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June, 2019

  • Quinsigamond Community College recently received recognition as a 2018-2019 College “Hands-Only” CPR Challenge award winner.
June, 2019

Quinsigamond Community College recently received recognition as a 2018-2019 College “Hands-Only” CPR Challenge award winner at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association of Central Massachusetts for training over 800 QCC students, faculty and staff in the “Hands Only” CPR technique. A total of nine schools participated in the challenge this...

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Quinsigamond Community College recently received recognition as a 2018-2019 College “Hands-Only” CPR Challenge award winner at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association of Central Massachusetts for training over 800 QCC students, faculty and staff in the “Hands Only” CPR technique. A total of nine schools participated in the challenge this year, with a total of over 5,400 people becoming trained in critical cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) lifesaving techniques.

In fall 2018, Quinsigamond Community College’s senior nursing students participated in the AHA’s “Hands Only” immediate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training, in addition to “Stop the Bleed.” They taught participants a type of CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths called, “Hands-Only” CPR. This type of CPR is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an out-of-hospital setting and need immediate assistance to help increase the person’s chance for survival. The leading cause of death today is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

“Only about 46 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives,” said Jay Cyr, American Heart Association Board Member in Central Massachusetts and Senior Vice President of Surgical Services at UMass Memorial Medical Center. “Learning ‘Hands-Only’ CPR enables bystanders to take action in an emergency. Quinsigamond Community College’s dedication to training their community saves lives.”

Nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the United States, making it imperative to get CPR in order to increase the chances of survival. According to the AHA, 89 percent of people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene, making these type of training sessions so valuable.

“We are thrilled that we won the award,” said QCC Professor of Nurse Education Susan Johnson. “It was pretty challenging, but we exceeded the amount of students, faculty and staff that we were able to train.”

While not a part of the CPR challenge, the nursing students also offered “Stop the Bleed” training in addition to the “Hands Only” CPR training. A person can bleed to death in less than five minutes, which makes it difficult for emergency medical responders to arrive fast enough to control bleeding and save lives. The “Stop the Bleed” technique teaches participants ways to help a victim until professional assistance arrives on the scene.

“We want to pay it forward and were happy to do this training,” Ms. Johnson said, adding that the goal is to do this type of training again in fall 2019 with a new group of senior nursing students.

  • New QCC Board of Trustee member Alex Zequeira
June, 2019

New Board Member Returns to his ‘Wyvern Roots’

Quinsigamond Community College has announced the appointment of Mr. Alex Zequeira to its Board of Trustees. Current Headmaster of Saint John's High School in Shrewsbury, Mr. Zequeira joins the 10-person board led by Chair Susan Mailman. He will serve as a member of the Audit and Oversight Committee. Mr....

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New Board Member Returns to his ‘Wyvern Roots’

Quinsigamond Community College has announced the appointment of Mr. Alex Zequeira to its Board of Trustees. Current Headmaster of Saint John's High School in Shrewsbury, Mr. Zequeira joins the 10-person board led by Chair Susan Mailman. He will serve as a member of the Audit and Oversight Committee. Mr. Zequeira began his teaching career at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, CT, ironically known as the “Wyverns,” the same mascot as QCC.                                                                                

The college’s mascot, “the Wyvern,” is a mythical, winged dragon that was viewed as the ancient protector of Worcestershire, England. The Wyvern is fierce, loyal, intelligent, strong and resourceful - a symbol for community guardianship as an educator of students who become teachers, healthcare providers, human service, automotive, business, HVAC, insurance, manufacturing technology, engineering, law enforcement, safety and fire personnel, computer science and electronics industry professionals, in addition to being major contributors of the economic well-being of the city through an educated citizenry. As the Wyvern protected Worcestershire, England, QCC protects Worcester.

“Fierce, loyal, intelligent, strong and resourceful are perfect descriptors for Alex. He has dedicated his career to education and to the youth of our communities,” said QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja. “His addition to the board is an incredible asset to QCC and we look forward to his valuable input and expertise in helping to shape our college for the future.”

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be joining the Board at Quinsigamond Community College.  I have seen the transformative power of a community college education both in my own family and in the educational work I have been a part of in Central Massachusetts. QCC is deeply committed to providing an access to opportunity that is so important to every aspect of our community,” Mr. Zequeira said. 

Mr. Zequeira is a graduate of Holy Cross and the Lynch School of Education at Boston College where he earned his Master of Education in Educational Leadership. He recently served as the chair of the Board of Directors of the national NativityMiguel Coalition of Schools; currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University; the Board of the United Way of Central Massachusetts; the Worcester Education Collaborative, and is a Corporator for the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, where he also serves as an advisor to the Nonprofit Support Center.

“I am eager to engage with the college, Dr. Pedraja and his leadership team, and my fellow trustees in ensuring the high quality educational and job training experience that has been a hallmark of a Quinsigamond Community College education will continue, grow, and thrive,” he said.

Mr. Zequeira resides in Worcester with his wife and three children.

 

  • UniBank $1,500 donation to QCC.
June, 2019

UniBank’s recent $1,500 donation to the QCC Foundation Scholarship Fund is just one way in which the bank has supported the college. The bank has been a generous donor to the college, in the past donating to HACE (Hispanics Achieving and Celebrating Excellence) and the QCC Food Pantry and Resource Center.

“Donations such as these have a profound effect on students who may otherwise not be able to...

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UniBank’s recent $1,500 donation to the QCC Foundation Scholarship Fund is just one way in which the bank has supported the college. The bank has been a generous donor to the college, in the past donating to HACE (Hispanics Achieving and Celebrating Excellence) and the QCC Food Pantry and Resource Center.

“Donations such as these have a profound effect on students who may otherwise not be able to attend college,” said QCC’s President Dr. Luis Pedraja. “We thank UniBank for their donation and their continued support of QCC. It’s businesses such as these that are making a positive impact on the ability to educate the workforce of tomorrow.”

  • Chemistry lab support technician Maikeal Gwargious helps a student in Chemistry Professor Dilip Patel's class.
  • Biology lab support technician Thi Tran (center) assist students in Biology Professor Benjamin Benton's lab.
  • Chemistry lab support technician Kirols Mohareb works with student Joe Knight.
  • Recent QCC graduate Richard Smith (center) is one of the Biology lab support technicians.
June, 2019

At QCC all it takes are two simple words – STUDENT SUCCESS. One way in which the college is supporting its students in succeeding is through student lab support technicians. Earlier this year several QCC students became lab support technicians in the college’s biology and chemistry labs thanks to funding from the “Increasing Diversity in STEM” grant award, which the college received...

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At QCC all it takes are two simple words – STUDENT SUCCESS. One way in which the college is supporting its students in succeeding is through student lab support technicians. Earlier this year several QCC students became lab support technicians in the college’s biology and chemistry labs thanks to funding from the “Increasing Diversity in STEM” grant award, which the college received from the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative (MBI) through funding provided by the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD).

These lab support technicians act as assistants to the faculty, helping to extend the reach of a professor by providing assistance to students during lab experiments. The students selected were chosen based on having successfully completed the course(s) themselves and for their ability and propensity to help other students.

“Lab techs are definitely helpful. They help take care of a lot of things and they know how to work everything,” said Professor of Chemistry Dilip Patel, who said all the lab support technicians have taken four semesters of chemistry (General Chemistry I and II and Organic Chemistry I and II).

Biology Professor Benjamin Benton said having lab support assistants enables him to help more students and share his workload, delivering students a peer learning perspective.

“Students feel more comfortable asking a peer a question,” he said.

Three QCC students, Lois Oduro Dompreh, Maikeal Gwargious and Kirols Mohareb help out in the chemistry labs of both Dilip Patel and Associate Professor of Chemistry Hirul Patel. Each of the lab assistants are immigrants from another country who came to the U.S. a few years ago. Mr. Gwargious and Mr. Mohareb are from Egypt and Ms. Dompreh is from Ghana. All three are expected to graduate next spring and plan to transfer to four-year institutions. Mr. Gwargious and Mr. Mohareb hope to be dentists, while Ms. Dompreh’s goal is to become a doctor.

According to Mr. Mohareb, he said the three were interested in being lab support technicians because they felt it would be a great opportunity to help students who may be struggling in chemistry.

“When we help them the first time they then can do it themselves the second time,” he said. “We assist students by helping them in the labs, and by helping them if they have any questions. We give them some tips about the labs that we used in the past. We also show them how to set up equipment.”

Helping students with courses the lab tech assistants have already taken has some dual benefits.

“I just took both organic chemistry courses and it helps to refresh my memory and helps me remember what I’ve learned,” Ms. Dompreh said, adding, “It also broadens my confidence.”

Another key aspect of the program is the camaraderie that the students feel with the lab techs.

“We communicate with the students like we do our own classmates, so they can trust us,” Mr. Mohareb said.

Biology lab support technician Thi Tran, who works in Mr. Benton’s lab, said she has learned a lot by being a lab assistant. A pre-pharmacy student who will be graduating in spring 2020, she plans to transfer to a four-year institution where she wants to major in either biology or biochemistry.

“This is really helpful for my own education. It’s helping to shape my decision and my future career,” she said. “This inspires me. I get to interact with the students and they have a lot of questions, which gets me to think a lot more.”

Biology lab support technician Richard Smith is a spring 2019 graduate in General Studies, Biotechnology Option. He is transferring to UMass Amherst in the fall and plans to major in biology. He said he has found this to be a very beneficial program.

“I like being a lab tech, it’s really fun. I like helping people,” he said, adding, “This is a resource I really could have used when I was a student here.”

Other lab technician assistants in the program included:

  • Maame Amoak-Dankwah – (Biology)
  • Joseph Knight (Biology)
  • Ashley Levy (Biology)
  • Daniel Matisoo (Biology)
  • Layal Hamze (Biology)
  • Nathaniel Wilson (Biology)
  • QCC has renewed its articulation agreement with UMass Lowell for its Computer Science program.
June, 2019

Students who start at Quinsigamond Community College and then transfer in their junior year into certain four-year colleges or universities can save thousands thanks to QCC’s multitude of articulation agreements. These agreements enable community college students to seamlessly transfer as juniors into private and public four-year institutions, as long as all program requirements are met.

