Guardians rise to the occasion
As we celebrate 50 years of teaching and learning at Quinsigamond Community College, we will identify and honor 50 alumni who have made significant strides in their personal life and in their community as a "guardian protector". This is in keeping with the spirit of the College's mythological mascot, the Wyvern, who was the guardian protector of our sister city, Worcester, England.
Meet the Guardians
Director | Hidden Miracles Parent Network
When her sixth child was born with Down syndrome 20 years ago, Adrienne Walsh had trouble finding information and support for parents.
“It was unexpected for us and it can be hard to process,” Ms. Walsh said of having a child with Down syndrome. “You may have a sense of loss and grief for the child you thought you were having. It is helpful to see children a little older, and further along, to see how they are doing and learn about the therapies available.”
Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
As a way to network with other parents and provide information about Down syndrome, she started a non-profit organization, Hidden Miracles Parent Network about 17 years ago. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, one in every 691 babies in the the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common genetic condition. Approximately 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome and about 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the More...
Award-winning author and diabetes advocate
A diabetes awareness advocate, author of two self-published books about diabetes, wife and mother, Andrea K. Roth enjoys speaking about promoting healthier lifestyles through living with the disease.
“The general public is unaware of the history of diabetes, the devastating effects of the disease pertaining to the world economy and world health. What I share is a shocking learning opportunity of why this particular disease needs to be cured,” she said.
A resident of Sacramento, Calif., she has spoken to school children and the elderly about the health concerns surrounding diabetes. She enjoys sharing her ongoing learning about diabetes research, listening to her audience and sharing updated knowledge with readers of all ages.
Ms. Roth graduated from Quinsigamond Community College in 1984 with an Associate degree in executive secretarial sciences. She went on to attend Worcester State University for a bachelor’s of science, El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., for an Associate in science and a master of arts in business from the University of Phoenix.
She is the author of “My Diabetic Soul — An Autobiography” More...
Andrea Siemaszko credits QCC for helping her choose her path in life, to work for human rights and justice both in her own community and around the world.
She was originally pre-med and was attending college in Florida, but wasn’t sure being a doctor was what she wanted. She returned to Worcester, she had attended high school in nearby Dudley, and decided to attend QCC to gain core credits while deciding what to do. She was then able to transfer to Clark University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Development. She said she was able to explore how working through business and industry can help disadvantaged populations internationally.
While at QCC, she was involved in Phi Theta Kappa, Future Leaders Club and Student Senate, as well as being a student mentor and biology tutor.
“If it wasn’t for QCC, I wouldn’t be where I More...
Mayor of Marlborough
Arthur Vigeant, Mayor of Marlborough, has focused on creating jobs and lowering unemployment. Having an educated and skilled workforce is part of solving these economic issues, he said.
“Quinsigamond Community College comes into it, they identify the skills needed in the workforce and cater programs to meet those needs,” he said.
Mr. Vigeant took courses for about a year at QCC before transferring to the University of Lowell and then finishing his bachelor’s degree at Worcester State University.
“Without question I would recommend it to others, today the programs line you up to transfer to other schools, or people can take courses to gain specific career skills,” he said.
“QCC was perfect for me at the time,” Mr. Vigeant said. “I was working full-time and paying for school. I wanted to continue my education without a More...
Director/Case Manager, Women Economic Empowerment | YWCA of Central Massachusetts
A seasoned secretary, Brenda Safford excelled at her job until rheumatoid arthritis derailed her work life. In some ways, the illness proved to be a blessing in disguise. A counselor who was helping her manage the disease encouraged her to return to school, specifically Quinsigamond Community College.
As a non-traditional student, Brenda felt she’d be out of place, but decided to take a chance. "I was embraced and made to feel welcome," she said, although she still worried about the coursework. "I hadn’t done math since high school." Faculty quickly dispelled her fears and helped cultivate a positive attitude. "They whet my appetite for learning."
She satisfied that hunger by earning an associate degree in human services from QCC in 1998, along with Student of the Year Award.
In 2003, QCC asked her to become its admissions and financial aid More...
Finance Manager at State Street Global Advisors
Carlos Calderon attended North High School while living off of Hooper Street in Worcester, Mass. While working as a mechanic he didn’t graduate with his class, and so decided to take a few classes at Quinsigamond Community College to complete his remaining requirements and receive his diploma.
At QCC, Mr. Calderon’s professors questioned his attitude and dedication, forcing him to realize the potential that existed, and ultimately challenging him to do better. He graduated with associate degrees in liberal arts and business administration with honors. He also got involved on campus joining the student senate and other student organizations.
His professors encouraged him to further his education, and he attended the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Growing up in Worcester it can be easy to lose the ambition of moving ahead, but when I attended UMass, it opened up new horizons, challenges, and options. Although the world felt bigger; it never felt so possible. I was of the first generation in my family to attend college, so I didn’t have business networks or mentors within my family, but I was luckily More...
First Justice | Worcester Juvenile Court
A juvenile court judge for 13 years, Carol Erskine works daily with the youth of Worcester through civil cases, child abuse and neglect cases, and many diversion programs.
“Juvenile court gives us a chance to get involved with kids, and hopefully prevent them from returning to court as adult offenders,” Judge Erskine said. In 2006, she was appointed the first justice of the Worcester Juvenile Court, which means she schedules cases and does other administrative work as well.
