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July, 2020

  • QCC students and alumni take care of our communites each and every day.
July, 2020

As COVID-19 became a household word and people in the region scrambled to remain safe, Quinsigamond Community College students and alumni were out on the frontlines taking care of others and keeping our communities’ essential businesses running. These are the unsung heroes who have quietly held a hand, given medical treatment, offered a kind word, and been there when our communities have needed them most.

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As COVID-19 became a household word and people in the region scrambled to remain safe, Quinsigamond Community College students and alumni were out on the frontlines taking care of others and keeping our communities’ essential businesses running. These are the unsung heroes who have quietly held a hand, given medical treatment, offered a kind word, and been there when our communities have needed them most.

Dale Bickford, of Boylston, is a QCC student and an EMT. He knows what it’s like to be in the forefront of the pandemic and the fear of going to work each day. He said he does his job even in the midst of a pandemic because he loves helping people.

“Some days we deal with only COVID-19 patients and then there are days when there aren't any patients who are positive for COVID- 19. Since patients are not allowed visitors in hospitals, sometimes my partner and I are the only outside people that elderly individuals get to see and have contact with. So if I can bring a smile to their faces while helping them, then it makes me happy,” he said. “I like being able to make a difference in someone's life.”

Emeritus Professor Karen Kaletski Dufault, of QCC’s Respiratory Care program, and her students know first-hand what it’s like to selflessly help your community. She quickly recognized there was a shortage of respiratory therapists in the region and jumped into action. She petitioned and received approval from the Respiratory Care accrediting agency to allow QCC’s respiratory therapy students to work on a student license, while earning credit simultaneously. This allowed nine second-year students to work at local hospitals, while finishing their degrees.

“Obviously, there is a sense of uncertainty every time students walk into a clinical setting. Although many have told me that they are concerned that they may get COVID-19, their sense of duty, caring, professionalism and desire to help, far outweighs their fear,” Ms. Kaletski Dufault said.

Not only are QCC students helping care directly for COVID-19 patients, they are also making sure those in the community continue to receive vital life necessities.

Pre-Pharmacy student Daniesha Bailey, of Worcester, is a lead pharmacy technician for CVS. During the start of the pandemic, she continued working at the pharmacy, even though it posed an added risk to her and her family.

“It was scary thinking I could possibly bring COVID-19 home to my son and other family members, yet it was also rewarding to be there to help people during this scary time,” she said. “I have elderly grandparents, so being able to help the elderly population during this pandemic has been the most rewarding because they are at a higher risk.”

Nurse education major Monique Skipwith, of Sutton, is a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and had been working as a school nurse until the schools closed because of the virus. She quickly realized her skillset was needed and went to work at a long-term care facility in Worcester, helping some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“This was when COVID-19 cases began to rapidly increase. It was challenging because not only was I learning a new job with new nursing skills, but also I found myself in the midst of a pandemic. Every shift I would leave my children to go to work and I would say a prayer,” she said. “I have always wanted to become a nurse. I understood that regardless of a pandemic, I would be putting myself in potentially hazardous situations, yet I knew that I could not sit back and let this virus take over. I had to do my duty as an LPN and help as much as I could.”

Mobile Device Support Specialist and QCC alumnus Darius Corcoran, of Shrewsbury, works in the Millis K-12 school district. In April, he began working from home to help the school district complete the year remotely, something that was imperative in order to keep the students on track and able to finish out the school year.

“I was helping both students and teachers remotely by scheduling Google Meet or Zoom video meetings to assist with any troubleshooting that came up. I also made a lot of technical instructional videos,” he said.

In June, Mr. Corcoran went back to working in person. There are new protocols now in place, that include wearing masks, daily temperature checks prior to entering the building, as well as keeping a log of everyone he comes in contact with at the high school where he works.

“If technology did not work and with no one around to address it that would cause huge stress, especially if all the planning was being done on the fly,” he continued.  

South Grafton resident and nurse education major Christine Reid has also been working throughout the pandemic, as unit secretary in the maternity ward at Milford Regional Medical Center.

“Working in a hospital during the pandemic was surreal.  I felt that I was ‘safe’ on the maternity ward because I wasn’t in the COVID/ICU units.  I quickly realized that we were just as vulnerable, as I had checked in patients, walked them to their rooms, only to find out hours later that they had tested positive for COVID,” she said, adding, “I didn’t get into nursing or the hospital field thinking that I would be safe and healthy.  It’s just what I do, and if I don’t or won’t do it, who will?”

According to QCC’s President, Dr. Luis Pedraja, community college graduates are known to stay in the area (over 7,000 QCC alumni live in Worcester) and are heavily relied on during times of crisis, making them vital to the prosperity of our communities, particularly in today’s pandemic world.

“There was never a moment’s hesitation from our students and alumni to help our communities,” President Luis Pedraja said.” This crisis, unlike any other, has shown how essential our students, alumni, faculty, and staff are to our community.”

  • QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja is a vocal advocate for all students.
July, 2020

The decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reverse its July decision that would have forced international students to leave the U.S., or transfer to another college or university if their school offered classes entirely online this fall, was greeted positively by QCC’s President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

“I’m glad to see that the Administration did the right...

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The decision by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reverse its July decision that would have forced international students to leave the U.S., or transfer to another college or university if their school offered classes entirely online this fall, was greeted positively by QCC’s President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

“I’m glad to see that the Administration did the right thing in allowing foreign students to take online classes and remain in the country. We welcome all international students to take the opportunity to learn and earn a degree. Our students, faculty, staff and community will all be able to benefit from the opportunities to exchange ideas and cultural experiences,” Dr. Pedraja said. “I’m proud of my fellow Presidents at our sister institutions for banding together and partnering with the Attorney General to influence the Administration. This will ensure that foreign students will not have to choose between their health and an education, so they too can have the opportunity to pursue their ‘American Dream.’”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey led a multistate lawsuit against the recent ICE ruling that included 40 declarations from a variety of institutions directly affected by the new guideline, including Massachusetts Community Colleges and Massachusetts State Universities.

Shortly after ICE announced its new guidelines Dr. Pedraja swiftly released a strong statement denouncing them as a “direct violation of our students’ human rights.”

QCC is continuing with remote instruction this fall and had the ruling not been reversed, over 40 QCC international students would have been affected.

“No one should have to choose between pursuing an education or deportation. Forcing students to choose between education and their health is unfathomable,” he said.

  • QCC & Phi Theta Kappa New Graduate David P. Lauzon Jr.
July, 2020

QCC & PHi Theta Kappa Alumnus David P. Lauzon Jr- Recovery Support Specialist

Often true heroes are the people who quietly work behind the scenes helping others. They do this without fanfare and without accolades. The pandemic has brought a spotlight on these people in our community, many of whom are QCC students and alumni. Each month the Wyvern Guardian will be spotlighting one of these...

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QCC & PHi Theta Kappa Alumnus David P. Lauzon Jr- Recovery Support Specialist

Often true heroes are the people who quietly work behind the scenes helping others. They do this without fanfare and without accolades. The pandemic has brought a spotlight on these people in our community, many of whom are QCC students and alumni. Each month the Wyvern Guardian will be spotlighting one of these remarkable people who chose QCC to assist them on their quest for a better future, and in the process, help us all have a better life.

David P. Lauzon Jr. is a new QCC and Phi Theta Kappa alumnus. He is also a retired veteran. This past May, amid the pandemic, he graduated with both a certificate and associate degree in Human Services, achieving close to a perfect GPA (3.9).  Within two weeks of graduating, he was offered a position with Recovery Centers of America as a Recovery Support Specialist, providing care for individuals recovering from substance abuse issues. 

“I love what I do because it’s helping those who need the help and most of all, want it.  I am a retired disabled veteran.  I had people who were there for me when I got back from Iraq and active duty Army, so this is much more than a job, it’s a way to pay it forward,” he said. “I also have a part-time job working as a Veterans’ Services Officer for the town of West Boylston.  I have been doing this job for two plus years now.”

However, things were not always easy for Mr. Lauzon, as a retired veteran who suffered from PTSD. Initially he began at QCC majoring in engineering and helping out in the Veterans Affairs office.

“The problem I was not dealing with was my case of PTSD,” he said, eventually leaving school for a while, until learning he still had educational benefits he could still use.

He decided to go back to QCC and this time changed his major to human services.

“I realized I was working in the human services field the whole time.  I realized that this is a better fit for me than the engineering I was trying to get into before.  I feel like this has come to me naturally,” he said. “This time around at the college, I was a work study in the Veterans Affairs office.  It was truly a blessing.  I could go there and socialize with fellow veterans and be there for those who needed my assistance.”

Today he is using what he learned at QCC to help those in the field of recovery, while adapting to the new safety protocols brought on by the pandemic.

“I do a lot of meeting with people via Zoom or other viral media sources.  I do meet with some veterans at times, but always with the proper personal protection equipment (PPE).  With the recovery work, I am wearing PPE all day long, sometimes I feel like I am back in the Army wearing my PPE,” he said.

Mr. Lauzon said he is grateful for the educational foundation and support he received from QCC, which enabled him to do what he does best, helping people.

