Dean of the School of Business, Engineering & Technology Shunda Ware and Dean of the School of Mathematics and Science Ben Benton announced the names of 27 individual STEM students whose efforts and achievements are being recognized for Spring 2024 as STEM Students of the Semester. They also were pleased to announce a new STEM Student Teamwork Award!

Dean Benton explained that, “individual STEM students were selected by their course professors, based on demonstrating persistence and achievement in their academic studies." Benton further explained the students selected often overcame obstacles during their studies and assisted other students.

"By sharing the stories of STEM students, we hope to inspire others to consider a STEM program of study,” Benton added.

The Teamwork Award was given to a cohort of nine students who have been working collaboratively in Physics 207 tduring the spring semester. The Teamwork Award was suggested by Associate Professor of Physics My Nguyen.

Nguyen noted that, “this group of students has consistently demonstrated outstanding coordination and synergy in working on demanding lab experiments, operating complex instruments, and tackling difficult discussion problems. They approach challenging tasks with effective communication, mutual respect, and seamless role management. Each student has played a vital role, contributing their skills and perspectives, and integrating individual strengths smoothly into a cohesive team dynamic.”

The STEM Students of the Semester were honored at a luncheon sponsored by QCC’s STEM Starter Academy where they each received a Certificate of Recognition from QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja on April 25.

Students receiving individual recognition and the STEM area they were selected in include:

  • Arthur Allan Duke III   -   Science
  • Benjamin Carpenter   -   Mathematics
  • Brandon Nathaniel Hirst Caron   -   Engineering
  • Cameron Paul Fanelli   -   Engineering
  • Daniel Killian   -   Technology
  • Douglas Roque   -   Engineering
  • Ebenezer Yaw Ahiator   -   Technology
  • Isabel Thies   -   Mathematics
  • Jarrod Harmon   -   Engineering
  • JiJi Fougere   -   Engineering
  • Johnny Thomas Perez   -   Technology
  • Jose Quinones   -   Mathematics
  • Kevin Duong   -   Engineering
  • Kristen Robillard   -   Engineering
  • Larab Ahmed   -   Science
  • Madhawa Wijerathna   -   Science
  • Matthew Levi   -   Technology
  • Nicole E. Frankhauser   -   Science
  • Quynh Doan   -   Science
  • Ramsay Radclyffe Hall   -   Engineering
  • Ryan Herriage   -   Technology
  • Shanay M Patel   -   Technology
  • Sophia Diana Gallati   -   Engineering
  • Stephanie Delgado   -   Science
  • Vijay Kesavan   -   Engineering
  • Virgolino Lopes Cabral   -   Engineering
  • Xiaoyan Li   -   Technology

Students receiving the STEM Teamwork Award (Physics 207 class) are:

  • Aaron Bishop
  • Kyle DiPilato
  • Ramsey Radclyffe Hall
  • Jarrod Harmon
  • Luke Harmon
  • Brandon Nathaniel Hirst Caron
  • Eva Kadriu
  • Tue Lac
  • Alexander Stepanov

We are pleased to share the stories of eight of the above listed students about their journeys on the road to achieving student success this month. More stories will be shared in future editions of the newsletter. Congratulations to all!

Benjamin Carpenter - selected by Mathematics Professor Steve Zona, who wrote, “Ben is a nontraditional student who started in my co-req. class. He always completed his homework early and was helpful to both me and his classmates as we learned the new software.  As a result of his impressive performance in the co-req class, Ben has worked as a tutor in my co-req. class for two semesters. He has an approachable bedside manner and is well liked by the students. Additionally, he tutors in the Math Center and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa.”

Ben shared, “I enrolled in QCC because it was an affordable way to work towards a degree in the field I already work in, Computer Science. I have always been fascinated by science and technology, with my interests in computing going back as far as age five when my dad let me play with a bunch of old desktops he had. I want to go more towards Penetration Testing (basically white-hat or legal hacking) as it is both really fun and helps to protect people and companies’ information and infrastructure. I am a massive nerd so for fun I tend to play videogames, and code programs that seem interesting, as well as mess with any random technology I feel like, including webhosting and other technologies.”

Brandon Nathaniel Hirst Caron - selected by Engineering / Biomedical Engineering Program Coordinator and Professor Dadbeh Bigonahy, who wrote, “Brandon is a hard-working, motivated, polite, intelligent, conscientious, studious, well-disciplined, talented, cooperative, considerate, and thorough student.” 

Brandon wrote, “I am a 100% Disabled Veteran who served as a nuclear reactor mechanic on a submarine. I am academically motivated by the memory of my step-grandparents, Ed and Joy King, who taught at UC Boulder and am supported in all things by my incredible wife Anastasiia.” 