The juvenile court hears cases involving delinquency; youthful offenders; child abuse and neglect; and civil cases such as truancy, runaways and children not following their parents’ rules. Worcester County Juvenile Court is the busiest in the state, with five judges hearing 3,000-5,000 cases a year, she said.
Judge Erskine also has been involved in diversion and prevention programs with local schools and hospitals.
About eight years ago, she implemented a program with UMass Medical Center for high-risk teenage drivers. Teen RIDE (Reality Intensive Drivers Education) is a one-day program where court-involved youths and parents see a mock trauma, hear from More...
Assistant City Solicitor | City of Worcester Law Department
As a high school drop-out and a teen father, Cesar Vega, of Leominster, wasn’t sure what his future held. He initially enrolled at Quinsigamond Community College to fulfill requirements he needed to enlist in the military, but was then motivated to finish an associate’s degree in criminal justice.
“It was very encouraging for me to meet professors at Quinsig, like Sandra England, Nancy Donohue-Berthiaume, Dagne Yesihak, Bill McCarthy and Frank Cameron, who were committed to helping me succeed academically. I can’t thank them enough for challenging me to think bigger, and doing more for me than what I expected. Outside the classroom, they helped me apply to bachelor’s degree programs at several area colleges, including Clark University, where I attended after graduating with honors from Quinsig in 2004,” Mr. Vega said.
After graduating from Clark with a More...
Sr. Operations Manager, Biomanufacturing Education & Training Center | WPI
Daniel Mardirosian had been working in the carpentry and building industry for 15 years when he decided it was time for a change.
As a member of Worcester Local 107 Carpenters Union, he worked on many local commercial projects, including the Biotech Park on Plantation Street. He saw an advertisement about a new bio-manufacturing certificate program being offered by QCC, and decided to check it out.
“Biotech seemed like the right fit for a career change. It was new, it took advantage of my desire to be hands-on and most importantly, it provided the satisfaction of producing a product that would benefit others in a significant way. With the education I received at QCC, I have been able to work at numerous Biotech companies and have grown my career substantially,” Mr. Mardirosian said. “Today, in my current position as the senior operations manager for the Biomanufacturing More...
President and CEO | Sisters of Providence Health System
Daniel P. Moen said his success in healthcare administration is a result of an education framework that began at Quinsigamond Community College.
“My clinical background helps me every day,” Mr. Moen said. “Quinsigamond Community College was a launch point for my career today.”
Mr. Moen, president and chief executive officer of the Sisters of Providence Health System, grew up in Quinsigamond Village and graduated from Burncoat Senior High School.
“I didn’t have the resources for a four-year college initially, and QCC offered affordability and quality,” he said. “I was 19 when I started and the professors were absolutely supportive.”
He was able to work in Worcester hospitals as a radiologic technologist before going back to school and choosing an administrative track.
Mr. Moen earned a master’s degree More...
Personal banker | Bank of America
Not only does QCC offer courses for an associate’s degree or for workplace advancement, but the school’s extracurricular activities also can help increase knowledge or boost your resume.
While at QCC, David Chapin, now a personal banker at Bank of America, became involved as a student trustee and student advisor to the Board of Higher Education. He said attending meetings of the state Board of Higher Education gave him a different vantage point and a better understanding of how the budget process works in the state.
“I was able to advocate for the community colleges as a student trustee during a time when budget cuts and other structural changes threatened the community colleges and their mission to serve,” Mr. Chapin said. “During these dialogues, the Student Advisory Council, which I chaired, held meetings visited by then Secretary of Education Paul Reville More...
Social Worker | MA Department of Children and Families
Deborah Vires believes every child deserves a family that will love them and care for them.
She works in a specialty unit at the Department of Children and Families, to recruit and train foster and adoptive families for children in Massachusetts. She also develops and finds resources for adoptive and foster families, making sure the families and children get the support they need.
The Worcester resident has been a social worker for 34 years and counting, using innovative ideas to help children find families that best meet their needs and bond with them. She was part of a team that created “Wednesday’s Child.”
With the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, the program was featured on WBZ TV in the early 1980s, interviewing children who were up for adoption and encouraging viewers to consider adoption.
“We had trouble finding families, and this More...
Superintendent-Director | Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District
As the eldest of seven children, Michael Fitzpatrick was disenchanted with where he was headed after high school.
Although he was employed, his father was concerned he was curtailing his future options by not attending college. He lived in Milford, Mass., and had a few friends attending Quinsigamond Community College, so he decided to as well.
“QCC created a springboard for me,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said. “I found the professors were interested in motivating students and used diverse teaching methods to reach students.” After attending QCC, he went onto Westfield State College for his bachelor’s of education and master’s of education in the supervision and administration of occupational education. He also received a doctorate in education administration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
The Monson resident has now been Superintendent-Director of the Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District for 21 years. At Valley Tech, he established a career curriculum in building maintenance for learning disabled students while seeing other graduates matriculate to QCC, STCC, Culinary Institute of America, Norwich More...
CPA and partner | Bollus Lynch, LLP
Edward Bourgault is admired by many in the business community in Worcester. As president of the North Worcester Business Association, he has worked with the city and many different business owners to support business in the City of the Seven Hills.
