Month: March 2014

GRCC Student Photographer Wins National Recognition

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Michele BrautnickGrand Rapids resident and GRCC student Michele Brautnick received an honorable mention in the 34th annual College and High School Photography Contest organized by Photographer’s Forum magazine.  Her award-winning photo featuring her two-year-old son Oscar started as an assignment for a GRCC photography class.

Brautnick says, “The assignment was specifically around the topic of light – seeing it, finding it, and acknowledging the effect it can have on a subject.”

Photography professor Chuck Heiney says the light project is a technical assignment that he gives early in the semester.  “In one sense, the light assignment is to ensure students are making correct exposures with their cameras, but light can be used to go beyond merely making exposures of the scene,” he said.  “When photographers begin to literally ‘see the light’ in their photography, they have made a huge step forward in the craft.  Michele’s photo shows that point of release from basic exposure to seeing, responding, and interpreting the scene.”

Like many GRCC students, Michele Brautnick is a “nontraditional” student who already has a degree and career, but returned to college in 2013 as a means of broadening her skills and ideally leading to a more advanced career position.

Chuck Heiney says he finds it especially rewarding to work with students like Brautnick, saying, “Nontraditional students seem to have a laser focus of knowing what they want and working hard to get to the end of the game as fast as possible.”

All of the competition’s winners, honorable mentions, and finalists will be featured in the book Best of College and High School Photography 2014.  To see Michele Brautnick’s award-winning photo, click HERE.

Race, Ethnicity, and Identity Conference Videos

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Did you miss out on your chance to attend the presentations at the 2014 Race, Ethnicity, and Identity Conference?  It’s not too late – here are links to YouTube videos on several of the presentations made by GRCC faculty and other participants!

From Steve Abid – “The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964

From Robert Hendershot – “Intersections of Class, Class, Skin Color and Religion in the Republic of India

From guest speaker Caroline Faria of Florida International University – “Styling a Nation: Fear and Desire in the South Sudanese Beauty Trade

Visual Arts Art Camp

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The Visual Arts Department hosted groups of students from four area high schools last Friday for an “Art Camp” day to introduce local students to GRCC and the Visual Arts programs.  Students from Wyoming, Caledonia, Coopersville, and East Kentwood high schools visited GRCC for a walking tour, informational introduction to the different programs offered by the Visual Arts Department, and short art demos.

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Photo credits go to Chuck Heiney, Visual Arts Adjunct Instructor

Faculty Council Minutes – Feb. 28

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Minutes for the February 28 Faculty Council meeting are now available under the Member Resources menu – read ’em while they’re fresh!

Highlights include:

  • A report of the Faculty Association’s financial records from the outside auditor
  • A report from Rosario Montes-Sutton on a labor law conference
  • Proofreaders have begun to go through the new contract.  Thanks go out to Sue Latham, Luann Keizer, Langston Gant, Stacey Heisler, Martin Hillard, Bethann Talsma, Diana Kooistra, Holly Hoare, and Joan Gearns for their assistance!  40 pages have been read and about 60 still remain – volunteers are still needed.  If you can contribute a couple of hours to this valuable service, contact Lyttron Burris (

FUN and Done!

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The FUNderwear Run is done!  The weather cooperated (at least it wasn’t too cold and it didn’t snow) and the GRCC Faculty Team made a great showing.

The GRCC Faculty Association is seriously happy to announce that we were the top fundraiser for the Laughfest FUNderwear Run, raising a total of $2,304!  Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids appreciates all of your support and thanks everyone who donated and/or participated in the run.

The Faculty Association Team included Monica Stevens, Katie Vander Meer, Christina McElwee, Fred van Hartesveldt, Julianne Claydon, Jennifer Knauf, Andrew Rozema, Tim Pieri, Deb Pieri, Sean Mackey, Staci Dever, Sarah Laycock, Alejandro Saldivar, Rosario Montes-Sutton, Dan Groh, Jane Hedges, Stephanie Kazanas, and Bob Groenleer.  A serious Thank You to these amazing faculty and staff who put on their finest GRCC Undies to support our community!

Alejandro Saldivar placed third in the untimed race, while Katie Vander Meer and Rosario Montes-Sutton came in last (but they finished the course)!

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The GRCC team also received coverage in a Grand Rapids Press article on Saturday – yay, us!


Those are some amazing underthings!

Credit for all photos goes to Cheryl Kautz, CIS Adjunct Faculty member who came down to the race to take pictures and show support for the team – great job, Cheryl!

FUNderwear Run Donations are Breaking the Bank!

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As of this morning, GRCC faculty have donated $2199.00 to support Gilda’s Club in conjunction with the FUNderwear Run coming up this Sunday!  This is a great reminder to everyone how incredible, amazing, and generous we are!


