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February, 2019

  • Carol King, Julio Zayas, Staisha Chavis and David McGrath
February, 2019

A recent partnership between the Worcester County House of Correction (WCHOC) and Quinsigamond Community College is gaining some traction. The college has become part of a program to deliver college readiness courses in mathematics and English to the temporary residents of WCHOC who will soon exit. The program is being funded by the WCHOC through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA...

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A recent partnership between the Worcester County House of Correction (WCHOC) and Quinsigamond Community College is gaining some traction. The college has become part of a program to deliver college readiness courses in mathematics and English to the temporary residents of WCHOC who will soon exit. The program is being funded by the WCHOC through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) Adult Education Services.

According to QCC’s Director of College and Career Pathways, Carol King, QCC has worked for over a year on developing a stronger partnership with WCHOC.  The college explored a number of programming options with the WCHOC and ultimately was funded to provide college readiness in English and math. The intent with this specific program is to develop a pipeline of credit students into the Future Focus Program. 

“Over the last several years, Gilmarie Vongphakdy, QCC’s Future Focus Program Coordinator, has been working with WCHOC and recruiting students for the Future Focus Program,” Ms. King said. Future Focus is an Adult Basic Education Transition to Community College initiative for adult learners who have participated in and/or completed high school equivalency (e.g., GED or HiSET preparation) or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes.

One of the first and biggest challenges that faced the staff of the new WCHOC program was developing a program that would provide maximum benefit to a student population with different and often changing exit dates.  There is no way to guarantee that a student would be available to complete 24 weeks of classes. After much discussion and research, the staff decided that a college-readiness program delivering mathematics and English consecutively, rather than concurrently, would better suit the WCHOC students. 

“In many ways, this math and English college readiness program mirrors other, similar efforts already underway at QCC,” Ms. King said, adding that those who complete these classes will take the QMAT (QCC’s mathematics placement testing) and Accuplacer, and are expected to place at college level, or closer than they would have without the additional readiness classes.

The program, which is managed by Julio Zayas under the leadership of Ms. King, began in January and is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 24 weeks – 12 weeks for mathematics and 12 weeks for English. The class, which can have a maximum of 20 students, began with 17 participants and currently has 14 participants. Students have left due to early releases or transfers.Courses are taught by instructors David McGrath (mathematics) and Staisha Chavis (English). 

Program Manager Julio Zayas, said the program has been very well-received by the students, who currently are in the program’s math segment. They are interested in and engaged with the curriculum, class materials, and instructional staff.

“College readiness is our goal,” Mr. Zayas said. “These students deserve a second opportunity for education and they are doing very well.”

Although the WCHOC program currently ends in June, the hope is that it will be continued. “It’s going well so far,” Ms. King said, adding, “If WCHOC is fully funded next year, we believe this program will be renewed.”

  • QCC paramedic students from left: Maria Soja, Jay Kersting, Brian Hatch and Ioanis Pintzopoulus
  • QCC paramedic student Ioanis Pintzopoulus
  • QCC paramedic students Brian Hatch & Maria Soja
February, 2019

Encountering a firefighter or paramedic on the job is something most of us hope we never have to face; however, when an emergency arises, these are the first people we want to see.  At Quinsigamond Community College, no one knows that better than the instructors in QCC’s Paramedic Technology associate degree program. These industry experts have trained many of the paramedics that serve in today’s...

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Encountering a firefighter or paramedic on the job is something most of us hope we never have to face; however, when an emergency arises, these are the first people we want to see.  At Quinsigamond Community College, no one knows that better than the instructors in QCC’s Paramedic Technology associate degree program. These industry experts have trained many of the paramedics that serve in today’s firehouses across Central Massachusetts.

Many of QCC’s paramedic students are firefighters within the region who have chosen to advance their skillset. QCC’s Program Coordinator of the Emergency Medical Services Program, Cheryl Finn said approximately 75 percent of the students in her current classes are firefighters.

Newly appointed Northborough firefighter and paramedic student Brian Hatch attended QCC right from high school, earning his Emergency Medical Services (EMT) certificate before deciding to continue at the college for his associate degree in Paramedic Technology

“Students must be EMTs before they can take the paramedics course,” Ms. Finn said.  “Students are generally in their 20s, however, we do have students in their 30s and 40s.”

QCC paramedic student Jonathan “Jay” Kersting, a newly appointed full-time firefighter in Orange had previously attended QCC, earning a degree in criminal justice before eventually returning back to pursue his Paramedic Technology degree at the college.  

Northborough firefighter and QCC student Ioanis Pintzopoulus said he had heard a lot about the college’s paramedic program before attending.

 “I knew a lot of people who came here to Quinsigamond. I worked for Community EMS and Patriot (ambulance services) and every time paramedic school came up, QCC was mentioned,” he said.

Paramedic student Maria Soja, a firefighter on the Auburn Fire Department, was already familiar with QCC, having obtained other degrees from the college.

EMS (Emergency Medical Services) tends to be a small world and a lot of the firefighters I come in contact with, a good majority of them have come to QCC,” Soja said.

QCC’s Paramedic Technology program combines academics with the opportunity to deliver optimum patient care at several clinical hospital sites, using a preceptor approach. Clinical rotations occur within a variety of hospital departments( Intensive/Critical Care Unit, Emergency Department, Anesthesiology (Operating Room), Pediatric Emergency Department, Emergency Mental Health, Labor and Delivery, and other departments as needed). The final component of the program is the paramedic field practicum, which provides students with an opportunity to utilize and refine the skills and knowledge they have gained.

Unlike many other programs, according to many of the students, what distinguished QCC’s Paramedic program was its delivery, focusing on academics before clinical, and the fact that the program is semester-based.

 “The semester approached really worked. We were completely focused on the academic before clinical.      This sets the program apart from other programs where often you learn in dribs and drabs,” Mr. Kersting said. “Being able to devote time for academics before you do anything is important so you don’t get ahead of yourself.”

