GRCC hosts National Survivors of Suicide conference on Nov. 17

The National Survivors of Suicide Conference will be held at GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on November 17, 2018.

Grand Rapids Community College’s Nursing Department has teamed up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and West Michigan Survivors of Suicide on the National Survivors of Suicide Conference.

This free conference will feature activities and discussions to support those who have lost a loved one to suicide, foster discussion among survivors, and explore ways to prevent suicide. Students in GRCC’s Nursing program and members of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society will assist with the activities.

A lunch is provided, and parking is free. To register in advance, contact David McDonald at or (616) 949-3402. You can also register from 8:30-9 a.m. on the day of the conference.

Phi Theta Kappa Represents GRCC well at Regional Conference

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This weekend, the GRCC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (Alpha Upsilon Kappa – AUK) attended their Regional Conference with 18 (of the 28) chapters in the region to participate in leadership building, service opportunities, a college fair, social activities and the awards gala.  2017-2018 has been an exciting year for the chapter and this was very evident at the Regional Awards Gala.

The chapter was able to travel 10 students, an advisor for the weekend and Dr. Pink came for the awards gala.  The 2017-2018 executive board (elected student leaders) were present and recognize for all their accomplishments over the past year.  The 2018-2019 newly elected executive board were there as well to begin to learn the ropes along with an alumni and other chapter members.


The 2017-2018 GRCC Executive Board is:

  • President: Morgan Brown
  • Vice President: Marcus Barissi
  • Treasurer: Ernesto (“Ernie”) Farias
  • Secretary: Drewyn Talley
  • Vice President of Hallmarks: Eli Paparella


The 2018-2019 GRCC Executive Board is:

  • President: Tikvah Finn
  • Vice President: Stephany Mendez-Ortega
  • Treasurer: Brian Guadarrama
  • Vice President of Hallmarks: Phillip Kamp


The Alpha Upsilon Kappa chapter was recognized at the regional conference for all their work over the 2017-2018 year.  See below for the specific awards, scholarships, and recognition they received:

  • Morgan Brown was recognized with the other three Regional Officers for their winning submission for the National Fellowship Award.
  • Marcus Barissi was recognized with the other students in the room who were their campuses Coca-Cola All American Scholarship nominee’s.
  • Morgan Brown & Lynnae Selberg were recognized with the others who had completed the 5 Star Competitive Edge program through PTK.  This is a 5 level comprehensive soft skills/ critical thinking/ leadership development training program for students and advisors.
  • The following students and advisors were recognized for earning a “challenge coin”.  To earn a challenge coin you must exemplify the 4 pillars (scholarship, service, leadership and fellowship) of PTK over the year and be nominated by someone in the region.  There were 15 challenge coins handed out and 5 went to GRCC.
  • Bailey Cummings – Service
    • Ernie Farias – Fellowship
    • Marcus Barissi – Scholarship
    • Erin Busscher – Scholarship
    • Drewyn Talley – Leadership
  • There were 4 regional scholarships awarded and 2 went to GRCC students.  The following students received a regional scholarships based on their essay and submitted letters of recommendation:
    • Marcus Barissi won the Richard Trombley Scholarship Award
    • Morgan Brown won the Thomas Obee Scholarship Award
  • The 2017-2018 Executive Board was 1st runner up in the region for the Distinguished Chapter Officer Team Award.
  • Erin Busscher & Lynnae Selberg were recognized as one of the three recognized Distinguished Advisor Teams.
  • Erin Busscher was recognized with the Paragon Advisor Award (given to new advisors who demonstrate excellence in chapter leadership).
  • Lynnae Selberg won the 1st place in the region for the Distinguished Advisor Award.
  • The chapter was recognized for earning a 5 Star level with all of their work from 2017-2018.  This is their 4th year in a row reaching a 5 star level.  To see all that is involved in earning a 5 star level –
  • The chapter was recognized as 2nd runner up in the region for their 2017-2018 College Project and write up regarding this work.
  • The chapter was recognized as 1st runner up in the region for their 2017-2018 Honors in Action Project and write up regarding this work.
  • The chapter was recognized as 1st runner up in the region for Most Distinguished Chapter for their combined scores from all their work in the 2017-2018.  In 2015-2016 the chapter was 3rd runner up (their best placing prior to this year).

GRCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter earns recognition at national conference

This past week, the GRCC Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (Alpha Upsilon Kappa) attended our national conference called Catalyst in Kansas City, Missouri.  The conference is an opportunity to attend educational forums which focused on leadership, service, career development and more.  They participate in fellowship opportunities and at the gala on the last day find out if they won any national awards for their “college project” and “honors in action” projects.

The GRCC Chapter was for the third year in a row recognized as a 5 star chapter.  This requires that they complete a college project, honors in action project, service projects, fellowship activities, attend regional and national conferences, collaborate with other chapters and more each year to achieve this rating.  This year our chapter officer team (Morgan Brown, Ernie Farias, Eli Paparella, Marcus Barissi and Drewyn Talley) went above and beyond and were recognized at Catlayst for all of their accomplishments.

Attached are some photos and below is a summary of the awards and scholarships the team (and individual members) received.

  • Morgan Brown ran for International President this year with 13 other candidates. She was GRCC’s first ever national candidate.  She ran an amazing campaign, but didn’t make it to the finals. But Morgan won the Orlowski award (this is an award voted on by all candidates and awarded to the one who best reflects the values of PTK) and comes with a $1500 scholarship.
  • Marcus Barissi and Morgan Brown won 3rd place in the country for the video contest.  This came with $100 scholarships.
  • Marcus Barissi won a $5000 Pearson scholarship.  Marcus is the first ever winner for Michigan for this scholarship.
  • Morgan Brown won outstanding regional officer award.  Morgan serves as the Regional President for the 2017-2018 academic year.
  • Our chapter officer team (names listed above) won outstanding chapter officer team (15 teams were recognized out of over 1000 teams).
  • Lynnae Selberg won outstanding chapter advisor (15 advisors were recognized out of 1000 advisors).
  • Our chapter won a “theme award” for their honors in action research project and is awarded to those projects which best encompass one of the 8 themes. (18 were recognized out of hundreds of entries).
  • Our chapter won outstanding honors in action project (18 chapters were recognized out of hundreds of entries). This is based on the research, the writing, the actual project, the leadership of the members who participated and more.
  • Our chapter was recognized as a top 100 chapter based on our combined score from our college project and honors in action project.
  • Our chapter was recognized as a distinguished chapter. There were 32 chapters who received this honor.  This was the first time GRCC has ever received this honor.
  • Shannon Gamel was one of 12 alumni to be recognized for the outstanding alumni award.  She was the Chapter President for the GRCC chapter for 2 years back when GRCC was re-activating our chapter. Without all of her efforts, we would not be where we are today.  Shannon is currently a student in the PharmD program at Ferris State University.

We are so proud of our students and all they have accomplished this year.  They represented GRCC with pride, worked hard and had a great time during the conference.

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GRCC In the News, 4-10-18

Grand Rapids Community College offering two spring drone courses

April 9, 2018; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Realtors, farmers and the construction industry are among dozens of groups with an interest in drones.

Colleges have noted this interest, and Grand Rapids Community College is among a growing number responding to area demands for drone classes.

News 8

April 9, 2018; WOOD TV

Some college students are struggling with basic needs, according to a new study … more than a third of college students are struggling to find food and housing.

We reached out to Grand Rapids Community College this afternoon. They tell us the college operates a food pantry to help students in need. The number of students using that resource has declined in recent years.

College Honors

April 9, 2018; White Lake Beacon

The following local students were among 25 Muskegon Community College students who were inducted into the college’s Beta Xi Xi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society during its 26th ceremony at MCC held March 14 in the Blue and Gold Room on campus.

… Assisting with the 2018 ceremony was Morgan Brown, the PTK Regional President from Grand Rapids Community College.

Grand Rapids poet David Cope releases latest anthology

April 9, 2018; Grand Rapids Magazine

David Cope’s poems are derived from the experiences hes cultivated over the years. They are snippets of inner monologues, conversations and moments in time that capture soulful characters through thoughtfully painted portraits and expressive accounts of real situations.

