Eight teams will compete for GRCC service learning award



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications



Nov. 25, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The eight service learning projects that will compete for Grand Rapids Community College’s Armen Awards this year cover a range of disciplines, from automotive training and child psychology to nursing.

The competition, designed to inspire innovation within best practices for teaching and learning, launched a new format last year. Teams — consisting of at least one faculty member and one community partner — will design and complete service learning projects that fulfill course requirements while meeting a need in the community.

“This year we have another eight amazing teams, and new disciplines have submitted proposals, including business, automotive, biology and even German," said Michael Schavey, associate director of GRCC’s department of experiential learning. "As the Armen Awards have grown, more and more people have been able to see service learning engaging students in our community.”

The teams will work on their projects through the Winter 2014 semester. The top three teams will receive a financial award – but the community will be the ultimate winner through GRCC’s continued efforts to find new ways to reach out to area residents.

Longtime GRCC supporter Armen Oumedian created and funds the awards, now in their fourth year, as part of his commitment to innovative thinking, a passion that has already led him to create several scholarships. He also served as co-chairman of the alumni division of the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation’s recent Open Door Campaign.

“I was so pleased at last year’s results that I recommitted for another three years," said Oumedian, who retired as senior vice president of Pinnacle Automation. "Rewarding teams who demonstrate innovative teaching and learning practices is key to student success.”

The teams and their community partners are:

  • Hope Hagan and her Business and Technical Writing course will work with Covenant House.
  • Aleta Anderson and her Introductory German course will partner with Palmer Elementary School.
  • Sarah Krajewski and her Biology for Educators course will work with Immaculate Heart of Mary School.
  • Dr. Kate Byerwalter and her Child Psychology course is partnering with Family Promise.
  • Dr. Sherry Knoppers and her Community Transcultural Nursing course will work with South East Outreach Ministry.
  • Gayl Beals and his Automotive Job Training course is partnering with Mel Trotter Ministries.
  • Jolanta Lanier and her Personal Health course will work with the American Cancer Society.
  • Bethann Talsma and her Office Ethics and Etiquette course is partnering with Gilda’s Club.

For more information on the Armen Awards click here.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.