The 21st Annual Salute to Women celebrated Women’s History Month by honoring outstanding women from Grand Rapids Community College.
The ceremony began with a welcome from Provost Laurie Chesley. Then the awards were handed out, one for each category: GRCC employee, GRCC Alumna, GRCC student and GRCC former employee.
The winner of GRCC’s former employee award was Judith Kienitz, who was a faculty member in the Language Arts Department. She served as a mentor for many women and established the Handicapped Learning Center along with developing many services and programs for students.
The winner for the GRCC student category was Lesley Bos, who is the first female president of the Native American Student Organization and is a member of several groups such as the NIA -Women with Purpose, Phi Theta Kappa, Women’s Issues Now and StandOut.
Bos explained how she felt after winning her award.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Bos sad. “It meant alot. It felt kinda surreal. It’s one of those things, you know, you put in the work not expecting to get anything out of it so to have the recognition is an honor in general.”
Magdalena Montes-Spruit is the winner of the GRCC alumna category. She is known for her work with the TRIO/Student Support Services Program. Her office is known to be a safe space for students to express themselves.
The award winner of the GRCC employee category was Sara Brooks. Brooks has been a professor, counselor and mentor at GRCC. She is known for setting aside her extra time for students to feel listened to and safe.
In response to winning her award, Brooks explained the feeling of being recognized.
“I’ve been employed by the college for 14 years, and I have watched women who I admire get this award,” Brooks said. ”I just really didn’t think it was me and so it just means a lot to get recognized for my work. I don’t do it to be recognized, but to be recognized feels good.”
The Salute to Women is an annual event at GRCC to recognize the impact that women at GRCC have on students and staff alike.