“I also like the fact that the program is a two-year program. Personally, I can better retain information that way. Some other paramedic programs are accelerated and that doesn’t work for me,” Mr. Hatch added.

Other aspects of the program that stood out for the students included the support of professors and instructors, who have all worked in some aspect of the EMS field. All the students said this gave them a real-world perspective on what it’s like to be a paramedic.

“The professors are very helpful and they’ll put in the extra work, to help you because they want you to succeed,” Mr. Hatch said.

“The instructors are incredibly supportive and I wouldn’t have made it to this last semester without them,” Mr. Kersting added.

Ms. Soja said she’s found this to be the perfect program for those who are currently working or looking for employment.

“This is really the place to get your two-year degree. It’s local, convenient, and can work with people’s schedules. It gives you expose to people who are working in the field in this area and if you don’t have a job and are looking for one, it’s a great way to network.”

To learn more, visit the Paramedic Technology Program.

  • From left: QCC Assistant Professor of Dental Hygiene & Dental Assisting Jacklyn Ventura and QCC student Samantha Chamberlain.
  • QCC students and faculty wear pink to show their support for breast cancer awareness.
February, 2019

They say a smile is worth a thousand words and students at Quinsigamond Community College’s Dental Hygiene Clinic, located on the college’s main campus (670 West Boylston Street, Worcester) are in total agreement. Since QCC’s Dental Hygiene Clinic opened its doors in 1972 (it was completely renovated in 1999), the college’s dental hygiene and dental assisting students have been delivering...

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They say a smile is worth a thousand words and students at Quinsigamond Community College’s Dental Hygiene Clinic, located on the college’s main campus (670 West Boylston Street, Worcester) are in total agreement. Since QCC’s Dental Hygiene Clinic opened its doors in 1972 (it was completely renovated in 1999), the college’s dental hygiene and dental assisting students have been delivering affordable dental hygiene care to those in Worcester and the surrounding communities.

The Clinic is a hands-on, state-of-the-art training facility for QCC’s hygiene and dental assisting students that provides the opportunity for them to work directly with patients. The college’s Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and the programs have become so popular that often there is a waiting list for students.

“Our students treat patients directly and are overseen by faculty, two supervising dentists, and one dentist who comes in on Fridays to work with our dental assistant students,” said Dental Clinic Operations and Facilities Manager, Sheryl Ficorilli.

New patients are first screened and accessed at no cost to determine the level of care. Once the assessment is made, patients will set up appointments as needed. According to QCC Professor of Dental Hygiene Jane Gauthier, a cleaning and x-rays in the Northeast can average anywhere from $125- $200 or even higher, whereas at QCC’s Dental Hygiene Clinic those same services cost $25.

“The Clinic not only offers a learning environment for our students, but also offers patients great dental hygiene care for extremely affordable prices. It’s the ideal partnership,” Ms. Ficorilli said.

Veterans and active military are able to receive free services with a Military ID and the Clinic also accepts Mass Health.

Services offered include:

  • Complete oral Health Assessments
  • Adult and Child Dental Cleanings
  • Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy
  • Fluoride Treatments
  • Digital Full Mouth X-Rays
  • Digital Panoral X-Rays
  • Local Anesthesia
  • Custom Athletic Mouth Guards
  • Individual Oral Infection Control Plans
  • Sealants
  • Tooth Lightening
  • Chemotherapeutic Agents
  • Supplemental Aids

The Clinic closely adheres to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention infection control guidelines regarding safety and sterilization procedures and follows HIPAA regulations in maintaining confidentiality of patient information. A complete list of hours and pricing can be found at QCC's Dental Health Clinic. For more information or to schedule an appointment call, 508.854.4306.

  • QCC alumna Natasha Torres
February, 2019

For the last five years Quinsigamond Community College alumna Natasha Torres has been a successful entrepreneur operating Garden of Eden Spa, a skin, make up, waxing and nail services spa in Oxford, dedicated to making her clients feel relaxed, pampered and special.

Ms. Torres’s journey into the cosmetology world began at a young age, and by the time she was in...

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For the last five years Quinsigamond Community College alumna Natasha Torres has been a successful entrepreneur operating Garden of Eden Spa, a skin, make up, waxing and nail services spa in Oxford, dedicated to making her clients feel relaxed, pampered and special.

Ms. Torres’s journey into the cosmetology world began at a young age, and by the time she was in high school, she knew she wanted to one day own her own business in the field of cosmetology. Ms. Torres attended Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton, focusing her career path in cosmetology. She knew she needed to have a strong business acumen before taking the leap into entrepreneurship and chose to attend QCC after high school, to obtain her degree in business administration.

“I chose QCC because it was affordable; it was a well-known school; I could commute easily, and my mom went there,” she said. “QCC is an awesome college and it gives you a strong foundation, without having to be in debt.”

Ms. Torres said she was already familiar with the college because of her mother.

“My mom never finished classes because she had me and was in the hospital a lot with me, so she had to drop out,” she said.

Ms. Torres said she was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don't form properly. While this has left her using a wheelchair to get around, it has never stopped her from any accomplishments she set her mind to do. While attending QCC, Ms. Torres worked in QCC’s Math Center as a work study student, in addition to working an off-campus job in the food service industry. During her time at QCC she made an indelible impression on virtually everyone she met and was even honored with a Women of Distinction Award.

She said she got a terrific start at QCC by taking a college preparation class, which gave her a clear path on how to maneuver college classes.

“I loved that class. It taught me how to study and get ready for college. They don’t teach you that in high school. It was so beneficial and so useful,” she said, adding, “The accessibility and having the buildings closer together was also very helpful for me.”

During her time at QCC she took a psychology course, taught by Professor of Psychology Maura Stickles. She said it gave her great insight into the future clients she would hope to one day have.