Recently the...

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Students who start at Quinsigamond Community College and then transfer in their junior year into certain four-year colleges or universities can save thousands thanks to QCC’s multitude of articulation agreements. These agreements enable community college students to seamlessly transfer as juniors into private and public four-year institutions, as long as all program requirements are met.

Recently the college renewed articulation agreements with UMass Lowell for its Computer Science program and Anna Maria College for its Elementary Education program. Eligible QCC Computer Science associate degree graduates can transfer into UMass Lowell, saving well over $16,000. QCC students who earned a General Studies-Elementary Education associate degree and have met all program requirements can transfer into Anna Maria’s program, saving over $63,000.

“These articulation agreements make it possible for students to attain a bachelor’s degree in a way that is much more affordable. It opens up so many possibilities for students who otherwise may not have been able to continue their education due to financial constraints. By starting at QCC then transferring, students can save thousands as they work toward their four-year degrees,” said QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja.

QCC maintains strong ties with all of Massachusetts' public four-year colleges and universities, and offers the MassTransfer program to help support students as they continue their higher education goals.

MassTransfer is a state-wide network of agreements between the Massachusetts Community Colleges, Massachusetts State Universities, and University of Massachusetts campuses.

For a current list of articulation agreements and programs visit transfer agreements.

  • The Jansson famly are all QCC alumni.
  •  Left:Jarrod Jansson is pinned by his dad Jeffrey Janson. Right: Jarrod Jansson wanted to be a respiratory therapist just like
  • QCC alumni Jeffrey Jansson, recent QCC nursing gradute Lindsey Jansson and QCC nursing alumna Robin Jansson.
June, 2019

QCC alum Jeffrey Jansson knows what the value of a QCC degree means. The 1979 Respiratory Therapy graduate came to QCC by way of Holy Cross.

“I had a bachelor’s degree in French but couldn’t get a job. Half my class couldn’t get jobs,” Mr. Jansson said. “Someone had told me respiratory therapy was a good field and there were plenty of jobs.”

It...

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QCC alum Jeffrey Jansson knows what the value of a QCC degree means. The 1979 Respiratory Therapy graduate came to QCC by way of Holy Cross.

“I had a bachelor’s degree in French but couldn’t get a job. Half my class couldn’t get jobs,” Mr. Jansson said. “Someone had told me respiratory therapy was a good field and there were plenty of jobs.”

It was the impetus he needed to register for QCC’s Respiratory Therapy program and begin taking classes. He did the clinical portion of his degree at Memorial Hospital on Belmont Street in Worcester and was offered a position there after he graduated. He spent the next 40 years at the hospital as a staff Respiratory Therapist B.A. RRT, before retiring this past May. It was at Memorial Hospital that he would meet his future wife, Robin, who was the secretary in the Emergency Department. The two began dating and in 1989 married. Soon they began having a family. According to Mrs. Jansson, during those early childhood years she felt she needed an outlet to give her a bit of a break. Her outlet took on the form of a course at QCC.

“I initially just wanted to take a course and get out of the house so I took a psychology course at QCC and thought ‘this is fabulous,'” she said. “I liked it a lot and next semester took another class.”

As someone who worked in a medical setting for so many years, nursing had been something that greatly interested her, so she made the decision to work toward her nursing degree. For the next 12 years as her three children were growing, Mrs. Jansson took one class a semester, working on completing her prerequisites for QCC’s nursing program.

“While the children were growing I decided I was going to do this and I completed all my prerequisites then slid into the two-year nursing program." Mrs. Jansson said, adding that while she was an older non-traditional student, she never felt she was the “older one” in her classes.

“I felt a lot of support,” she said.

She said she took pride in being a QCC student and that pride was validated when she did her clinicals at Saint Vincent Hospital and UMass Hospital (University Campus).

“The staff at these hospitals would always say they loved the fact that we were QCC students. They felt like we were prepared and felt confident in us,” she said.

In 2009, Mrs. Jansson graduated from the nursing program at the age of 50. Today Mrs. Jansson works as a Pre-Op/PACU RN at Worcester Surgical Center.

“Everyone at QCC worked with me. I was able to take classes in the evening, morning, it was so flexible. They work with your schedule here,” she said. “I felt totally prepared to enter the nursing field."

It’s All in the Family

Healthcare is truly ingrained in the Jansson family. In May the two youngest in the Jansson family, son Jarrod and daughter Lindsey, graduated from QCC with a respiratory therapy associate degree and a nursing associate degree respectively. Older brother Jeff Jr. graduated from the Radiologic Technology program in 2014 with an associate degree. While Jeff Jr. is currently working as a machinist at Saint Gobain, it was his degree from QCC which helped him “get the job,” according to Mrs. Jansson.

While only just graduating, Jarrod has already obtained a job as a respiratory therapist at the UMass Hospital (University Campus) after passing all his licensing requirements. This was the place where he did his clinicals. A particularly poignant moment for the family was during Jarrod’s pinning ceremony when his father was called to the stage to pin his son.

“Jeffrey was passing the torch to Jarrod,” Mrs. Jansson said. “We are as proud as peacocks.”

Mrs. Jansson said her daughter Lindsey plans to attend Worcester State University this fall to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

“When she got out of high school she knew she was going to do nursing and couldn’t do it anywhere but QCC,” Mrs. Jansson said, adding that the affordability, coupled with an education that enables you to be “workforce ready” is a powerful combination that has worked for the entire family.

At the Jansson home, QCC holds a very special place at the dinner table where the conversation is alive with “healthcare speak.”

Mrs. Jansson said she is often asked where to go to attain an education and she always directs everyone to QCC.

“I have many patients who are moms who say they can’t get an education I tell them they can do this. I tell them ‘take your time, go to QCC and take that one class,’” she said.

“Every journey starts with a first step,” Mr. Jansson added.

  • Gateway to College Class of 2019
  • Student speaker Gelianni Torres
  • Gateway to College Grad
  • Director of Gateway to College Marci Skillings
  • Gateway to College 2019 graduates
June, 2019

It all started back in 2013 when Gateway to College held its first graduation for a total of four students. Six years later 30 students received their diplomas in the seventh Gateway to College graduation, held at the Hebert Auditorium on May 30. College greetings were offered by Assistant Vice President for Workforce Readiness and Innovation, Kathy Rentsch, who told the graduates, “...

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It all started back in 2013 when Gateway to College held its first graduation for a total of four students. Six years later 30 students received their diplomas in the seventh Gateway to College graduation, held at the Hebert Auditorium on May 30. College greetings were offered by Assistant Vice President for Workforce Readiness and Innovation, Kathy Rentsch, who told the graduates, “You are the absolute best in what Quinsigamond has to offer in terms of our students. We need more of you here and I hope that you will encourage your friends and family members to take the path you took.”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the auditorium as student speaker Gelianni Torres told of her journey to Gateway to College and what the experience has meant to her. Ms. Torres not only graduated from the Gateway program, she also earned 45 college credits and will be transferring to Worcester State University in the fall to major in biology. Her dream is to complete her bachelor’s degree, go to medical school and become “one of the best surgeons.”

“Once you believe in yourself you become unstoppable,” she said.

During the ceremony nine faculty and staff members were honored with Student Choice Awards. These awards were nominated by students to acknowledge faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond for the students and the Gateway program. This year’s honorees include:

  • QCC Campus Police and Community Resource Officer Catherine “Kate” Dixon
  • Senior Gateway Outreach Counselor Jenna Glazer
  • Faculty member Patricia LaFountaine
  • Faculty member Kathleen O'Connor 
  • Gateway to College staff member Glenda Rodriguez 
  • Director of Disability Services Kristie Proctor
  • Associate Director of Disability Services Terri Rodriguez
  • Director of Gateway to College Marci Skillings
  • Faculty Member Randeen Zanca 

2019 Gateway to College graduates:

  • Kayla Avila*
  • Nathan Basile
  • Maya Bastian
  • Amanda K. Bellino
  • Elliot Matthew Benoit
  • Tyler Max William Carey
  • Joseph A. Carr IV
  • Luis P. Contreras
  • Daniel J. Costa
  • Allissa R. Doud
  • Maxamillion M. Duncan*
  • Owen Alexander Ernst*
  • Matt Fors**
  • Christopher G. Gannon**
  • Xiomara Carleen Garcia Cruz*
  • Jody Lee Gonzalez
  • Tyler J. Grebel
  • Olivia C. Howard**
  • Elizabeth Jeanne Kelley*
  • Hailey L. Krueger*
  • Zoe Rane Kuebler*
  • Savannah Do Carmo Lopes
  • Virginia McKay*
  • Luke Mullaney**
  • Jenitza Kiara Negron*
  • Caitlin Mary Plant*
  • Corey Rose
  • McKenna Marie Stephens
  • Ivy Tartaglia**
  • Gelianni Torres*

*Linda Huddle Award (cumulative college GPA of 3.0+)

**President’s Award (cumulative college GPA of 3.7+)

  • Recent graduate Jentiza Negron with her mentor QCC Campus Police Officer Catherine “Kate” Dixon.
  • From left: Governor Charlie Baker, Lauren Baker, Jenitza Negron and Eliot Tatelman.
June, 2019

For some students, conventional high school isn’t the best way for them to learn. Too often these students drop out of school because they feel overwhelmed with traditional high school and have no place to turn. For those students who get bounced around different foster care homes in their youth, high school can sometimes be even more difficult.  Gateway to College recent graduate Jentiza Negron...

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For some students, conventional high school isn’t the best way for them to learn. Too often these students drop out of school because they feel overwhelmed with traditional high school and have no place to turn. For those students who get bounced around different foster care homes in their youth, high school can sometimes be even more difficult.  Gateway to College recent graduate Jentiza Negron was one such student. As someone who had spent time in numerous foster care homes and different high schools she felt defeated; eventually giving up on high school.

