By Jake Goldberg – Collegiate Staff
Four women were honored today at the Grand Rapids Community College 19th annual Salute to Women Conference, held at GRCC’s Applied Technology Center. GRCC hosts this event every year to honor and celebrate remarkable women in the GRCC community during Women’s History Month.
The four women honored were Christina Arnold, former director of the GRCC Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Erendida Erazo-Alas, current GRCC student and business administration major, Nkechy Ekere Ezeh, GRCC alumna and CEO of the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative and Laura B. Moody, GRCC nursing professor.
The event celebrates strong determined woman who have overcome great obstacles, to obtain great achievements. Erazo-Alas came to the U.S. in 2007 from El Salvador to begin working on a new future for herself. In 2014, she started taking classes at GRCC. Her persistence led her to take English classes, and she became a student ambassador to help new students every day at GRCC. She said the award meant a lot to her.
“It is something I never imagined would happen,” Erazo-Alas said. “It showed that even with someone like me with challenges like language and age that there is always a way that you get to start over, that people in my situation can keep going.”
Ezeh came to Grand Rapids from Nigeria in 1986. Since then she has become an Associate Professor of Education at Aquinas College, and is the founder of Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative. Which is a non-profit dedicated to providing children access to a pre-school education.
“This is so important to keep doing this, because you don’t know all the alumni who have come here and gone,” Ezeh said. “They (family in Nigeria) know I’m getting this award. So GRCC’s name has been talked about in Nigeria, which is an accomplishment.”