Grand Rapids Community College received a five-year, $1.16 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education at the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year that helped build a resource center for adult learners. With a new resource center on campus, the college elected to appoint Teera Wilkins as the Project Director of TRIO Education Opportunities Center.
As a Grand Rapids Public Schools graduate, Wilkins was first introduced to the GRCC TRIO Upward Bound program while at Creston High School. Wilkins would go on to work as a summer residential staff member for the college’s program after graduating from CHS.
“I genuinely feel it’s an honor and privilege to work in the very (same) community that helped me become the person I am,” Wilkins said. “…GRCC has gifted me the best job. I am able to introduce people to all the opportunities higher education has to offer and work within the community as well.”
The Education Opportunities Center provides resources to prospective first-generation college students, low-wage workers, unemployed adults and others who qualify. The center will provide programs and services that help adult learners with high school diploma and/or General Education Development certificate completion, tutoring and mentoring, academic advising, personal counseling, financial assistance and more.
As a former student-worker for the Upward Bound program and now the project director for the TRIO center, Wilkins reflected on what it meant to her to come full circle and continue to be a part of the GRCC community in a leadership capacity.
“Upward Bound was one of the first programs to introduce me to different higher education colleges and institutions,” she said. “I am so glad I was able to partake in that program. It helped me think outside the box. The full circle of me being a part of GRCC Upward Bound, then working for the institution, and now being Project Director of the TRIO Educational Opportunities Center shows the dedication GRCC has for the community.”
Wilkins was also a member of the GRCC Promise Zone team, which is a scholarship program for qualifying Grand Rapids high school students that provides an opportunity to attend the college for free.
More information about the TRIO services and programs offered on campus can be found here.