“The psychology course was so amazing and I realized if I was going to be working with clients these classes would be very helpful,” she added. “Professor Stickles was amazing and that’s why I still remember her. I feel like I learned so much at QCC; there were so many wonderful teachers.”

Ms. Torres was awarded her Certificate in Small Business Management in 2003 and then in 2006 completed her Associate Degree in Business Administration. From there she transferred to Worcester State University where she hoped to earn her bachelor’s degree; however, family issues led her to put her education on hold (with only a few credits short of her bachelor’s degree) and work full-time in food service. While this would have deterred many people, Ms. Torres remained unfazed and kept alive her dream of one day owning her own business.

Eventually she was able to leave her food service job and go back to cosmetology, working for other salons; however, by this time she had begun to fall out of love with cosmetology.  A chance encounter at a beauty supply shop eventually led her to her true love - being an aesthetician (someone who is a licensed skin care specialist and performs cleansing, massage and treatment of the skin). After becoming a licensed aesthetician she began working at various spas and gaining valuable experience, and in 2011 she opened her own spa. Through her spa she continues to give back to the community, often sponsoring area fundraisers.

Today, her successful and thriving business has even brought in staff members from QCC.

“I didn’t realize it when I made an appointment for a facial at Garden of Eden Spa, but I recognized Natasha immediately when I got there. We had known each other years ago when she attended QCC and I worked in one of the offices she frequently visited. Her warmth and friendliness, as well as the pride in knowing that she is a fellow alumna, has made me a faithful client at Garden of Eden Spa for over four years now,” said QCC Development Operations Supervisor Shirley Dempsey. “Natasha truly cares about her clients and shows concern for our overall heath and well-being. She keeps abreast of current trends, providing us with the most up-to-date products and services.”

Ms. Torres said it was QCC that gave her the foundation she needed to get where she is today and has a bit of advice for anyone who is considering attending, but is afraid to take that first step.

“QCC is adept with different learning styles and it gives you different opportunities. I’m physically disabled,  but if I can do it and make it there (at QCC) you can do it and make it,” she said.

  • QCC student veteran Keith Anderson
February, 2019

As a small child Keith Anderson saw firsthand what it was like to be a fighter. Both his mother and father had been firefighters in the U.S. Air Force and he was able to spend time in different fire houses as a youngster. The early experience stuck with him.

“I just had kind of a natural inclination to join fire service,” he said.

However, fire service would take a back...

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As a small child Keith Anderson saw firsthand what it was like to be a fighter. Both his mother and father had been firefighters in the U.S. Air Force and he was able to spend time in different fire houses as a youngster. The early experience stuck with him.

“I just had kind of a natural inclination to join fire service,” he said.

However, fire service would take a back seat to military service and for 14 years Mr. Anderson served in the U.S. Army, ending his military career as a staff sergeant in 2016. About six months before he ended his military career he tossed around the idea of going back to school for fire science.Mr. Anderson’s father-in-law had been a student at QCC and he had always talked very highly of the college, so QCC immediately came to mind. He decided that was the school he wanted to attend.

He said the transition from military life to going back to school was a bit nerve-wracking and he acknowledged he was initially nervous entering college.

“Coming from the military, I felt I didn’t have any control. It had been so long since I was a student of anything,” he said.

Through the help and support of QCC’s Veteran Affairs and the Veterans Club he began his education in fire science at QCC.  He said it was that support that made such a difference in becoming acclimated to college.

“I came straight here (Veterans Club) and they pointed me to all the right offices, helped me with paperwork I was confused about, and got the enrollment process going for me,” he said, adding that an academic advisor was there for him every step of the way. “If the academic side is becoming overwhelming, the Vets Club is a nice place to retreat. It’s a place you can come to talk to people who understand what it was like to be in the military.”

Mr. Anderson plans to graduate in 2019 with a degree in Fire Science and while having a degree is not an actual requirement to being a firefighter, it makes a candidate more competitive.

“It gives you the edge and there’s more opportunity for advancement,” he continued.

While some municipalities have age limits for firefighters many of the smaller communities do not and Mr. Anderson is hopeful he can find a job in one of those communities, ideally the town he currently lives in.

“Really all I’ve ever wanted is to give back to a community that’s given so much to me. I want to do what I can for that little community and hope to get out of it a chance to serve in a selfless capacity,” he said. “I felt like that was what I was doing in the military and I want to continue. That’s what I hope to get out of the degree.”

Mr. Anderson currently lives in Milford with his fiancée and son.

  • A sample care bag
February, 2019

At Quinsigamond Community College student success means caring for the whole student; however, sometimes that caring takes on different forms that transcend education.

QCC’s Dean of Compliance Liz Woods is someone who knows this first hand. In her time at QCC and in particular since taking on the role of Dean of Compliance, she has seen students who have been in domestic abuse situations...

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At Quinsigamond Community College student success means caring for the whole student; however, sometimes that caring takes on different forms that transcend education.

QCC’s Dean of Compliance Liz Woods is someone who knows this first hand. In her time at QCC and in particular since taking on the role of Dean of Compliance, she has seen students who have been in domestic abuse situations, struggling not only with school, but in finding just the basic necessities. While support services and resources were available at the school, what could the college do for the immediate need?

“We wanted to know, how we can help those students of domestic violence, who don’t feel ready for the day and who may be couch-surfing due to their situations,” Ms. Woods said.

This spawned the idea of the care bag.  The bag is a simple, non-descript QCC nylon backpack filled with personal items that offer students in distress assistance with some of their immediate and basic personal needs.  Included in the backpack is a towel and other personal toiletries that students can take to the athletic center, obtain a locker and take a shower.

Ms. Woods acknowledged that while this is far from a solution to the issues domestic violence or homeless students are facing, it offers them a way to, “feel somewhat whole again while we can get them more resources and services.”

The care bags are given out by QCC’s CARE team members after they have learned of a student in need.

