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Here to Help: Dan Nyhof helps students overcome obstacles and develop plans for success

Dec. 9, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Always remember, at GRCC, you are surrounded by people who want you to be successful and are ready to walk with you on your educational pathway. We are here to help!

Meet Dan Nyhof. Dan is a counselor in GRCC's Disability Support Services where he meets with GRCC students who have a diagnosed disability.

If you get a chance to work with Dan, the two of you will develop a reasonable accommodation plan to support your academic success. After that, you will meet regularly to review your accommodation plan and academic progress, and then adjust your plan, as needed.

You will also connect with Dan for academic advising. This can include career exploration, course and degree selection, being connected with resources related to your areas of interest on- or off-campus, career or transfer planning, and more.

Dan's work is most rewarding when he sees students execute the educational plans they developed.

"A person's journey may not be straightforward, but each experience a student has will help them learn and grow while moving toward their goal," he said. "While I was in school I worked as a dishwasher, barista, baker, cashier, landscaper, substitute teacher, warehouse worker, school counselor, and therapist. Each one of these experiences taught me about myself and helped develop my plans that culminated with me working at GRCC."

Dan attended a community college in Illinois, working full time during the day and taking classes in the evenings.

"I chose to attend community college because the tuition was cheaper than the university that I was already attending," he said. "The classes also were offered in more convenient times than other options. I was really impressed with that school, so that might have played a part in becoming interested in working for GRCC later."

After community college, Dan went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Psychology, a master's degree in Counseling Psychology, and a doctorate in Counseling. He is now a licensed counselor with a limited license as a psychologist.

Dan worked at a refugee resettlement agency, in psychiatric hospitals, in outpatient mental health clinics, and in middle and high schools before coming to GRCC. As a high school counselor part of his role was helping students make plans for skilled training or higher education after their graduation.

"GRCC was the most helpful in working with me and our high school students," he said. "Many different people (from many different areas) were gladly willing to use their time to meet with our students to help them navigate how to start at GRCC and get a plan together. During this time, I was able to meet many GRCC staff and faculty members and was very impressed with their commitment to the college and the students."

During his last job at a high school Dan also began teaching at GRCC as an adjunct faculty member, which grew his interest in working with college students.

"I loved teaching these classes and it was such a wonderful experience," he said. "Then I was fortunate to be able to help out in the Academic Advising and Transfer Center with preparing new students for college. This part-time experience helped me realize that GRCC was where I wanted to devote all my time. I have been full time at GRCC since 2014!"

You can connect with Dan and his team through email at disability@grcc.edu and by phone at (616) 234-4140.

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