“I had been through foster care and been in different high schools and I just gave up. Then one day I decided I wanted to do more with myself,” she said.

Right before her 19th birthday Ms. Negron attended a Gateway to College information session, applied to the program and was accepted. She has excelled in the program, no small feat as she worked as many as three jobs while attending the program. She acknowledging that it can sometimes be hard juggling work and school, but said it was important for her to get her degree and continue to advance her future.

 “I started here and it’s been an awesome learning experience. It was easier and more convenient. School is fun for me and I enjoy the challenge,” she said.

On May 30, she graduated from the Gateway to College program after three semesters with a GPA of over 3.0. She also earned the Linda Huddle Award, which is awarded to students who earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Currently she is taking summer classes at QCC and plans to work toward her associate degree in Criminal Justice, with the intent of graduating next May. She is considering transferring to Fitchburg State University after she graduates. Her goal is to become a probation officer or probation court specialist for troubled youth. She said she wants to “be a voice that will be heard” for young people.

She credits QCC Campus Police Officer Catherine “Kate” Dixon with her interest in police work and law enforcement.

“Officer Dixon has helped me overcome obstacles and inspired me,” she said. “I know what it’s like to be a youth that no one is watching or who believes in them,” she said, adding that she has also found a tremendous support system in the Gateway staff and faculty.

“Gateway has really changed my life completely,” she continued.

In early May, Ms. Negron attended the Youth Achievement Celebration at Jordan’s Furniture in Reading. The event celebrates youth in foster care who have earned their high school and college degrees, often overcoming innumerable obstacles. At the event she met Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and was even featured in a video about her journey through school.

Senior Gateway Outreach Counselor Jenna Glazer said Ms. Negron is a student who has always understood the value of this type of program and has been an inspiration to other students.

“She puts schooling first and realizes that it’s her ticket to the future. She sets a good example for the other Gateway students,” Ms. Glazer said, noting she is a mentor for incoming students in the “Design Your Life” Lab, where she is a teaching assistant.

Ms. Negron has a bit of advice for other students who are facing life challenges.

“You have to know where you’ve been; where you want to be in life and how to get there.”

To learn more about this innovative program, visit QCC Gateway to College.

  • From left: Zach Berridge and Chris Tousignant
  • The STEM Starter Academy sponsored a visit to Wakefly in March for students to learn about the company and its technologies.
June, 2019

Two talented QCC students who secured internships due to QCC’s Tech Apprentice program reeled in full-time employment with Wakefly, a digital marketing company located in Marlborough. The students were attracted to Wakefly through QCC’s Tech Apprentice program, a partnership between QCC’s Office of Career Services and faculty in the Computer Information Systems (CIS) program. This program prepares...

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Two talented QCC students who secured internships due to QCC’s Tech Apprentice program reeled in full-time employment with Wakefly, a digital marketing company located in Marlborough. The students were attracted to Wakefly through QCC’s Tech Apprentice program, a partnership between QCC’s Office of Career Services and faculty in the Computer Information Systems (CIS) program. This program prepares CIS students to interview for internship positions by bringing together employers from local firms to campus for a “speed interviewing” event. Each student meets with each employer in a timed-interview until all interviews are completed. The employers then follow up and directly contact students who they are interested in pursuing for possible internships.

The Tech Apprentice program has had a strong appeal for Director of Human Resources at Wakefly, Joe Tomaski. His initial interactions with QCC were as an employer participating in Career Services Job Fairs on campus when he was working for a security firm. He said he found many good candidates at the QCC fairs. Once he joined Wakefly, Mr. Tomaski found the Tech Apprentice program was a great fit for identifying students who were seeking careers in web design and other digital marketing activities.

“The students brought portfolios highlighting their work along with their resumes, and explained how they would bring value to Wakefly,” Mr. Tomaski explained. “That impressed me and showed that QCC had prepared them well.”

QCC graduates Zach Berridge and Chris Tousignant started as Tech Apprentice interns at Wakefly and became full-time employees several years ago. Mr. Berridge had a non-traditional pathway into the field of digital design and marketing. He had earned a Bachelor’s degree in counseling at Westfield State and held jobs in a few different career areas before deciding to transition into working with computers. Mr. Tousignant had started his studies in biochemistry at a four-year college in New York state; however, after suffering a life-threatening event in his first year there, he returned home and wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue college at all.  At the time Mr. Tousignant’s brother was attending QCC in the CIS program and encouraged him to register for classes. He did, and found that he was comfortable with both the campus environment and the coursework. Mr. Berridge worked full-time while attending QCC and took most of his classes online, while Mr. Tousignant was able to attend most of his classes on campus.

When asked what made them successful at Wakefly, Mr. Tomaski remarked, “Mr. Tousignant and Mr. Berridge were self-starters who went above and beyond to bring value to Wakefly.” 

Both Mr. Berridge and Mr. Tousignant encourage QCC students to pursue internships to gain practical experience, and suggested students learn about and take advantage of all the resources available at the college. Each alumni said they felt well-prepared to enter their digital marketing careers thanks to the Tech Apprentice program.

“Professors, the GAA tutoring help center, job fairs, the career services office – all were incredibly helpful,” Mr. Tousignant said.

 “Wakefly has been an excellent supporter of QCC, providing resources including student internships, mentors for QCC students and hosting student tours of their office,” said Coordinator of Career Services & Credit for Prior Learning, Joe Whitney, adding, "Our STEM Starter Academy sponsored a visit to Wakefly in March that was well-attended.”

For more information on the Tech Apprentice Program, email jwhitney [at] qcc.mass.edu (Mr. Whitney) or CIS Professor CTrivedi [at] qcc.mass.edu (Charulata Trivedi.)

  • QCC Reproduction Service Supervisor Paul Ledoux
June, 2019

A ready smile, a helping hand and a kind, gentle demeanor are the qualities that best describe Paul Ledoux, the Reproduction Service Supervisor in Quinsigamond Community College’s Print Shop. Mr. Ledoux has become a well-known fixture in the QCC community, working at the college for 19 years since he was 18…over half his life.  Yet, what many people may not know is that Mr. Ledoux is...

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A ready smile, a helping hand and a kind, gentle demeanor are the qualities that best describe Paul Ledoux, the Reproduction Service Supervisor in Quinsigamond Community College’s Print Shop. Mr. Ledoux has become a well-known fixture in the QCC community, working at the college for 19 years since he was 18…over half his life.  Yet, what many people may not know is that Mr. Ledoux is a true child of QCC, having virtually grown up on campus.

His mother is Computer Center Manager Joan Perry and since he was a young boy, he has spent innumerable days in and around the campus.

“My mom worked here in the 80s and as a little kid I did a summer camp in the computer lab,” he said. “I’ve been coming here to QCC my whole life in some capacity.”

While QCC was his second home, he wasn’t sure it would be the place where he saw himself working when he grew up.  In 2000, he graduated from Worcester Technical High School and began working at a BMW car dealership washing cars and working to figure out his next move. It was then that he learned of a position in the print shop at QCC. He applied, went through the interview process and was hired as a press operator in 2001.

Today under Mr. Ledoux’s direction the print shop has evolved into a small scale quick copy center that utilizes some of the latest printing technologies.

“I’m a pretty private person but one of the things I’ve loved about this job is the diversity we get here. I think I was one of the first people here who was heavily tattooed and it seems to make me more approachable to students, faculty and staff,” he said.

Over the years he has developed a great rapport with virtually everyone he encounters and students will often drop by the print shop just to say hello. In his role at the print shop he helps staff and faculty in whatever printing issues they may need and has become one of the biggest evangelists of the college. He is a mentor in QCC’s mentoring program and sits on the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) Planning Committee as well as the Operations Council for the college’s Governance. 

“I love helping people…my mom taught me that skill. The one thing I always try and do is interact with people. In today’s technology-driven atmosphere that sometimes gets lost,” he said.

In 2013 he earned his associate degree in Business Administration Career and has also earned his Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management Certificate. He is working toward his Business Administration Transfer associate degree. His goal is to finish and transfer to Nichols College through the articulation agreement the colleges have with each other.

“I was hired as a press operator when I first got here and our technology has evolved so much. QCC has been my life and I want to stay here,” he said, adding that he’d like to one day see the print shop expand to include student printing projects.

In 2017, Mr. Ledoux’s world turned upside down. While he had just gotten engaged and was going to be married that year, he received news that for many people would have been beyond devastating. He was diagnosed with colon cancer. This was almost a déjà vu for him as his mother had also battled the same disease.

“Whatever you read about colon cancer on WebMD, that’s me. I saw my mom go through this so I knew what it was but I also knew her outcome was good,” he said.

Mr. Ledoux and his fiancée Alexis Sargent, did not let the diagnosis curtail their plans of a wedding that year.  He went through surgery, chemo and radiation treatments in addition to getting married and eventually was deemed to be in remission. Recently at a routine check-up, a new polyp was found. While a biopsy deemed it to be benign, he will be going into surgery to have it removed.

He said he has received support from everyone at QCC, noting that “QCC in some sense is like a family, it’s so much more than just coworkers.”

In fact QCC’s reach even touched his cancer treatment. His surgeon is QCC Foundation President Dr. Linda Maykel’s son.

“There are so many QCC connections. QCC is that community where everyone is welcome. I was welcomed here as a little kid and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.

  • Professor of Engineering & Sciences Dadbeh Bigonahy checks out a Nate Delaney's project.
  • From left: Nathan Delaney, Nolan Pond, Joseph Hallihan, Daniel Boudreau, Matthew Kelley, Frank Dumas, Garrett Cassavant
  • From left: QCC alumnus Jaymes Hendricks (Class of '18) with Frank Dumas.
June, 2019

Eight graduating students of Quinsigamond Community College’s Energy Utility Technology (EUT) program brought energy to campus by sharing their course projects with the college community last month. The project showcase is part of the practicum course in the EUT program run by program Coordinator Professor Sharron Gillies.Through the practicum, students gain hands-on experience at local energy...