“When someone is in need this can make such a difference for them,” Ms. Woods said.

QCC’s CARE team is made up of the Dean of Students Terry Vecchio, Assistant Dean of Students Jason Kurland, Chief of Police Kevin Ritacco, Mental Health Counselor Tina Wells, Director of Disability Services Kristie Proctor and Ms. Woods. The group meets weekly to discuss student issues and work on ways to connect students with services and resources.

Ms. Woods said the first person to receive a care bag was a student who was experiencing domestic violence. The student said it was that initial small act of kindness and compassion that made a difference for her. Today, Ms. Woods is happy to say that the student, while no longer attending QCC, is doing well and is out of her domestic violence situation.

“She said she is so grateful for the support of the college and is looking to finish her education in the state she is now living in,” Ms. Woods said.

Faculty and staff who see a student they feel is in need can fill out a Care Team referral form, or contact any of the CARE team members.

  • PTK Alumni Association Executive Board President Allen Phillips
February, 2019

President of the newly formed Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Zeta Theta (AZT) AZT Alumni Association Executive Board, Allen Phillips,  shares his experiences and musings as a QCC student, PTK member and alumni.

What drew you to QCC and why did you end up choosing the college?

I decided to attend QCC to finish my degree in Business Administration. QCC was close to my...

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President of the newly formed Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Zeta Theta (AZT) AZT Alumni Association Executive Board, Allen Phillips,  shares his experiences and musings as a QCC student, PTK member and alumni.

What drew you to QCC and why did you end up choosing the college?

I decided to attend QCC to finish my degree in Business Administration. QCC was close to my house and very affordable. The college also had an online program that allowed me to continue with my busy schedule and still complete my education.

During your time at QCC you were a member of the PTK Alpha Theta Zeta Chapter. Can you tell me a bit about your experiences as a PTK member?

 I received an email from PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman, telling me that I was eligible to join PTK based on my GPA. I researched what PTK was and what it meant to be a member. My first thought was, ‘why bother,’ but as I looked into it more and realized this was a good group of people who were all community -oriented, and that it was an honor to belong, I decided to join. There are also scholarship opportunities available to PTK members.

Has being a member of PTK helped you as you’ve progressed through your educational career and your professional career?

Being a member of PTK helped me to realize that I do not have to settle for a lower grade when I am capable of getting higher grades. I continued my education by attending the University of Alaska online for Homeland Security and Emergency Management Bachelor’s program. I finished this past December with a 4.0 GPA and also became a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key and Sword and Shield Honor societies. I am currently pursuing my Masters at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  I link it all back to my PTK induction and how it felt on that day in 2016.

Can you tell me what you are currently doing today work-wise?

Currently, I work full-time for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. I have been there for 14 years. I recently retired from the West Boylston Fire department, where I worked part-time as a firefighter and EMT. I retired because my family and I moved to Leicester, Massachusetts.

Why did you decide to be president of the new PTK Alumni Association?

I decided to be president because I wanted to give back to an organization that had given to me. Being a member boosted my confidence and allowed me to continue my education and understand something a professor once said to me, which was, “you are better than you think you are.” I had offered to be a member of the board in any position, the interview team had asked if I would consider being the president, due to my background, since I had been an association president for other organizations in my town, as well as a selectman.

What do you hope the Association brings to the table for former PTK students?

 I hope our Association brings the same benefits and incentive I felt by being a PTK member. In addition to the ability to re-connect with those members who attended school with you, there are fellowship, volunteer and many other benefits to being a member.

Do you have any upcoming events etc. planned for the Association?

Yes, the current board and I are now working on this year’s events. Once we are finished we will publish a calendar listing all of the events. I can give you an idea of some of the events we discussed, many which we will try to get worked out once we finish working on bylaws and other necessary things for PTK AZT Alumni Association. Some of the ideas are: hiking event, cookout, haunted woods in October, softball game, restaurant days, and a comedy show. We will also take any suggestions from others on what they would like for events.

What would you tell someone who was considering QCC, or someone who is already a student at QCC and has been invited to be a PTK member, but is a bit hesitant to join?

 Do not be afraid of opportunity. What do you have to lose? Think about scholarships, prestige, friendship and walking down that aisle at graduation with your gold stole. The stole tells everybody there that you made to extra effort to succeed.

  • Proud mom Michelle Sheehan shows a photo of her son Nick.
  • QCC student Nick Sheehan
  • QCC student Nick Sheehan holds one of his Rubik's cubes.
February, 2019

When Quinsigamond Community College student Nick Sheehan found the Fab Lab at QCC, there was no stopping his creative juices. As the son of QCC Program Assistant Michelle Sheehan, he was familiar with the college but not the college’s Fab Lab. During the summer between his junior and senior year in high school, at the suggestion of his mother, he visited the Fab Lab and was...

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When Quinsigamond Community College student Nick Sheehan found the Fab Lab at QCC, there was no stopping his creative juices. As the son of QCC Program Assistant Michelle Sheehan, he was familiar with the college but not the college’s Fab Lab. During the summer between his junior and senior year in high school, at the suggestion of his mother, he visited the Fab Lab and was immediately hooked.

His initial plan had been to go to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) after graduating Sheppard Hill High School in 2017; however, after finding out he was wait-listed, he made the decision to attend QCC and do his preliminary classes before transferring to WPI.

“WPI is not cheap and this way I can save money,” he said.

The current QCC Engineering major, who is known for his signature bow-tie and pin-bedecked Red Sox hat has now become a staple at QCC’s Fab Lab.

“I became hooked on going to the Fab Lab and making things with the 3D printers. The first semester at QCC I took an engineering graphics class and learned AutoCAD (computer-aided design software),” Mr. Sheehan said. “This way I can now design things in 3D myself.”

He said his favorite item to design and print are Rubik’s cube-style puzzles. He has designed seven of his own type of Rubik’s cubes and then 3D printed them.

