Posted tagged ‘retirement’

GRCC retiree biography: Bob Leunk

June 19, 2018

Bob will be retiring from GRCC at the end of July. He has worked at GRCC for eleven years in the Biologicals Sciences department as a faculty member, focusing on teaching Microbiology.

Bob Leunk in a lab classroom posing with equipment.

Bob Leunk

When asked about his favorite story about GRCC students he said he couldn’t think of just one particular story, stating, “I’ve found that every student has a story if I am willing to listen.  There are gifted students who sail through their classes and stressed students who struggle through their classes.  There are youthful students seeking their life’s work, returning students seeking a new career, and seasoned students seeking a new opportunity.  Each student comes with unique abilities, accomplishments, circumstances, and challenges.  Students juggle a lot, struggle at times, stumble occasionally, and excel frequently.  There are so many students and so many stories that I’ll remember for years to come.  I’m a better person because of my students.”

Bob also said, “coming from industry, with limited teaching experience, I was pretty new to education when I arrived at GRCC. I didn’t know what to expect in the classroom or how to get anything done in the organization.  I want to thank my colleagues in the Biology Department for answering all my questions from their wisdom and expertise, for picking me up, calming me down, and helping me find my way at GRCC.  Everyone here has been so generous in offering help and support during my entire time at GRCC.  Thanks to all of you.”

In retirement, Bob plans to spend time with his grandkids, make progress on a long list of house projects, volunteer and travel.

If you can, please stop by to celebrate with Bob on June 20th from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. in room 320 of Calkins Science Center.

We wish you all the best in your retirement, Bob. Please stay in touch! Thank you for all that you did for GRCC and our students. You have really made difference in the lives of many.

GRCC retiree biography: Penny Folsom

June 19, 2018

Penny is retiring from GRCC at the beginning of July. We had asked her a few questions about her experience here at GRCC and here is what she had to say:

“I graduated with my Associate degree (Child Development) from GRCC in May of 1992. I was hired that fall for the preschool. I have worked at the Early Childhood Learning Lab for 26 years. I have both my Bachelor and Master degree in Early Childhood from WMU. During my years I have had an opportunity to work in each of the classrooms, from the infant room to the oldest classroom.

“I have always been passionate about connecting children and their families to the natural world. To this day children demonstrate their excitement for when they find “bugs” and other nature related items. Parents often share with me “new” things they have discovered as well. It brings me joy to know I have touched so many lives and have sparked their passion for learning about and protecting our world.

“Mentoring the college students in our program has provided me many opportunities to feel like I belong to GRCC. Watching them progress through the program, seeing them graduate, and then watching as they work in the field for which I helped train them brings great joy. Many come back to say “thank you” and to let me know they continue to build their confidence and professional skills because of the great start I have provided.

“I am excited to be able to spend long hours engaging with nature, whether gardening, birdwatching, hiking, or sharing my “traveling nature center” with others (www.sayyestonature.com). I will be sharing my love of nature with those who visit FMG Children’s Garden this summer, hosting six of the Science Sunday presentations.

“GRCC has been my home for over 30 years. I have enjoyed my many college “family” connections. I will miss them.”

We wish you all the best in your retirement, Penny. Please stay in touch! Thank you for all that you did for GRCC, the ECLL families, and our students; you’ve made an amazing difference in the lives of many.

GRCC retiree biography: Karen Walker

June 19, 2018

Karen Walker will be retiring from GRCC at the end of June. Karen joined the Grand Rapids Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program in January 1987 as faculty and academic fieldwork coordinator. She developed fieldwork sites throughout West Michigan where a Certified Occupational Therapist (COTA) was not employed. Many of these facilities identified the benefit of a COTA and created this position after supervising a student. She developed several courses and unit topics in the OTA curriculum such as therapeutic relationships, adult development, and mental health.

Karen was appointed program director in August 2000. She serves as program director and faculty in the program. She facilitated and supported the OTA faculty (Matthew Mekkes, Lynda Jansen, and Sarah Ryder) to develop learning activities for the students throughout the college and community. These activities help the students to develop awareness and empathy for people with disabilities to be able to treat and advocate for them. The faculty partnered with facilities and programs such as; Lincoln School, Huntington Woods pre-primary impaired program, Martindill Wellness Center, Pilgrim Manor, Oak Ridge Retirement, Brookcrest Rehab, Adam Park apartments, GRCC dental clinic, GRCC preschool, and Michigan Works First.

Karen created unique hands-on learning experiences such as a wheelchair scavenger hunt. This hunt involves teams of students in wheelchairs ranging from sports wheelchairs, scooters, and standard wheelchairs to travel around the campus in search of clues while practicing their mobility skills and identifying campus accessibility.

