GRCC’s Salute to Women event honors Maria McKee, Melissa Gheorghiu, Senita Lenear and Penni Weninger for inspiring and empowering

Grand Rapids Community College on Wednesday honored four women whose dedication and talent have inspired and empowered those around them.

The 2023 Salute to Women Awards honored Maria McKee, Melissa Gheorghiu, Senita Lenear and Peni Weninger during ceremonies on Wednesday at Sneden Hall on GRCC’s DeVos Campus.

The event, conducted by annually during Women’s History Month, honors four women within GRCC’s community for personal and professional excellence and for serving as role models and mentors to other women. The event is coordinated by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

This year’s honorees are:

  • McKee, who has worked at GRCC for just over three years, first as a tutor at the Lakeshore Campus, IRW Lab, and Early Middle College sites. Maria became the interim Language Arts Tutorial Lab coordinator. Maria studied writing with a poetry focus at GVSU and soon graduates from the Michigan State University College of Education with a master’s degree in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education. 
  • Gheorghiu, who is a single mother of three who returned to education after 20 years away, and has been tremendously successful. She co-organized a clothing drive for students in need as part of an Honors Program project, is a member of Psi Beta Honors Society; TRIO student support program for first generation students, and is a chapter officer for GRCC’s Alpha Upsilon Kappa chapter. Melissa is a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, and is the recipient of the Phi Theta Kappa All State Academic Team for GRCC. She is also the recipient of this year’s Brian Kloet Campus Involvement Award. Melissa has been accepted at University of Michigan.
  • Lenear, who was elected as the Third Ward City Commissioner, takin office in January 2014. Her extensive service includes serving as chairwoman of the Mayor’s Safe Alliance for Everyone Task Force, which developed a violence-reduction strategy. She also served on the Great Housing Strategies committee, which provided recommendations for addressing our community’s housing needs. Additionally, she served on the Kent County’s Friend of the Court and Lead Task Forces; both were designed to research and make recommendations that positively impacted the community and elevated the services being provided. Commissioner Lenear has more than 25 years of business experience, which includes a variety of leadership positions at the largest healthcare insurance provider in the state of Michigan and co-owning an event planning and business consulting firm.
  • Weninger, who started at GRCC in 2004 as a support staff member in the Instructional Support Department Interdisciplinary Studies Department, where she planned faculty and adjunct faculty learning days, retreats and coordinated professional development classes and events. Her last role was on the Human Resources team, where she managed intake, applications, and arranged interviews. She retired in 2017 and continues her involvement in the college community, serving on the Golden Raider Retirees’ Gold Team.

Jared Berkenpas and Zacarias Salinas of GRCC baseball team named MCCAA Northern Conference Players of the Week

Jared Berkenpas and Zacarias Salinas of the Grand Rapids Community College baseball team were named Michigan Community College Athletic Association Northern Conference Players of the Week after helping the team sweep its first conference opponent of the season.

“Jerad has been pitching with great confidence and pounds the strike zone,” head coach Mike Eddington said. “He gives our team great confidence when he pitches.”

Berkenpas earned his second win of the season, shutting out Delta College on Friday. He allowed just two base hits and struck out 12 while walking none. Berkenpas, who earned NJCAA All-American honors last year, is now 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Opponents are batting just .148 against him.

“After the offseason Z had, I don’t think anyone is surprised by his performance to start the season,” said assistant coach and former teammate Brady Owen.

In seven games last week, Salinas, a sophomore from Canton, Mich. went 9-for-20, including four doubles and his second home run of the season.

The outfielder and first baseman has played and started in 18 of GRCC’s games and leads the team with 21 hits and is second on the team with a .412 batting average, an OPS of 1.714, four doubles and two home runs.

The baseball team is now 9-9 overall after starting the season 2-8 in a tough spring break down south.

GRCC is scheduled to resume conference play next at Mid Michigan College on Thursday at 2 p.m.

This story was reported by Ben Brown.

Clothing drive and Free Clothes Shop

Have you started your spring cleaning yet? Using time to declutter your space can be beneficial for your mental health, but it can also support the community!

Taking on the charge from previous honor students Missy Gheorghiu and Kim Budde who hosted the Clothing Swap in the Fall 2022 semester, Student Life is partnering with StandOUT and a current Honors Capstone students to host this event again.

We want to welcome all faculty, staff, and students to bring in their gently used and cleaned clothes of all sizes to the Student Life office next week starting Monday April 3, 2023. We will also be accepting donations of new undergarments such as bras and underwear.

This is an event we are excited to host. Our students believe events like this play an important role in reducing textile waste while supporting a basic need that many community members have a difficult time accessing. 

To add to the excitement, our office will be having a soft launch to a clothing closet that will be available for students year round. Please keep your eyes peeled for more details as they come!


May be dropped off Monday, April 3 to Wednesday, April 5 from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Student Life Office.