“QCC has given me every chance to be successful in school and now as an alumni.  For the experience and the support, this is the best choice to make...  QCC has the best support services and cares for their students. The whole QCC experience has been a great experience and a very special one.” 

Make sure to read next month’s installment of “QCC’s Frontline Workers – Making a Difference in Our Communities.

If you know of a QCC frontline worker who should be spotlighted, let us know and email Karen Hutner at khutner [at] qcc.mass.edu.               

  • An example of one of QCC's census videos spoken in Vietnamese by My Nguyen.
July, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College is helping to make sure everyone in the Worcester community is counted in the United States Census. The College recently took part in a video outreach campaign to encourage people to participate in the census. QCC students and alumni recorded the videos in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Ga, Vietnamese, English and Albanian to represent these communities within the City of Worcester...

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Quinsigamond Community College is helping to make sure everyone in the Worcester community is counted in the United States Census. The College recently took part in a video outreach campaign to encourage people to participate in the census. QCC students and alumni recorded the videos in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Ga, Vietnamese, English and Albanian to represent these communities within the City of Worcester.

“QCC used its voice and the voice of its students to engage the community in an effort that will benefit all of Worcester,” said QCC’s Associate Vice President for External Affairs, Viviana Abreu-Hernandez. “Federal and State funding is allocated based on the population identified in the census, so it is imperative everyone is counted.”

Recognizing the importance of having everyone in the City participate in the census, in late February Ms. Abreu-Hernandez and QCC’s Director of Community Bridges Déborah L. González, met with Partnership Specialist Edward McGuire, of the Census New York Region Office, to discuss supporting the census efforts by encouraging QCC students and their families to fill out the census form.

“Mr. McGuire indicated that higher education institutions were ‘trusted voices’ in the community and that QCC’s voice will positively contribute to the efforts making sure that each and every member of the Worcester community would be counted in the 2020 Census,” Ms.  Abreu-Hernandez said.

The College immediately jumped into action, filming a variety of videos in different languages to be distributed throughout Worcester.

“One of our main goals was to help remove the concern of disseminating private information, as well as the importance of being counted in the census,” Ms. González said.

In addition to sending internal emails to the QCC community and having the information on the census prominently displayed on the QCC website, the videos were shared with other organizations in Worcester that included:  

  • Latin American Business Organization (LABO)
  • The Latino Education Institute
  • South East Asian Coalition
  • African Community Education
  • Ascentria Care Alliance
  • Worcester Public Schools
  • Worcester Interfaith Alliance
  • Worcester Public Library
  • Worcester Legal Aid
  • Worcester Community Connections Coalition
  • Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester

Due to the coronavirus/COVID-19, the deadline to fill out the census was moved to October 31 and on July 16 census takers began visiting homes that have not filled out the census.

“The beauty of these videos is that our students represent the Worcester County community – diverse, multi-language, and engaged,” Ms. Abreu-Hernandez said. “We hope these videos will enlighten people in our diverse communities and remove any fears they may have about filling out the census.”

To view the census videos, visit www.QCC.edu/census.

  • QCC's Director of Mentoring, Gabriel Santner holds a Zoom interview with mentor Hanan Ibraheim and mentee Ibeliz Garcia.
July, 2020

After graduating from high school in 2016, Ibeliz Garcia knew Quinsigamond Community College would be her school of choice. She had been dealing with chronic medical issues that made it necessary for her to attend college close to home and QCC fit the bill.

“When I came to QCC I learned about the mentoring program and signed up with my best friend,” Ms. Garcia said.

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After graduating from high school in 2016, Ibeliz Garcia knew Quinsigamond Community College would be her school of choice. She had been dealing with chronic medical issues that made it necessary for her to attend college close to home and QCC fit the bill.

“When I came to QCC I learned about the mentoring program and signed up with my best friend,” Ms. Garcia said.

Hanan Ibraheim is a QCC alumna who went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in mathematics, before landing a job as an insurance analyst at Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester. While she enjoyed her job at Hanover, her love for math made her realize she wanted to share her passion with others and decided to go back to school to become a math teacher.  She also came back to QCC, helping in the  Math Center as a tutor. It was at that time that she learned about the college’s mentoring program.

“I thought this was a good way for me to share my experiences,” she said.

She signed up for the program and was paired with Ms. Garcia. It quickly seemed like a very natural fit for the two. Both women had attended Worcester Public Schools - Ms. Ibraheim went to North High, while Ms. Garica went to Claremont Academy. The two both felt an instant connection on their initial meeting.

“I never had a female connection like this unless it was a family member. It was amazing the bond I had with my mentor. We could communicate about anything,” Ms. Garcia said.

“It just happened naturally. We both come from immigrant families and we are very connected with our families. It was amazing and it got us closer,” Ms. Ibraheim said. “Ibeliz is very good at communicating and putting herself out there. We talk about her experiences and her goals. She has such a positive personality. It makes the relationship very outgoing.”

Both mentor and mentee feel they are learning a lot from the partnership. Ms. Ibraheim stressed the importance of respecting the other person’s cultural beliefs, celebrating the similarities and understanding the differences. Ms. Garcia agreed, adding that respectful questions led to many positive and enlightening conversations.

She said Ms. Ibraheim enabled her to see things in a different way and helped get her out of her comfort zone.

“I am a criminal justice major; however, I also love technology. Hanan helped me to realize I loved to work with computers and I added a second major - Computer Systems Engineering Technology - Computer Forensics,” she said. “I learned from Hanan that it’s OK to take a risk and it’s never too late to change careers and make yourself happy.”

While the pandemic has shifted the way mentors and mentees meet, the mentoring partnerships people have forged have not suffered, as this mentoring partnership demonstrated.

“The first virtual meeting was a bit challenging, so we ended up talking on the phone. The second virtual meeting went great. I’m grateful for the technology,” Ms. Ibraheim said.

This new way of meeting each other is particularly beneficial to the partnership, as Ms. Ibraheim is moving to Michigan to get married, and begin a career in the education field. She feels the relationship will continue from afar.

“I feel like everyone should have a mentor,” Ms. Garcia said. “I learned from Hanan and she learned from me.”

Ms. Ibraheim agrees and encourages more people to consider being a mentor.

“The program is designed to be doable for everyone,” she said. “To leave a lasting impression on someone is an amazing feeling.”

To learn more visit QCC Mentoring.

  • PTK students make hygiene kits for QCC's Food Pantry and Resource Center. The entire QCC community is invited to participate.
July, 2020

Being a part of QCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society means more than just good grades, it means being a part of something bigger than you are. It means helping out your community and taking part in community service projects.

While the pandemic has limited some of the available community service projects that PTK members can still do (members need two community service projects and to attend two...

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Being a part of QCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society means more than just good grades, it means being a part of something bigger than you are. It means helping out your community and taking part in community service projects.

While the pandemic has limited some of the available community service projects that PTK members can still do (members need two community service projects and to attend two general meetings in order to earn their gold stole), one current service project that is ongoing is making hygiene kits for the QCC Food Pantry and Resource Center. PTK students who participate and make two complete hygiene kits will be eligible for one community service project.

According to PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman, who plays an integral role in the food pantry and resource center, there is a great need for hygiene products at the food pantry.

“As fast as we get items in they are gone. The students are so grateful,” Ms. Coleman said, adding that the project is not exclusive to PTK students and anyone can make and donate a hygiene kit.

PTK students who are participating in order to earn a community service project must include one of all items listed below (new, factory sealed products only).

  • Soap (individually wrapped)
  • Toothpaste (individually packaged)
  • Toothbrush (individually packaged)
  • Dental Floss
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo, Conditioner
  • Tampons, Sanitary Pads
  • Hand Sanitizer (individual size)
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Diapers (medium size)

Anyone who is interested in making a kit or in donating items to add to a kit, can email Ms. Coleman at bcoleman [at] qcc.mass.edu for more information about how to make a donation and properly package it.

  • QCC/PTK Alumnus Mark Hogan
  • Former PTK officers (L to R): Mary Sylvester, Tony Sanders, Maia Shalev, Mark Hogan and Kyle Mondino.
July, 2020

Mark Hogan has glowing words of praise for Quinsigamond Community College and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor (PTK) Society. The QCC engineering alumnus recently graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and attributed much of his success to the foundation he received at QCC.

“If someone is considering attending QCC they should definitely look into it. It’s not only a great...

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Mark Hogan has glowing words of praise for Quinsigamond Community College and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor (PTK) Society. The QCC engineering alumnus recently graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and attributed much of his success to the foundation he received at QCC.

“If someone is considering attending QCC they should definitely look into it. It’s not only a great experience and an awesome way to improve yourself as a person, it’s a huge help in improving your life overall. Just having an associate’s degree will open up so many more opportunities that you wouldn’t normally get without having years of experience in a field,” he said.

Mr. Hogan's foray into the engineering world began in 2015, taking classes at QCC as a way to better prepare for his future goal, which was to earn a four-year engineering degree at WPI. He had been out of school for some time and realized that while he wanted to attend WPI, he just wasn’t prepared nor did he have the knowledge, skills, or drive to handle WPI’s rigorous engineering schedule.