There’s still time to contribute!  You can make a donation up to the time of the run on Sunday morning, so just a couple of days left.  To make a donation in the name of the GRCC Faculty Association team, click HERE.

The FUNderwear Run will kick off at 10am on Sunday, March 9 at the Ford Fieldhouse, so come out and support our Faculty Team runners and walkers.  If nothing else, you’ll likely get to see some funny underwear AND the weather looks like it’s going to be nice for a change!

Armen Award Project Spotlight – Sarah Krajewski

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Sarah Krajewski’s Biology 101 for Future (BI101E) class is taking part in an Academic Service Learning project that is in the running for this year’s Armen Award!  This class challenges GRCC students to not only learn the biology content of the course, but to also translate that content into age-appropriate lessons for early elementary or middle school students.  This year the class is partnered with Immaculate Heart of Mary School (IHM).

GRCC students taught a variety of lessons to first and second grade classes at IHM and a group of middle school students were invited to a GRCC lab classroom for their lesson.

IMG_2724The second grade class studied owls by learning what owls eat and dissecting owl excrement pellets collected by GRCC students.


IMG_2711The first grade class learned about the life cycle of a bean plant.  GRCC students brought in bean seeds and plants at different stages of development for study.


Bi101 and IHMMiddle school students used the GRCC lab classroom to study DNA, DNA extraction and DNA fingerprinting.


Instructor Sarah Krajewski says of the experience:

  • This ASL project has been a wonderful partnership. The  GRCC students were given an authentic teaching experience and an  opportunity to meet and get feedback from professionals in the field of  education.  The classroom teachers at Immaculate Heart of Mary gave the GRCC students feedback on their lesson through a written evaluation. The  GRCC students reflected on their lesson and gave a presentation on what  they learned from the experience to the BI101E class.  This experience has enhanced the IHM science curriculum because it provided the students with an opportunity to engage in a laboratory experiences with lab equipment that would normally not be available.

GRCC Faculty Star at Upcoming Conference

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The Race, Ethnicity & Identity Conference hosted by GRCC runs from March 10-20 this year, with a number of sessions presented by GRCC faculty.

All presentations will be held in Room 108, Sneden Hall – 425 E. Fulton.

Professor of Sociology Cedric Williams presents “Invisible Disability Identity” – 9:30-11am Monday, March 17

Associate Professor of History Robert Hendershot presents “Nationalism and Diverse Identities in South Asia: Intersections of Caste, Class, Skin Color and Religion in the Republic of India” – 9:30-11am  Tuesday, March 18

Professor of Economics Steve Abid presents “The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964” – 3-5:30pm  Tuesday, March 18

These are just the presentations hosted by GRCC faculty – for full information about all of the conference events, click HERE.


GRCC Rocks the Business Professionals of America!

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GRCC students brought home EIGHT first-place awards from the state Business Professionals of America competition!  The GRCC team is led by assistant professor of business Peg Schoenborn who says, “We are all so proud of our BPA students, and it’s exciting to see their hard work rewarded.”

GRCC’s students faced competition from ten other Michigan post-secondary institutions, including Baker College, Central Michigan University, and the University of Michigan.  Nine students from the team (* in the list below)  will travel to the national BPA competition taking place in Indianapolis from April 29-May 4.  Best of luck to them!

Winners of First-Place Awards
*Erika Duggan, *Dawn Forsythe, *Sally Kulikamp, and *Beth Steimel in Administrative Support Team
Beth Steimel in Advanced Office Systems
Beth Steimel in Advanced Word Processing
*Corwin Tobias in Contemporary Issues
Brian Ayres in Fundamental Word Processing
Charrisa Elmer in Integrated Office Systems
Christina Hincka in Medical Office Procedures
Corwin Tobias and *Brandon Klotz in Video Production Team

Additional State Titles Awarded to GRCC Students
*Brandon Holt in Advanced College Accounting
Fata Cesco in Advanced Office Systems
Sally Kulikamp in Advanced Office Systems
Dawn Forsythe in Advanced Word Processing
Christina Hincka in Basic Office Systems and Procedures
Brandon Holt in Contemporary Issues
*Robert Martinez in Contemporary Issues
Angie Wieck in Database Applications
Corwin Tobias in Entrepreneurship
Brandon Klotz in Fundamentals of Web Design
Brian Ayers in Fundamental Spreadsheet Applications
Erika Duggan in Fundamental Word Processing
Brandon Klotz in Graphic Design Promotion
Erika Duggan in Integrated Office Systems
Robert Martinez in Management/Marketing/HR Concepts
Brandon Holt in Managerial Accounting
*Rocky VanZergen in Managerial Accounting
Robert Martinez in Prepared Speech