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Eight graduating students of Quinsigamond Community College’s Energy Utility Technology (EUT) program brought energy to campus by sharing their course projects with the college community last month. The project showcase is part of the practicum course in the EUT program run by program Coordinator Professor Sharron Gillies.Through the practicum, students gain hands-on experience at local energy companies including National Grid.

Many of the projects demonstrated how different types of energy are produced, highlighting the pros and cons of each. Projects also featured ways of conserving energy and reducing carbon footprints and energy consumption, saving money along with being environmentally friendly.

“The projects were very informative, and demonstrated that the students had a good understanding of their chosen topic,” commented Professor of Engineering & Sciences Dadbeh Bigonahy.

Energy types featured included solar, wind, hydropower, and conversion of kinetic to mechanical energy. One project focused on comparing the attributes of different types of light bulbs that included the amount of light (lumens) produced, the longevity of the bulb, the purchase cost and the cost per hour, and the heat produced as a by-product. It demonstrated why LED light bulbs are the best choice available today.

The QCC faculty and staff who attended asked many detailed questions of the students about their projects and their field experiences. Also in attendance was a former student who is working in the EUT field. All the current students are on track to graduate, and said they had applied for employment with National Grid, as well as other local utility providers.

  • Student speaker Tammy Twomey
  • The 2019 HiSet graduates
  • Chair of the QCC Board of Trustees Susan Mailman speaks at the HiSet Graduation Ceremony.
  • HiSet grads share a laugh.
June, 2019

There are many reasons why people don’t finish high school that are too numerous to list, but what is not too numerous to list are this year’s 20 QCC High School Equivalency (HiSET)/GED graduates. HiSET is offered at QCC’s Healthcare and Workforce Development Center and provides students the opportunity to earn a high school credential, which is recognized as a key to employment opportunities,...

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There are many reasons why people don’t finish high school that are too numerous to list, but what is not too numerous to list are this year’s 20 QCC High School Equivalency (HiSET)/GED graduates. HiSET is offered at QCC’s Healthcare and Workforce Development Center and provides students the opportunity to earn a high school credential, which is recognized as a key to employment opportunities, career advancement, and further education.

On June 10, these men and women persevered through innumerable challenges and obtained their HiSET/GED at a ceremony held at QCC’s Hebert Auditorium. Guest speaker at the event was Chair of the QCC Board of Trustees Susan Mailman.

“Education is a lifelong process. I hope you’ll think about pursuing the next level of education at QCC. What I love about this place is that you are attending school with others who have jobs and families and busy lives and oftentimes problems to tackle, while pursuing their education. It’s inspiring and it’s real,” she told the graduates. “I think each of you made a very commonsense decision to pursue your HSE (high school equivalency).”

Student speaker Tammy Twomey described dropping out of high school at 17 and then trying multiple times to attain her GED, but never being able to follow through for fear of judgment and failure.

“Giving up is not an option and it’s never too late to make a life for yourself. Life is short and it’s what we make of it, she said. “Live life to the fullest, take chances, dream, believe and achieve. Be kind to one another and let’s go out and make a difference in people’s lives.”

The 2019 graduates include:

  • Glendoly Astacio
  • Issabelle Ballard
  • Kellie Chaney
  • Thomas Cyphers
  • Morgan DelRio
  • Erin Ferrari-Oliveras
  • Amanda Frend
  • Josephine Kinyua
  • Saleem Lewis
  • Emily MacIntosh
  • Eva Melendez
  • Chanel Napoli
  • Shakeitha Nemry
  • Alex Zavier Ortiz-Rivera
  • Jacob Roux
  • Leto Seelye
  • Aidan Stockenberg
  • Hana Tang
  • Tulio Tejada
  • Tammy Twomey
  • Ashley Forhan
  • QCC Food Pantry & Resource Center Summer Hours
June, 2019

If you’ve stopped by the QCC Food Pantry & Resource Center recently you might be surprised to find a familiar face when you get there. Phi Theta Kappa alumna Ashley Forhan has taken back the reins of the Food Pantry & Resource Center as the food pantry manager. Ms. Forhan is a 2019 graduate of QCC and currently is attending Lasell College.

“We’re delighted to have...

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If you’ve stopped by the QCC Food Pantry & Resource Center recently you might be surprised to find a familiar face when you get there. Phi Theta Kappa alumna Ashley Forhan has taken back the reins of the Food Pantry & Resource Center as the food pantry manager. Ms. Forhan is a 2019 graduate of QCC and currently is attending Lasell College.

“We’re delighted to have Ashley back in the Food Pantry & Resource Center. She is extremely committed to the mission of the Center and to helping those in the QCC community who need it most,” said PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman.

While the summer tends to be less hectic on campus, the Food Pantry & Resource Center has remained consistently busy. According to Ms. Forhan, donations are always welcomed and appreciated.

New summer hours for the Food Pantry & Resource Center are:

  • Monday: 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday & Friday: Closed

Those who wish to use the Food Pantry & Resource Center must be a current QCC student and show their student identification card. For questions or to make an appointment, call 508.854.7403 or email foodpantry [at] qcc.mass.edu. Visit QCC Food Pantry & Resource Center to learn more.

The Food Pantry & Resource Center is located in the Administration Building, room B63A, on QCC’s main campus.

  • PTK alumni assist current PTK students in the Live & Learn Greenhouse.
June, 2019

QCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) alumni never forget their roots. Earlier this month PTK alumni Mark Hogan, Darren Burley and James Burley, all current students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, stopped by the PTK Live and Learn Greenhouse to discuss ways they could assist with the new full-size greenhouse that is being built on QCC’s main campus. The new...

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QCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) alumni never forget their roots. Earlier this month PTK alumni Mark Hogan, Darren Burley and James Burley, all current students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, stopped by the PTK Live and Learn Greenhouse to discuss ways they could assist with the new full-size greenhouse that is being built on QCC’s main campus. The new greenhouse is anticipated to be three times the size of the current greenhouse.

The PTK alumni are working on ways to optimize space for the new greenhouse for project-based learning and are looking into the best place to position the greenhouse so that it is the most energy efficient. They are also speaking with other colleges that have full-size greenhouses to learn their best practices and techniques.

“We are so thrilled to have Mark, James and Darren help us with the new greenhouse,” said PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman. “Their research and expertise will be invaluable to us as we move forward with this exciting project.”

  • QCC student Brandon Won showcases Fab Lab creations at the TouchTomorrow event.
  • Associate Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology Jacob Longacre demonstrated photonics principles.
  • The NAO robot shows off its dance moves.
June, 2019

QCC students Brandon Won, Joyeuse Uwamahoro, Anthony Le, Alex Reno, along with Associate Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology Jacob Longacre and Professor of Computer Science Hao Loi participated in TouchTomorrow, a science, technology and robotics festival held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

Mr. Won demonstrated and discussed...

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QCC students Brandon Won, Joyeuse Uwamahoro, Anthony Le, Alex Reno, along with Associate Professor of Electronics Engineering Technology Jacob Longacre and Professor of Computer Science Hao Loi participated in TouchTomorrow, a science, technology and robotics festival held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

Mr. Won demonstrated and discussed numerous Fab Lab creations, while Mr. Le demonstrated the NAO (an autonomous, programmable humanoid robot) and Mr. Reno demonstrated how the NAO robot dances.

“I demonstrated photonics principles including stereoscopy and polarization for 3D imaging, and infrared light applications,” Mr. Longacre said.

Mr. Longacre also spent some time taking part in a photonics LEAP facility tour with WPI. The LEAP facility is an AIM Photonics Academy Lab for Education & Application Prototypes and is the second one in the Commonwealth. The facility is a collaboration between AIM Photonics, AIM Academy, QCC, WPI, the Mass Tech Collaborative through the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), and the Department of Defense. It was developed to foster photonics education, research, and workforce development that will meet the needs of the industry now and in the future. 

The family-friendly event offered hands-on activities and demonstrations designed to introduce the younger generation to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and robotics. This is the second year that QCC has participated.

  • QCC Police Officer and Community Resource Officer Catherine “Kate” Dixon
June, 2019

QCC Police Officer and Community Resource Officer Catherine “Kate” Dixon is just that…a valuable resource to the QCC community. She has become a particularly valued resource to Nursing Professor and Public Health Nurse Susan Johnson. Ms. Johnson has been working with Ms. Dixon on coordinating CPR recertification trainings for her nursing students. 

...

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QCC Police Officer and Community Resource Officer Catherine “Kate” Dixon is just that…a valuable resource to the QCC community. She has become a particularly valued resource to Nursing Professor and Public Health Nurse Susan Johnson. Ms. Johnson has been working with Ms. Dixon on coordinating CPR recertification trainings for her nursing students. 

According to Ms. Johnson all nursing students are required to have a current CPR certificate in order to participate and complete their required clinical hours. This is a mandatory requirement of clinical facilities and the nursing program. If their certificate expires during any time while they are in the program, they are detained from attending their clinical experience.  Finding the time to do the recertification as well as the money to pay for the recertification can sometimes be a deterrent for the nursing students.

Through Ms. Johnson’s perseverance and Ms. Dixon’s assistance in training, free CPR renewal classes were recently offered on campus with close to 40 nursing students participating in six sessions. Plans are in the works to do two more recertification trainings for the nursing faculty, which will bring the total of those who have been recertified to almost 60.

“I cannot say enough positive things about Kate, she was incredible. It was clearly evident by the evaluations of all the students. Kate collaborated with me and worked tirelessly over these couple of days, oftentimes without a break in between sessions, to assure that the students received these required trainings,” Ms. Johnson said. “I was in awe of the great rapport she had with students and with the hands on approach to teaching, which made the learning fun.”

Ms. Johnson said she is working to create opportunities for QCC nursing students to improve their lives and the lives of others within the community with the least amount of obstacles, and plans to collaborate more with Ms. Dixon on educational activities for the nursing students.