“I looked into QCC and talked to Engineering Professor Dadbeh Bigonahy. After doing some figuring out, I knew that QCC was the way to go,” he said.

A former roommate told Mr. Hogan about QCC’s many articulation agreements with colleges and universities, and learned that QCC had this type of agreement with WPI. It made his decision to attend QCC even more attractive.

“I started going part-time, taking three classes while I was working a full-time job as an insurance processor. This meant I had to take night classes, and did so practically the entire time I was at QCC. It wasn’t until the last two or three semesters that I was able to go during the day, as I switched jobs and was able to work from home and make my own schedule,” Mr. Hogan said, adding that he also took two classes each summer (one per semester).

“I left QCC prepared to handle anything that was thrown at me, and believe had I not gone here prior to WPI, I would have not been able to complete my degree. Dadbeh really created rigorous expectations of the engineering students, which were vital to my success. He was instrumental in setting me up for success, as he presented his students with challenges that anyone can overcome, but ones that also have benefits that surpass simply ‘doing well,’” he said.

Mr. Hogan said PTK has also had a huge impact on his life. He described joining PTK as soon as he had enough credits, maintaining a 4.0 almost his entire time at QCC; however, by his own admission he initially wasn't very active in the honor society due to his heavy work and school schedules. A  chance conversation with a PTK officer who was one of his classmates made him realize he should get more involved and he met with PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman.

“Bonnie definitely has a super power or something because I don’t know anyone else who is that good at rallying people, or it’s just her passion for PTK! I went from an Officer-at-Large to an Executive Team Lead working as a volunteer on the Early Chapter Project, and helping start and co-lead the Burncoat Mentoring program,” he said. “It really got me focused on how to get things done, between school work and projects. It made me a better person overall, and equipped me with skills that I really needed, such as public speaking, decision making, confidence, research, networking, and so many more.”

Once Mr. Hogan graduated from QCC, he transferred to WPI’s engineering program, where he was required to do two large qualifying projects in order to earn his four-year degree. For his first project, he chose to research college greenhouses to help determine what QCC/PTK could do to make sure their next greenhouse was the best it could be, working with two fellow PTK transfer students and another WPI student. His second project involved working as the project manager for a 10-person team, creating a unique application for both patients and staff at a Boston hospital. Similar to Google maps, the application enables people to navigate inside the hospital and other buildings, has handicap accessible features and the ability to change to different languages. The program is particularly valuable, as it is interchangeable with any hospital.

Today he is posed to start a new career and said he is thankful for his time at QCC that brought him full circle in realizing his dream for the future.

“I definitely believe QCC gave me a good foundation. Again, not just as a student but as a person as well. On top of that, QCC gives you the ability to figure out how to learn. The courses aren’t ridiculously hard, and manageable to the point where you can generally take them at your own pace. I really could go on for a long time about how great the school is, how important education is, and just what an amazing time I had going here. Again, I would have gone to QCC for four years if I could have – it’s that great of a school,” he said.

Class of 2020 Ted Tech Pinning
July, 2020

Due to the pandemic, the Radiologic Technology Class of 2020 was unable to hold its traditional pinning ceremony; however, with some ingenuity by Hannah Canedy (Class Treasuruer) and Jennifer Mangrum (Class President), the class was able to experience a unique virtual pinning celebration. The two students decided to band together and make a video commemorating their program’s unique year.   

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Due to the pandemic, the Radiologic Technology Class of 2020 was unable to hold its traditional pinning ceremony; however, with some ingenuity by Hannah Canedy (Class Treasuruer) and Jennifer Mangrum (Class President), the class was able to experience a unique virtual pinning celebration. The two students decided to band together and make a video commemorating their program’s unique year.   

The Class of 2020 chose Jonathan Umana, clinical instructor for QCC students at UMass Memorial, University Campus. Mr. Umana is a 2011 QCC alumna of the Rad Tech program.

“Congratulations you did it! You should all be proud of what you’ve accomplished. You’ve all had to overcome various challenges and difficulties in order to get to this day,” he said.

In his address to the students, Mr. Umana talked about having the courage to overcome anxiety and fear as the graduates go into the world.

“Welcome to the profession. You have worked so hard to get here. Continue with that work ethic and continue to grow and I’m confident the Class of 2020 will be successful,” he said.

Visit QCC's Radiologic Technology Program to learn more. 

  • Lucey (front) and Brinley prepare for a lifetime of service.
  • Juno became Edith Morris's new service dog and lifelong companion.
July, 2020

Sometimes our most trusted and valued companions are of the four-legged variety. For some, these amazing dogs have become a person’s eyes, ears, and hands, not to mention best friend. No one knows this better than Kathleen “Kate” O'Connor, program manager for the Center for Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Quinsigamond Community College.

Since 2016, Ms...

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Sometimes our most trusted and valued companions are of the four-legged variety. For some, these amazing dogs have become a person’s eyes, ears, and hands, not to mention best friend. No one knows this better than Kathleen “Kate” O'Connor, program manager for the Center for Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Quinsigamond Community College.

Since 2016, Ms. O’Connor has been part of Canine Companions for Independence®, acting as a puppy raiser for the organization. The non-profit organization is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs to those in need at no cost.

“With coronavirus/COVID-19, now more than ever people are isolated, particularly those with a compromised immune system. They really rely on these dogs to do everything from getting a cell phone, opening the refrigerator to companionship,” she said.

Dogs have always been a part of Ms. O’Connor’s life; however, with the sad death of her last beloved family dog, she vowed she was done owning a dog. Then the unthinkable happened. A close cousin, Bill Lucey, who grew up in the same neighborhood as she did, had an accident that left him wheelchair bound. To help in navigating his new world after the accident, Mr. Lucey applied for a Canine Companions service dog through the Canine Companions organization, and in August 2016 went to the Canine Companions training center in Long Island, N.Y. to begin team training. Team Training is where the dogs are paired with a graduate during an intensive two-week team training period before going to their forever homes.

“Any family member could attend the graduation and so I went. I ended up falling in love with the organization, its mission, and how life-changing it is to the graduates,” Ms. O’Connor said.

Right then she decided to become a puppy raiser, a role that requires taking an 8-week-old puppy into a person’s home for 18 months to become socialized and learn basic commands. They train four types of assistance dogs to master over 40 specialized commands: Service Dogs, Skilled Companions, Hearing Dogs and Facility Dogs. The dog breeds used include yellow labs, black labs, golden retrievers and golden/lab mixes. In 2017, “Juno,” a yellow lab, became her first puppy and for the following year and a half, she became a part of the O’Connor family.

For 18 months, Juno went everywhere with Ms. O’Connor; even attending work meetings so she could get used to a group setting. All too quickly the time was up and Juno was returned to Long Island to attend professional training, where dogs go for six months after the time is up with their puppy raisers. In May 2019, after completing six months of professional training and the two-week team training, Juno was placed with her graduate, Edith Morris.

“You spend a lot of time with the dogs and love them so much, but you know this is puppy raising and that they must leave to find their forever home,” Ms. O’Connor said, adding, “What is so unique is that the new owner (graduate) gets to meet the puppy raiser and family, and most graduates keep in touch with their puppy raisers.”

While Ms. O’Connor was sad to see the first dog she raised leave, she keeps in touch with Ms. Morris to this day. Ms. O’Connor has gone on to raise two more puppies, Brinley and Lucey (named after her cousin). Brinley has been with her since Sept. 2018 and was due back in Long Island in May, but due to the outbreak of the coronavirus/COVID-19, just returned to Long Island on July 20 to start professional training. Lucey is the new puppy that Ms. O’Connor is now raising.

Currently there are over 400 people on the waiting list to get a dog, with close to 100 in the Northeast region alone. One of the biggest issues the Canine Companions organization faces is raising money to fund the non-profit. In addition to puppy raising, Ms. O’Connor is the current DogFest New England Vice Chair, an online event that is raising funds and awareness for the mission of the organization.

“It’s exciting to see the changes you can make in people’s lives,” she said.

  • QCC student Daniel Doroff
July, 2020

The world as we have always known it has changed. Today we are inundated with new terms, phrases and rules of interaction as we quarantine and slowly reintegrate activities we previously may have taken for granted. One big change has been higher education and how classes are now being delivered.

At QCC, we made the difficult decision to offer the Fall 2020 semester remotely (with a few slight...

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The world as we have always known it has changed. Today we are inundated with new terms, phrases and rules of interaction as we quarantine and slowly reintegrate activities we previously may have taken for granted. One big change has been higher education and how classes are now being delivered.

At QCC, we made the difficult decision to offer the Fall 2020 semester remotely (with a few slight exceptions). The decision was made for the safety of QCC and the entire community. Based on what is happening in other states, it certainly seems like it was the smarter choice. Students are now hearing about remote instruction and online learning but are unsure what they actually mean. Let's break it down a bit for you. 

Remote and online may sound the same, but they are delivered differently. In the case of remote, there are actually two versions. We understand the confusion, so let's get to the bottom of it. We know official definitions may seem a bit dry, but we will break it down for you later.