Cameron Fanelli – selected by Engineering / Biomedical Engineering Program Coordinator and Professor Dadbeh Bigonahy, who wrote, “Paul is a motivated, hard-working, considerate, polite, punctual, conscientious, reliable, diligent, intelligent, well-disciplined, reliable, and thoughtful student.”

Cameron shared, “I enrolled in QCC after finishing my psychology degree at UMass Lowell so that I may broaden my horizons and go into the engineering field. I am interested in electrical and aeronautical engineering, as I enjoy working on physical technologies and other systems that can be tangibly assessed. After finishing my classes at QCC, I am interested in continuing my studies at either Worcester Polytechnic Institute or Northeastern University to achieve a master's degree. For fun I like to spend time with my family and friends playing games and trading stories, as well as travelling to new places during my breaks.” 

Ebenezer Yaw Ahiator - selected by Computer Science Professor Kevin Sullivan, who wrote, “This semester, the projects Eben has completed were challenging and required problem solving, as well as critical thinking and analytical skills. For this semester (CST 206) the combination of the research paper, and technical lab exercise, required independent thinking, discipline, and focus to complete. He has demonstrated strong problem solving and critical thinking abilities with the completion of an Honors designation for this course. Last semester (CST 208), Eben performed well and showed an understanding of all course materials and topics relating to IT security.”

Ebenzer wrote, “I am Ebenezer Yaw Ahiator, an international student from Ghana pursuing an Associate Degree in Cyber Security. I am a student tutor for CIS 111 at the Tutoring Center and the Secretary for QCC’s PTK. Despite a lot of challenges of being an international student, I still have the purpose of inspiring a couple of my peers and my two children, so I have a great task of becoming the best that I can be. With hard work, determination, perseverance, consistency and a lot of luck I will get there. 

I enrolled at QCC because I needed a school that can challenge me to be the best I can be and QCC being the best community college in Massachusetts has all it takes to make my dreams come through. Coming to QCC has been a blessing and I look forward to greater times. I want to become a great cybersecurity expert by growing in the field to reach the top because, in this age of technology, the security of data, information, networks and systems are crucial and need to be protected from hackers and intruders. I want to be part of the few who are putting systems, processes, and procedures in place for our safety. In my free time what I do as hobbies and for fun are cooking, graphic designing, reading, and watching movies.

Thanks to Prof. Kevin Sullivan for nominating me and the STEM team for selecting me and all the other faculty and staff who are helping me on this path, to my academic advisor Amanda Fregeau and my mentor Anastasia Garcia of The Hanover Insurance Group.” 

Jiana (“JiJi”) Fougere - selected by Engineering / Biomedical Engineering Program Coordinator and Professor Dadbeh Bigonahy, who shared, “Ji-Ji is a hard-working, motivated, well-disciplined, intelligent, polite, punctual, conscientious, considerate and reliable student.”

JiJi shared, “I started my college career at UMass Lowell in Mechanical Engineering in the Fall of 2022. I did well in most classes there but had problems with the class size and material in Calculus. I chose QCC after weighing what I needed to do to get my Calculus grades up to the level they needed to succeed in engineering at the collegiate level. I’m enjoying the smaller school, the smaller class sizes and have succeeded in getting my grades up while working towards an associate degree in engineering. Personally, all areas of engineering are exciting, but I really enjoy how things work and operate. Mechanical engineering and manufacturing technology are great. Learning how to solve problems through designing and prototyping is fun.

I’d like to finish my associate in engineering at QCC and then either get a job or perhaps transfer to a four-year program at a local university or college that’ll take my credits where I can earn a degree as a mechanical engineer. What I like most for fun is to be involved in my school community. I recently played Women’s Basketball for QCC, and I also worked on the crew for the Spring production of Romeo & Juliet. I like to work out while listening to music and spend time with my family.”

Jose Quinones – selected by Mathematics Professor Donna Dominguez, who wrote, “Despite work and family responsibilities, Jose is a very diligent student, and all assignments are done completely, on time and often achieving 95-100%. The one time he missed our MAT 100 class he emailed me before class and asked for that evening's notes. While Jose has strong math skills, and works hard to master them, he is humble about his abilities and is very patient in working with his classmates who are having difficulties with class material. He is a very caring person. One night after class he approached me about his partner's struggles with that evening's groupwork. Jose was very concerned about the frustration and anxiety his classmate had shared with him and thought that I should know. In conclusion, Jose is a wonderful role model to all in our math class this semester!”

