lepper, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Salt Lake Community College, in Utah, has been chosen as president of Grand Rapids Community College, in Michigan.

New fitness resource for employees

Can’t make it to the gym? Prefer to get your sweat on at home? Not really a group exercise class person?

Check out 12 YouTube videos of GRCC employee exercise classes recorded via Zoom during the Winter 2021 semester (when we were all still at home). 

Nine video recordings of Rise & Shine Gentle Yoga with Cheryl are available, and three videos of Fitness Fusion with Beth are available on the employee wellness webpage.

Use them anytime, anywhere to get your wellness on!