GCC Alum Vanessa Brewster Named First-Ever Young Alum in Action

October 13, 2022

The GCC Foundation is pleased to announce that Vanessa Brewster ‘10 has been selected as the 2022 Young Alumni in Action recipient.

Brewster is the first-ever award recipient at GCC, receiving the award at Greenfield Community College's 60th Anniversary Celebration. Brewster is currently a Spanish teacher at Pioneer Valley Regional High School and got her start in foreign language education at GCC.

Brewster began teaching at Pioneer Valley Regional High School in 2021, but before that she was an honors student, peer tutor, adjunct professor and Spanish lab facilitator at GCC. It's at GCC where Brewster learned how valuable education is.

"I would absolutely not be the person I am today without the invaluable experiences I had as both a student and an adjunct at GCC," Brewster said.

"Special thanks to Charlotte Gifford, Montserrat Archibald, Paul Lindale, Norma Quesada, and Mary Ellen Kelly, who inspired me to pursue a degree from Smith College and a career in the arts and education, and thank you to everyone at GCC who shows up day after day for the students and for our community," she added.

Following Brewster's education at GCC, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Smith College and a Master of Arts in Spanish Teaching Methodology from Middlebury College.

In addition to her scholastic success, Brewster is also an award-winning writer and filmmaker.

Brewster is the winner of the Elizabeth Babcock Poetry Prize, the Elizabeth Drew Fiction Prize, and the Tryon Prize for Writing. Her prose has also been shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Award and she was a finalist for the Barbara Demings memorial award in fiction.

Brewster is also active in the community, contributing to many good causes throughout Franklin County. Considering herself an activist, Brewster has been on the picket line to stand in solidarity and support of those who are struggling around her. She has also previously organized fundraisers, such as one to benefit those who were impacted by devastating Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017. She also participates at the People's Pint free community meal every Thanksgiving, donating her tips to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.