Jose shared, “Balancing the demands of full-time employment, and the responsibilities of having a family while attending college is a formidable challenge many students face today. I got married when I was 19 years old and started building a family. My parents were foster parents and adopted 3 beautiful girls who are my sisters. I felt the responsibility to help less fortunate kids to build structure and stability in their life, creating an opportunity to let them be kids and not worry about the struggles they are facing. As time went by, I felt the need to further my education, so I started attending QCC because I want to bring out the best version of myself and provide a brighter future for my family. And it hasn’t been easy as the weight of these responsibilities often felt overwhelming, as I felt the pressure to excel academically while ensuring the financial stability and well-being of my family. At times I had to make sacrifices and focus just on my studies to achieve academic excellence. I understand the struggles a lot of students experience because I go through them as well, and sometimes it feels like our goals and dreams are unachievable but let me tell you, if you keep positive, work hard and surround yourself with people who support you, their belief in you is what will keep you going through the late nights of studying and the tiring days of work. As a student who, despite having a lot of obstacles, challenges and responsibilities, can excel in academic goals, I encourage students to never give up, if you fall, get up and try again. What keeps me going in pursuing academic excellence is the opportunity to tell a story of possibility. I believe in demonstrating that it is possible to succeed, even in the face of significant challenges. I am not only working towards achieving my own goals, but also inspiring others to believe in their potential.”

Kristen Robillard – selected by Engineering / Biomedical Engineering Program Coordinator and Professor Dadbeh Bigonahy, who wrote, “Kristen is a hard-working, intelligent, motivated, well-disciplined, conscientious, polite, and talented student.”

Kristen shared, "I enrolled at QCC for engineering because I've always been interested in math and science. QCC was the best choice to further my education because it allowed me to still work full-time and continue my education while being close to home. My aspirations are to continue in the engineering field."

Quyhn Doan – selected by Biology Program Coordinator and Professor Jessica Crowley, who wrote, “Quynh is a soon-to-be graduate of Liberal Arts-Biology. She came into the program with an interest in bioinformatics, and has been a dedicated student ever since. I've been lucky to have Quynh in three of my biology classes, and I am proud of her accomplishments. She always seeks to really understand the concepts, not just get it 'right.' Quynh has been doing great in her classes in addition to her work and family commitments.  She will make a great scientist!”

Quyhn shared, “Honestly, I chose QCC because it's affordable, as my relatives told me. I didn't know what I liked or what I wanted to do, so I picked Biology and I hope it will help me get a stable job. After more than two years at QCC, I grew up a lot. I realized it was a wise decision to study here because it is a good base for me to transfer to a university later. English is my second language, so I had many difficulties and thought I couldn't continue but Professor Crowley helps me a lot. She is my advisor, my professor and a patient listener. She talked to us like friends. I was so nervous when I talked to all the professors because I thought they are strict and scary, but Professor Crowley changed my mind. She is always willing to help whenever I ask. I also appreciated all the help from other professors, tutors and classmates. My achievements wouldn't happen without them. In my free time I play my guitar or spend time with my family. I will continue with a minor in bioinformatics and hope that I can find a related job.”

Shanay Patel - selected by Electronics Engineering Program Coordinator and Professor James Heffernan, who wrote, “Shanay is a strong student who enhances every class and lab with his solid grasp of technological concepts and prior experience in manufacturing. He persists in the completion of lab projects and is generous with his time, assisting other students and sharing ideas with them.”

Shanay wrote, “I wasn't sure if college was the path I should take, let alone what field I wanted to major in. QCC allowed me a low-risk choice until I could decide on my path going forward. It also allowed me to dip my toes into multiple fields narrowing down what I might select for career options. No one field of study interests me, but the vast majority of the technology and engineering fields interest me. It was rather difficult choosing one major here at QCC as I like to be a “jack of all trades”. I currently spend my summers racing in a 1983 944 that I have spent the past two years restoring. With my time here at QCC's mechatronics program, understanding the old electrical diagrams and how to modify the circuits to suit my needs has become a breeze.”

Vijay Kesavan - selected by Engineering / Biomedical Engineering Program Coordinator and Professor Dadbeh Bigonahy, who wrote, “Vijay is an excellent, hard-working, polite, motivated, active, considerate, punctual, conscientious, well-disciplined, talented, thoughtful, studious, dedicated and reliable student.”

Vijay shared, “I enrolled at QCC because I wanted an education that was both affordable and would provide me with a strong foundation for future study and work. I am interested in biomedical and mechanical engineering, as I enjoy working at the intersection of a variety of different systems and fields of study. I hope to work as an engineer of medical devices or other medical technology. I would like to eventually start my own business in the future. I like to read, hike and listen to music in my free time.” 

For more information, contact Adrienne Linnell, STEM Initiatives Program Administrator at

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