A Worcester resident, Mr. Bourgault has 47 years experience as a practicing certified public accountant. He was a partner in the accounting firm Kashuk, Bourgault, Kitteredge & Frustaci, P.C. since 1987. The firm recently merged with Bollus Lynch, LLP, where he is now a partner.
Mr. Bourgault graduated from QCC in 1970 with an associate’s degree and accounting and business administration. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Clark University.
“I am proud to be named a Guardian, I wasn’t a good student in high school but after applying myself at QCC I have accomplished quite a bit in my career,” he More...
Vice President-Principal | Vital Emergency Medical Services
From his childhood home in Great Brook Valley, Eric Dunphy announced his intention to enter nursing school after attending Burncoat High School.
In 1976, Eric began the initial phase of his journey when he graduated in the first male enrolled class from the Registered Nursing program at Hahnemann Hospital. With no experience in the field, he applied for and landed a job as the first Director of Worcester City Hospital Ambulance. There was just one catch – he needed to be a certified emergency medical technician (EMT).
Nineteen seventy-seven found Eric at Quinsigamond Community College, where he earned an EMT certificate and then spent the next four years recruiting EMTs and helping coordinate the area’s first paramedic training program.
Eric joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1989 at the age of 37. While in the service, Eric held a series of healthcare positions, as Director of Marketing for Worcester Himmer Ambulance, then as an admissions coordinator at Oriol Health Care in Holden, and lastly at UMass Medical School/Commonwealth Medicine as the Client Relations Manager for the EOHHS/ Division of Medical Assistance.
In 2006, all of his More...
Care Coordinator Emergency Room | UMass Memorial Medical Center
You could say that nursing defines Florence A. LeClair – who prefers to be called Flo. Since 1972, she has dedicated herself to serving the health care needs of others and credits Quinsigamond Community College for laying the foundation for her career.
A lifelong Worcester resident, she enrolled at the David Hale Fanning School immediately after high school and became a licensed practical nurse in 1972. Flo spent a few years in the workforce, but felt she needed additional training, so she entered QCC, earning her associate degree in 1978. "I had great bedside manner and clinical training, but when I went to QCC, I learned the theory behind what I’d been practicing for the last six years," she said, adding that she also received a BSN from Assumption College in 1988.
For the last 30 years, Flo’s career focused primarily on hospice and palliative care. She began More...
Director of Marketing & Institutional Advancement, Centro Las Americas
Although Geraldo Maldonado had taken a course at QCC when he was a student at Burncoat Senior High School, he was very concerned about going back to school.
“I was afraid of going back to school and QCC transformed my life by allowing me to get over my fears. I didn’t know how easy it would be,” he said. “I then encouraged many others in turn.”
“As a single father of two girls, I encouraged both of my daughters to attend QCC. Kristina, the older one, lives in Vermont and works full-time for FedEx. Aimee, the younger one, just graduated from QCC in May 2014 and is currently attending Nichols College.”
Mr. Maldonado was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. When he was 6 years old, his family moved to Lowell, Mass., searching for jobs and better opportunities. At age 9, his family moved to Worcester. After high school, he joined the Air National Guard, and then started working. When he enrolled at QCC years later, he was in his late 20’s and a parent. “I was working a full-time job, a part-time job, and taking two to three classes per semester,” he said. “I needed the flexibility QCC offered.” More...
Clinical Director of YOU, Inc. Family Center | Southbridge
Gisele Duplessis was 30 and a single mother when she started at Quinsigamond Community College in 1990.
“I always wanted to go to college, but I wasn’t supported by my family,” she said. Her mother has a sixth-grade education and her father has a second-grade education and she said they were more focused on her getting a job. “It took energy and perseverance, and I found support at QCC.”
Ms. Duplessis explained she views herself as an immigrant although she is a naturalized citizen of the U.S. She grew up in Worcester, from age 3 to 15, but then returned to Canada and finished high school there. She returned to the area at 26.
“I came to QCC with a high school diploma from another country, and I was placed in classes to meet me where I was at the time,” Ms. Duplessis said. “I was a non-traditional student, the community support I More...
Youth Librarian| Worcester Public Library
In 1981 when Iris Cotto enrolled at Quinsigamond Community College, she had no idea what she wanted to study. The coincidental creation of an applied arts program at the time of her enrollment set her on a clear course, leading to professional advancement and personal fulfillment.
At the age of five, she and her siblings moved from her native Puerto Rico to the United States and six years later settled in Worcester, where she has lived ever since. From the time she was a young girl, she worked a variety of jobs and at 18 landed at the library. A library administrator took Cotto under her wings and urged her to pursue a degree. With support from the library, her husband, two children and extended family, she reluctantly tested the academic waters. "Quinsigamond is where it all began for me," she said. "When I went into the classroom, my eyes opened up and I realized that I could do More...
Massachusetts State Representative | D-Worcester
Born and raised in Worcester, James O’Day was a social worker before running for office in a special election to fill the 14th district seat.
“In my former career as a social worker for over 24 years, I came to understand the various pitfalls and challenges working families and individuals face across Massachusetts,” Rep. O’Day said. “It was that rewarding work in my career as a social worker that provided the motivation to put my neck out there and run for state representative, in the hopes that I could actually make a difference.”
