Computer science education project wins first place in GRCC’s Armen Awards



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

April 22, 2016 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — First place in Grand Rapids Community College’s Armen Awards went to a project that promoted awareness of computer science education for k-12 education

Katie Vander Meer’s Introduction to Computer Programming students taught computer programming logic to Orchard View Elementary fifth-graders.

Longtime GRCC supporter Armen Oumedian created and funds the awards for excellence in service learning. Faculty members lead students in designing and completing service projects to benefit community organizations. The top three teams among the five finalists received awards, which were announced today during a celebration at the Kendall College of Art and Design’s Woodbridge N. Ferris Building.

“The level of engagement really came through in this year's projects,” said Chris Wilson, an independent nonprofit consultant and Armen Awards judge. “I continue to be impressed with how well faculty partner with community organizations developing these unique learning opportunities for students.”

The second-place award went to Holly VanRyn and students in her Restaurant Leadership and Management course. They teamed up with Baxter Community Center's mentoring program to teach youth fine-dining etiquette.

The third-place award was given to Leigh Kleinert and students in her General Human Anatomy and Physiology course, who partnered with Jenison International Academy to provide an in-person, interactive biology lab for online high school students.

The other finalists were Lauren Elliott and students in her Introduction to Biology course, who partnered with Blandford Nature Center to give students real-world applications to ecology, and Margie Erlandson and students in her Fashion Merchandising course, who partnered with Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion to design, produce and deliver hand-crafted quilts for cancer patients.

"This year saw a tremendous amount of expertise when it came to creating community-based projects," said Michael Schavey, director of GRCC's department of experiential learning. "Faculty from computer information systems, biology, culinary arts and fashion merchandising all created these hands-on projects to reinforce course concepts. I again want to thank Armen Oumedian for his continued support of this work and passion for innovative teaching practices.”

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.