Student finds freedom to change majors at GRCC



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


April 27, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. A Grand Rapids Community College student’s change in majors didn’t throw him off the path to his degree.

Noah van Hartesveldt, a West Catholic High School graduate, chose GRCC because he wanted a “smaller, more personal setting” than a four-year school. He planned to pursue a career in aerospace engineering but decided to major in geology during his sophomore year.

“This was a critical point that confirmed my choice of GRCC was the right one,” he said. “I luckily did not have to deviate far in my academic path, but I was also assisted immensely throughout the whole process by my counselor, Lynnae Selberg.”

Selberg, director of GRCC’s Counseling and Career Center, said van Hartesveldt had many questions — and she was happy to answer all of them.

“Many students come to GRCC unsure of a career direction or end up changing their career direction,” she said. “In the Counseling and Career Center, we help students explore options, and then once they determine a career direction, we help them map out their path to graduation.”

In addition to help with career decisions, van Hartesveldt said he has been impressed by the enthusiasm GRCC instructors have for their subjects.

“I had the opportunity to work with many professors who have their doctorates, and I received personal attention from them, which was a primary reason for choosing GRCC in the first place, in addition to the incredible value of GRCC,” he said.

Through an essay contest he entered as part of GRCC’s Honors Program, van Hartesveldt got to have dinner with Jimmy Carter when the former president spoke as part of the Diversity Lecture Series this past fall.

“This was a huge highlight in my college experience — being presented with such an incredible opportunity through the Honors Program will be in my memories for the rest of my life,” he said.

He will get an Associate of Science degree during GRCC’s commencement at 7 p.m. May 1 in the Van Andel Arena, 130 Fulton St. W. After graduation, he plans to transfer to Mississippi State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in geology.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.