News and Updates

April 23, 2019

Hernández promoted to assistant director  

Sonya M. Hernández has been promoted to the role of assistant director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and coordinator of Student Support Programs.

Hernández joined GRCC as the coordinator of the ALAS Program in 2018, responsible for facilitating holistic development and academic support for historically underrepresented students.

Hernández will oversee curriculum development and training for external stakeholders in her new role as a member of the chief equity and inclusion officer’s senior staff. She also will serve as co-chairperson of the Latino Youth Conference, will restructure ALAS Program goals to align with evidence-based best practices, will continue serving as an adjunct faculty member, and will strengthen community partnerships.

Hernández has worked for GRCC for seven months, but her career as an educator is expansive. She was principal at Edgewood Elementary in Muskegon Heights and worked for Grand Rapids Public Schools as a teacher and administrator.

The opportunity to reconfigure Hernández’s role is part of an extensive strategic plan to serve a broad range of students. Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, chief equity and inclusion officer, said Hernández’s depth of knowledge as an educator, cross-cultural community ties, and acute attention to issues germane to underserved students make her an excellent person for the role.

Hernández was appointed to the Hispanic Latino Commission in 2014, serving on the executive committee for three years. Sonya received a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Education, and Educational Specialist degree from Grand Valley State University. She also received an Associate of Arts degree from Muskegon Community College.

Hernández begins her new job on June 15.

 

April 10, 2019

Smith tapped as inaugural Associate Director

Jennifer Smith, administrative professional for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has been hired to serve as the inaugural associate director of the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion/Coordinator of Student Support Programs.

At GRCC, Smith serves as the logistical architect of campus-wide initiatives hosted by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, co-chairwoman of the Giants Award and Banquet, lead coordinator of the NIA program, and administrate coordinator for ODEI.

In her new role as a member of the chief equity and inclusion officer’s senior staff, Smith will oversee Woodrick Center services, which include Student Support programs, the Cultural Competence Institute, and signature campus-wide initiatives. The portfolio also includes serving on the leadership council of the Latino Youth Conference, community engagement and partnerships, and staff training and development offered through the Social Justice Consortium.

Smith has worked for the college for 18 years in the departments of Student Services and University Relations. In welcoming the addition of a new role, Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, chief equity and inclusion officer, cited Smith’s stellar work ethic, authentic connections to corporate and grassroots organizations, and extensive background working with historically underrepresented students.

Before rejoining GRCC, Smith worked for the Kent County Health Department, and the State of Michigan judicial system. Smith received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University,
and an Associate of Arts degree from GRCC.

Smith begins her new job on July 1.