As an active union member in the local 509, Rep. O’Day served as Regional Vice President of 509, Department of Social Services. He still serves on the Central Massachusetts Labor Council, continuing to advocate for working families and worker’s rights as a Council member and as a state representative.
Rep. O’Day’s father and grandfather were both Worcester police officers and he was the first in his family to attend college. He attended Quinsigamond Community College for three semesters before transferring to Worcester State, where he completed his bachelor’s More...
Founder | Growth Through Learning Organization
Providing accessible education is a cause close to Jeanne Lynch’s heart. She and her late husband, Roger, established an educational scholarship program for girls in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
Mrs. Lynch enrolled in the nursing program at Quinsigamond Community College in 1973. Her youngest child was in first grade and she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse specializing in Hospice care.
“Quinsigamond Community College is the perfect school for adults to attend,” she said. It is flexible, affordable, and has a highly qualified teaching staff.”
She was a member of the first team of staff nurses in the Palliative Care Unit at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester in the late 1970s.
She has been an advocate for education all of her life with an emphasis on young women’s need to be educated. In 1996, she and her late husband, Roger Whiting, traveled to Africa on safari. They were both surprised to learn that very few young women in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were able to attend high school. In fact, they were working hard in the safari lodges to send money home so that their brother’s More...
Marketing Consultant | Worcester
When Jo-Serena Rodriguez started at QCC, she wasn’t even sure she would finish. Now she credits her success as a marketing consultant to the academic foundation built at Quinsigamond.
“Soon after my first marketing course, I became active and engaged on campus and day-by-day built my self-confidence,” she said. In 2005, Ms. Rodriguez graduated from Quinsigamond Community College with a degree in the Business Transfer program, which led to her attaining a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Worcester State University in 2007. She is the first in her family to receive a college degree and has paved the path for her siblings to follow.
She started her career at the YWCA Central Massachusetts as the Marketing and Resource Development Associate soon after graduating college. Shortly after arriving at the YWCA, Ms. Rodriguez More...
Massachusetts State Representative
Rep. John J. Binienda, D-Worcester, taught public school in Leicester for 18 years before becoming a state representative for the 17th Worcester District. The Dean of the Worcester Delegation, Rep. Binienda was chairman of the House Committee on Rules, which oversees the movement of hundreds of bills over the course of the biennial legislative session.
Before his death in late August, he received the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for his 28 years of service to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Rep. Binienda also received an honorary doctorate in Public Administration from his alma mater Worcester State University.
He attended Quinsigamond Community College before attending Worcester State. As one of eight children, he was paying for college himself and working two jobs at the time.
“He was fond of the school,” said his son Jamie Binienda. “He said the college offered many opportunities for adults and traditional-age college students.”
Mr. Binienda said his father was always advocating on behalf of teachers and funding for schools.
Among his accomplishments in his 28-year tenure, Rep. More...
President | Creedon and Co.
As one of eight children, John Creedon learned the value of hard work at an early age. When he was 12 years old he got a job at the Shrewsbury Pizzaria washing dishes. He worked there for the next 18 years, paying his way through St. John’s High School and Quinsigamond Community College.
“I was proud to graduate from QCC’s business program, earning my Associate degree in three semesters. Completing the degree a semester early while also working full-time gave me confidence in my own ability to accomplish goals,” Mr. Creedon said.
In 1985, he started a breakfast and lunch diner in Quinsigamond Village, Creedon and Co. In the early days, he started catering small events outside of the diner’s breakfast and lunch hours. Within three years, the catering side of the business had outgrown the diner business and so Creedon and Co. moved to a building on Millbury More...
Former Mayor/City Councilor in Worcester, currently works for U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Worcester
Joseph O’Brien serves his community daily, not only as a former elected official but as a paramedic for almost 20 years.
After graduating from Fordham University in 1991, with a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies, Mr. O’Brien attended the paramedic program at Quinsigamond. He had become an EMT in 1990, and in 1996 he finished his paramedic certification, which consisted of coursework and fieldwork, including 500 hours of clinical practice.
He said he started the program and then he had to take some time off before completing it. The flexibility of the QCC program allowed him to be able to do that. “The paramedic program is the best in the state,” he said.
Through his career, he has met and worked with many other first responders who have attended QCC. Mr. O’Brien has been a paramedic for 18 years. For the last 13 years, he worked in the Blackstone Valley area, including Grafton, Millbury and Sutton.
“Quinsigamond as an institution plays a critical role, not just in the city, but in the region,” he said. “The school offers training and education for people serving the community in many More...
President & CEO Centro Las Americas | Worcester
Although he is now a CEO of a large non-profit and former Worcester city councilor, at one time Juan A. Gomez wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after graduation.
When he graduated from high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and went to boot camp. Upon his return, he took a few college courses, but he wasn’t focused or doing well.
While working full-time and serving in the Marine Reserves, he decided it was time to get a college education, so he took some courses at Quinsigamond Community College.
“The flexibility of the schedule allowed me to be able to do it, but the quality of the professors and their support enabled me to continue my education,” Mr. Gomez said.
Mr. Gomez is president and CEO of Centro Las Americas, Worcester County's largest minority multi-service nonprofit in central Massachusetts. He took over the position in March 2007 after serving in a number of roles on the Board of Directors.