There are three ways you can learn "online" at QCC:

  • Online: An online course is a course that is provided entirely through the institution's Learning Management System. No on-site class meetings are required.
  • Remote synchronous (RS): Classes that will require specific "live" meeting times through technology tools, such as video conferencing, to facilitate student-faculty interaction. Assignments and assessments are completed according to the course syllabus. These scheduled classes may be recorded and uploaded to the learning management system for later review by students.
  • Remote asynchronous (RA): Classes that will not require specific meeting times. Assignments and assessments are completed according to the course syllabus. Content delivery may include prepared videos, pre-recorded lectures, or other types of online presentation.
  • Did you get all of that? Here it is in very unofficial terms...

An online class is basically 'on-demand'. It's like watching a Netflix series with due dates. Go online, get your assignments and have a specified amount of time to complete and submit them. You communicate with your professor and classmates via email and online message board discussions. It's on your time, within reason. This type of class has the least amount of "human interaction" and for some people this is exactly what they want. 

Remote Synchronous are set class times in an online meeting space. QCC uses Blackboard, which was built for education, but has "Zoom-like" meeting spaces. You can see your professor and classmates on the screen in real time. You can all talk to each other and interact, learn from a live lecture and have question and answer sessions verbally or through the chat function. Often they are recorded and uploaded, so you can go back and watch them again later if you missed something. Students will have a syllabus to follow, due dates, and everything is done virtually. This is often the best type of course for students who like structure.

Remote Asynchronous is a hybrid of the previous two. This will vary depending on the class and the professor. This type of class involves less reading and more prepared videos and presentations by your professor. There are assignments and due dates, as above, but no set "meeting" times.

We understand educational options and ways of life have changed and that there is no 'one-size fits all' for your education, your life, your lifestyle, your job, your family or even your commute... or lack of. Hopefully we have covered all the bases to make QCC convenient for anyone who wants to better their life, advance their career and attend college.

  • A trip to Las Vegas is the grand proze in the "30 Rounds in 30 Days" fundraising event.
July, 2020

The Quinsigamond Community College Foundation is holding a unique fundraising event to provide scholarships and critical basic needs security to underserved and underrepresented students. Now more than ever, QCC students are in need of assistance and support.

The event, entitled “30 Rounds in 30 Days”, is a golfer's dream.  It features 30 individual prizes, so perhaps it should be...

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The Quinsigamond Community College Foundation is holding a unique fundraising event to provide scholarships and critical basic needs security to underserved and underrepresented students. Now more than ever, QCC students are in need of assistance and support.

The event, entitled “30 Rounds in 30 Days”, is a golfer's dream.  It features 30 individual prizes, so perhaps it should be called 30 in 30 for 30! The grand prize package includes airfare for two to Las Vegas, Nevada, overnight accommodations at the Marriott Grand Chateau (4 nights), as well as 18 hole golf for two at Cascata Club, considered by some to be the “8th Wonder in the Golfing World.”

Other top prizes in the 30-day raffle include:

  • A trip to Naples, Florida that includes airfare and overnight accommodations for three people.
  • Golf at The Vineyards Country Club’s two link style and traditional style courses, where challenging play is available for every golfer at every skill level and handicap.
  • A getaway to Chatham on Cape Cod that includes overnight accommodations and golfing at Eastward Ho!, considered the finest course on the Cape and named one of the best courses in North America by Golf Digest.

Additional prizes include golf at one of 27 golf courses and clubs across New England to appeal to both the seasoned or beginner golfer.

The raffle is limited to 1,000 tickets, offering excellent odds to win one of 30 prizes. Each ticket is $50. The raffle will begin on September 1, 2020 and end on September 30, 2020. Winning tickets are based on the last three digits of the Massachusetts mid-day daily lottery number.

“By participating in this fundraising event, you are contributing to Central Massachusetts' recovery and economic development. You are helping students complete their college degrees. You are providing basic needs security to make a significant difference in our student's lives,” said QCC Foundation President Dr. Linda Maykel.

To purchase tickets, contact the QCC Foundation at qccfoundation [at] qcc.mass.edu or call Assistant Director of Operations, Shirley Dempsey at 508.854.4520. The deadline to purchase tickets is August 31, 4:00 p.m. No tickets can be sold after this deadline. To learn more, visit QCC.edu/30rounds

  • QCC's campus may be empty but its faculty and staff are only a phone call or email away ready to lend a helping hand.
July, 2020

Monday, August 3 - OER Virtual Drop-In Session, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  August is OER Month at QCC! For those unfamiliar with OER, it stands for open educational resources. This is a resource for students, which allows them to access textbooks and other class materials at no cost. These materials are in the public domain or have been released under a...

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Monday, August 3 - OER Virtual Drop-In Session, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  August is OER Month at QCC! For those unfamiliar with OER, it stands for open educational resources. This is a resource for students, which allows them to access textbooks and other class materials at no cost. These materials are in the public domain or have been released under a license so they can be freely used, changed, or shared with others.  To learn more about OER textbooks or other materials for a course, visit an upcoming, virtual drop-in information session!

Visit OER Information session to register. Space is limited to 10 slots per session.

Thursday, August 13 - OER Virtual Drop-On Session, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Visit OER Information session to register. Space is limited to 10 slots per session.

August Spotlight: Virtual Admissions Information Session! Thursday, August 20, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Learn why QCC is the smarter option for higher education! QCC has over 100 degree and certificate programs, flexible schedule options, financing options for everyone, and transfer paths to four-year colleges that translate to significant tuition savings.

Register Today  and get all the information you need start your future this fall. For more event details, please contact the Admissions Office at 508.854.4262 or email admissions [at] qcc.mass.edu 

  • QCC's new egaming team for the League of Legends held its first exhibition game in mid July.
July, 2020

E-Sports       

QCC Athletics new egaming team for the League of Legends held its first exhibition game on July 18 against Bunker Hill Community College. The students competed in three matches and while they didn’t come away winners, it was a great opening exhibition game.

“The students had such a good time and they want to play more exhibition games...

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E-Sports       

QCC Athletics new egaming team for the League of Legends held its first exhibition game on July 18 against Bunker Hill Community College. The students competed in three matches and while they didn’t come away winners, it was a great opening exhibition game.

“The students had such a good time and they want to play more exhibition games this summer, so we are working on scheduling with Bunker Hill again, Northern Essex Community College and possibly Mass Bay Community College,” said Athletic Director Lisa Gurnick.

This is the first time QCC has had an esports team, which is being coached by QCC’s Learning Manager Nate Mello.

Summer Zoom Yoga    

Are you zooming this summer? Let the stress just fall away from you every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. and take a free Zoom class with Tammy Chiarizio. This is a great way to relax and enjoy the summer months. For those interested in receiving a Zoom invite, email Ms. Gurnick at lisag [at] qcc.mass.edu

July, 2020

July, 2020

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July, 2020

July, 2020

On May 10, 2020, Cary Morse was appointed as Dean of Library and Academic Support Services.

On June 8, 2020, Josh Cole was appointed temporary Interim Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership.

Jessica August will be starting as full-time Dental Hygiene faculty. Jessica holds a Master of Science in Dental...

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On May 10, 2020, Cary Morse was appointed as Dean of Library and Academic Support Services.

On June 8, 2020, Josh Cole was appointed temporary Interim Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership.

Jessica August will be starting as full-time Dental Hygiene faculty. Jessica holds a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene with an emphasis in Dental Hygiene Education from the University of Bridgeport – Fones School of Dental Hygiene. Through full-time teaching opportunities at Idaho State University and MCPHS University – Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene, she gained valuable experience, which has prepared her to meet the challenges of clinical and didactic teaching. Her knowledge and understanding of dental hygiene education and strong clinical dental hygiene skills will allow her to guide, mentor, engage, and instruct dental hygiene students in skill development and progression for entry into the profession of dentistry.

Keith Hirst will be starting as full-time Respiratory Care faculty. As a Respiratory Care Leader, Keith has over 20 years of clinical, leadership, research and teaching expertise. He has teaching experience in both live and on-line classes for both undergraduate and graduate courses at Rush University and Northeastern University using Blackboard and expertise in CoARC and NBRC standards and CoARC site evaluations. Keith holds a Master of Science in Respiratory Care Leadership from Northeastern University — College of Professional Studies.

Please join us in welcoming Cary, Josh, Jessica and Keith into their new roles at QCC.

June, 2020

  • QCC will continue remote instruction for the Fall 2020 semester.
June, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College will continue remote instruction for the fall 2020 semester. According to QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja, the decision was made to ensure the safety of the College’s students, faculty, staff and the community.

“We did not make this decision lightly. The administration felt this was in the best interest of the QCC community with the continued...

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Quinsigamond Community College will continue remote instruction for the fall 2020 semester. According to QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja, the decision was made to ensure the safety of the College’s students, faculty, staff and the community.

“We did not make this decision lightly. The administration felt this was in the best interest of the QCC community with the continued uncertainty of COVID-19,” President Pedraja said. “Due to the pandemic, we feel it’s most prudent to leverage our experience and expertise with online and remote instruction and unprecedented support. This will allow for little to no disruption of services in the Fall, should the virus spike as predicted later this year. We will continue to monitor the situation, and follow the medical advice of local, state, and national organizations. A limited number of courses, such as labs or clinical experiences that require direct hands-on participation and cannot be delivered remotely, will be offered on campus, as long as we can do so safely.”

