Search form

You are here

Meet QCC’s 29 ‘Who Shine Recipient’ Vanessa Hanger

Contact: Karen Hutner
Office of Institutional Communications
khutner [at]

WORCESTER, MA—May 3, 2019 —The word “shine” is the perfect word to describe Quinsigamond Community College student Vanessa Hanger, so it comes as no surprise that she was recognized today at the State House by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, members of the Legislature and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, as a “29 Who Shine” recipient at the 9th Annual Awards Ceremony. A total of 29 graduates from the Commonwealth’s community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses were honored.

The “29 Who Shine” initiative was developed by the Department of Higher Education in 2011 and is designed to recognize 29 outstanding student graduates from the Commonwealth’s 29 public higher education institutions. Ms. Hanger, who will be graduating in May from QCC with an associate degree in General Studies, plans to attend Boston University in the fall where she will double major in Neuroscience and Philosophy.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award. I want to thank my nominators, as well as the students, faculty, and staff who have contributed to this accomplishment. This award is deeply meaningful to me because it represents the culmination of my hard work and commitment to academic excellence, service, and leadership,” Ms. Hanger said.

Ms. Hanger, a resident of Shrewsbury, has made an indelible impression on the QCC community. She is the greenhouse manager of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society’s Live and Learn Greenhouse, which provides fresh produce that helps in the fight against food insecurity on campus. Ms. Hanger also worked part-time in the QCC Writing Center as a student support tutor, assisting high school students in the Gateway to College program. Additionally, as a member of QCC’s Psychology club, she became the first author of the college’s psychological research group and led fellow students through the various stages of research. Her group’s proposals for presentation at the annual conference of New England Psychological Association were accepted for both years that she served as principal author. A natural born leader, Ms. Hanger was also captain of the QCC Women’s Soccer team.

“Vanessa is one of the shining lights at QCC and an example of the incredible students that make up our college,” said QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja. “Her deep commitment to the betterment of herself and her community speaks volumes about this young woman.”

According to Ms. Hanger, PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman has profoundly impacted her life with her unwavering support. The feeling is mutual.

“It has been my honor to serve as Vanessa’s advisor over the past year and to watch her grow personally and professionally. Our campus community is better for having known her,” PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman said.

“QCC has had a defining impact on my life. Through my participation in PTK, I have been able to learn from my contemporaries while serving the college community through projects such as the Live & Learn Greenhouse. I am grateful for the many opportunities provided by QCC, which have allowed me to grow both personally and professionally,” Ms. Hanger said.

For more information about QCC, contact Josh Martin, Director of Institutional Communications at 508.854.7513 or jmartin [at]

Release Date: 

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.