… Cope will be reading excerpts from “The Invisible Keys: New and Selected Poems” at two local poetry readings this week:

… Thursday, April 12 at the Grand Rapids Community College Library from 7 p.m. 8:30 p.m.

Phi Theta Kappa to hold ice bucket challenge on September 19

The 2nd annual Phi Theta Kappa Ice Bucket Challenge will take place in the Juan Olivarez Plaza on September 19 from 12:00- 1:00 p.m.!

We are excited once again to help raise money for the ALS Association as well as for our own Phi Theta Kappa chapter at GRCC. Our PTK Chapter at GRCC is at a level Five Star, which is the highest rating, and we cannot remain at this level without participation in all regional and international conferences. In addition, we were able to give almost $500.00 to ALS through this event in the past and we want to be able to give even more!

The participants who volunteered to have a bucket of ice water dumped on their head include:

  • Rebecca Whitman – Campus Police Chief
  • Robin Kritzman – Police Officer
  • Billy Fern – Athletic Director / Compliance Coordinator
  • Evan Macklin – Coordinator of Student Orientation
  • Lina Blair – Director of Student Life and Conduct
  • Misty McClure-Anderson – Executive Deputy to the President and Board Liaison
  • Erin Busscher – Assistant Professor/Academic Advisor
  • Lynnae Selberg – Assistant Professor/Program Director
  • Jim Schafer – Events & Support Coordinator
  • Michael Schavey – Director of Experiential Learning

To donate you can:

  1. Drop off money in the Experiential Life Office in room 59 on level G2 of the MAIN building in our buckets! Each participant will have their own bucket and the person with the most money will have a bucket dumped on their head! Don’t worry, if there are any ties both participants will get dumped!
  2. Donate via Go Fund Me. If you want to specify who the money is for, please leave a comment with your donation.
  3. Bring $20.00 on September 19 at noon and choose the participant of your choice to have an on-demand bucket dumped on their head! Everyone who volunteered last year ended up getting a bucket dumped on their head based on students, faculty, and staff donating money this way.

Any little bit helps. Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, literally, anything! Please help support our students if you can!

Phi Theta Kappa holds induction ceremony

The Phi Theta Kappa chapter at GRCC, Alpha Upsilon Kappa, held its Induction Ceremony on March 28th, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., where 21 new members were inducted in person. This year along, 96 students joined PTK, and the chapter has reached five star status again. Dr. Ender was the keynote speaker and was inducted as an honorary member of our chapter. The executive board and advisors will attend the national convention, Catalyst, next week where Dr. Ender will be awarded the Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement award. PTK is currently seeking applications for open executive board positions. Interested students should be directed to contact Erin Busscher at

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Phi Theta Kappa chapter nominated for 7 awards at national conference

GRCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter is up for seven awards at the National Nerd Nation Conference in April:

  • Distinguished Chapter Officer Team — Nominees are Morgan Brown, Gino Gonzalez, Caleb Graveldinger, Alexander Brown and Marcus Barissi.
  • Michael Bennet Lifetime Achievement Award — Nominee is President Ender.
  • Honors in Action Chapter Project Award.
  • College Project Award.
  • Top 100 Chapters Award.
  • Distinguished Chapter Award.
  • Distinguished Chapter Advisor Team Award — Nominees are Erin Busscher and Lynnae Selberg.

The chapter earned 5-Star status again this year.

GRCC is also one of two Michigan community colleges that had members accepted to present at the conference this year. The two presentations are:

  • “Can You See Me?” — How understanding your perspective and personal assumptions can improve your ability to be a successful team member and communicate effectively.
  • “Do You Know Your Numbers? What College Students Need to Know about Financial Aid, Credits Scores, Loans, Default Management and Budgeting” — This was the chapter’s “Honors in Action” project this year.

