Sharing Our Stories: Alumni

Marcus Barissi

Marcus Barissi

Associate of Science, 2018

Physical Sciences Faculty Scholarship

Dickie Drew Memorial Scholarship

Cedric & Sandy Ward Leadership Award and Scholarship

“For as long as I can remember, people in authoritative positions have told me I would be a failure in life. As my educational career came to an end at GRCC, the situation had completely reversed as everybody believed I would accomplish amazing things. The scholarships I’ve received from GRCC have done two things: reduced my financial burden as well as give me the motivation to keep moving forward.”

Susan Beedon

Susan Beedon

Personal Chef Certificate, 2018

Budres Foundation Scholarship

"I have actually wanted to attend the culinary program at GRCC since I graduated high school in 1986. When I lost my job due to my company moving to Mexico, I qualified for a program that would pay for my training provided I was a full-time student. When I heard that I received one of the Budres Foundation Scholarships, I was so grateful. It helped by lifting some of the burdens of different things such as gas to get back and forth to school, parking, and extra materials for classes.

"I hope to one day be able to 'pay it forward' and help other students to fulfill their dreams of a brighter future without the added financial stress!"

Mildred Jane Doyle

Mildred “Jane” (Baessler) Doyle

Distinguished Alumna, GRJC, 1940

Mildred “Jane” (Baessler) Doyle attended Grand Rapids Junior College in 1940 with plans to go into architecture. GRJC didn’t have an architecture program, but she took engineering courses that would transfer to the University of Michigan. One of her engineering instructors made a life-changing announcement: GRJC President Arthur Andrews had received federal approval to run a Civilian Pilot Training program, and one woman would be admitted for every nine men. Doyle completed the program and managed to keep up her flying time with the Civil Air Patrol while earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture and interior design. She then joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots. She and the other WASP recruits flew stateside missions for the military to free up male pilots for overseas combat. WASP members received military veteran status in 1977, and in 2010, they were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. Now 96, Doyle is the last living WASP in Michigan, according to Texas Women’s University, home to the organization’s archives.

“Junior college changed my whole life — my whole plan.”

Obed Enay Santos-Fuentes

Obed Enay Santos-Fuentes

Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences, 2018

Manufacturing engineering student, Ferris State University

“After I had passed all ESL levels in 2007, I learned I could take more advanced English classes at GRCC. After I fixed my immigration status, I started working at Autocam, which partners with GRCC in an apprenticeship program. I completed the program and started taking classes toward my associate degree in tooling and manufacturing technologies. Now I can’t wait to start my adventure at FSU.Now is the perfect time to start planning your education. Age, marital status, or English not being your first language — these must not represent an obstacle. You can do it.”

Emily Holtrop

Emily Holtrop

Associate of Arts, 1995

Director of learning and interpretation, Cincinnati Art Museum

“I am the second generation in my family to attend GRCC. Both of my parents and my sister also graduated from the school. We feel strongly, as a family, that community college is the best first step before attending a four-year college. It allowed me time to get acclimated to college life and prepared me for the rigors that would greet me at Western Michigan University and the University College London. I also received a full-ride academic scholarship to GRCC, so that helped in the decision-making process as well!”

Terry Rostic

Terry Rostic

Associate of Arts, 2004

Project manager at Rockford Construction

“My master’s degree started at GRCC! Despite being a good high school student and receiving a 3.3 GPA, I was not a good test taker when it came to the ACT. When I wasn’t admitted into the four-year colleges and universities I wanted to attend, I was ready to give up on higher education and get a factory job like my other relatives. It was my grandfather who convinced me to go down to GRCC and give higher education one more chance. He drove me to GRCC to visit the Admissions Office and sat with me during orientation. If it was not for him and GRCC, I don’t know where my career would be at this point in life.”