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Armen Awards honors Biology for Educators

Photo by Lyssa Paul
Armen Oumedian addressing the crowd.

By Lyssa Paul

The Armen Awards were held this Friday by Grand Rapids Community College. The ceremony, held at the Woodridge N. Ferris building at Kendall College of Art and Design, showcased seven community groups which have partnerships with GRCC faculty. Though only three groups received awards, all received recognition – and a potted plant.

Founder and funder of the awards, Armen Oumedian, created them to inspire innovative thinking in GRCC students. For the same reason he has also created many scholarships with the college and has served as co-chairman of the alumni division of the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation’s Open Door Campaign. Oumedian appeared as one of the speakers at the ceremony.

“I was so pleased at last year’s results that I recommitted for another three years,” Oumedian stated in a news release. “Rewarding teams who demonstrate innovative teaching and learning practices is key to student success.”

The first prize winner was Sarah Krajewski’s Biology for Educators course, which partnered with Immaculate Heart of Mary School. The course covers the same material as an Intro to Biology course. Students take what they learn in class and teach it to the children at Immaculate Heart of Mary. The students not only earn science credits, but they also gain experience teaching and making lesson plans. And that’s not all they gain.

“My favorite part is seeing the kids’ reactions,” said Danielle Minster, a student in the program. “You see when they’ve got it and you know you taught them that.”

The children also benefit, not only by learning science but also seeing what the college experience is like. The middle school students have the opportunity to visit a science lab at GRCC and have a hands on learning experience in the form of a mock crime scene.

“They’re probably going to remember this for the rest of their lives,” said Amber Hudson, another student in the program.

Krajewski’s program received $3000 as their prize.

Second prize, along with $1,500, went to Bethann Talsma’s Office Ethics and Etiquette course. The class is partnered with Gilda’s Club, which provides cancer and grief support programs. Students in the course are required to gain service experience in the community, and do so by volunteering with Gilda’s Club or LaughFest.

Finally, third prize and $750 went to Jolanta Lanier’s Personal Health course, partnered with the American Cancer Society. In class, students learn about the different areas of personal health, from physical to mental and emotional health. Using what they learn, they help prepare meals for families of cancer patients.

The other finalists included in the ceremony were Hope Hagan and her Business and Technical Writing course, which partnered with Covenant House, Aleta Anderson’s Introductory German course, which worked with Palmer Elementary School, Dr. Sherry Knoppers and her Community Transcultural Nursing course, which partnered with South End Community Outreach Ministry, and Gayl Beals and his Automotive Job Training course, partnered with Mel Trotter Ministries.

Photo by Lyssa Paul


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