Hospice project wins first place in Armen Awards



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213


April 24, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — First place in Grand Rapids Community College’s Armen Awards went to a project in which students documented the lives of hospice patients.

Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood’s Introduction to Journalism students worked with Hospice of Michigan on the series of stories. A video of the project may be seen here.

Longtime GRCC supporter Armen Oumedian created and funds the awards for excellence in service learning. Faculty members led 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.

“I continue to be amazed at the accomplishments of these teams and the impact they have on our community,” said Jane Royer, director of the Heart of West Michigan United Way’s volunteer center and Armen Awards judge. “This year, we saw again the passion for creating meaningful hands-on experiences for students and the results of collaborating with a community partner. These five teams did a tremendous job and it was very difficult choosing the top three.”

The second-place award went to Drew Rozema and students in his Mobile Application Development and Security course. They teamed up with the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts to create a mobile application that will give the public information about food booths, venue acts and other festival happenings. A video of this project may be seen here.

The third-place award was given to Katie VanderMeer and students in her Introduction to Computer Programming course for teaching Orchard View Elementary fifth-graders the fundamentals of coding. A video of the project may be seen here.

The other finalists were Bob Schultz and students in his Table Service course for creating a Make-A-Wish Michigan fundraiser (video here) and Sherry Knoppers and Community Transcultural Nursing students for helping the North End Community Ministry food pantry better promote health and disease prevention (video here).

"As a result of the Armen Awards, students apply course concepts to real-world problems while gaining leadership, communication and teamwork skills," said Michael Schavey, director of the department of experiential learning. "Ultimately, students are learning how to become engaged citizens. I appreciate the generosity of Armen Oumedian, and I'm excited to continue offering this experience for students. We are looking forward to building upon the success of this event for next year with the addition of a new partnership. The Heart of West Michigan United Way Volunteer Center is helping our faculty find service projects within our community and hopefully more partnerships will be created."

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.