Here to Help: Lakisha Beck is a campus ‘go-to’ person to connect students with resources to be successful

Lakisha Beck 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 Lakisha Beck. Lakisha works in the Student Records Office and maintains the tools and processes you use to measure your academic progress, whether you are working towards graduating with a certificate or a degree.

“Although my job as the assistant registrar for graduation is primarily behind the scenes, when I get a chance to work with students, I really do enjoy it,” she said. “I’m always willing to help anyone that is in need, whether it’s about their education, or connecting them to resources.”

Lakisha also enjoys telling people in her community about the opportunities that can be found at GRCC, and that she’ll be there to help them out when they come to campus.

“Whenever I find out someone does not have a degree, I always try to encourage them to come to GRCC to earn a credential,” she said. “They will have me on campus as a go-to person, but will soon have others that can help them along their education journey as well. I try to make them feel comfortable even before stepping foot on our campus.”

Lakisha is confident in the college’s ability to meet students where they are, and help them to their “next,” because of the amazing team she works with in the Student Records Office. Not only do her coworkers make working at GRCC a breeze, but she knows she can always count on them to be there for her and the students.

Lakisha knew that after high school that she wanted to go to college, but couldn’t decide on a clear path. She came to GRCC after high school thinking about earning a degree to work as a registered nurse. But as she took classes, and gained on-the-job experience working on campus, she decided she wanted a career in higher education.

After graduating from GRCC, Lakisha returned to the college as a contingent employee in the Grad Specialist position in the Student Records Office. She was hired permanently into that position in 2011.

Lakisha knew continuing her education was key to her career advancement, so she transferred her GRCC associate degree to Ferris State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in 2016. Two years later she was hired as the assistant registrar for graduation in the Student Records Office.

She also continued her education at Grand Valley State University and earned her Masters of Education, Adult and Higher Education in 2019.

“I attended GRCC because I knew it was affordable, it was close to home, and I had heard a lot of great things about it, so it wasn’t even a question if I was coming here or not,” Lakisha recalls. “I knew I wanted a college degree and I was determined to do just that, and I did! GRCC started me on my educational journey and I’m glad to say that it has definitely been beneficial for me.”

You can connect with the Student Records team at, by calling (616) 234-4121 and online at

Grace Lodes leads GRCC women’s basketball team to fifth win in a row

Grace Lodes making a shot.

Grace Lodes scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading the Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team to a 59-48 victory over the visitors from Ancilla College on Wednesday.

The men’s team fell short in a game where the lead changed 13 times.

The women’s team (10-7, 6-1) is on a five-game winning streak, holding on to the second spot in the MCCAA Western Conference standings. GRCC has now beaten Ancilla (4-7, 1-6) in six consecutive games, dating back to 2019.

Alayah Chapman, with 16 points and 18 rebounds, kept the Chargers in the game, with her team trailing by just one at the half. But the Raiders pulled away late in the third quarter and never looked back.

GRCC freshmen Sally Merrill and Karissa Ferry combined for 19 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists.

“Tonight, was not one of our best performances and credit for that goes to the effort and play by Ancilla,” Coach Dave Glazier said. “Our kids found a way to get it done and I’m proud of all 11 tonight.  I know to a person they understand they’ve got better basketball in them.

The men’s game was fast-paced, with the lead changing throughout the contest. But GRCC fell by a final score of 103-98.  The Raiders dropped to 8-11 overall and 3-5 in the conference while the Chargers improved to 10-3 and 6-1.

GRCC had a chance in the final minute after Andrew Moore made it a two-point game and then got a steal on the other end. But Moore couldn’t get the game-tying basket to fall and the Chargers held on.

“Great team effort tonight,” Coach Joe Fox said. “Came up a play or two short, and once again, post-game we talk about the little things here and there.  I’ve been telling my guys all year we’re building for March, and I still think we’re right there. There will be some good and some bad to break down on film. But at the end of the day, you have to be the team that makes the winning plays.”

Point guard Danyel Bibbs had his best performance in a GRCC uniform, putting up a team-high 27 points and six assists. Bibbs was 10 of 14 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line.

Brockton Kohler knocked in six of the Raiders 13 three-pointers and finished with 25 points.  Moore finished with 19 points and eight rebounds. Ryel Daye added 18 points and eight rebounds.

Round two of the MCCAA Western conference schedule begins on Jan. 28 at Mid Michigan College. Both GRCC teams won in their first meeting on Jan. 3.  The women’s team tips off first at 1 p.m. 

GRCC In the News 01/28/2022

Commentary: Innovation districts can help Detroit build on success

1/28/22 Crain’s Detroit Business

Like many other states and cities, Michigan and Detroit have faced significant challenges in recent decades. The development of innovation districts is one investment that has helped cities such as Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Atlanta weather these challenges.

… Innovation districts concentrate universities and medical institutions, mature firms, startup companies and entrepreneurial support organizations in urban settings to amplify their economic and social impact. One Michigan example is the Grand Rapids Medical Mile anchored by Michigan State University, the Van Andel Institute, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College. Innovation districts often aim to increase incomes and wealth for a broad swath of residents through supplier diversity, workforce and talent development and affordable homeownership.