“Since Kate’s time here, she has always been available and receptive to collaborate or assist me with any health or safety-related activities that I may employ. She has become an excellent resource for our college community,” Ms. Johnson added.

A renewal class takes approximately three hours to complete. Class sizes can range from 12 to 15 people. To learn more email Susan Johnson at sjohnson [at] qcc.mass.edu.

  • Murillo Gomes
  • Take advantage of summer classes and get ahead of the game.
  • Watch your future blossom with an education at QCC.
June, 2019

Monday, July 1: Practical Nursing Pinning Ceremony at 6:00 pm at the Hebert Auditorium.

Thursday, July 4: The college will be closed for the July 4th holiday. 

Monday, July 8: Summer II classes begin. Wednesday, July 10: Last day to add/drop classes

July Spotlight: Tuesday, July 9 – Thursday July 11 :  QCC...

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Monday, July 1: Practical Nursing Pinning Ceremony at 6:00 pm at the Hebert Auditorium.

Thursday, July 4: The college will be closed for the July 4th holiday. 

Monday, July 8: Summer II classes begin. Wednesday, July 10: Last day to add/drop classes

July Spotlight: Tuesday, July 9 – Thursday July 11 :  QCC Police will be offering a 12-hour course, Rape Aggression Defense Class (RAD). Class will take place on the basketball court in the Athletic Center. Please bring a water bottle, wear athletic clothes and do not bring jewelry. If you are under 18, please contact us for a parental consent form. You must attend all three sessions to complete the course. This course is free to the QCC community.

To register, contact Officer Catherine Dixon at cdixon [at] qcc.mass.edu or call 508.854.2803.

Summer Hours are in effect May 27 through August 16. The college will close at noon on Fridays.

  • QCC Wyvern baseball player Zachary May – Second Team All-Region
June, 2019

New Coaches for Sports Teams Added in Fall 2019

This fall there will be some exciting additions to the Wyverns sports teams. QCC Athletics welcomes new Women’s Volleyball Coach Emily Boutilette and Women’s Basketball Coach Andy Kupec (QCC's High School to College Linkages Specialist). For more information, contact either Lisa Gurnick,...

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New Coaches for Sports Teams Added in Fall 2019

This fall there will be some exciting additions to the Wyverns sports teams. QCC Athletics welcomes new Women’s Volleyball Coach Emily Boutilette and Women’s Basketball Coach Andy Kupec (QCC's High School to College Linkages Specialist). For more information, contact either Lisa Gurnick, Director of Athletics & Fitness Center at 508.854.4582 or email lgurnick [at] qcc.mass.edu, or Assistant Manager of Athletics & Fitness Center Josh Cole at 508.854.4317 or email jcole [at] qcc.mass.edu.

NJCAA All-Region XXI Division III Award Winners

Four QCC Baseball Student Athletes received NJCAA, All-Region XXI Division III Awards for their hard work during the 2019 season. The Wyverns finished an impressive third overall this season. Hats off to a great season and congrats to the NJCAA, All-Region XXI Division III award winners. 

  • Misael Guzman – First Team All-Region
  • Zach May – Second Team All-Region
  • Mick Sullivan – Second Team All-Region
  • Paul Wydom – Second Team All-Region

Women’s Basketball Student Athlete Kayla Morrison received the All-Region Honorable Mention Award .

Renew Your Body and Your Mind with a Yoga Session

The Athletics Department will be offering a eight-week Yoga class/session, beginning June 24 – August 15, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:00 p.m. Cost for the four-week session is $80.  Those who are interested can sign-up at the QCC Athletic Center or the Business Office. Any questions, please call the Athletic Office at 508.854.4317.

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June, 2019

On June 10, 2019, The Department of Public Safety welcomed Carl Tirocchi as the Communications Dispatcher I. Carl brings to this position over 25 years of experience. Most recently, he worked as a Security Officer at the RMV for G4S Security Solutions. Carl earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Bryant College/Roger Williams College and a Master’s Degree in...

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On June 10, 2019, The Department of Public Safety welcomed Carl Tirocchi as the Communications Dispatcher I. Carl brings to this position over 25 years of experience. Most recently, he worked as a Security Officer at the RMV for G4S Security Solutions. Carl earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Bryant College/Roger Williams College and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College.

On June 10, 2019, The Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education welcomed Kyla McSweeney as the Director of Early Childhood Career Pathways. Kyla brings to this role over 20 years of experience in Early Childhood Education. Most recently, she worked both as the Director of the Children’s Corner at Newton Wellesley Hospital and as an Adjunct Professor teaching Early Childhood Curriculum at Massachusetts Bay Community College. Kyla earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master of Science Degree from Wheelock College and attained her Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School.

On June 10, 2019, The Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education welcomed Rachel Wallace as the Program Specialist for Early Childhood Career Pathways. Rachel brings to this position seven years of experience. Most recently, she was the Assistant Program Quality Specialist at The Child Care Center, Inc.. Rachel earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Plymouth State University and a Master’s of Education Degree from Salem State University.

On June 10, 2019, Enrollment Management, Student Engagement and Community Connections welcomed Caryn Zelazo as the Student Success Counselor. Caryn brings to this position several years of experience. Most recently, she was an Academic Advisor/Transfer Coordinator at Springfield College. Caryn earned both her Bachelor of Science Degree and her Master’s of Education Degree from Springfield College.

On June 16, 2019 Career Services and Credit for Prior Learning welcomed Joseph Whitney as the Coordinator, Career Services & Credit for Prior Learning (Senior Special Programs Coordinator). Joseph brings to this position over 15 years of experience. Most recently, he was a Career Counselor, Credit for Prior Learning Specialist, Employer Outreach here at Quinsigamond Community College in the Technology Division. Joseph earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business from Saint Martin’s College and a Master of Science Degree in Human Resources from Chapman University.

On June 23, 2019, Advising welcomed Amanda Fregeau as a Student Success Counselor. Amanda brings to this position over 10 years of experience. Most recently, she was an Academic Advisor/Transfer Coordinator at Northern Essex Community College. Amanda earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Westfield State University and her Master of Science Degree from Fitchburg State University.

Please join us in welcoming Carl, Kyla, Rachel,Caryn, Joseph and Amanda into their new roles at QCC.

May, 2019

  • QCC grads proudly show off their degrees.
  • 2019 Commencement
  • QCC students process into the DCU Center.
  • QCC Chair of the Board of Trustees Susan Mailman
  • QCC graduates are ready to take on the future.
  • QCC graduates patiently wait for their names to be called.
  • 2019 Commencement
  • QCC grads are all smiles during commencement.
  • Members of the Class of 2019.
  • QCC's Commencement Ceremony is the culmination of a lot of hard work.
  • QCC graduates listen to the commencement speakers.
May, 2019

Breaking the bonds of poverty through education was the message Quinsigamond Community College’s keynote speaker Worcester Attorney AiVi Nguyen delivered to the college’s 1,543 graduates at its 2019 Commencement ceremony, held at the DCU Center in Worcester on May 23, 2019.  Ms. Nguyen is a partner at Bowditch, a Worcester-based law firm. She became the youngest partner in the firm...

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Breaking the bonds of poverty through education was the message Quinsigamond Community College’s keynote speaker Worcester Attorney AiVi Nguyen delivered to the college’s 1,543 graduates at its 2019 Commencement ceremony, held at the DCU Center in Worcester on May 23, 2019.  Ms. Nguyen is a partner at Bowditch, a Worcester-based law firm. She became the youngest partner in the firm’s history in 2016 at the age of 31.  Ms. Nguyen is the only child of Vietnamese refugees who came to the US without being able to speak English and with no money, no education, and no transferable job skills.

QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja can personally relate to the trials Ms. Nguyen faced. He emigrated from Cuba as a young boy and grew up in a low-income Miami neighborhood. He was the first in his family to attend college; later earning his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He attributes education as a way to achieve equity, and considers it is a basic human right that helps break the bonds of poverty.

“AiVi has dedicated her life to helping others get access to opportunities to help them break the cycle of poverty.  She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Central Massachusetts and the Vice Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for the City of Worcester.  From 2010 until 2016, she was a Trustee of Quinsigamond Community College,” said Dr. Pedraja.

“I grew up on Millbury Street, Great Brook Valley, and Upland Gardens in Worcester - in extreme poverty.  My parents were day laborers and made very little money.  I grew up on welfare, Section 8, free breakfast and lunch at school. We were surrounded by drugs and gang violence for much of my childhood.  My parents always pushed me to do well in school, even though they could not help me.  They taught me that for people like us, the only avenue out of poverty was education - and that I was lucky to even be given the avenue,” Ms. Nguyen said.

She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her juris doctorate from Boston College Law School.

“The only reason I am where I am today, a partner at a prestigious law firm and looked to as a leader in the community, is because I am educated.  I did not inherit a company, or money, or social status.  Had I not pursued an education, the cycle of poverty for my family would not have ended,” she said.

At the commencement ceremony, the college’s annual Trustees’ Citizen’s Award was awarded in absentia to former Trustee, Dr. Matilde Castiel. Dr. Castiel is the Commissioner of Health and Human Services for the City of Worcester and was the founder, Executive Director and Medical Director of the Latin American Health Alliance, a collaboration of diverse community groups dedicated to combating homelessness and drug addiction. She is also the founder of the Hector Reyes House and Casa Reyes, a substance abuse treatment facility and transitional house for Hispanic males in Worcester. Additionally, Dr. Castiel opened Café Reyes, an innovative jobs training program in partnership with QCC, in which residents at Hector Reyes House and Casa Reyes run a Shrewsbury Street restaurant.

“We are happy to recognize Dr. Castiel’s exceptional impact on Quinsigamond Community College, her dedication to our community and her five years of service as a trustee,” said QCC Chair of the Board of Trustees Susan Mailman.

Student greetings were given by QCC Student Government Association President Stephanie Teixeira, who told her classmates that even as the doors close on their time at QCC, other exciting doors and opportunities will open.

“We have now become the conduit to our own success. The possibilities are endless and we have the tools we need to prosper,” she said.