“I got into Rubik’s cubes my freshmen year in high school, after I went to Walmart with my grandma and saw them. I spent time learning how to work them and today I have 250,” Mr. Sheehan said. “Of the seven versions I’ve designed and printed, versions five and seven actually work.”

He said he has worked closely with the lab instructors to learn how to use all the machines in the Fab Lab.

 “They have all been great, especially Nick Bold (Fab Lab Manager). There is so much support there,” he continued.

Today he has taken what he has learned in the Fab Lab and transferred that knowledge to projects at his home, working on his own 3D printer after getting the information about a personal 3D printer from another student in the Fab Lab. He said he went home and told his mother this was what he wanted for Christmas this year.

His mom bought him the 3D home printer and immediately he began printing things from free plans he has found online. In fact, one of the first things he printed was a 3D bow-tie.

Mr. Sheehan’s goal is to still transfer to WPI and obtain an engineering degree. Now he thinks perhaps a company such as FormLabs, a 3D printing technology developer and manufacturer, will be in his future.

“I knew 3D printing was a ‘thing,’ but then I had the opportunity to try it out at QCC’s Fab lab and found out how really neat this all is,” he added.

  • From left: Karen Rucks, Cheryl Marrino and Shirley Dempsey
  • QCC students enjoy some sweet treats.
  • Students, faculty and staff vote sample and vote for their favorite entry.
  • Bake-Off winners received a coveted Bake-Off Champion rolling pin.
February, 2019

The weather finally rose to the occasion and the Alumni Association Board held its Bake-Off on February 20, with all proceeds from the event going to the Alumni Scholarship Fund.

A total of 22 students, faculty and staff bakers dusted off their rolling pins and brought in their best homemade baked goods, with four bakers winning the coveted QCC Rolling Pin and bragging rights as QCC’s Best Baker. Below...

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The weather finally rose to the occasion and the Alumni Association Board held its Bake-Off on February 20, with all proceeds from the event going to the Alumni Scholarship Fund.

A total of 22 students, faculty and staff bakers dusted off their rolling pins and brought in their best homemade baked goods, with four bakers winning the coveted QCC Rolling Pin and bragging rights as QCC’s Best Baker. Below is the list of winners. There’s no “knead” to say more!

Main Campus 2019 Bake-Off Winners:

Pie/Trifle Category

1st Place: Vinny Tran* (Strawberry Mascarpone Hazelnut Chocolate Tart)

2nd Place: Helen Hatzopoulos* (Chocolate Trifle)

3rd Place: Kim Mohareb (Raspberry Bakewell Tart)

Cake/Bread/Brownie Category

1st Place: Kelley LaVergne (Carrot Cake)

2nd Place: Isabella Kearns* (Cannoli Cake)

3rd Place: Beth Fullerton (Sugar Cookie Cheesecake)

Bar/Cookie/Candy Category

1st Place: Tammy Strouth (Ohio Buckeye Bites)

2nd Place: Kristie Proctor (Simply Lemon Macaroons)

3rd Place: Jay Trivedi* (Chocolate Chip S’more Cookies)

Downtown Bake-Off Winners:

1st Place: Deborah Coleman

2nd Place: Bronwyn Teixeira

“We raised $600, of which 100% benefitted the Alumni Scholarship Fund. We also received donations for the bake sale table, as well as donations from local organizations for raffle prizes,” said QCC Staffer June Vo.

*QCC students

  • Gateway to College Program Assistant Glenda Rodriguez and student
February, 2019

Recruitment is currently underway for the Fall 2019 semester of the Gateway to College program. The program was developed to serve those students between the ages of 16-21 who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out, and assists them in obtaining their high school diploma, while also simultaneously earning college credits. Many Gateway to College graduates have gone on to...

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Recruitment is currently underway for the Fall 2019 semester of the Gateway to College program. The program was developed to serve those students between the ages of 16-21 who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out, and assists them in obtaining their high school diploma, while also simultaneously earning college credits. Many Gateway to College graduates have gone on to finish their associate degree and then transferred to a four year college or university. QCC's Gateway to College program is part of a national network that includes 35 programs in 20 states.

Those who are interested in the program must attend an information session in order to apply for admission to Gateway to College. To register visit Gateway to College.

Information sessions will be held in the Administration Building (670 West Boylston Street, Worcester) in room 107A.

Information session dates include:

  • March 13, 2:30 p.m. 
  • April 17,   5:00 p.m.  
  • April 24,   2:30 p.m.  
  • May 7,     5:00 p.m. 
  • June 4,    2:30 p.m.  
  • June 11,  5:00 p.m. 
  • June 18,  2:30 p.m. 
  • June 25,  5:00 p.m. 

Acceptance is not guaranteed as spaces are limited and applicants must meet eligibility requirements. For additional information call 508.854.7587, or email Gateway to College Program Assistant Glenda Rodriguez, gtcinfo [at] qcc.mass.edu. To learn more about the program visit Gateway to College

  • Luk Outreach Case Manager Nathan Pickens
February, 2019

The Quinsigamond Community College Food Pantry & Resource Center provides food for students who lack adequate nourishment, as well as resources to help with other challenges. It is dedicated to helping those in the QCC community who are in need.

Services include assistance and information regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); biweekly visits (on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m....

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The Quinsigamond Community College Food Pantry & Resource Center provides food for students who lack adequate nourishment, as well as resources to help with other challenges. It is dedicated to helping those in the QCC community who are in need.

Services include assistance and information regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); biweekly visits (on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. and on Wednesday from 3:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.) from Luk, a community-based nonprofit agency dedicated to improving the safety, health and emotional well-being of youths, families and adults; and nutritional training through Cooking Matters of Massachusetts. To find out more about these services, visit Food Pantry and Resource Center or email foodpantry [at] qcc.mass.edu

Cookbook to Support Food Pantry & Resource Center  - Recipes Wanted!