Karen identified a need for a student conference so she developed and co-chaired the West Michigan Educational Consortium 2001-2015 which focuses on Occupational Therapy specialty practice areas. This was an annual conference for students in West Michigan Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant educational programs.

To keep current with OT practice she created externships for herself under the supervision of OT practitioners, many of whom were OTA program graduates. It was a pleasure being mentored by former students in areas of physical disabilities, home and community health, work hardening, and mental health.

Presently Karen volunteers in community and church activities. She has always been an outdoor enthusiast enjoying snowshoeing, rowing, kayaking, and backpacking. She enjoys traveling with family and friends. She plans to continue these activities in retirement and to explore new ones.

We wish you all the best in your retirement, Karen. Please stay in touch! Thank you for all that you did for GRCC and our students; you’ve made such a difference in the lives of many.

Recap: Michigan map party at the Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory

June 18, 2018

On Friday, June 15, GRCC family and friends celebrated the arrival of a ‘Michigan and the Great Lakes’ map in our Preschool Outdoor Learning Environment at the Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory.  Participants, including Dr. Pink, brought their favorite rock to help leave a permanent mark on GRCC’s new map.

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The event also celebrated the retirements of learning lab instructors Cheryl Botham, Paula Kunst, and Penny Folsom, who have a combined 99 years of GRCC teaching experience!  Happy retirement, Cheryl, Paula, and Penny!

Learning Lab instructors Cheryl Botham, Paula Kunst, and Penny Folsom pose for a retirement party photo. Each wears a sash that read "Retired and Fabulous!"

Celebrate Retirees at GRCC Preschool Open House TOMORROW, 6/15

June 14, 2018

Join us for a punch and cookie reception to say happy retirement to Cheryl Botham, Paula Kunst, and Penny Folsom — are all retiring this semester from the Laboratory Preschool. Combined they have worked at GRCC for 99 years!

Friday, June 15, from 4-5:30 p.m.

Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory

Celebrate Retirees at GRCC Preschool Open House on Friday, 6/15

June 7, 2018

Join us for a punch and cookie reception to say happy retirement to Cheryl Botham, Paula Kunst, and Penny Folsom — are all retiring this semester from the Laboratory Preschool. Combined they have worked at GRCC for 99 years!

Friday June 15 from 4-5:30 p.m.

Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory

Retirement celebration for Rick Vanderveen tomorrow at Heritage Restaurant

May 29, 2018

Please join us in celebrating Rick Vanderveen! He has served GRCC for over 30 years and will retire May 31st. Come wish him well tomorrow, May 30th, from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Heritage Restaurant.

Light refreshments will be served.

Reminder: retirement celebration for Rick Vanderveen on May 30

May 23, 2018

Please join us in celebrating Rick Vanderveen! He has served GRCC for over 30 years and will retire May 31st. Come wish him well on Wednesday, May 30th from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Heritage Restaurant. Light refreshments will be served.

Retirement celebration for Rick VanderVeen on May 30

May 3, 2018

Please join us in celebrating Rick VanderVeen! He has served GRCC for over 30 years and will retire May 31st. Come wish him well on Wednesday, May 30th from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the Heritage Restaurant. Light refreshments will be served.

Connect with past colleagues at the Golden Raider Reception, May 10th

May 1, 2018
Please stop by and reconnect with friends and colleagues at the annual GRCC Golden Raider Retiree Reception being held on Thursday, May 10th, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Heritage Restaurant and Terrace. Our program will begin at 5:00 p.m.
All are welcome!

GRCC retiree biography: Joan Gearns

April 30, 2018

Joan Gearns bio photo

Joan Gearns will be retiring from GRCC today. Joan has taught at GRCC for 16 years in the English department.

When asked about her favorite story to share about GRCC students she shared this story, “For the very last class session Kellie Roblin and I taught before my retirement we had a student who began the semester trying to get his life balanced again after losing his wife and surviving serious injuries caused by a drunk driver. At the end of class, he raised his hand and said he wanted to share his story because all of the students had shared theirs over the semester. There were a few agonizing minutes as he composed himself and then shared with the class that he had survived such an awful trauma. Kellie and I knew at the beginning of the semester he could not bring himself to talk about it. To witness this huge step he took was more than I could ask as validation for what we do and the best send off to retirement.”

Joan felt that she belonged at GRCC at her first opening day, Dr. Juan Olivarez showed his concern for and how much he valued faculty by saying very clearly and slowly faculty needed to eat right, sleep well, exercise and take care of themselves. She felt at that moment she had found the right college for her.

In retirement she is simply going to travel, read, relax, write, live well and laugh. Those sound like amazing plans, Joan! Thank you for all that you have done for GRCC and your students. Congratulations on your retirement! We hope you will stay in touch.