Among some of the most popular programs and services offered at Centro are the emergency food pantry, the Latino Elder Program, and the annual Latin American Festival.
Mr. Gomez has an Associate More...
Owner of Millbury Rubbish Removal, and CEO and President of DirtyGirl Disposal, Inc.
Katherine Fairbanks has used her education and experience to empower other women, as well as run a successful business.
Ms. Fairbanks attended QCC three separate times for different reasons. Initially, she earned her associate’s degree in business, becoming the first in her family to attend college. She attended after high school, graduating in 1982.
After getting married and having children, she returned to QCC for the Early Childhood Education program, and transferred to Worcester State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1989.
As a stay-at-home mother with two children, she said she was able to start back at QCC because of the flexible schedules and affordable tuition.
However, she had always wanted to be a nurse. Because of the competitive nursing program, she had applied to the program several times before being accepted, but was able to complete some pre-requisite courses during that time.
“Nursing was an extremely difficult curriculum. One faculty member stands out as being an outstanding educator. Ellen Vangel-Brousseau was a nursing instructor set apart from all the others. She cared that a More...
Consultant, Together for Kids Project
Linda Granville used her associate’s degree in early education from QCC to carve out an impressive career in early childhood education, providing programs not only at the YWCA of Central Massachusetts, but throughout Worcester’s schools.
“I was able to learn so much working with people at the top of their field,” Ms. Granville said of her time at QCC. When she attended QCC she was a parent, working full-time in the childcare field while taking classes at night. At the YWCA, she worked with her staff to help them complete their bachelor’s degrees.
“Quinsigamond has been instrumental in providing the groundwork for some of our staff who start with a high school education and may need remedial work in math or language arts,” Ms. Granville said. “Some people are natural with children, and we want to help educate them on why certain methods are important to a child’s development.”
After 23 years at the YWCA, serving as Director of Children’s Services since 1997, Ms. Granville recently retired. While at the YWCA, she oversaw children’s services at five locations in central Massachusetts, More...
Refugee Assistance Program Director | New York City
Magnolia Turbidy works around the globe to help refugees find new homes. She has worked in Jordan, Kenya, South Africa and Sudan, as well as doing internships in India and Burma, to advocate for displaced people.
“QCC has transformed my life, kabisa! (completely in Swahili) If it wasn't for QCC to help me realize that I loved academia, and give me the ability to take classes to get up to college-level courses, I definitely would not be at the level of my career that I am today nor would I love what I do for work,” she said. “Because of my time at QCC, I am now able to help some of the most vulnerable people in the world, refugees. I have worked in various capacities with refugees since 2006, but for the majority of those positions, I have been directly responsible for interviewing and advocating for refugees in need of resettlement.”
Based in New York City, Ms. Turbidy was recently on location in Jordan. She works on behalf of refugees for HIAS, as a Program Manager for International Operations. HIAS works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, More...
Founder and Owner of the Women’s Image Center
Mary Aframe took an idea about providing wigs and breast prosthesis for cancer patients and turned it into a business that gives women support and bolsters their self-confidence during a difficult time in their lives.
Mrs. Aframe was a dental hygienist for 22 years. She earned her associate’s degree in science as part of the dental hygienist program from Quinsigamond in 1981.
“When I first started my business, I worked as a dental hygienist evenings and weekends,” she said. “I still have my license.”
When her daughters were young, they went to a school in Fitchburg. Driving them to school one day, Mrs. Aframe noticed a new cancer center was being built and it gave her the idea to start a business to offer wigs and prosthesis to cancer patients.
Her two older sisters were involved in women’s hair replacement in Boston, so she knew about wigs, and her training as a hygienist had given her some knowledge about orthotics. “My oldest sister, Pat, trained me in how to care for wigs, washing them and cutting them, and then I became certified in prosthetics, orthotics and compression garments,” she said. More...
Outreach Coordinator for Diversity Programs | Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Mike Harper admits he wasn’t a great student in high school and even his first semester at Quinsigamond Community College he did poorly. But then in 2008, he was inspired by Barack Obama’s run for president and decided he needed to turn things around and invest in himself.
“I decided I needed to take myself seriously and shift gears,” he said. He joined the Student Senate and was elected president two years in a row. “QCC gives you the opportunity to grow and explore different areas and disciplines.”
Mr. Harper received an Associate degree in liberal arts from QCC and then transferred to Clark University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international relations.
He now works at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as Outreach Coordinator for Diversity Programs. He is responsible for the development More...
Senator | D-Millbury, representing the Second Worcester District
Growing up, civic duty was instilled in Senator Michael Moore by his parents who ensured that when he turned 18, he took care of two responsibilities: one required by the federal government – register for the draft – and the other required by his parents – register to vote. It’s no surprise that belief in civic duty led him to the Senate, where he is taking care of another responsibility: boosting financial assistance to community colleges, including Quinsigamond Community College.
Prior to the start of his political career, Michael worked for the Massachusetts Environmental Police. He wanted to add more credibility to his résumé and began taking courses nights and weekends at QCC, earning his associate degree in criminal justice in 1988. He began a slow transition into politics when he became a member of the Massachusetts Police Association executive board and interacted with legislators.