Calling all chefs and home cooks! Do you have the most amazing recipe that everyone just raves about each time you make it?  Would you like to share that recipe and also help those less fortunate?

The Psychology Club and Psi Beta Honor Society are looking for your very best recipes to compile for a QCC cookbook that will support the college’s food pantry. QCC students, faculty, and staff are invited to submit their very best recipe (include your name so you receive recognition for your recipe) by March 16.

Drop boxes will be located around campus for recipe donation. Recipes may also be emailed to qccpsychologyclub [at] gmail.com. The Psychology Club will begin taking orders for the cookbook after the recipe collection ends.

  • Environmental Science Professor Anita Soracco
February, 2019

One of the most important things we can do for our planet is to radically reduce our CO2 emissions, since they are a major contributor to global climate change. There are many lifestyle choices that can help accomplish this, however one change that is very easy to implement in everyday life is the use of reusable shopping bags. According to Waste Management, Americans use a staggering 100 billion plastic bags...

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One of the most important things we can do for our planet is to radically reduce our CO2 emissions, since they are a major contributor to global climate change. There are many lifestyle choices that can help accomplish this, however one change that is very easy to implement in everyday life is the use of reusable shopping bags. According to Waste Management, Americans use a staggering 100 billion plastic bags each year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. The recycle rate is only 1 percent; the rest end up in landfills where they will remain for over 500 years. It is also important to note that while recycling plastic bags is much better than land-filling; recycling is an energy intensive process; so the best thing we can do is to reduce.

Paper bags also have a high carbon footprint because of the vast deforestation to manufacture them. Approximately 14 million trees are cut down annually to meet our demands for paper bags.  Trees act as a carbon sink, which means they temporarily store carbon from the atmosphere, which lessens climate change. The recycling rate for paper bags is also low at 3-5 percent. 

When we choose reusable shopping bags, we help reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing, transporting, recycling, and land-filling paper and plastic bags. As a rule of thumb, the more times a product is reused, the lesser the footprint. Any single use item is going to have a larger ecological footprint than a reusable one. 

Globally, we can make a huge difference in how we impact the environment. Staying out of the waste stream by reducing and reusing will help decrease deforestation, litter, and plastic contamination. So the real answer to “paper or plastic” is: neither, I brought my own.

Learn more about Environmental Science education at QCC.

*This article was written by Environmental Science Professor Anita Soracco. 

  • February Baseball Clinics were well-attended.
  • QCC's 2019 Women's Basketball team
  • On Feb. 2 former QCC men's basketball players got together for an alumni game.
  • A QCC alum still has his basketball moves.
  • QCC's Wyverns took on Rhode Island Community College on Feb. 2.
February, 2019

Swing Into Spring

Is spring fever setting in? Is the thought of spending time on the links getting you ready for winter to end? Then now may be the perfect time to try out QCC’s Golf Clinic. The clinic is offered on Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in the Athletic Center and is being taught by local golf pro Jim Fenner. The clinic is free for current students, staff, faculty and those with a...

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Swing Into Spring

Is spring fever setting in? Is the thought of spending time on the links getting you ready for winter to end? Then now may be the perfect time to try out QCC’s Golf Clinic. The clinic is offered on Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. in the Athletic Center and is being taught by local golf pro Jim Fenner. The clinic is free for current students, staff, faculty and those with a membership ID. Clubs are provided or you can bring your own. For more information visit the Athletic Center or call 508.854.4317.

QCC 2019 Winter Baseball Clinics

The QCC’s Baseball Program is currently hosting winter baseball clinics at the Athletic Center for young players age 6 to 18. QCC’s Head Coach John McLaughlin, along with Pitching & Catching Coach Paul Goodwin and the 2019 QCC Baseball team are running the program. Each clinic will start with a dynamic stretch and cardio warm up, then work on fielding, pitching and hitting. The goal is to help prepare each young player for the upcoming season at an affordable rate.  Two March clinics are still available.

  • Location – QCC Gym – 670 West Boylston St, Worcester, MA
  • $30 per clinic ($25 per if signing up more than 1 family member)
  • Strongly encouraged to bring own bats, glove, helmet & water bottle
  • No Cleats
  • Time:  10:30 am – 12:45 pm (check- in 10:00 am)
  • Dates: March 3 and  March 10

Women’s Basketball Team

The Quinsigamond Community College Women’s Basketball team had a season ending victory against Bristol Community College to end its season on a high note. QCC’s Kayla Morrison powered the Wyverns to a 43-31 win. The team finished out its season 4-9 and according to Coach Gabriel Santner, the players made huge strides during the season.

“It’s been awesome to see these women come together. We taught some of our players from the ground up. We also had a couple of players who were skilled and they also improved,” Coach Santner said. “Our players were so impressive. They all were full-time students (a requirement to play) and they all also have jobs.”

Coach Santner said the players all put in a lot of practice time and even got together on their own to practice. The women’s team travels to every away game with the men’s team, which adds comradery.

“Men’s Coach Tishaun Jenkins has been very helpful and it’s been great learning from him too,” Coach Santner said.

Assistant Coach Mikayla Singas, a former player from Fitchburg State University (currently attending Worcester State University) has also made a big difference for the team, according to Coach Santner.

“She’s a really good basketball player and she’s scrimmaged with them a lot. It was great to have her,” he said.

Men’s Basketball Team

The Wyverns Men’s Basketball ended their season last month against Bristol Community College. Wyvern’s player Richard Gomez led the team in 22 points. While the final score was Bristol 88 and QCC 66 the Wyverns gave it their all with a final record of 7-19 for the season. 

Fitness Classes

Fitness classes are currently underway at the Athletic Center. Exercising is a great way to reduce stress!

Yoga is offered Tuesday and Thursday at 12:00 p.m.