A total of 1,141 degrees and 562 certificates were conferred upon this year’s graduates.

“Enjoy the celebration, the pride in the smiles of your friends and family, and the feeling of accomplishment, but never stop learning.  You are our ambassadors to the world.  It does not escape me that we are sending you out into a world dominated by divisive discourse, inequality, and filled with uncertainty and challenges but I know that you are up to the challenge,” Dr. Pedraja said.  “Continue to believe in yourself and believe in your dreams; be brave and courageous and do not let anyone dissuade you from pursuing your dreams and attaining your goals.  Dare to dream and dream big.”

Visit Commencement 2019 for all the details on QCC's biggest day of the year! 

  • From left: QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy
May, 2019

Quinsigamond Community College President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja has been named to the Economic Development Planning Council. Dr. Pedraja will join a diverse group of members from across the Commonwealth that include leaders in higher education. The Council will be co-chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. The goal of the Council is to provide...

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Quinsigamond Community College President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja has been named to the Economic Development Planning Council. Dr. Pedraja will join a diverse group of members from across the Commonwealth that include leaders in higher education. The Council will be co-chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. The goal of the Council is to provide Governor Charlie Baker with input and oversight of an economic development plan by year’s end.

“Our administration values the unique insight the members of the Economic Development Planning Council will bring under Lt. Governor Polito and Secretary Kennealy’s leadership to continue propelling Massachusetts’ economy forward,” said Governor Baker. “We remain committed to empowering local communities with the tools and funding needed to succeed and I look forward to reviewing the Council’s recommendations.”

Dr. Pedraja, who has already made his presence felt within the Central Massachusetts region since he took the helm of QCC in 2017, said he is honored to be part of the Council.

“Taking part on this Council is such a valuable way to help strengthen our economy and bring a voice to our community. I feel privileged to help bring to light the issues our community faces and work on ways to help bolster our region and the Commonwealth,” Dr. Pedraja said. “At QCC, our programs are aligned with the economic needs of the region. We train our students not only for the jobs of today, but for the global workforce of tomorrow.”

During the coming year the Council plans to hold regional sessions with the public in order to gain information that will assist in crafting a new economic development plan for Governor Baker’s review. 

  • QCC Police Academy cadets
  • Dignataries at the first QCC Police Academy Graduation.
  • QCC’s first graduating class from the college’s police academy salute the American flag.
May, 2019

On May 11, Quinsigamond Community College’s Police Academy for reserve/intermittent police officers made history when 44 cadets (37 men and 7 women), ranging in age from 19-55, graduated from its inaugural program. QCC is the first community college in the Commonwealth to actually run a reserve police academy.

“This is an historic moment for the college and for communities across the state that...

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On May 11, Quinsigamond Community College’s Police Academy for reserve/intermittent police officers made history when 44 cadets (37 men and 7 women), ranging in age from 19-55, graduated from its inaugural program. QCC is the first community college in the Commonwealth to actually run a reserve police academy.

“This is an historic moment for the college and for communities across the state that will benefit from these graduates,” said QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja. “At QCC, we stay abreast of the needs of our communities and work to tailor programs that are aligned with those needs.”

The inaugural commencement included a processional by the Police Pipes and Drums Band of Worcester; greetings from Dr. Pedraja and comments from District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.; Academy Director QCC Police Chief Kevin Ritacco; Program Coordinator QCC Detective Sergeant Joseph Cecchi; and Retired Sergeant Albert “Al” Toney of the Massachusetts State Police.

Graduates of the college’s police academy will now have the opportunity to be hired by municipal police on a part-time/intermittent capacity and will have the same police powers as full-time officers. Already some of the graduating cadets have secured positions in different departments across the Commonwealth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 7% increase in the number of police jobs by 2026. 

“As an accredited academy by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission our Program Coordinator Det. Sgt. Cecchi and his staff made sure these new officers received the best training possible,” said Academy Director, QCC Police Chief Kevin Ritacco, adding, “It’s immensely gratifying to hear that our graduates are already securing employment and becoming police officers.”

To date, graduates have been hired by:

  • Milford Police Department (Auxiliary Officer)
  • Nantucket police (seasonal police officer)
  • Provincetown, MA Police
  • Eastham, MA Police
  • Assumption College Police
  • Worcester State College Police
  • St. Vincent’s Police
  • UMass Lake Ave (public safety/security department)
  • North Shore Community College Police (waiting on conditional offer)

Other graduates are in the process of being hired (background/interview) by:

  • Paxton, MA Police
  • Athol, MA Police
  • Oakham, MA Police
  • Becker College Police
  • Trial Court
  • Orleans, MA Police
  • Aquinnah, MA Police
  • Mount Wachusett Community College Police
  • Fitchburg State College Police

An Academy Orientation Day will be held in early August and the next Police Academy session will begin on September 4. To request an application packet or for additional information, contact QCC’s Center for Workforce Development & Continuing Education at cce [at] qcc.mass.edu or call 508.751.7900.

  • Governor Baker, President Pedraja and Secretary Peyser
May, 2019

QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja began his presidency at Quinsigamond Community College with one distinct goal, to make education accessible for all. To that end he has become embedded in the Worcester community and the region at large, making himself and the college an influential presence within the Commonwealth. Due to the important role that both he and the college play in the local economy...

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QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja began his presidency at Quinsigamond Community College with one distinct goal, to make education accessible for all. To that end he has become embedded in the Worcester community and the region at large, making himself and the college an influential presence within the Commonwealth. Due to the important role that both he and the college play in the local economy and community, Dr. Pedraja has been named one of the 50 most influential people in the Central Massachusetts economy by the Worcester Business Journal (WBJ). This annual distinction is given to members of the community who hold a significant amount of power and wield it in a way to have an outsized role in the community, according to WBJ Editor Brad Kane.

“Making a positive impact for our students, our community and our state is something that we should all strive to do,” Dr. Pedraja said. “Today’s workforce is a global marketplace and we must remain competitive and relevant in order to succeed.”

Dr. Pedraja has been a shining example for the diverse population that make up QCC’s 13,000 student body. As a first generation college student who emigrated from Cuba as a young boy, he shows the student body by example that a better future is attainable through higher education. Recently he was chosen to be a part of the state’s Economic Development Planning Council. The Council is charged with making recommendations to Governor Charlie Baker on ways to improve the economy. Dr. Pedraja serves on boards for United Way of Central Mass., Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University and MassHire Central Region Workforce Board.

He has held many “Pizza with the President” listening sessions with QCC students, and through these meetings has gleaned insightful information that has aided in the development of new programs this fall in criminal justice, media communications and accounting.

Other members of the QCC family have also been named to the WBJ 2019 Power list include QCC Chair of the Board of Trustees Susan Mailman, former trustee and 2019 QCC Commencement keynote speaker Attorney AiVi Nguyen and QCC alumna Amy Lynn Chase, owner of Crompton Collective in Worcester.

“I congratulate my fellow QCC honorees. It is an honor to be part of this prestigious group of community leaders,” Dr. Pedraja added.

  • QCC's new Ceremonial Mace.
  • From left: Jason Butler, Thomas Dorman, Dhalin Lutaaya, Dr. Luis Pedraja, Johanny Polance, and Lee Duerden.
May, 2019

Pomp, circumstance and a special ceremonial mace were on tap at Quinsigamond Community College’s 54th Commencement.  QCC’s new ceremonial mace was the product of a collaboration of students, faculty and a retired Worcester State University professor.

QCC recent graduate Andrew Paquette made the elaborate gold and silver headpiece that features an insignia of the college....

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Pomp, circumstance and a special ceremonial mace were on tap at Quinsigamond Community College’s 54th Commencement.  QCC’s new ceremonial mace was the product of a collaboration of students, faculty and a retired Worcester State University professor.

QCC recent graduate Andrew Paquette made the elaborate gold and silver headpiece that features an insignia of the college.

“Andrew graduated this year with a GPA of 3.8. He works as an engineering technician and is an accomplished CNC programmer,” said Lee Duerden, Assistant Professor of Manufacturing Technology/Coordinator of the Manufacturing Technology Program. “Mostafa Sefiyaoui made the counter weight. Mostafa is one of our lab managers for this semester.”

According to Mr. Duerden, Dr. Gus Luparelli, Retired Emeritus Professor at Worcester State University made the staff that holds the headpiece. An hour before the ceremony Mr. Duerden assembled the mace and presented it to QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

“It all came together beautifully proving that the Just in Time (JIT) Manufacturing works,” he said.

JIT manufacturing is a type of methodology designed to reduce times within a production system and is one of the manufacturing techniques taught at QCC. To learn more about QCC’s manufacturing programs, visit QCC Manufacturing.

  • QCC Distinguished Service Award recipients
  • The Hebert Auditorium was filled for this year's Honors and Awards Ceremony.
  • QCC veterans are honored.
  • PTK Adviser Bonnie Coleman gives a hug to PTK graduate Gina Ilas.
  • Professor of Psychology Valarie Clemente shares a laugh with students.
May, 2019

Over 300 people packed the Hebert Auditorium on May 15 to celebrate some of Quinsigamond Community College’s best and brightest students at the college’s annual Honors and Awards Ceremony. QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja congratulated the students who were being honored, noting that oftentimes community college students are overcoming many obstacles such as working jobs while going to...

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Over 300 people packed the Hebert Auditorium on May 15 to celebrate some of Quinsigamond Community College’s best and brightest students at the college’s annual Honors and Awards Ceremony. QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja congratulated the students who were being honored, noting that oftentimes community college students are overcoming many obstacles such as working jobs while going to school, to sometimes even dealing with homelessness or food insecurities. These are the students who have worked to persevere and who have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of knowledge and excelled.

“We’re here to honor the best of the best,” he said. “To me community college students are always the best. They’re students who are dedicated, committed, smart and who are exemplary.”

