GRCC names recipients of 2017 Excellence in Education Awards



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

Aug. 28, 2017 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is honoring three employees who have gone above and beyond in making meaningful connections with their students.

The Excellence in Education Awards were established in 1989 to honor GRCC employees — all of whom are nominated by their peers — for their contributions to the college, higher education and the community. Lynnae Selberg, an assistant professor and director of the Counseling and Career Center, received the faculty award. Lorena Aguayo-Márquez, program assistant for Academic Outreach, received the staff award, and Tom Mulder, in the English department, was honored with the adjunct award.

"The Excellence in Education Awards carry special meaning because the recipients are chosen by their peers," said President Bill Pink. "The work done by Lynnae, Tom and Lorena has made a very real difference in the lives of so many students."

Selberg developed GRCC's CLS 100: First Year Experience course, a class that all students must take in their first semester that gives them the academic tools they will need to be successful in higher education. In addition to teaching sections of CLS 100, she teaches final exam preparation workshops and academic success workshops -- which help students on academic probation or who are returning from academic suspension. She works with GRCC's Honors Program and is the academic advisor for Phi Theta Kappa honor society. She serves on numerous committees and advisory boards -- on and off campus -- and works directly with Grand Valley State and Ferris State universities to ensure a successful transfer experience for GRCC students.

"Those who work with her know that Lynnae is not just a colleague: She is an educator, advocate, mentor and leader," Pink said. "When we ask for volunteers to staff a student event --  whether it's Welcome Week, information stations, GradFest or open houses -- she is one of the first to step up."

Aguayo-Márquez's work in Academic Outreach has connected her with high school and middle school students, adult learners and those who struggle with English. She plays crucial roles in GRCC's Adult Education program; the Cruisin' to College Success Summer Learning Academy for Grand Rapids Public Schools sophomores and juniors; on- and off-campus ESL programs, including integrated courses such as the ESL/CNC Machining and ESL/Certified Nursing Assistant programs; construction, manufacturing and woodworking summer camps for sixth- through ninth-graders; and NIA - Women with Purpose, a group for female African American students. 

"Lorena brings GRCC into churches, grocery stores, block parties and festivals," Pink said. "She gives people who have never considered college the encouragement, practical help and inspiration they need for success."

Mulder, a retired high school English teacher, has the gift of connecting with students of all abilities. He has played a key role in creating writing courses for students who plan careers in research, health care or social sciences. Students in the Grand Rapids Past and Future course that he created explore the city as they connect their writing to the idea of community.

"Tom, a voracious reader and lifelong learner, leads his students by example," Pink said. "His students leave his classroom as critical thinkers and readers -- ready for the next challenge."

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 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.