Nominations being sought for 2022 Emeritus Faculty Award – due by noon on Feb. 11

You are invited to nominate a GRCC retired faculty or administrator for the Emeritus Faculty Award.

This award was established in 1985 to honor those instructors and administrators whose dedication and creativity have left an indelible mark on the lives of students and colleagues at GRCC. 

During their tenure at GRCC and since their retirement, they have continued to promote GRCC’s “Commitment to Excellence.”

Please submit online nominations by noon on Friday, February 11, 2022.  For more information, please visit the website.

Michigan Reconnect, GRCC student Jodi Holland highlighted by Gov. Whitmer during State of the State Address

Jodi Holland smiling.

GRCC student Jodi Holland was “completely shocked” to pick up her phone and hear Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II on the other end.

“I know he had been getting over COVID, and the first thing I said was, ‘Are you OK? How are you feeling?”

Gilchrist assured Holland he was feeling better, congratulated her on making the Dean’s List, then thanked her for allowing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to tell Holland’s story during Wednesday’s State of the State Address.

Holland, 59, is using the Michigan Reconnect program to attend GRCC with a goal of becoming a professional baker.

Michigan Reconnect is a state scholarship program providing free in-district tuition for those ages 25 and older who don’t already have a college degree.

“We eliminated the cost barrier for 170,000 Michiganders, who are getting skills and better-paying jobs through Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners. These programs boost our economy and empower our people,” Whitmer said in the address

“People like Caroline, a former in-home care provider, and mom of 2 who got straight As her first semester at Mott Community College. And Jodi, a Reconnect recipient—the first of 8 siblings to go to college—she’s on the dean’s list at Grand Rapids Community College. These programs have given them opportunity and opened new doors for their families. I want them to know we’re all rooting for them.” 

During the Winter 2022 semester, 1,075 students at GRCC are enrolled through Michigan Reconnect, and 1,457 are attending through Future for Frontliners, which covers tuition for people who served in essential roles during the state’s COVID shutdown.

See Full Article

Free stress relief opportunities on GRCC campus today

Mobile Happy Lights, a first chromotherapy relaxation unit, is available to GRCC employees today for free until 6 p.m. on the Juan Olivarez Student Plaza on a first come, first serve basis

The bus is the first to offer stress reduction with nine therapies on one mobile unit. Organizers said the free, 20-minute sessions will help lift moods, improve productivity, or reduce depression and anxiety.

The visit is organized by the Community of Hearts, a Kentwood-based nonprofit founded by Kent County Commissioner Monica Sparks focused on promoting resources for mental health and social and emotional wellness. 

The winners are in

The GRCC Wellness Champions wants to help you work on your individual wellness goals – and has prizes to share along the way. The “Do You” challenge was created to encourage people in all departments to set personal goals based on the seven dimensions of wellness. 

The challenge encouraged GRCC family members to stay focused on wellness and the different things to do to stay mindful of healthy habits during the holiday festivities.

Prize winners for the challenge are: Erin Dietzer from Student Financial Services, who won a GRCC Sweatshirt Blanket; Linda DeVries from Financial Aid, who won a Pink Lounge gift certificate, and Nicole Nyenhuis from Library and Learning Commons, who won a Hydro Flask.

Thank you to all that participated in this challenge!!

GRCC In the News 01/27/2022

Newchannel 3 Live at 11

1/26/22 WWMT

(GRCC student Jodi Holland mentioned in State of the State address.)

In address, Whitmer touts progress on roads and education funding and plan to lower taxes

1/26/22 FOX 17

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered her fourth State of the State address on Wednesday evening, highlighting the progress Michigan has made in the last year.

… People like Caroline, a former in-home care provider, and mom of 2 who got straight As her first semester at Mott Community College. And Jodi, a Reconnect recipient—the first of 8 siblings to go to college—she’s on the dean’s list at Grand Rapids Community College. These programs have given them opportunity and opened new doors for their families. I want them to know we’re all rooting for them.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Delivers Fourth State of State Address


Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered her State of the State message, remotely, Wednesday night.

… We eliminated the cost barrier for 170,000 Michiganders, who are getting skills and better-paying jobs through Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners. These programs boost our economy and empower our people.

People like Caroline, a former in-home care provider, and mom of 2 who got straight As her first semester at Mott Community College. And Jodi, a Reconnect recipient—the first of 8 siblings to go to college—she’s on the dean’s list at Grand Rapids Community College. These programs have given them opportunity and opened new doors for their families. I want them to know we’re all rooting for them.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah Jones, creator 1619 project, to give GRCC keynote address

1/26/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project, is scheduled to deliver the keynote discussion at this year’s Diversity Lecture Series at Grand Rapids Community College.

Creator of 1619 Project to speak for diversity series

1/26/22 (Kent Intermediate School District)

GRCC — Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the The 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, will offer the keynote discussion for the 27th Annual Diversity Lecture Series at Grand Rapids Community College.

Know the numbers

Colored numbers on a black background.

GRCC reviewers are raving about Data Literacy: Making Meaning!!   