Memorial Awards

Jean Smelewicz Award for Computer Information Systems: Story Duvall

Francis X. Gardner Psychology Achievement Award: Katherine Berry

Outstanding Student Awards

The 2019 Outstanding Female Student Athlete: Vanessa Hanger

The 2019 Outstanding Male Student Athlete: Matt Ambrosino

The 2019 Wyvern Award: Darcie Peters

The 2019 James H. Harrington Outstanding Student Citizen: Helen Hatzopoulos

The 2019 Outstanding Student Leader Award: Katherine Berry

Commonwealth Honors Scholars:

  • Spencer Bodreau
  • Emily Bouchard
  • Samuel Brown
  • Brianna Canavan
  • Donald (Thomas) Coley
  • Chloe Current
  • Samantha Frost
  • Vanessa Hanger
  • Noelle Hemdal
  • Lupia Marchezi
  • Emma O’Brien
  • Jamilex Rivas
  • Philip Saal
  • Santana Wright

2019 Phi Theta Kappa Graduates:

  • Perla Antoine Abboud
  • Adesina Adeoluwa Adegoke
  • Deema Ali Hussien Al Obaidi
  • Douglas Maxwell Alward
  • Georgina Amoah-Dankwah
  • Maame Oforiwaa Amoah-Dankwah
  • Leandro Augusto Araujo
  • Eunice Asare
  • Precious Veronica Baba
  • Stormy S. Bailey
  • Shaunna Michelle Baillargeon
  • Kayla Marie Bardell
  • Shayne Michael Barton
  • Marissa Stephanie Batista
  • William Edward Bennett, III
  • Melissa Ann Benson
  • Katherine Anne Berry
  • Mariusz Bezak
  • Christopher Clark Billings
  • Jamie Lee Blanchette
  • Melissa A. Blanchette
  • Mark Harold Blease
  • Isaac Antwi Boasiako
  • Hulda Elia Boateng
  • Nicole Lee Bodinizzo
  • Spencer Elizabeth Bodreau
  • John Gilbert Boisvert, Jr.
  • John Paul Bollus, Jr.
  • Carli Yvonne Boudreau
  • Jennifer Lee Brevik
  • John Brizuela
  • Farhiya Burale
  • James Elliott Burley
  • Jason Z. Butler
  • Giovanni D. Caban
  • Tatyana Campbell
  • Daniel Sean Carroll
  • Alannah Ann Casello
  • Jaymely Castillo
  • Stephanie Arlette Castillo
  • Regina Chaakum
  • Gary Allen Charron, Jr.
  • Stevie Lee Cheschi
  • Jessica Maye Chianese
  • Amanda Marie Childs
  • Melissa Allison Conchieri
  • Robert W. Conn
  • Darius Alfred Corcoran
  • Chloe Maria Current
  • Ashley Christine Daring
  • Annemarie Laura Darling
  • Lindsey Amber Davieau
  • Ana Paula Ferreira Decarvalho
  • Kristi Anne DeYoung
  • Shana L. Dickieson
  • Kayla Rose Dombrowski
  • Luke Patrick Donoghue
  • Mohamad Salim El-Rifai
  • Keyla Marie Encarnacion
  • Peter Atef Erian
  • Inna Esterkina
  • Timothy Charles Farrar
  • Alexandra Catherine Faucher
  • Charles Fordjour
  • Ashley Elizabeth Forhan
  • Olivia Madison Fraser
  • Madison Rita Gallagher-Gould
  • Jill-Anne Godbout
  • Jessica Jean Goyer
  • Thomas B. Graham
  • Amari Monique Greggs
  • Patrick Grubert
  • Layal Hamze
  • Vanessa Anne Hanger
  • Helen Hatzopoulos
  • Noelle Marie Hemdal
  • Alexandra Carolyn Hernandez
  • Nicole M. Hicks
  • Michael Joseph Hinkley
  • William Lee Hogan
  • Tiana Marie Holbrook Williams
  • Wendy Lorne Holup
  • David Scott Houbre, Jr.
  • Angela Marie Hurd
  • Trendafile Ibrahimi
  • Gina Ilas
  • Sarah Osamah Ismael
  • Shawn C. Jackson
  • Kevin Lyle Johns
  • Cory Keith
  • Lileth Kentar
  • Gwendolyn Mary Kerrigan
  • Charles Edward Ketter, Jr.
  • Riemaan Khaled
  • Yuliana King
  • Joseph Richard Knight
  • Monika Kolibaba
  • Fodee Kromah
  • Zoe Gabrielle Krouner
  • Joshua Francis Lachapelle
  • Cindy Laferriere
  • Cam Tu Le
  • Jacqueline Hoang Lee
  • Andrew Rheal Leger
  • Andrew Taylor Lochner
  • Lori Beth Loftus
  • Reneasia Shawasia Love
  • Matthew Thomas Lucas
  • Adam A. Maarij
  • Katja E. Sunderman-MacKenzie
  • Jessica Michelle Male
  • Cori Anne Malmquist
  • Laurence Ruth Mangho Yimeli
  • Heather Lee Manning
  • Lupia Marchezi
  • Jacob Michael Marshall
  • Maria Concetta Martin
  • Rama Massoud
  • Daniel J. Matisoo
  • Tashena Matthew
  • James N. Mbugua
  • Cheri-Lee McDonald
  • Stephanie Amy McKinney
  • Nelly Medina
  • Mariam Mohammed
  • Nelson Josue Montesinos
  • Maryanne Mosiejczuk
  • Jonathan Mugford
  • Shanna Christy Lora Mullens
  • Hannah Mungai
  • Robin Ann Myrick
  • Stephen John Natale
  • Samuel Eric Nessenthaler
  • Katherine Elizabeth Nordborg
  • Juliana Norton
  • Connor James Nowlan
  • Jonhy Abel Nunez
  • Kuuku Nyann
  • Emma Dianne O’Brien
  • Jennifer A. O’Connor
  • Wayner Oliveira
  • Maryanne Wesonga Ouma
  • Tavis Adrien Paquette
  • Laurie Crystal Parmelee
  • Jonish K. Patel
  • Katerina Pela
  • Alexandra Rose Penny
  • Kasey A. Penny
  • Jacqueline M. Pereira
  • Darcie J. Peters
  • Steven Thanh Phan
  • Briana Joy Picard
  • Cristina S.D. Picozzi
  • Keira Jaide Potvin
  • Natasha Brittany Alexis Prokopowich
  • Joseph Pryor, Jr.
  • Jamilex Rivas
  • Simone Oliveira Rodriguez
  • Megan Collette Romero
  • Monica L. Rowe
  • Lori Ann Rufino-Rutberg
  • Philip Patrick Henry Saal
  • Rosa Maria Torres-Salas
  • Julia Saldanha
  • Karlie Sanford
  • Jacqueline Orieta Santram
  • Maximus Fernandes Seale
  • Stacey Shaw
  • Joseph M. Silk
  • Keila P. Silva
  • Vitor Almeida Silva
  • Miranda Smith
  • Richard W. Smith
  • Sayana Shariel Sobolewski
  • Maria Kathleen Soja
  • James Arthur Spera
  • Mary Ellen Sylvester
  • Michelle Symonds
  • Sydney Rose Szymanski
  • Rachel Anne Taylor
  • Stephanie Marie Teixeira
  • Nicholas James Tisdell
  • Leif N. Torres
  • Phuong D. Tran
  • Lindsay Marie Tucker
  • Jay Michael Turner
  • Hannah Paige Villeneuve
  • Cassidy Walsh
  • Karen Lynne Whitmarsh
  • Cody J. Willman
  • Keith Brian Wilson
  • SangYun Won
  • Hani Nedal Younis
  • Richard Michael Zellmer, Sr.
  • Haoyu Zhao

Engineering Student Distinction Awards:

  • Perla Antoine Abboud
  • Ahmad Mohamed Ali
  • Joseph Antas
  • Mark Harold Blease
  • Matheus Ferreira de Almeida
  • Mohamad Salim El-Rifai
  • Christopher McCabe
  • Zachary John Garnes
  • Taher Abdulhusein Jafferji 
  • Jonathan Chung Vu
  • Matthew Robert Brennan
  • Steven Thanh Phan
  • Layal Hamze
  • Cam Tu Le
  • Nicole Bodinizzo
  • Donald Coley
  • Farhiya Burale
  • David Houbre
  • Jacob Michael Marshall
  • David Roach
  • Kevin Pham
  • Steve Agyei Ofousu-Ampofo
  • Shayne Barton
  • Patrick Grubert
  • Andrew Lochner
  • James Ndungu Mbugua
  • Stephen Natale
  • Ashkan Hossieni

Engineering Biomedical Engineering Student Distinction:

  • Matthew Robert Brennan
  • Steven Thanh Phan
  • Dawn Klisiewicz
  • Layal Hamze

Distinguished Service Awards:

  • Benjamin Aryeh
  • Chloe Current
  • Vanessa Hanger
  • Helen Hatzopoulos
  • Sofia Hoda
  • Reneasia Love
  • Stephanie Teixeira

2019 Psi Beta Graduates:  

  • Benjamin Aryeh
  • Eunice Asare
  • Katherine Berry
  • Jennifer Brevik
  • Chloe Current
  • Tracy Donais
  • Sophia Farnsworth
  • Jill-Anne Godbout
  • Amari Greggs
  • Rayssa Guimaraes
  • Kristina Hallenbrook
  • Vanessa Hanger
  • Noelle Hemdal
  • Wendy Kelley
  • Ellie LaPan
  • Adam Maarij
  • Jessica Male
  • Cori  Malmquist
  • Zailynett Naranjo
  • Jennifer O’Connor
  • Carmen Ortiz
  • Kayla Perdomenico
  • Darcie Peters
  • Jamilex Rivas
  • Victoria Schultz
  • Vitor Silva
  • Stephanie Teixeira
  • Karen Whitmarsh

Special Recognition Awards:

  • Casey Collins
  • Vanessa Hanger
  • Helen Hatzopoulos
  • Grit Jana
  • Reneasia Love
  • Lupia Marchezi
  • Tashena Matthew
  • Nelly Medina
  • Yasmine Museme
  • Natasha Prokopwich
  • Philip Saal
  • Patrick Songo