Phi Theta Kappa members have been fundraising for their expenses to attend the conference. They’re holding a pie-in-the-face benefit during the home basketball games on Jan. 27. For only $1, you can throw a pie in the face of PTK members — or anyone else who volunteers. The women’s game starts at 5:30 p.m., and the men’s team takes the court at 7:30 p.m. You will find Phi Theta Kappa near the concession stands at the fieldhouse.

Phi Theta Kappa hosts fundraiser during Jan. 27 basketball games

GRCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter will host a second Pie-In-the-Face fundraiser during the home basketball games on Jan. 27.

The chapters is raising money to attend the national Phi Theta Kappa conference in April.

For only $1, you can throw a pie in the face of PTK members attending the game — or anyone else who volunteers. The women’s game starts at 5:30 p.m., and the men’s team takes the court at 7:30 p.m. You will find Phi Theta Kappa near the concession stands at the fieldhouse.

Phi Theta Kappa hosts Pie In The Face fundraiser on Jan. 17

Phi Theta Kappa will be hosting a Pie In The Face event next week during Club Day on Jan. 17, between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Raider Grille. Several of your fellow faculty and staff have volunteered to have whipped cream pies thrown in their faces and we want everyone to come out and participate! For only $1 you could throw a pie at:

  • Erin Busscher
  • Morgan Brown (chapter president)
  • President Ender
  • Elaine Koren
  • Robin Kritzman
  • Michael Passer
  • Lynnae Selberg

In addition, we will allow others to volunteer on the spot!

Phi Theta Kappa is raising money to attend the national conference where we have been accepted to present two sessions!

Thank you for your support!

Phi Theta Kappa needs volunteers for pie fundraiser

The Phi Theta Kappa student organization is going to host a Pie-In-The-Face event during Welcome Week on January 17, 2017, in the Raider Grille from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The students have been fundraising all year in order to raise enough funds to attend the national PTK conference in April 2017. The Pie-In-The-Face event is another big fundraising event, and we are looking for support from faculty and staff at GRCC.

Are you willing to volunteer to have a pie in your face?! We need faculty and staff who are willing to volunteer in this role.

Any time you can spare is appreciated, and the “pies” are simply paper plates with whipped cream on them. You do not have to be there the whole time, and even if you just want to stop by and help us rally participation we would appreciate it!

Contact Erin Busscher at if you can help!

Alpha Upsilon Kappa achieves Phi Theta Kappa 5-Star status, receives award

GRCC’s PTK Chapter, Alpha Upsilon Kappa, attended the national convention for 2016 in Washington DC this past week.  This conference is the culmination of the work done each year around a community service project, regional collaborative project, honors in action project (research based) and an additional college project.  All this work is done by the chapter each year as they work towards achieving a Five Star Status (the highest).  This year (2015) for the first time in over 10 years GRCC has achieved the PTK 5 star chapter status.

The national convention was exciting for the team, as they were chosen to present an educational forum (the only team from all community colleges in Michigan presenting).  The room they presented in held 250 chairs and more chairs had to be brought in as the room was so packed.  The team presented on Emotional Intelligence and its role with IQ in terms of creating life success.  They have already been asked to repeat the presentation at the Michigan Regional PTK Conference in September 2016.

At the awards ceremony (called the Hallmark Gala) chapters are recognized for the above projects based on a scoring rubric and total points earned.  GRCC placed in the top 100 chapters (out of 1285 chapters nationally) based on their cumulative score for all their submitted projects.  Then for their Honors in Action research project (on the role and importance of identifying a major early in your college career), they placed in the top 3 (nationally).  The picture below is the team that attended Nerd Nation accepting their award on stage (in front of the 3,800 + attendee’s from across the country), from L to R is Yanik Etan (International PTK Student President), Lynnae Selberg (GRCC PTK Advisor), Shannon Gamel (GRCC Alumni- Pharmacy at Ferris), Mandy Boos (GRCC Nursing) and Kaitlyn Gibbs (GRCC Nursing).  Not present but also involved in making this happen are Erin Busscher (GRCC PTK Advisor) and Daniel Ridderbos (GRCC- AA student heading to U of M Engineering).

Congratulations to the team for all their hard work and on their representing GRCC proudly on this national stage.

A young man and four women stand on a stage.