“I wish everyone took this class so we all know how much data drives our work. And how important it is to capture data (and capture it correctly.)”  

” Everyone should take this! At minimum, one from each department so it can be shared widely. Data drives it all.” 

Reserve your virtual spot today in Data Literacy: Making Meaning on Tuesday, February 1 at 9 a.m., presented by the GRCC IRP team, for an introduction to data literacy, and examples of GRCC with these best practices and data concepts highlighted.

Register via the Professional Development tile in your Online Center account.

Exploring respect in the workplace

Every employee has the right to a safe work environment that is free from harassment. 

This session – led by Pine Rest staff – trains employees to understand, avoid, and respond to all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment and workplace bullying. 

Respect in the Workplace training helps employees promote a positive workplace culture.

Register via the Professional Development tile in Online Center.

Wellness champions: Donating blood saves lives and has benefits for donors, too

Sue Hellmer smiling

Donating blood saves lives. But there are also benefits to the donor.

GRCC is helping students and employees focus on all areas of health and wellness as we emerge together from the pandemic.

Wellness is a full integration of physical, mental and spiritual health. That includes physical health, but so much more. During the next year we’re also looking at emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental and occupational health, and how we all can work to help ourselves and each other.

There are many resources at GRCC to help all of these types of wellness. Each week, we’ll introduce you to people and places here on campus ready to support you on your wellness journey.

Michigan, like many states, is experiencing a shortage of donated blood. You can help. The GRCC Student Life Office is partnering with Versiti Blood Center for a campus blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2 in room 124 of the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center.

Sue Hellmer in the GRCC Nursing Department is a wellness champion. She has donated 115 times, which is about 14 gallons of blood. Sue also helps organize and promote blood drive at her church and GRCC.

Sue said she knows the value of having blood available for people in need, with family members and others who had health emergencies and were able to recover because blood was available.

“Lives are saved because that blood was there for people when they needed it,” she said.

Experts say one blood donation can save up to three lives. But the benefits don’t just help the people on the receiving end of the donation. New York – Presbyterian Hospital asked some of its team members about how the donor benefits from sharing a pint.

  • It’s a free mini-health screening. While not the same as a physical, the necessary check of vital signs can turn up a condition that needs medical attention, such as high blood pressure or a heart arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation.
  • It’s good for heart health. Regular blood donation is linked to lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart attacks, according to the hospital. “If your hemoglobin is too high, blood donation helps to lower the viscosity of the blood, which has been associated with the formation of blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke.”
  • You get a calorie-free snack! It takes your body about 500 calories to replace the blood shed in a donation. Go for the free juice and cookies!

Additional details about the benefits of donating blood are here: The Surprising Benefits of Donating Blood

Here from President Pink and Provost Knetl about the Wellness Champions program. Be A Wellness Champion!

February employee learning opportunities

You’ll LOVE the learning opportunities and professional development sessions scheduled for the month of February!

Register via the Professional Development tile in your Online Center account.

February 1

Data Literacy: Making Meaning — virtual

February 3

Respect in the Workplace — virtual

February 4

Building Blocks to Social Equity series — Intergroup Dialogue & Empowerment — in person

February 8

Moving Beyond Conflict — in person

February 9

Stress Management and Meaning Centered Living — in person

February 10

Google Tips & Tricks — hybrid (in person & virtual)

February 18

Mindfulness Made Simple — virtual

February 22

Go with Your Gut — in person

February 23

Transgender 101 — virtual

February 24

Acupressure for Common Ailments — in person

February 28

FMLA – what’s in it for you — in person

GRCC In the News 01/26/2022

GRCC looking to hire custodians, maintenance workers at job fair

1/25/22 FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is planning to hold a job fair for job seekers wishing to work at the school’s Facilities Department.

GRCC says more students over 30 are seeking degrees

1/25/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Community College is seeing a growth in enrollment, especially when it comes to students over the age of 30.

 ‘Great opportunity’: GRCC trains future city workers

1/25/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids Community College program is working to help meet the need for public works employees in West Michigan.

West Michigan manufacturers can seek funding from Grand Rapids economic development agency

1/26/22 The Holland Sentinel

… The Right Place will partner with local organizations like Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, Grand Rapids Community College, Lakeshore Advantage and West Michigan Works to administer the grants.

Kayla Tucker joins Tribune staff

1/25/22 Grand Haven Tribune

Kayla Tucker is the newest reporter at the Grand Haven Tribune.

… As an undergrad, Tucker worked for MLive/The Grand Rapids Press, WGVU Radio and TV (NPR and PBS), and a handful of local magazines and news websites. She also was lead editor for both her college newspapers, spending two years as editor-in-chief at Grand Rapids Community College.

Spectrum Health CEO Tapped To Chair GR Economic Dev. Agency In 2022

1/25/22 Michigan Business Network

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (Jan. 24, 2022) – The Right Place, Inc. has appointed 12 new members to its board of directors roster for 2022. In addition, the board elected 3 new officers. 

… Officers for 2022:

…Vice Chair: Bill Pink, PhD, President, Grand Rapids Community College