Departmental Awards:

Automotive Technology - Karen Martier
Biology - Daniel Matisoo
Biomedical Engineering - Layal Hamze
Business Career - Sharon Louise Hayes
Business Career Administrative Professional - Jennifer Lopez
Business Transfer - Tatyana Campbell
Chemistry - Deema Ali-Hussien Al Obaidi
Computer Information Systems -  Roni Daabool
Computer Science - Nelson Montesinos Guerrero
Electronics Engineering Technology (Mechatronics Option) - Hunter Boudreau
Engineering -  Perla Antoine Abboud
Environmental Science -  SangYun (Brandon) Won
History - Shawn Patrick Day
Interactive Media Design - Brian Jeffrey Gatto
Liberal Arts - Mariam Jasim Mohammed
Mathematics - Cam Tu Le
Manufacturing Technology - Andrew Paquette
Natural Sciences - Christopher Gannon
Natural Sciences - Richard Smith
Physics - Ashkan Hossieni
Pre-Pharmacy - Esthefanhy Ferreira-Reis 
Public Health Administration - Jatnna Perez
Public Health Administration - Laurence Ruth Mangho Yimeli
Respiratory Care - Megan Collette Romero
Sociology - Ashwaq Mohamed Burale

Student Leadership Academy Graduates:

  • Benjamin Aryeh
  • George Barakilis
  • Mohamed Boweden
  • Mustafa Boweden
  • Bright Bremang
  • Kevin Bui
  • Marlon Cobos
  • Murthada Duffaie
  • Brooke Fancy
  • Dean Fisher
  • Richlue Forndia
  • Anita Griffin
  • Jorgo Gushi
  • Jah’maal Memnon
  • Claude Niyonzima
  • Darcie Peters
  • Alexander Sandberg
  • Alferid Hussin Shifa
  • Patrick Songo
  • Nathan Tran

Veterans Graduates:

  • Sergei Albert
  • Keith Anderson
  • Christopher Billings
  • David Berthiaume
  • Mark Blease
  • Giovanni Caban
  • Ana Paula Ferreira Decarvolho
  • Kevin Johns
  • Charlene Van Cott
  • Richard Zellmer
  • William Bennett III
  • Zachary Berquist
  • Thomas Bolduc
  • Ethan Caless
  • Gary Charron
  • Anael Fernandez Quinones
  • Richard Marinelli
  • Benjamin Lacaire
  • James Baarda
  • Cathy Evans
  • Alexandria Buono
  • Gateway to College student Ginny McKay
May, 2019

Gateway to College holds a very special place in the heart of Ginny McKay. The Gateway to College program has been so life-changing for her that she felt the need to give back…and give back she did! Ms. McKay is currently running a donation fundraiser through her Facebook page for QCC’s Gateway to College program that has already raised over $2,300, well over the $2,000 goal she had set...

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Gateway to College holds a very special place in the heart of Ginny McKay. The Gateway to College program has been so life-changing for her that she felt the need to give back…and give back she did! Ms. McKay is currently running a donation fundraiser through her Facebook page for QCC’s Gateway to College program that has already raised over $2,300, well over the $2,000 goal she had set.

“Gateway is such a great program. The traditional high school route is not always the best way for kids to learn,” she said.

Ms. McKay’s story, like many in the Gateway to College program, is one of perseverance and triumph. Ms. McKay began her life in Seoul, Korea where she was adopted by her parents as a newborn and brought back to York, Maine where she lived for the first 14 years of her life, before moving to Stow, MA. She said the lack of diversity in the towns she lived in made it difficult to fit in and be her authentic self. In the middle of her sophomore year in high school, the pressure became too much and she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She left school for two months to deal with things, coming back to her high school only to find that she felt she did not belong there.

“I heard a girl in the school library talking about the Gateway to College program and I did my own research and went to an information session. It sparked hope in my life hearing other students’ stories and struggles that I could relate to,” she said.

Ms. McKay did not get into Gateway to College the first semester she applied; however, she did get into the college’s Attend College Early (ACE) Program. The program allowed her to attend college while simultaneously working to complete her high school graduation requirements.

“I felt a lot more comfortable at QCC. There was so much more diversity and everyone was so nice,” she said. “I reapplied for the Gateway to College program in spring 2018 and everything just completely changed for me. The staff was so encouraging and willing to help. They support you through everything. This is such a nice way to transition to college.”

The Gateway to College program is designed to assist students (16-20) who have dropped out of high school or who may not graduate. Through the program, students can obtain their high school diploma and earn college credits all at the same time. QCC's Gateway Program is part of a national network that includes 35 programs in 20 states.

“The Gateway Program is designed to be a very personal experience for students; we have three full time staff members for about 50 students, so each student is given a lot of individual attention. We also have small classes and instructors who are very aware of the struggles our students have,” said Senior Gateway Outreach Counselor Jenna Glazer. “We all work together to support students; staff, faculty, other students and parents. We’re all in it for the same reason.”

Ms. McKay said the program helped to give her the confidence she needed to be her “true self.” She said she has now finished high school earlier than she would have with a much higher grade point average than she when she came into the program. In fact, she became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and for the last two semesters has been working as a tutor at the Writing Center.

“Gateway to College is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. My whole experience at QCC has been nothing but good,” she said. “It’s hard to explain how much it has meant to me. I wouldn’t have gotten through any of this without the unconditional support of my family, friends and the staff at Gateway.”

QCC’s Director of Gateway to College Marci Skillings and Ms. Glazer both noted the confidence that Ms. McKay now demonstrates.

“Ginny really came out of her shell while she was in the program. She was very reserved at first and now she is much more comfortable with both staff, faculty and students,” Ms. Glazer said.

The future is bright for Ms. McKay. She is already that much closer to obtaining her associate degree in Psychology from QCC thanks to the Gateway to College program.

“In a year I will be graduating from QCC with my associate degree and from there I want to transfer and finish my bachelor’s degree. I really want to help people and I’m thinking I’d like to do social work or be a school counselor,” she said.

Ms. Skillings said she hopes that through Ms. McKay’s story people will recognize that this type of program can change someone's life.

“We are a place to give someone a second chance. Also, many students come to us for different reasons and we are here for anyone, whatever the reason. We want to help students get the education and support they need to show themselves and others what they are capable of,” she said.

Visit QCC’s Gateway to College Program to learn more.

  • QCC graduate Vanessa Hanger and QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja
May, 2019

The word “shine” is the perfect word to describe Quinsigamond Community College student Vanessa Hanger, so it comes as no surprise that she was recognized at the State House on May 3, by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, members of the Legislature and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, as a “29 Who Shine” recipient at the 9th Annual Awards Ceremony. A...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Surgical Technology graduates
  • Surgical Technology graduate is all smiles during her pinning.
  • Pinning is an honored tradition at QCC.
  • QCC's 2019 Nurse graduates
  • Each QCC nursing student received a lamp, which represents one of the most celebrated nurses in history, Florence Nightingale.
  • New QCC nursing grads
  • The excitement shows on the face of this newest nursing graduate.
  • Dean of the School of Healthcare Pat Schmohl was front and center at the nursing graduation.
  • QCC's 2019 dental hygiene and dental assisting graduates
  • Dental hygiene and dental assistants state their oath.
  • Excitement abounds for dental hygiene and assisting grads.
  • The 2019 radiologic technology graduates.
  • A radiologic technology is overcome by emotion.
  • A radiologic technology graduate receives her pin.
  • QCC radiologic technology grads stand poised and ready for their future.
  • Respiratory care graduates from the class of 2019.
  • Respiratory care grad Megan Romero with her children (L) Professor of Respiratory Care Karen Kaletski Dufault with a recent grad
May, 2019

Quinsigamond Community College’s recent healthcare graduates are poised for a bright future. According to an article in ExploreHealthCareers.org, healthcare job opportunities in 2016 were growing on average of 35,000 new jobs per month and that trend is continuing as the “baby boomer” generation ages out.

The college recently held its annual pinning ceremonies for graduates of the Nursing...

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Quinsigamond Community College’s recent healthcare graduates are poised for a bright future. According to an article in ExploreHealthCareers.org, healthcare job opportunities in 2016 were growing on average of 35,000 new jobs per month and that trend is continuing as the “baby boomer” generation ages out.

The college recently held its annual pinning ceremonies for graduates of the Nursing programs, Surgical Technology Program, Radiologic Technology Program, Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting and Respiratory Care Program. Pinning ceremonies are a time-honored tradition dating back to the 1800s. Each program held its own unique ceremony to commemorate the graduates and welcome them into their chosen professions.

Visit the Wyvern Guardian next month to see more pinning photos! 

  • Assistant Professor Lee Duerden’s quality class
May, 2019

Late last month the students in Assistant Professor Lee Duerden’s quality class were charged with doing a Kaizen (“a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency”) project, in order to demonstrate that they have learned the basics of LEAN manufacturing and the 5S system. LEAN manufacturing focuses on minimizing waste, while...

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Late last month the students in Assistant Professor Lee Duerden’s quality class were charged with doing a Kaizen (“a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency”) project, in order to demonstrate that they have learned the basics of LEAN manufacturing and the 5S system. LEAN manufacturing focuses on minimizing waste, while maximizing productivity, and the 5S system stands for:

  • Sort
  • Set In Order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

The students completed their projects at home then had the opportunity to present their projects in front of industry experts in the LEAN process from AIS, a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating located in Leominster.

“I personally think that the presentations on Lean were very interesting. I was very impressed by how they incorporated in their presentations the idea of Kaizen in everyday life. I also think they did an excellent job with the format and time,” said AIS Human Resources Manager Erika Kunhardt.

Students showed before and after images of what they worked on with a detailed explanation on how they were able to make efficient changes.

“The projects were perfectly in-line with our curriculum. They were well laid out, they were executed very well,” Mr. Duerden said.