Nov. 26, 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 Taijah Claybrook. Taijah is here to help students find a way to pay for college by applying for local and federal grants, scholarships and loans. Taijah enjoys meeting different students of all ages every day in her role as a Financial Aid Specialist at GRCC.
"So many students are open with sharing stories about their backgrounds, family life and culture with me," she says. "I appreciate the heart-to-hearts I get to have with students to learn more about their journeys and how I can best assist them."
Taijah finished her bachelor's degree at Grand Valley State University where she took advantage of federal Pell Grant funds, and a four-year TRIO Talent Search scholarship through GVSU to graduate debt free. Now, she is passionate about helping GRCC students do the same, or at least graduate with as little debt as possible.
Taijah had always wanted to teach, but her career goals shifted while she was studying at GVSU. Once she got to college, a family member, who is also a teacher, shared with her the pressure of changing classroom dynamics and increased emphasis on student testing. This led Taijah to explore other ways to support students as they work to achieve their dreams.
Throughout her time at GVSU, Taijah held multiple positions related to the student affairs field. Those positions included orientation leader, student worker for an advising office, graduate assistant for the College of Community and Public Service, graduate assistant and research mentor for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, and ultimately assistant living center director in Housing and Residence Life.
Taijah's double major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Criminal Justice prepared her to successfully complete her master's in College and Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU, and then join the GRCC Student Financial Services team.
"My experience from my undergrad majors and student positions helped me conduct research on today's college students and the obstacles they face in obtaining higher education in relation to their identities, socio-economic status, and the systems of oppression in America," she says. "Upon graduating, I was honored to receive a job offer at GRCC in the Financial Aid Office so I can use this knowledge to give back to the Grand Rapids community I was born and raised in."
Connect with Taijah and other financial aid specialists via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling (616) 234-4030 or visiting the Student Services office on the first floor of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.