QCC has a long history of online education and has offered hundreds of courses remotely prior to the pandemic. In early March, the College adapted quickly to the changing landscape and transitioned its in-person spring semester courses to remote instruction, in addition to delivering its full array of support services remotely.

Today, college students are facing an uphill battle as many are rethinking their fall college plans and looking for impossible guarantees from four-year schools that dorms will remain open for the entire academic year. Students looking for the “on campus” experience could find themselves back home and out thousands of dollars in a few short weeks or months, should residential schools find they must move to a remote form of education delivery, as they did this spring due to an increase in the virus. On campus classes will also have a new look and feel as masks and social distancing will be required in all public spaces.

“This pandemic is one that is transforming how we look at higher education,” President Pedraja continued. “Right now no one knows what the future holds and while we all want to be optimistic, we must be cognizant that our world may be forever changed. Making smart higher education decisions now, will pay off substantially in the future.”

For the latest information visit www.QCC.edu

  • QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja applauds the Supreme Court's decision on DACA.
June, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College welcomed June 18th landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that blocked the dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The College’s President, Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D., is a vocal advocate of the program and previously joined over 164 colleges and universities from across the country in signing an amicus brief last October...

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Quinsigamond Community College welcomed June 18th landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that blocked the dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The College’s President, Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D., is a vocal advocate of the program and previously joined over 164 colleges and universities from across the country in signing an amicus brief last October, supporting the close to 650,000 young immigrants who came to the United States as children. Known as the Dreamers, these young adults have been protected against the threat of deportation under the DACA program since 2012. The program’s termination was threatened by the current administration.

“This decision was important and vital to the betterment of our nation, our community and our college. QCC stands for a diverse and inclusive community and this decision gives our DACA students the knowledge that they can pursue their education without fear of deportation,” President Pedraja said.

QCC’s student body is a reflection of the diverse cultures that represent Central Massachusetts. Dr. Pedraja said the decision is one that is a good start in working towards a more equitable society.

“The world is changing and we must make sure it changes in a positive fashion. The Dreamers are an integral part of our community. They are the healthcare providers, the first responders, the educators, the scientists and the frontline workers who are taking care of our citizens during the pandemic,” President Pedraja said. “This decision shows there is hope for a brighter future.”

  • Gateway graduate Serena Hughes and her family.
  • Gateway graduate Ninoshka “Nino” Rabell-Santana proudly shows off her diploma.
  • Gateway graduate Jared Mosely celebrates with his family.
  • Gateway graduate Brenna King shares her special moment with her dad.
  • Gateway graduate Julia Bohan and her family.
  • Gateway graduate Joe Poirier with his proud parents.
  • Gateway graduate Tyler Steward and family.
  • From left: Gateway to College Director Marci Skillings, graduate Joe Poirier and Gateway Counselor Jenna Glazer.
  • Gateway Counselor Jenna Glazer's rescue dog, Feeney, got in on the well wishes to graduates..
June, 2020

High school graduation is a special time in a student’s life but it’s even more so for those students who have overcome adversity and beat the odds. For 27 students in Quinsigamond Community College’s Gateway to College Program, the dream of graduating from high school became a reality this month and they became a part of the historic Class of 2020. 

The students were part of QCC’s...

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High school graduation is a special time in a student’s life but it’s even more so for those students who have overcome adversity and beat the odds. For 27 students in Quinsigamond Community College’s Gateway to College Program, the dream of graduating from high school became a reality this month and they became a part of the historic Class of 2020. 

The students were part of QCC’s Gateway to College Program that was developed for students between the ages of 16-21, who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out. Students accepted into the program work on obtaining their high school diplomas, while also simultaneously earning college credits.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s graduating class was unable to hold an in-person graduation ceremony; however, the Gateway staff still wanted to hold some type of special celebration to commemorate the accomplishments of the students.

“Gateway to College has always had a really personal graduation ceremony, and it was something we were all really sad to miss out on this year. Celebrating the accomplishments of our students is a great way to end the school year,” said Senior Gateway Outreach Counselor, Jenna Glazer.

QCC’s Gateway to College Director Marci Skillings came up with the idea of a “Grad 2 Go” graduation celebration that entailed the Gateway staff stopping by each graduates’ homes, taking photos and wishing them well. Prior to the Gateway staff visits, the students were sent caps, gowns, diplomas, and as well as “Class of 2020” masks to make the event feel extra special.

“What’s more personal than Gateway staff coming to your house? All together, we visited 15 of our graduates over six days. I drove 267 miles in total. One day we started at a farm and ended on a lake,” Ms. Glazer said. “High school graduation is something many of us (myself included) took for granted, but for many of our students, it seemed impossible for a long time. It was definitely not the graduation any of us expected but it felt “right,” in the sense that it was very personal and really demonstrated the relationship that we have with our students and how much we care about them. Students and their families were grateful that we took the time to visit everyone. It will be a graduation that we’ll all remember for a long time.”

Despite graduating in the midst of a pandemic and an abrupt shift to remote learning, most of the students graduated with special honors (college GPA over 3.0 or 3.7), a testament to the determination and perseverance of the Gateway students.

Gateway graduate Ninoshka “Nino” Rabell-Santana said the Gateway to College Program was a true gateway to a better life and opportunity for her.

“Being a part of the Gateway to College community made me feel it was OK to not to be perfect. It taught me it was OK to fail in life over and over again until I was finally able to succeed in life,” she said. “Gateway has been such a blessing to me and to everyone in it.”

Each year the graduates are asked to answer a survey. One of the questions posed asked them what the most important thing was that they learned while in the Gateway program. Answers ran the gamut from independence, time management and patience to understanding that their life isn’t over, it’s just beginning.

According to Ms. Skillings, most of the graduates will be staying on at QCC to complete their degrees, while others will be attending Worcester State University or UMass Amherst.

Her sentiment to the graduates is one she hopes they will remember.

“You have all balanced a new normal and graduated in the midst of a pandemic. That is so amazing and we are so proud.  You will always be a part of the Gateway to College family and have a special place in our hearts and here at QCC.  We wish you the best as you head out in a world of unknowns and we know you will succeed because you showed us you could and we believed just as you did.”

Gateway Class of 2020:

  • Mary Astorga**
  • Nate Berthiahume
  • Allyson Bishop*
  • Julia Bohan**
  • Gabby Boivin*
  • Adren Demac**
  • Emily Dodge*
  • Raykel Dufrense
  • Brittney Dziejma**
  • William Guenette
  • Deborah Holan
  • Serena Hughes*
  • Brenna King
  • Tyler Martinelli*
  • Mia Mascitelli**
  • Arvid Mikkila*
  • Isabella Monserrate*
  • Jared Mosely
  • John (JT) Phinney**
  • Joseph Poirier
  • Ninoshka “Nino” Rabell-Santana
  • Brandon Roux
  • Danielle Ryan
  • Saahil Srivastava*
  • Tyler Steward*

*Linda Huddle Award winners (GPA over 3.0)

**President’s Award Winners (GPA over 3.7)

For more information on the program visit www.QCC.edu/Gateway.

  • QCC has numerous transfer agreements with public and private 4-year institutions.
  • QCC offers an afforable pathway to 4-year institutions.
June, 2020

On June 18, over 75 students took part in Quinsigamond Community College’s first Virtual Transfer Fair. The online event held on a Zoom platform, enabled students to virtually meet with colleges and universities in the region and learn more about transfer opportunities, application requirements and other important information.

Students received an email invitation leading them to a registration link if...

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On June 18, over 75 students took part in Quinsigamond Community College’s first Virtual Transfer Fair. The online event held on a Zoom platform, enabled students to virtually meet with colleges and universities in the region and learn more about transfer opportunities, application requirements and other important information.

Students received an email invitation leading them to a registration link if they had expressed interest in the fair, and Dan de la Torre, coordinator for QCC’s Transfer and Articulation program and Transfer Counselor Beth Fullerton co-hosted the event that began in a group session for all attendees. In this opening session, students were given a quick overview on the distance of each college and university from the Worcester region, a brief recap on QCC programs that meet MassTransfer guidelines, as well as programs that have transfer agreements with private institutions and out-of-state institutions. Then, via the Zoom chat box, students received a link to a page that listed the schools and their individual zoom meeting addresses. Students could then directly connect to schools they were interested in and met directly with transfer admissions representatives.

“This was a brand new venture for us so there was a bit of uncertainty and our 'fingers crossed' so to speak," Mr. de la Torre said.

Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions for UMass Amherst, Kevin Van Develde, said this was the first virtual transfer fair he had attended.

“From our end it was very smooth and we encountered no issues,” he said, adding, “Eight students attended our portion of the event, each with great questions.”

Associate Director of Transfer Admissions for Fitchburg State University, Limari Rivera, also felt the event went well.

“I think the fact that we all met as a group before the actual event and did a practice run helped us figure out the best way to conduct the virtual fair.  We were going to do it a completely different way until we met and decided that would be too intense and confusing.  I think the way it was done was great and flowed nicely,” she said, adding, "We are easily accessible for commuter students and most of our programs align nicely with QCC's programs. We have a great working relationship with the transfer advisors at QCC, which makes the transfer process for the students easier."