The Free Clothes Shop (Formerly Free Clothing Swap):

Thursday, April 6 from 10 AM to 5 PM and Friday, April 7 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

The event is free for students and a clothing donation is not required to “shop”.  Snacks will be provided.

Please share this opportunity with your students!

If you have any questions or would like to get involved, feel free to reach out to me at

Thank you for your support!

Rebecca Lubbers

Tech Tip: Disabled Peoplesoft accounts

Information Technology has noticed an increase in PeopleSoft Accounts being disabled. This includes the Online Center, CSProd, HRProd, and FSProd. A disabled account causes users to get a login error at sign in stating they need to contact the Support Desk.

To avoid this, we highly recommend logging out of your account before entering into another environment. For instance, switching from the Online Center to CSProd. 

You can log out of your account by selecting the 3 vertical dots at the top left of the page and selecting sign out. Once you have successfully logged out, you will be redirected to the MyGRCC Portal.

From there, you can select the new environment. If you have a need to be logged into 2 different environments at the same time, we encourage you to use a separate browser for each to avoid potential issues.

For more information and helpful tips, please visit the IT Customer Support Portal or contact the IT Customer Support Desk at x4357.

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

International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) March 31

The world observes Transgender Day of Visibility each March 31 to raise awareness about transgender people.

“Trans Day of Visibility is a day specifically to celebrate trans people’s lives and joys, not as struggles, but as triumphs as something to be happy about, to be proud of, to stand up and say that we are here, we are happy, we’re part of our community and our lives are important. That our lives are worthy and we should be celebrated,” said Olivia Hunt of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Fundamentals Team, CAP 3.4, is dedicated to support GRCC’s greater commitment to equity and GRCC’s values of diversity, innovation, respect, and responsiveness by providing resources that highlight and celebrate trans people and their contributions.

The team encourages trans people to be visible by displaying a Pride flag or wearing a pin, sticker or t-shirt.

In support of this day, the GRCC Library will put up a display that provides information about the richness and diverseness of our transgender community. The display will be up for approximately three weeks.

The CAP also wants to highlight community advocates and partners: Grand Rapids Pride Center, StandOut, United Campus Christian Fellowship, and Grand Rapids Trans Foundation.

March has a third pay date

Did you know that twice a year there’s a third pay date in a month on our biweekly pay schedule? GRCC follows a biweekly pay schedule – which is not the same as bimonthly.

Bimonthly is twice a month, which would be 24 pay dates. We are biweekly, which is every two weeks, so that’s 26 pay dates. One of the third-pay-date months this year is in March! (The other one will be in September 2023.)

Keep in mind that items like health insurance premiums are not deducted on third pay dates, so your pay amount may be somewhat different than what you normally see. That’s the reason why! You can always reference the Payroll Schedule to keep on top of the dates. And don’t forget to review your pay stubs in the Online Center so you can compare the pay breakdowns.

If you want to learn more, there are still spots available in the upcoming professional development session Show Me the Money.

Register in your Online Center and join us this Thursday, 3/30/23, from 3-4pm in 103 Sneden.

April Employee Learning Opportunities

Monday, April 10
Giving Effective Feedback

Wednesday, April 12
Good People Make Mistakes

Thursday, April 13
Google Tips & Tricks

Friday, April 14
Emotional Intelligence Enhanced

Tuesday, April 18
Solving People Problems

Thursday, April 20
25Live Searches & Reports

Monday, April 24
Rational Detachment

Tuesday, April 25
LGBTQ+ Inclusive Fundamentals

Thursday, April 27
Verbal De-escalation Training

Please log into your Online Center and click the Professional Development tile to see session descriptions, more details and to enroll.

StandOut hosting Trans Visibility Genderbread cookie decorating event March 30

International Transgender Day of Visibility is on March 31! To celebrate trans people everywhere, we will be decorating gingerbread cookies the day before.

Thursday, March 30 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Student Center, room 336

You get to create something and you get a free cookie. It will be first come, first serve and you can also stay and talk if you like.

Language Arts Online Tutorial Lab: April APA and MLA workshops

The Language Arts Lab will hold several workshops next week to discuss APA and MLA citation formatting. We will discuss in-text citations, works cited, and reference page entries.

Please bring any specific questions you might have. Daytime workshops will be held in a hybrid format via Zoom and at Cook Hall 507, and evening workshops will be held on Zoom only.

Please refer to the schedule and the Zoom link below:

Monday, April 3
APA Citations 6 – 7 p.m.
MLA Citations 7 –  8 p.m.
(Zoom only)

Tuesday, April 4
APA Citations noon – 1 p.m.
MLA Citations 1 – 2 p.m.
(Zoom & Cook 507)

Friday, April 7
APA Citations 9 – 10 a.m.
MLA Citations 10 – 11 a.m.
(Zoom & Cook 507) 

Zoom link for all workshops:

These workshops will be recorded and posted on Blackboard. Please let me know if you have any questions about the workshops or if there are issues with the link. We look forward to seeing you there!

Language Arts Lab