Back in his hometown of Millbury, a committee approached Michael and suggested he run for selectman, a campaign he won easily. In 2008, the current state senator was retiring and Michael was considered the ideal replacement.
RN | Harrington Hospital
Nafisa Kabani overcame difficult circumstances to achieve her nursing career, but hopes her story can serve as an inspiration to others.
Ms. Kabani came to the United States from Pakistan at age 18, in an arranged marriage. For the first few years in the U.S., she stayed at home raising her three children. She spoke no English and had no formal education and soon came to realize her husband was controlling and abusive.
She was a nurses’ assistant at Harrington Hospital and her supervisors encouraged her to go to school for nursing. At age 26, she went to Quinsigamond Community College to talk about her options.
“It was scary for me at the time, with a new culture and language, but they didn’t make you feel like a stranger, I made a lot of good memories and good friends,” she said. She took about a year to complete her core courses and then applied for the More...
Sergeant | U.S. Marine Reserves
When Olivia Cross returned home from a tour of duty in Iraq in 2009, she knew she wanted to go back to school. She had attended Quinsigamond for a year before being deployed as a radio operator in the Marines.
She returned in 2010 to complete her degree and transferred to Worcester State, where she graduated in May with her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
“When I came home QCC offered me the opportunity to work with professionals in the field of criminal justice,” she said. “It was a great experience. “
Ms. Cross works full-time as a waitress and bartender while continuing to serve as a Sergeant at 6th Communications Battalion, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Force Reserves. She plans coordinates and supervises installation, operation, maintenance and management of radio transmitter systems and networks. She also provides advice and technical assistance to subordinates and commanders.
Ms. Cross is a single mother to her 4-year-old son, Theodore. She plans to work in the criminal justice field in civil service, in a local, state or national level.
“Everyone at QCC was very helpful and it gave me a More...
Retired Obstetrician and Fertility Specialist
Richard Auclair, MD, built on his start at QCC to become a pioneer in the field of fertility, helping couples conceive through medical advances in the field.
He grew up in Shrewsbury was in the Air Force for four years before attending Quinsigamond Community College. He enjoyed attending the college as an older student, and became friends with many of his professors, according to his wife.
He was already interested in medicine and, along with working in his father’s construction business; he was working in a research lab as an assistant. After graduating from QCC in 1961, he attended Clark University and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
While building his private practice, Dr. Auclair spent at least one day a week volunteering giving free gynecological and breast exams at the Delray Clinic and Planned Parenthood. He educated patients to help them understand the links between sexual encounters, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies. Since retiring in 2000, he volunteered weekly treating gynecological patients at the Caridad Center for 14 years.
He was chairman of the OB/GYN Department at Bethesda Memorial More...
Robert Johnson, who founded his own pharmaceutical consulting company in 2010, credits Quinsigamond Community College with changing his path in life, helping him realize the importance of an education.
Mr. Johnson graduated from Burncoat Senior High School 1979 and then attended QCC from 1979-1981, before transferring to the University of Lowell. He transferred credits from Lowell to finish the program, earning his Associate degree in 1984, and going on to earn a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Chemistry.
“I just barely got through high school, but Quinsigamond gave me the opportunity to change that path. I got straight A’s in the engineering program. I saw I could succeed if I put forth the effort, I was ready to move on and work on a more constructive path,” he said.
Mr. Johnson grew up in Quinsigamond Village and was married at 20. By the time he More...
Owner | Power Guide Marketing, Inc. & Apogee Power Sources, Inc.
In the fall of 1967, Ron Josephson was interested in learning more about electronics and turned to a local, reputable source: Quinsigamond Community College. Little did he know that this decision would present some amazing career opportunities.
Under the tutelage of Professor Bob Gillies, head of the electronics department, Ron flourished and earned his associate degree in social science and electronic engineering.
After graduation, he landed a technician position at Raytheon Company and soon earned a promotion to engineer. During his nine years at Raytheon, Ron contributed designs to several important projects, including the Patriot Missile, the Aegis Combat System and Hawk Weapons System. His fingerprint can also be found on technology used in an Apollo space mission. "I give Bob Gillies credit for providing me with the foundation I needed to get into a company like Raytheon, More...
Second Lt., Army National Guard, counselor at Melmark New England
Although Rob Vega graduated from Doherty High School, at the time he didn’t excel as a student.
“I was discouraged by a guidance counselor from considering college, so the end of my senior year came and I felt like I had no choices,” he said. His family had moved to the city of Worcester from Peru when he was 7. Growing up in the inner city as an immigrant wasn’t easy, he said.
He joined the Navy, and when his four years were completed he knew he wanted to go back to school.
His brother, Cesar Vega (one of our 50 Guardians), encouraged him to apply to QCC, so he took a placement test. “I felt from the beginning that QCC welcomed me, even starting from scratch,” he said.
An A- in an Intro to Philosophy class encouraged him. “It was the first A I’d seen and I had really worked for it,” he said. “It helped and encouraged me to keep going and take more classes.”
He took a couple classes and then as he completed those he signed up for more. He became involved in Student Senate and different student activities as he pursued a criminal justice track.
“QCC is where it More...