Mr. Van Develde noted that since the inception of the MassTransfer program, a good amount of UMass Amherst’s community college transfer students are from QCC, demonstating the strong partnerships QCC has with its four-year partner institutions.

Ms. Fullerton said the feedback QCC has received from student participants has also been positive, with students noting how being able to personally see and chat directly with school representatives makes such a difference.

“I think that it is incredibly important for students to connect with representatives from four-year schools during a fair—students get individual attention and their questions answered about a university’s specific bachelor degrees, admission requirements, and resources,” she said, adding that plans are in the works for a Fall virtual transfer fair.

Other colleges and universities that attended the virtual fair included:

  • Anna Maria College
  • Becker College
  • Fitchburg State University
  • Framingham State University
  • UMass Amherst
  • UMass Boston
  • UMass Dartmouth
  • UMass Lowell
  • Westfield State University
  • Worcester State University

For additional information, visit QCC Transfer Department

  • Professor Jim Heffernan gives a robotic wave to the Class of 2020.
June, 2020

Many may know Quinsigamond Community College’s Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology, James Heffernan as the professor who made the amazing robotic binary graduation greeting for the Class of 2020 (with some key assistance from his wife Luisa). What many may not know is that for most of his adult life he has been educating students on the transformative powers of technology....

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Many may know Quinsigamond Community College’s Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology, James Heffernan as the professor who made the amazing robotic binary graduation greeting for the Class of 2020 (with some key assistance from his wife Luisa). What many may not know is that for most of his adult life he has been educating students on the transformative powers of technology.

Locally educated in Worcester public schools (he attended Flagg St. Elementary School, Forest Grove Jr. High, and Doherty High School), Mr. Heffernan earned a BA in Mathematics from Assumption College and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After graduation from both colleges in 1985, he worked as an electrical engineer for Worcester companies Micro Networks and Allegro Microsystems. Then in 1990, he and his wife decided to fulfill a dream and traveled to Ghana, West Africa where they taught school for a year.

“I taught Electrical Principles at Normal Technical Secondary School and my wife taught English part-time. We had our 2-year-old son with us, and our daughter was born while we were there. This was something my wife and I had been planning to do since we were married in 1985. Living some place very different gives you a new perspective on the world. We had a great experience overall, the people were very welcoming, we loved the food, and I learned some of the traditional Ghanaian music,” he said.

Once back in the states, Mr. Heffernan continued to teach, working at Worcester Technical Institute (WTI), a post-secondary technical school that was part of the Worcester Vocational Technical School system. He worked there for eight years before it closed. WTI’s loss was QCC’s gain and in September 1999, he began his teaching career at QCC (in addition to earning a Master’s in Computer Science at Fitchburg State University in 2005).

“I had developed the Electromechanical Technology program at WTI to prepare graduates to work as technicians in high-tech manufacturing. WTI was closed in 1999, and many of the technical programs were brought over to QCC, along with some of the WTI faculty. Electromechanical Technology eventually became Electronics Engineering Technology - Mechatronics Option,” he said.

He said one of reasons he enjoys teaching at QCC is the diversity of students that you often find in a community college setting.

“I like the variety of students that we get - different socio-economic backgrounds, different ethnicities, different ages, etc. The older students have a positive impact on the younger students, and foster a more professional climate. And in the Electronics Engineering Technology labs, I like the fact that we can provide students with an authentic hands-on educational experience,” he said.

Throughout his years at the college, Mr. Heffernan has had many inspiring, compelling and outright funny stories. His favorite one involved a robotic hand, built by one of his students using the QCC Fab lab to 3D print all of the parts for the project.

“The fingers are controlled by a person wearing a glove that has flex sensors on it. I brought the hand to a QCC Open House for recruitment, and while demonstrating it, the middle finger got stuck, so when I closed my hand I was giving everyone the finger. Fortunately, we noticed quickly and were back to normal after a quick soldering job,” he said.

While certainly a funny story, it also demonstrates the amazing advances in the technology world and the growth the industry has seen.

“I am seeing an increasing use of automation and robotics in manufacturing and other areas, and a corresponding increase in demand for technicians that can troubleshoot electronic, electrical and mechanical systems,” he said, noting that over 75 companies in the region are hiring electronics and mechatronics technicians.

He encourages people looking for an exciting career to consider Electronics Engineering Technology and QCC.

“QCC offers a path to an exciting career that pays well, without getting saddled with large college loans. We have been seeing an increasing demand for 2-year technical graduates. And many companies will reimburse students that continue their education,” he added.

When not teaching students, Mr. Heffernan is busy playing keyboards in a few local bands (you might have heard him play in the QCC Faculty Jazz Ensemble; dancing salsa or swing with his wife; or camping, hiking, backpacking or running in the woods with his faithful dog Bo).  

  • QCC’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee
June, 2020

The Black Lives Matter protests seen across the country have opened the floodgates to important conversations and even more importantly, actions. At Quinsigamond Community College, President Dr. Luis Pedraja is making sure the College is addressing the issues of systemic racism head-on, with in-depth conversations on racial issues and the impact of systemic racism on the College and community....

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The Black Lives Matter protests seen across the country have opened the floodgates to important conversations and even more importantly, actions. At Quinsigamond Community College, President Dr. Luis Pedraja is making sure the College is addressing the issues of systemic racism head-on, with in-depth conversations on racial issues and the impact of systemic racism on the College and community.

“Together as a community, in the days and weeks to follow we will be working to ensure that our practices and curriculum reflect diverse and inclusive perspectives. We will work on identifying barriers to equity, then develop and implement a strategic action plan to address them,” Dr. Pedraja said.

QCC’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, co- chaired by QCC staff member Selina Boria and faculty member Brenda Safford, have already begun holding voluntary, remote conversational talks, “Your Voice Matters: Community Conversations,” for faculty and staff. This is an opportunity for faculty and staff to engage in open dialogue.

“The Black Lives Matter protests have prompted institutions to review how well they are cultivating a campus climate that values diversity and fosters student success,” Professor Safford said. “The Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee realized the need to provide a space for faculty and staff to have a platform to share concerns and to learn about racial injustices and systemic racism.”

The College is also planning similar group discussions in student services, academic affairs, staffing, campus police, administrative services, and other areas on campus “to continue the conversations and address any concerns in our community.”

“We will make certain our practices and curriculum reflect diverse and inclusive perspectives. It is imperative that we continue to educate our college community about systemic racism and amplify the voices of those who must be heard in our society in order to effect change,” President Pedraja said.

The College also plans to resume its Brave Space sessions for students in the fall, if not sooner. This ongoing program enables students to engage in constructive, courageous conversations in a safe and judgement-free environment.

Read more from President Pedraja

For more information, visit the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

  • From left: Nicole Murphy, Devon Bruyer and Carol Murphy.
June, 2020

Wyvern nation’s roots run deep in the Murphy family. Since the early 80s when Accounting Professor Carol Murphy was a part-time student at Quinsigamond Community College, the college has been a part of their lives. Today, Ms. Murphy is an adjunct professor at the College, her daughter-in-law is an alum and her grandson is a current engineering student at QCC.

“I am so, so happy...

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Wyvern nation’s roots run deep in the Murphy family. Since the early 80s when Accounting Professor Carol Murphy was a part-time student at Quinsigamond Community College, the college has been a part of their lives. Today, Ms. Murphy is an adjunct professor at the College, her daughter-in-law is an alum and her grandson is a current engineering student at QCC.

“I am so, so happy they took advantage of this college. People care here, they want you to succeed as a student and a professional,” she said.

For Ms. Murphy, the path to QCC and higher education came later in life.

“In high school I attended a college prep school and at the end of sophomore year was told ‘I was not college material,’ so I transferred to a school with business courses.  I absolutely loved my bookkeeping course; just couldn't get enough of it. It made sense to me. After graduating high school, I became a full charge bookkeeper in the business world,” she said.

Eventually Ms. Murphy left that world, started a family and had two sons. Once they were in preschool, she began thinking about working part-time.

“Two friends, in one week, asked why I didn't go to college to get paid more for what I knew,” she said.

A light bulb went off and at the age of 32, she decided to try a couple of courses. 

After starting at Worcester State, she realized she needed more flexibility and decided to attend QCC, because it was the perfect fit for her schedule.

“Plus my husband graduated from QCC years before and had been successful,” she added.

She ended up taking two courses a semester at QCC, then transferring to Assumption College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in accounting, at the age of 40. While attending college, she also worked as an accounting tutor in QCC’s learning center and said she loved helping students understand the courses. It was the start of a lifetime love affair of learning.

“I started in graduate school in the Nichols MBA program and asked if I could teach a course to see if I liked it,” she said, adding that when she was given the opportunity to teach she “loved it.”

She taught as an adjunct professor at QCC for a few years before applying and being hired for a full-time position in 2000. It would be a position she would hold until 2017, before going back to being an adjunct professor.

Ms. Murphy’s daughter-in-law Nicole Murphy is also a QCC alum, having come to QCC looking to advance her nursing career at Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center.