Full-Body Toning is Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 12:30pm

Classes are already underway. For more information, visit the Athletic Center or call 508.854.4317.

  • QCC receives Military Friendly School distinction
  • Veterans Club members wear red shirts to support those in the U.S. military who are deployed.
  • QCC Veterans Club members take to the slopes on Wednesday evenings at Mount Wachusett.
February, 2019

QCC Deemed Military Friendly School 

Quinsigamond Community College has received designation as a 2019-2020 Military Friendly ® School. The college has received this designation since 2014-2015.

Now in its 10th year, the Military Friendly® Schools list has come to set the standard for higher education institutions to provide the best opportunities for veterans and their spouses....

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QCC Deemed Military Friendly School 

Quinsigamond Community College has received designation as a 2019-2020 Military Friendly ® School. The college has received this designation since 2014-2015.

Now in its 10th year, the Military Friendly® Schools list has come to set the standard for higher education institutions to provide the best opportunities for veterans and their spouses. This list provides a comprehensive guide for veterans and their families using data sources from federal agencies and proprietary survey information from participating organizations.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly ® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey completed by the school. This year 766 schools earned this prestigious designation.

RED Shirt Fridays 

The Veterans Club is  currently “sponsoring” RED Friday Days.(remember everyone deployed). Club president, Manny Antwi, made the red shirts in QCC's Fab Lab and they have been given out on a “first-come, first-serve” basis to anyone who supports the initiative (supplies are limited).  RED Fridays are not intended as a political statement, just a way to show  support for the men and women who serve our country in the military. 

 In other news: there will be a Veterans Club Night at the Worcester Railers on March 31 at 3:05 p.m. OCC's Veterans will present the colors during the National Anthem. For more information, contact Veteran Affairs at 508.854.2721 or email veteranaffairs [at] qcc.mass.edu

  • Forty QCC faculty and staff members attend the recent 'Using Technology in the Classroom Conference'
February, 2019

The Office of Distance Learning and Center for Academic Excellence hosted the seventh annual Using Technology in the Classroom Conference on Wednesday, January 9 and this year’s theme was, “Reimagining Higher Education." Forty faculty and staff members attended this event. Keynote speaker, Carol Hurney, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Colby College, led an interactive...

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The Office of Distance Learning and Center for Academic Excellence hosted the seventh annual Using Technology in the Classroom Conference on Wednesday, January 9 and this year’s theme was, “Reimagining Higher Education." Forty faculty and staff members attended this event. Keynote speaker, Carol Hurney, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Colby College, led an interactive session entitled, “Making the Active Learning Count Using the Science of Learning.” During the presentation, attendees worked individually and with groups using three different active learning strategies. 

“Carol Hurney's presentation was absolutely inspiring. I wanted to be a student for the day and absorb everything she had to deliver about best practices in teaching, and be a biology student again," Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Julie Tzipori.

This session was followed by a panel presentation, “Creative Collaborations Equity and Excellence in the Classrooms and Beyond,” presented by: Professor of Sociology Gaelan Benway; Director of Disability Services Kristie Proctor; Associate Director of Disability Services Terry Rodriguez; Coordinator of Future Focus Program Gilmarie Vonophakdy; Coordinator of Instructional Technology & Assessment Maureen Giacobbe; Director of Gateway to College Marci Skillings; Recruitment Counselor Sabine Dupoux and Associate Professor of Human Services.

A variety of departments and disciplines presented three concurrent workshop sessions:

First workshop session:

  • “Using the Google Suite to Support Student Success,” presented by Senior Gateway Outreach Counselor Jenna Glazer
  • “Assignment Feedback Charrette,” presented by  English Professor Amy Beaudry, Instructor Robbin Miller and Coordinator of Library Serials & Electronic Resources Cary Morse
  • “Distance Education Listening Session,” presented by Dean of Digital Learning and The Center for Academic Excellence Ken Dwyer

Second workshop session: 

  • “ ‘Goodbye Accuplacer…Hello QMAT!,’ ” presented by Mathematics Professor Andreana Grimaldo
  • “Adopt and Adapt! Invigorating Your Assignments with Educator Idea Vault Materials” presented by Dr. Benway  

  Third workshop sessions:

  • “Staying on Top of the Ever-Changing World of Information with QCC Library” presented by Coordinator of Library Reference and Instruction Tiger Swan, Coordinator of Library Services Denise Cross and Ms. Morse
  • “Jigsaw Learning: A Student-Centered Approach to Instruction” presented by Assistant Professor of Respiratory Care Amy Hogan
  • “CBE @ QCC?” presented by Dean of School of Business, Engineering, and Technology Betty Lauer

“I love QCC Tech Day—it is relatively informal, but there is so much information sharing among colleagues. The keynote speaker presented many creative ideas for teaching as well as multiple measures of student learning for diverse learners. My favorite session was the Competency Based Education session. It was great to hear about this initiative, which appears to be the future of higher education, and it is nice to know that QCC is in the process of laying a great foundation for meeting the needs of contemporary students," said Coordinator of Disability Services Ann Panetta.

Everyone who participated in the event received an attendance certificate. 

  • Flu season is underway.
February, 2019

The influenza virus or flu as it’s commonly known is a contagious respiratory illness that peaks during this time of year. We’ve all heard the scary statistics every fall and winter when the flu season peaks between December and February, but did you know that flu activity can last as late as May? While the young and the elderly (65 and older) are particularly vulnerable, anyone is susceptible to the flu...

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The influenza virus or flu as it’s commonly known is a contagious respiratory illness that peaks during this time of year. We’ve all heard the scary statistics every fall and winter when the flu season peaks between December and February, but did you know that flu activity can last as late as May? While the young and the elderly (65 and older) are particularly vulnerable, anyone is susceptible to the flu and those on a college campus are not immune to the virus. A 2017 survey by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) of undergraduate students at two and four-year institutions, who were between 18-24 years old, found that vaccination rates for influenza hovered between 8-39 percent.