President and Owner of Forward Motion Rehabilitation, Adjunct Professor at American International College
Said Nafai originally attended Quinsigamond Community College to improve his English skills, but ended up finding a career that he is now using to help others.
When he moved here from Morocco, he could not speak English. “I appreciate Quinsigamond, it gave me the opportunity to learn English and start my career path,” he said. Mr. Nafai attended QCC in the fall of 2000, earning a certificate in English as a Second Language. One day a brochure about the occupational therapy assistant program at QCC came in the mail, he thought it sounded like a good fit for him. At that time, Brenda Marshall, who was the head of the program, encouraged him and served as a mentor. “I am very grateful she believed in me. I would not be what I am today without QCC,” he said.
“The campus was a very friendly environment,” Mr. Nafai said. “I was working full-time while attending school and the flexible schedule was helpful. I also used the tutoring program for ESL and math.”
He then went onto earn his associate’s degree from Quinsigamond Community College in Occupational Therapy Assistant, graduating in 2005, where he earned More...
Program Officer | Global Health, Discovery & Translational Sciences at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
For Sandra Laney, the operative word is opportunity. This Spencer native had no idea what she’d study when she tested the collegiate waters, taking a couple of classes at a time. She opted to concentrate in visual arts and fulfilled all her graduation requirements, except for science, a subject she feared due to an unpleasant high school experience. Fortunately, QCC offered a science class for non-majors, which became an important turning point for her.
The self-paced class included a weekly exam and group discussion or lab with unlimited access to the professors, Robert Prior and Melvin Shemluck. "I discovered that science is all about asking questions. Once I started taking it, I was so jazzed."
Dr. Shemluck opened her eyes to opportunities well beyond the walls of QCC when he informed her of the Ada Comstock Scholars Program at Smith College. At Smith, Sandra majored in biology, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree. Opportunity came in the form of a research associate position in Steve Williams’ laboratory at Smith, where she was also able to take courses and earned her master’s degree in 2002. Smith’s More...
Teacher at Burncoat High School | Adjunct Professor at QCC
If you had told Scoot Boosahda when he was attending Quinsigamond that he would be teaching there one day, he wouldn’t have believed it.
“QCC is a tremendous place, it really is unique that it is so friendly, it helps students excel and grow to prepare them for the next level of schooling or their career,” he said. “Being named a Guardian has brought back memories for me as a student and how I was unsure what I wanted to do.”
After graduating from Quinsigamond Community College with an associate’s degree in liberal arts in 1981, he attended Worcester State University and Cambridge College, earning bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education, respectively.
He initially worked in sales but started teaching in 1994 at the middle school level. He taught Social Studies at Sullivan Middle School until 1999, when he started teaching at Burncoat High School, where he has taught history, social science, psychology and human geography.
In addition to teaching at Burncoat, he is involved in various after-school clubs and activities. As a football and basketball game official, he has More...
Government Relations and Public Service Specialist | Rave Mobile Safety
Sean Lauziere originally planned on attending college after graduating from high school, but fate threw a few curveballs his way before he was able to follow his dream of becoming involved in government and education.
When he was 17, his 16-year-old sister became pregnant. As a child of a single mother, he knew the challenges of raising a child alone, so he helped raise his niece, putting his own education and dreams on hold.
After his niece began kindergarten, Sean started at QCC in the fall of 2009 at age 26. “QCC gave me the opportunity to realize a dream I thought had passed me by,” he said.
He thrived at QCC, receiving the “You’re A Star Award,” and made the college’s Dean’s List each semester. Graduating with high honors in 2011, Sean realized his dream of becoming the first member of his family to earn a college degree. However, it was only the beginning of his journey, as his academic achievement drew the attention of Northeastern University, which offered Mr. Lauziere a full scholarship to join the university’s political science program.
He said his professors at Quinsigamond were More...
LMHC, Clinical Supervisor, Crossroads Agency, Worcester
When Serena Neslusan attended QCC as a young mother, she said some people were skeptical whether she would be able to complete her degree.
“Maybe it was some of those skeptics that initially gave me the motivation to seek an education, but part of me wanted to prove people that I could,” Ms. Neslusan said. “QCC was the perfect college for me as a young mother as I was able to go part time, it was close by, and my son was able to attend pre-school right on the QCC campus.”
One of her professors encouraged her to pursue a bachelor’s degree, so she applied to Worcester State, now Worcester University through the QCC consortium. After completing her associate’s degree in Liberal Arts in 2003, she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She then attended Assumption College for a master’s in Counseling Psychology, concentrating in cognitive behavioral therapy. She completed her graduate internship at Spectrum Health Systems, in Worcester.
A few years after graduate school, Ms. Neslusan obtained a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Clinician) in the state of Massachusetts. She worked at Adcare Outpatient in Worcester More...
Worcester Police Department
In a strange turn of events, Miguel Lopez’ decision not to go to college eventually led him to the Quinsigamond Community College campus. After a stint in the National Guard and some odd jobs, he took advantage of the GI Bill, a choice he calls "a lifesaver."
A 1988 South High graduate, Miguel enrolled in QCC’s criminal justice program in 1990, looking toward a career in law. "I immediately blossomed as a person," he said. "The professors brought out the best in me, and I excelled right away."