“My mother-in-law has always been a strong advocate for QCC. She is aware of how flexible the schedules can be to meet your other priorities in life while still maintaining a degree.  It gave me a sense of pride when instructors knew she was my mother-in-law. I have been at my workplace for over 20 years and I always appreciate dedication and a long history at a career. It is special to me to now be part of that with her,” Nicole Murphy said, adding “With my career and family the flexibility was key to my success.”

Nichole Murphy’s son, Devon Bruyer, has also found QCC to be the perfect place to begin his future, a fact that comes as no surprise to both mother and grandmother.

“My mother-in-law and I both felt QCC was a good fit for Devon. He is not the type to sit in a class five days a week, which is why he went to a trade school. We both know he will come out with a great degree but can also continue to work in his field for real life practice. It also makes me very happy he is still home with us,” Nicole Murphy said.

Mr. Bruyer said he researched many schools with his grandmother before deciding on QCC.

“I find QCC to be more diverse and open to the community. Most of the students feel equal with each other. QCC is close to home and an affordable option. I have seen how successful my grandmother and mother are in life. I am proud to follow in their footsteps while earning my degree,” he said. “It is a great place to get your degree, especially if you want to live at home and work in the community. QCC offers a wide variety of options to work with everyday life. “

Carol Murphy sums it up for those considering attending QCC.

“We have it all, try us out, you won't be sorry!”

  • QCC Alumnus Bobby Kapel
June, 2020

Bobby Kapel knows the value of an education. Before emigrating from Liberia, West Africa in 2012, Mr. Kapel taught high school students in a time when there was great civil unrest. Teaching in his home country would become a pivotal point in his life and one that he would do until moving to the States to realize his own dream through higher education.

“Liberia was a post war country with...

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Bobby Kapel knows the value of an education. Before emigrating from Liberia, West Africa in 2012, Mr. Kapel taught high school students in a time when there was great civil unrest. Teaching in his home country would become a pivotal point in his life and one that he would do until moving to the States to realize his own dream through higher education.

“Liberia was a post war country with limited resources for teachers and students. On many occasions I had to improvise for my class because school administration and the department of education were unable to provide the necessary resources and accommodations for students and teachers,” he said, knowing he was making a positive impact on the lives of his students and their futures.

He continued with his teaching until coming to the U.S. in 2012, living first in Pennsylvania before moving to Worcester in 2016 and working in the human services field. In 2017, he came to Quinsigamond Community College to realize a dream of furthering his education and bettering his future.

 “I met many friends at work and my community who gave me a lot of positive feedback about QCC. Based on that, I decided to take on the next chapter in my life to attend college,” he said.

It was during his first visit to QCC that he met Enrollment Counselor Eduardo Rivas.

“I first met Bobby last year in the Admissions office. I helped him with his admissions process and referred him to Gilmarie Vongphakdy (coordinator of the Future Focus program) as a good candidate for the Future Focus program. I also referred him to different offices such as the career office to get prior learning credit (he obtain prior learning for multiple classes) and the mentoring program,” Mr. Rivas said.

“QCC support services helped me reach my academic goals and careers goals. With the many support services available at QCC, I was able to take advantage of each and they help make my learning process easier,” Mr. Kapel said.

One support service that was instrumental for him was QCC’s mentoring program, where he met his mentor Kevin Campbell, the person who he considers his role model.

“I admire Kevin for his service in the Army and also his service in the community. He is always willing and available to help,” he said.

While Mr. Kapel did not qualify to apply for FAFSA due to his current status in the U.S., finances have not stopped Mr. Kapel from pursuing his education. He has been working full-time overnight to help pay for his education and was able to get funding from the Future Focus program for some of his classes.

“I met Bobby last summer, as a referral from Eduardo. From my first meeting with him, I instantly felt his passion for education and his dedication. He works overtime hours to offset the cost of classes, and seeks avenues and other resources available to him,” said Ms. Vongphakdy, adding that he also volunteers his time working with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a free tax preparation program.

For many people, balancing work, school and home life can be extremely difficult, but Mr. Kapel says it is all about time management.

“Time management is the answer to everything. I have to exercise time management because work, school and home life are all important things to consider, knowing how the three are related. Through work, I am able to take care of my financial responsibilities at school and home. I also have some extra time at work to attend to my schoolwork,” he said. “There is always time available to do a little of everything.”

In May, Mr. Kapel graduated from QCC with a General Studies degree. He is headed to Assumption College this fall, where he plans to major in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies. He is also taking a summer course at QCC that he will transfer to Assumption to save money.

“I always want to help others and educating myself is the best way forward. My future goal is to obtain a degree in Human Service and Rehabilitation Studies and pursue my master’s degree in any human service-related field. I want to be able to help others. I find helping others a good way of giving back to my community, my school and country where I am residing,” he said.  “I also want to put aside enough time to volunteer in my community and school. Getting my degree and finding the right job will help me accomplish that.”

He encourages others to try QCC and said it is the best place to begin on your career.

“The hardworking, friendly and knowledgeable faculty and staff are always willing to help any time. Make the move and attend QCC, it will be your best decision ever.”

  • QCC alumna Michaela Prostak offers assistance at QCC's Tutoring Centers.
June, 2020

Earlier this month, QCC’s Summer I session began. Classes are being offered remotely and to support students, the QCC Tutoring Center, which encompasses the General Academic Areas Tutoring Center, Math Center, and Writing Center will also be offering its services remotely. Students have access to one-on-one and group tutoring through Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom, as well as receiving support as needed...

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Earlier this month, QCC’s Summer I session began. Classes are being offered remotely and to support students, the QCC Tutoring Center, which encompasses the General Academic Areas Tutoring Center, Math Center, and Writing Center will also be offering its services remotely. Students have access to one-on-one and group tutoring through Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom, as well as receiving support as needed via email.

The General Academic Areas Tutoring Center is a tutoring and student resource center that provides appointment-based tutoring sessions in a variety of academic subjects that are now being delivered on the Zoom platform.

Students have the option of individual one-on-one tutoring, small group tutoring, or they can choose both options. In individual tutoring students work one-on-one with a tutor to help clarify course content, work through problem areas, and enhance study skills. Group tutoring offers students the option to work with a tutor and up to three classmates. In a group tutoring session, students can learn different approaches to a particular problem, assignment, or course content from their classmates as well as the tutor.

For information on subjects, hours, and how to join a session, students should visit GAA website. For questions, email: gaa [at] qcc.mass.edu.

QCC’s Math Center’s remote tutoring provides math resources in an individual or group remote setting. The goal of tutoring is to help students strengthen math and study skills by reinforcing classroom and online learning. QCC math tutors can assist with exercise sets and examples from course textbooks, with similar questions from Pearson - MyLab Math, McGraw-Hill - Connect, and Cengage - WebAssign homework assignments. Tutors can also help students navigate the course website, textbooks and e-texts, videos, and Blackboard. The Math Center offers both individual and small-group tutoring sessions via Blackboard Collaborate.

Math tutoring sessions are held Monday – Thursday from 10:00 a.m.– 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.– 7:00 p.m., and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. For information on hours and how to join a session, students should visit the Math Center website. For questions, email MathCenter [at] qcc.mass.edu or call  508.854.7523.

QCC’s Writing Center offers individual and small-group tutoring sessions, as well as drop-in workshops, via Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom. The Writing Center is a tutoring and student resource center for writing, as well as those skills integral to the writing process, including reading comprehension, critical thinking, planning, and organization. Students can work with a tutor on their writing, reading, and study skills for any course. For information on hours and how to join a session or workshop, students should visit the Writing Center website. For questions, email WCInfo [at] qcc.mass.edu or call 508.854.4287

Additional Online Tutoring is available through ThinkingStorm. This online tutoring service offers live, on-demand tutoring in a variety of subjects. This free service is available to all current QCC students and can be accessed through the online tutoring link in students’ Blackboard course shell dashboard.

Email TutoringCenters [at] qcc.mass.edu (Tutoring Centers) for general questions.

  • Bringing alpacas to campus has been one of the many annual events put on by the Student Accessibility Services department.
June, 2020

It’s official! After nearly 30 years, QCC’s Office of Disability Services office has officially removed the “dis” out of disability and has a new name, Student Accessibility Services. The name is designed to better represent the College’s focus on student access.

The department has come a long way since its inception in the early 1990s, in the way in which barriers in the...

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It’s official! After nearly 30 years, QCC’s Office of Disability Services office has officially removed the “dis” out of disability and has a new name, Student Accessibility Services. The name is designed to better represent the College’s focus on student access.

The department has come a long way since its inception in the early 1990s, in the way in which barriers in the classroom, physical, and digital environments have adapted to provide access for all students.

“We have not done this alone. We have worked with faculty, staff, and students to think proactively, creatively, and inclusively to ensure that all students have access to the classroom, educational materials, support, and the full student experience. As our office mission has evolved over time, it is imperative that our name best represents the work we do- not a label,” said Kristie Proctor, director of Student Accessibility Services, adding that she is hopeful the transition will be a seamless one.

“The name, ‘Student Accessibility Services' clearly promotes our mission of equal access to higher education for all in the QCC community. We are so excited to start a new chapter of access for QCC,” she added.

For more information, visit Student Accessibility Services.

