Honors student Alayna Kondraciuk embraces opportunity as a personal ethic

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A headshot of Alayna Kondraciuk.

HFC honors student Alayna Kondraciuk has been a Hawk for most of her life, so attending HFC was a “no-brainer,” in her words.

“My parents (HFC Senior Systems Administrator Jerry Kondraciuk and HFC Assistant Director of Enrollment Services, Assessment, and Orientation Nikole Ford-Kondraciuk) have worked here since before I was born. So I have essentially been a Hawk my whole life. My dad would bring me to work all the time as a kid, so I knew I liked the campus and the people,” said Kondraciuk. “HFC is pretty nostalgic to me. I used to sit in a conference room next to my dad's office on the second floor of the L Building; I would look outside toward the Skylight Café, fascinated by all the college students, and now I am one of them.”

Her reasons are not just family history, though. “I knew I wanted to start my higher education somewhere small because I wasn't sure what I wanted to pursue," she said. "I didn't want to rack up student debt at a four-year college. I wanted to explore and find a major I was interested in, and I knew the right place to do that was here.”

A “face” of HFC

For authenticity, HFC uses real students and community members in its advertising and promotions. Kondraciuk is one of the faces of the College. She has been featured on several HFC billboards around the Metro Detroit area, as well as digital ads promoting the College.

Last year, Kondraciuk was invited to participate in two HFC photoshoots after being recommended by the the Henry Ford II Honors Program. She granted the College permission to use her photos in its marketing materials. A few months after the second photoshoot, Kondraciuk received an email saying she was going to be on three billboards.

“I was completely shocked,” she admitted. “One of the billboards [during the summer 2022 advertising flight] was a 2-minute drive from my house in Flat Rock, which means almost everyone in my hometown saw it. I have had high school teachers and friends reach out to congratulate me. This was yet another opportunity I was given at HFC, and I took it without hesitation.”

Earning 2 associate degrees

The eldest of two daughters, Kondraciuk was born in Royal Oak and lives in Flat Rock. She graduated from Flat Rock Community High School and enrolled at HFC, where she is majoring in supply chain management. She will graduate in 2023, earning an associate degree in supply chain management and another associate degree in general business administration, as well as a Michigan Transfer Agreement certificate of achievement.

“My classmate, Mark Robey, showed me that the classes I am taking for the supply chain associate degree also meet the requirements for a general business associate degree. So when I graduate, I will be eligible to receive two degrees – one in supply chain management and another in general business,” she explained.

Excited about Learn4ward

Kondraciuk has expressed an interest in public relations and would eventually like to earn a master’s degree. Although she has applied to Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Kondraciuk has not yet decided where she’ll transfer. UM-Dearborn is a strong possibility, especially she learned she is eligible for Learn4ward, an innovative partnership that provides guaranteed admission and other benefits.

Learn4ward will put qualified HFC students on a path to earn both an associate and a bachelor’s degree within 4-6 years, while supporting the State of Michigan’s “60 by 30” goal to increase the number of Michiganders with a college degree or professional credential to 60 percent by the year 2030.

When Learn4ward was officially launched Oct. 24 at UM-Dearborn, Kondraciuk was one of three HFC students who spoke in a group of speakers that included HFC President Russell Kavalhuna, UM-Dearborn Chancellor Dr. Domenico Grasso, Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud, Detroit Chamber of Commerce CEO Sandy Baruah, and State Senator Sylvia Santana, among other dignitaries

“Naturally, I was super nervous being on the ground floor of the Learn4ward event because I knew of all the big names who were in attendance,” confessed Kondraciuk. “Aside from my nerves, I was pretty excited to share with everyone how thrilled we students are about the program. Learn4ward is going to benefit so many HFC students as it essentially carves out a path for their future and success. I hope many people learn and take advantage of the program when they can.”

Success Coordinator and many other roles

To say Kondraciuk has been involved in numerous activities at HFC is an understatement. She is a member of the Honors Program, where she has planned and hosted several events. Through the Honors Program, she has attended many field trips in Detroit pertaining to her classes. In fact, HFC political science instructor Dr. Anthony Perry has invited her to attend the upcoming Detroit Policy Conference in early 2023. She is also conducting undergraduate research with Honors Program director Dr. Adam Hazlett.

“I’ve also had the chance to become a Success Coordinator for the Honors Program, a student fellowship position that has given me invaluable experience,” said Kondraciuk. “People said I would be a great fit for the position since it involved planning and serving students – things I already did before the fellowship was established. After being accepted, I officially started the fellowship this past summer by preparing for the upcoming semester. I really love what I do for the fellowship; I love getting to lead and serve students, I love planning and hosting events, and I love telling people about the Honors Program.”

She applied for the Success Coordinator fellowship position through the Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan program.

“As Success Coordinator, I do a bit of everything. I primarily plan and host events for the Honors Program. I also write newsletters for students and mentors, work on partnerships and opportunities for students, run the social media for the program, and work to institutionalize student input in the Honors Program,” said Kondraciuk.

Making all student life better at HFC

Hazlett said Kondraciuk is an integral part of the Honors Program. Her work as a Mellon Fellow has been integral to the future of the Honors Program and innovative learning at HFC.

“Alayna’s enthusiasm is electric and contagious,” said Hazlett. “Alayna is my right hand this year in the Honors Program. As a fellow, she is working on integral research and work that will make all student life better at HFC. Her effervescent personality and detailed work ethic are second to none. She has made the Honors Program a better program, and she has made me a better director. Alayna will shine in whatever field that she chooses. She will be a great asset to any college that is lucky enough to snag her.”

Kondraciuk is grateful that Hazlett has offered multiple opportunities for her to expand and exercise her skills.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Dr. Hazlett,” she said. “He is my professor, my Honors Program director, and my counselor all in one. Every time I see him, I have a list of things I want to go over with him – usually fellowship or research-related, and he always has answers for me. Through the Honors Program, he has given me the opportunity to lead and serve students. I couldn't be more grateful to have him as a mentor and leader.”

A springboard for success

Kondraciuk is student representative and a member of the newspaper board that oversees The Mirror News, HFC’s student-run newspaper. She has attended multiple transfer events at different colleges and universities, including Yale and Princeton. She will also participate in a national sculpture competition in Birmingham, AL this spring.

Her parents take great pride in what she has accomplished at HFC.

“Alayna is motivated and successful with a passion for learning. In 4th grade when she didn’t get accepted to the National Elementary Honors Society, she made it her mission to succeed in school from that point forward. That drive has led her to many accomplishments, from prom queen to graduating at the top of her class to now being an outstanding honors student. We are proud of her, and we can’t wait to see what her future holds,” said her dad.

Kondraciuk encourages people, whether they are traditional-age students who just graduated from high school or others who are returning to academics at a later time, to attend HFC.

“I love that HFC gives all students opportunities. The opportunity to explore and find what they're passionate about. The opportunity to make lifelong friends and be part of a community through clubs and programs, such as the Honors Program. The opportunity to prepare yourself for a successful future at HFC. Hands down, the opportunity is my favorite thing about HFC,” she said. “By attending HFC, students are saving money, exploring their interests, and preparing themselves for a bright future. HFC is truly a springboard for success.”