In 1992, he earned his associate degree from QCC and applied to UMass Lowell, nervous that he was making a mistake. "But I hit the ground running. Quinsigamond prepared me for the lateral transition," he said.
By the time he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UMass Lowell, he accumulated significant student debt, so More...
Business & Office Technology Teacher | Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School
Even though he graduated from Bay Path Vocational Technical High School eighth in his class, Shawn Sanders didn’t consider attending college until his senior year. Intimidated by the thought of entering a four-year program, he opted for Quinsigamond Community College.
Shawn began his QCC experience as an accounting major, then switched to a Business Transfer degree program with a concentration in accounting, management and marketing. During his last four semesters, he earned a 4.0 GPA and was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa; he also started a small business club for students, a significant feat for someone so shy. Armed with his associate degree, he enrolled at Nichols College and earned a BA in Business, majoring in both accounting and finance.
His entry into the working world did not proceed as smoothly. He realized after only eight months at a local CPA firm that he preferred working with computers. For the next ten years, Shawn worked in Washington, DC, working his way from a technical support representative at various companies to a computer trainer at an international law firm. In the process, he developed a penchant for teaching. Coincidentally, his high More...
Chief | Auburn Fire Rescue Department | Adjunct Professor at Quinsigamond Community College
A firefighter for almost 25 years, Stephen Coleman Jr., Chief of the Auburn Fire Rescue Department, started at QCC in 1991, working on his Associate degree in fire science for 10 years.
“I worked full-time while I was at QCC, so the flexibility was huge for me, being able to take a class at a time. The other thing I liked was the fire science instructors were local, I would see them around at fires and the state fire academy,” Mr. Coleman said. “My mentor back then was a deputy in Leominster who was also an instructor at the fire academy. Twenty-three years later I now work with him teaching there as well. I share that story with my students at QCC, to let them know I started here too, and can hopefully serve as their mentor.”
He went onto complete his bachelor’s degree from Anna Maria College and his master’s degree in public administration from Clark University.
He is active in his profession, writing articles and speaking nationally and locally about various fire service topics including public relations. He has volunteered with Little League and formerly served as an elected official in Charlton for 10 years.
Registered Occupational Therapist | Worcester Public Schools
Tammy Murray graduated from South High School with few financial resources and the understanding that a college degree could open doors. When her guidance counselor discovered that Quinsigamond Community College offered an occupational therapy program at an affordable price, Tammy’s path was clear.
"For the first time, I loved school and became really excited about learning," she said. Tammy added that the late Nancy Ohan set the stage for her success at QCC. "Nancy’s kind nature helped build my confidence as a young college student. She provided me with an exceptional introduction to the field of occupational therapy. When I received my degree from QCC in 1992, not only was I the first person in my family to earn a college degree, but more important, I had found a career pathway."
After graduation, Tammy worked at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode More...
Professor | James Madison University
Uchenna Onuzulike, who recently received a Ph.D. from the Department of Communication, Culture, and Media Studies at Howard University, credits Quinsigamond Community College for helping him find his passion.
“QCC transformed my life in many ways,” Dr. Onuzulike said. “Previously I had attended a four-year college, but I had to drop out, because of many reasons, one of which was my struggling with math courses.”
He said he took a summer math course at QCC, sought support at the math lab, and was able to overcome his struggles with the subject.
“My teachers at QCC were passionate and they helped me find my passion and the path to achieve it,” Mr. Onuzulike said.
He also recently served as a Doctoral Fellow in the School of Media Arts & Design at James Madison University, where he taught Mediated Communication: Issues & Skills. His More...
Retired Nurse and Nurse Educator | Worcester
Ursula Shea graduated with the first nursing class from QCC in 1968. She worked at Hammond Hospital, St. Vincent’s and UMass Medical throughout her nursing career.
“The nursing program is wonderful at QCC,” she said. “I loved teaching and working with up-and-coming nurses.”
She earned her associate’s degree from QCC, along with her nursing certification. She went to QCC when the youngest of her four children started school.
A Worcester resident, Mrs. Shea started her career at St. Vincent’s Hospital as a staff nurse. During her nursing career, she went to Worcester State for her bachelor’s degree, Anna Maria College for master’s degree in nursing administration and University of Massachusetts/Amherst for her doctorate in education, policy research and administration in nursing.
She taught a clinical rotation at QCC, as More...
Executive Director | Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association
Wayne Sampson was working part-time as a police officer in the Shrewsbury Police Department when he attended Quinsigamond Community College for the criminal justice program.
“I attended QCC because the criminal justice program was one of the most respected in the area,” Mr. Sampson said. “There are good instructors; local people who can relate to the local challenges for law enforcement.”
Mr. Sampson went on to become the Chief of the Shrewsbury Police Department, a position he held for nine years before retiring in 2007. Throughout his 34-year career as a police officer, he continued his studies by earning a master’s degree at Anna Maria and his law degree from Southern New England School of Law. He also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
He now serves as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. The organization More...
50 Years at QCC
QCC was established in 1963 to provide access to quality, higher education to residents of Central Massachusetts, providing thousands of men and women opportunities for:
- A first-rate education
- Personal growth
- Immediate entry into the workforce
- Transfer to bachelor level programs in four-year colleges and universities
- Personal and cultural enrichment
To learn more visit our 50th Anniversary page.