  • The 2019/20 Women's Soccer Team. Outstanding Student Athlete Award winner Haley Gordan is third from the lower left (#1).
June, 2020

E-Sports       

QCC Athletics new E-gaming team for the League of Legends has gotten underway. The highly competitive, fast paced, action-strategy game is designed for those who crave a hard fought victory. League of Legends is a team-based strategy game where two teams of five powerful champions face off to destroy the other’s base. Nate Mello, learning manager for...

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E-Sports       

QCC Athletics new E-gaming team for the League of Legends has gotten underway. The highly competitive, fast paced, action-strategy game is designed for those who crave a hard fought victory. League of Legends is a team-based strategy game where two teams of five powerful champions face off to destroy the other’s base. Nate Mello, learning manager for Interactive Media Design, as well as a part-time faculty member, is coaching this year’s inaugural team. Practice is currently underway with the goal of participating in exhibition games later this summer.

"We meet on a program called Discord. It is an app that is used in the gaming community. It is integrated well with League of Legends as you can see all the people in the Discord Chat room you are talking to on the screen while playing," said Coach Mello. "We have been meeting Mondays and Wednesday nights for practice, mostly against other people playing the game around the country, but if we get more players that want to play on a regular basis, we will be able to host practices against each other."

There is still time to be a part of the team! Those interested in playing can email Athletic Director Lisa Gurnicklisag [at] qcc.mass.edu. Interested students must be enrolled at least part-time in the Fall semester and full-time (12 credits or more) in the Spring semester. A valid (within a year) physical form and a GPA of 2.0 or higher are required in order to play.

“We plan on playing a couple of exhibition games this summer against Bunker Hill and Mass Bay Community College. Scrimmages in the Fall will be against Bunker Hill, Mass Bay, Northern Essex, Bristol and a few other MA community colleges, as well as other colleges in our NJCAA Region XXI conference,” Ms. Gurnick said.

Summer Zoom Yoga    

Get your zen on this summer with Summer Zoom Yoga! Flow into the summer months beginning on July 2. Sessions will take place every Tuesday and Thursday starting at noon.

If you are interested in getting the Zoom invite, email lisag [at] qcc.mass.edu

Outstanding Student Athlete Award 

QCC’s Women’s Soccer Wyvern, Haley Gordan received the Outstanding Student Athlete Award at the Honors and Awards presentation in May. During Haley’s two years of participation with the QCC Wyvern’s Soccer program she has demonstrated remarkable perseverance and tremendous growth, according to QCC’s Women’s Soccer Coach Josh Cole.

“Haley is someone who will always find a way to push through adversity and does it with a positive attitude,” Coach Cole added.  

 

  • The tornado of 1953 decimated what was to become QCC's Administration building.
  •  The convent at Assumption College (now QCC's Administration building) took the brunt of the F4 Tornado of '53.
  • A memorial to those who lost their lives in the June 9, 1953 tornado is located on QCC's main campus.
  • QCC's Administration Building today.
June, 2020

Early evening on June 9, 1953 an F4 tornado ravaged the City of Worcester and the Central Massachusetts region, killing 94 people and injuring close to 1,300. Worcester was one of the hardest hit areas by the deadly tornado.  During the 90 minutes it was on the ground in Central Massachusetts, it left a swath of destruction in its wake. At the convent at Assumption College (now Quinsigamond Community College...

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Early evening on June 9, 1953 an F4 tornado ravaged the City of Worcester and the Central Massachusetts region, killing 94 people and injuring close to 1,300. Worcester was one of the hardest hit areas by the deadly tornado.  During the 90 minutes it was on the ground in Central Massachusetts, it left a swath of destruction in its wake. At the convent at Assumption College (now Quinsigamond Community College’s Administration Building) the damage was severe, leaving much of the campus in total ruin. According to a report by the Boston Globe, a priest and two nuns were killed and most of the college personnel were injured, some severely.

Today, 67 years later, QCC’s Administration Building bears few remnants of the tornado. A memorial stands on QCC’s main campus as a permanent reminder of those who perished, in what is still considered one of the 25 deadliest tornados in U.S. history.  

  • Uxbridge High School Principal Mike Rubun was named High School Principal of the Year.
June, 2020

Congratulations to Uxbridge High School Principal Mike Rubun, who was named High School Principal of the Year by the Massachusetts School Administrators Association (MSAA). Additionally, Uxbridge High School was named a 2020 Best High School, based on rankings that U.S. News & World Report published in late April, 2020. Over 24,000 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of...

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Congratulations to Uxbridge High School Principal Mike Rubun, who was named High School Principal of the Year by the Massachusetts School Administrators Association (MSAA). Additionally, Uxbridge High School was named a 2020 Best High School, based on rankings that U.S. News & World Report published in late April, 2020. Over 24,000 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were reviewed and 18,000 were ranked.

QCC’s Gateway to College is in partnership with Uxbridge High School and graduates of the Gateway program receive their high school diplomas though a partnership with the high school.

“We are fortunate to be partnered with a school system with such passionate educators,” said QCC’s Gateway to College Director Marci Skillings.

  • Open Educational Resources
  • Learning about OER.
June, 2020

In May and June, the Center for Academic Excellence and the Alden Library sponsored five virtual workshops for QCC faculty and staff on Open Educational Resources (OER). Professor of English and Academic Technology Facilitator Amy Beaudry co-presented with, alternately, Dean of Library Services Cary Morse and Librarian Michael Stevenson.The workshops reached 39...

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In May and June, the Center for Academic Excellence and the Alden Library sponsored five virtual workshops for QCC faculty and staff on Open Educational Resources (OER). Professor of English and Academic Technology Facilitator Amy Beaudry co-presented with, alternately, Dean of Library Services Cary Morse and Librarian Michael Stevenson.The workshops reached 39 QCC participants, with the Alden librarians working as “OER facilitators” – in a sense, matchmakers between faculty and a global library of high quality OER.

QCC’s leadership recognizes OER as part of the College’s commitment to social justice and student success. Given disruptions to our students’ educational and economic lives from the pandemic, access to high quality educational materials at no cost to students is more vital than ever.

“The pandemic has created a situation in which community college students are facing even more financial obstacles than before due to illness, job loss and caregiving responsibilities. OER helps these students access textbooks and other class materials at no cost, thus creating more equitable educational opportunities,” said Ms. Morse.

The Spring/Summer I workshops set the scope of the OER phenomenon following the Massachusetts's OER initiative, which uses UNESCO’s definition (teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with intellectual property licenses that facilitate the free use, adaptation and distribution of resources) in its outreach across the state’s system of public higher education.

In each workshop, library staff navigated participants through Alden Library’s interactive LibGuide, OER for QCC. OER has so bloomed in recent years that the workshop introduced a number of aggregators that classify, review and offer OER. These aggregators are part of OER’s global, student-focused infrastructure of governments, nonprofits and commercial firms. One of the star aggregators is OpenWashington; several of the mega-sites are based at universities, or are stand-alone nonprofit organizations such as OER Commons, to which QCC contributes. 

The joint workshops were part of the broad effort to engage the QCC community in using and creating OER. Keep an eye out for an invitation to “OER DAY” at QCC on August 19. At that time, the library staff will review the State’s plans, offer additional workshops, and share real-world faculty experiences using OER.

“One of the overall goals of the OER initiative at QCC is to increase use of OER resources.  OER offers benefits for students (i.e. lower costs of education) and faculty (i.e. tailor the textbook and other OER materials to your syllabus and specific approach to course content),” Ms. Morse continued.

  • QCC's new digital sign lights up West Boylston Street.
June, 2020

Friday, July 3: The College will be closed to commemorate the July 4 holiday.

Tuesday, July 7: QCC’s next virtual Town Hall will take place at 2:00 p.m. A Zoom meeting link will be sent out prior to the Town Hall meeting, as well as a YouTube livestream link.  As a reminder, in order to avoid external interruptions, please do not share any internal meeting links...

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Friday, July 3: The College will be closed to commemorate the July 4 holiday.

Tuesday, July 7: QCC’s next virtual Town Hall will take place at 2:00 p.m. A Zoom meeting link will be sent out prior to the Town Hall meeting, as well as a YouTube livestream link.  As a reminder, in order to avoid external interruptions, please do not share any internal meeting links publicly or on social media and for security reasons, please be sure you log into all Zoom meetings with your first and last name.

Monday, July 15: Phi Theta Kappa is hosting a Virtual Friends Trivia Night from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Interested in testing your trivia skills? RVSP to phithetakappa [at] qmail.qcc.edu

Tuesday, July 16: Deadline for new student acceptance in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at noon.  For more information email, phithetakappa [at] qmail.qcc.edu

Friday, July 31: Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) will hold a Virtual General Meeting from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A Zoom link will be sent out the day of the meeting. PTK members interested in earning their gold stole must attend two general meeting and do two community services projects.

July Spotlight: Gateway to College Information sessions will be held on Wednesday, July 1 at 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, July 9 at 11:00 a.m. QCC’s Gateway to College is still recruiting for new students to start in Fall 2020. Attend one of two remaining info sessions on Zoom! A link will be sent to you upon registration. To learn more, register on qcc.edu/gateway, or call and leave a message at 508-854-7587.