Holly VanRyn, Assistant Professor
Education: B.S. - Ferris State University, A.A.A.S. - Grand Rapids Community College
What are the strengths of SICE's Program?
SICE has a fantastic array of programs right here at Grand Rapids Community College! I am extremely proud to be alumni of this program. The faculty at SICE are of world class caliber and talent and are definitely SICE’s greatest asset.
SICE's diverse curriculum offers you a variety of associates degrees, tracks, and certificates. SICE's program has been consistently awarded American Culinary Federation (ACF) accreditation with exemplary status. SICE, being a GRCC program, allows us to develop relationships with larger universities, like Ferris State University and Grand Valley State University. These relationships can function as gateways, making it possible for you to pursue additional degree paths and bachelor’s degrees.
Another example of SICE's strengths is our ability to respond to industry’s needs in developing new programs. A perfect example of that is our new brewing program. SICE owns and operates, on campus, the only federally and state licensed craft brewery and brewpub, Peter's Pub, in the country.
What do you like best about being a SICE professor?
Before becoming an educator, I was employed by TS Restaurants of Hawaii and California. It was there where I gained extensive Front of the House operations experience. I occupied a variety of positions at their Maui, Hawaii-based restaurants.
An integral role of mine and one of my favorite things about being a professor at SICE will be to prepare you for and to send you to Maui (should you be interested) to intern and work for TS Restaurants.
I like connecting with my students on a personal level, being able to share in their enthusiasm about Maui's hospitality industry. I feel that when students return from their internship experience and share their success stories about all of the amazing things they learned and were able to do, that my career has come “full circle.”
What do you know now that you wished you knew when you first started out?
My entire career had been in the restaurant and hospitality industry until I became a professor here.
I wish that I had known at an earlier age that I would one day become an educator! I would have started my Master’s degree in Career and Technical Education much sooner.
However, with all of GRCC's resources, I do feel lucky to be able to complete higher education while teaching full time. Currently, I am completing my Master’s degree at Ferris State University.
You will benefit directly from my academic pursuits because Ferris has prepared me to meet the challenges today's diverse students face. I am bringing an immense amount of information and expertise that helps me develop curriculum and programs. My favorite part about this experience is implementing what I’ve learned about teaching and education in my own classroom.
What is your current obsession?
I am obsessed with learning everything that I can about wine. I am a total wine nerd. I wish there were more hours in the day so I could devote more time to my wine knowledge.
The amount of information that Master Sommeliers have about viticulture, viniculture, wine regions, and winemakers fascinates me. I love to learn about why wines taste the way they do. This can come down to climate, grape varietals, winemaking practices, and much more.
Currently, I am a Level I Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers but am working on the Level II Certification. Blind tasting wines is just as fascinating to me. I love to read articles and listen to podcasts where Master Sommeliers discuss their blind tasting tactics and techniques. In my classes, I share these deductive processes with you so you too can hone your blind tasting skills and techniques to become a wine expert.
Who is your hero? Why?
My husband is my hero. He continually supports me in all that I do. He is full of encouragement but also provides much needed constructive criticism. As a woman in the hospitality industry, I think it is important to have a partner who fully supports your career. My husband does this for me and is my hero because of it.
Restaurant Management and Leadership (CA 245)
Beer, Wine, and Spirits Management (CA 233)