The best defense in preventing the flu is a good offense (just ask the New England Patriots!) and a few tips can help increase your chances of avoiding the flu this season and every season.

To keep QCC’s campus as healthy as possible follow these simple preventative guidelines:

  • Get vaccinated! It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine. Health Map Vaccine is a website that helps the public with locating influenza and adult vaccination services within their communities. This is a free, online service that provides up-to-date information about vaccination services.
  • Wash your hands! Use soap and water and wash for at least 20 seconds (suds and friction remove the most germs) or use hand sanitizer, which is located in areas throughout QCC.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes! Use a tissue (dispose of it properly) or use your upper sleeve/shoulder, but never use just your hands.
  • Avoid contact with others while you’re sick. If you feel sick, stay home! If you have a fever, stay home until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

A common issue for people is knowing the difference between a common cold and the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu is caused by influenza viruses and is most prevalent around the same time of year as the common cold. Due to their similarities it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two. Symptoms for the flu are almost always much worse and can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and overall body aches, headaches, and fatigue.  Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. 

 Symptoms of the flu can vary slightly from person to person and not everyone who gets the flu will have a fever.

The CDC website states that most people who get the flu have a mild illness and do not need medical care. However, complications from the flu can become extremely serious and getting the flu is not something that should be taken lightly. The CDC recommends consulting your medical provider for any flu symptom that is severe or concerning.

Depending on the severity of the flu, there are antiviral drugs your doctor can prescribe to lessen the severity of the flu and that may also prevent serious complications.

“In Massachusetts there is widespread influenza activity now. Area hospitals are seeing a significant increase in Influenza cases,” said Susan Johnson, QCC Health Consultant, who suggests those who have not gotten their flu shot to consider doing so. “It’s not too late to get your Flu shot.”

To learn more visit QCC Health Wellness.

  • March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.
February, 2019

Wednesday, March 6:  Pledge to end gender-based violence and attend, “Stand With Us to End Domestic and Sexual Violence”- a discussion panel and guest speaker in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109B at 12:00 p.m. All are welcome!

Thursday, March 7: The Spring 2019 Liberal Arts Distinguished Lectures presents, “A Short History of Islamphobia from the...

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Wednesday, March 6:  Pledge to end gender-based violence and attend, “Stand With Us to End Domestic and Sexual Violence”- a discussion panel and guest speaker in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109B at 12:00 p.m. All are welcome!

Thursday, March 7: The Spring 2019 Liberal Arts Distinguished Lectures presents, “A Short History of Islamphobia from the Age of Reagan to the Age of Trump,” by Douglas Little, Ph.D. The event will be held in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Dr. Little is the Robert and Virginia Scotland Professor of History and International Relations at Clark University, where he has taught since 1978.

Friday, March 8: PSI BETA and the Psychology Club Guest Lecture Series presents Peter Frost Ph.D.: “Relying on Smartphones to Extend our Cognitive Capacity: Are there Potential Lingering Effects of Smartphone Use on Cognition?” The event will be held from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109B. Dr. Frost is a Psychology professor at Southern New Hampshire University where his research covers topics such as the lingering effects of using smartphones on cognition and the influence of boas on memory. For questions contact Professor of Psychology Valerie Clemente at vclemente [at] qcc.mass.edu

Saturday, March 9: The student club, Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (SETA), is hosting a talk by Dr. Joanne Kong, “The Power of Veganism.” The event will take place in the Harrington Learning Center Rooms 109A&B beginning at 11:00 a.m. Dr. Kong will discuss the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and the environmental impacts of animal agriculture.  She gives presentations around the world, advocating for more sustainable, healthy and compassionate food choices.

Monday, March 11: The Social Justice Speaker Series presents, “Shutting Down the Trauma to Prison Pipeline - Appropriate Care for Child-Welfare Involved Youth,” by Kate Lowenstein, Project Director Citizens for Juvenile Justice. This event will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109B. Come and learn about the effects this system has on our children and our community.

Tuesday, March 12: PSI BETA and the Psychology Club Guest Lecture Series presents Nicole Overstreet Ph.D.: “Intimate Partner Violence, Stigma, and Health: Applying an Intersectional Lens.” The event will be held from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109B. Dr. Overstreet Nicole is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Clark University. Her research examines sociocultural factors that contribute to mental and sexual health disparities among marginalized groups. For questions contact Professor of Psychology Valerie Clemente at vclemente [at] qcc.mass.edu

Wednesday, March 27: Diversity Dialogs at QCC. Want to be part of a brave space in which you can speak openly and honestly about Race and Racism, Gender, Sexism, Ableism, Ageism or any topics, world events or happenings at QCC? Be part of a student dialogue in an unbiased setting.  This event will takes place each month at 12:00 p.m. in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109B. This event is open to all QCC students.

Thursday, March 28: The Spring 2019 Liberal Arts Distinguished Lectures presents, “Math and Music:  The Greatest Hits,” by Gareth Roberts, Ph.D. The event will be held from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109B. Dr. Roberts is a professor of mathematics at the College of the Holy Cross. Using a “music first” approach, he will reveal the hidden connections between these two fields, and in the process, encourage a greater appreciation and desire for mathematical thinking.

Thursday, March 28: The film, “History is Today,” will be shown at 6:00 p.m. in the Harrington Learning Center Room 109B. Over 40 men and women of Puerto Rican descent come together to tell the story of Puerto Rico, a Caribbean nation that refuses to disappear. There will be a question and answer period with the creator after the film.

March Spotlight: “Pizza with the President,” March 4, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in the Fuller Student Center on QCC’s main campus (670 West Boylston Street, Worcester). Come meet with QCC’s President Dr. Luis Pedraja in an informal setting, as you share pizza and your thoughts with him.

February, 2019

We are very pleased to announce the addition of the following new full-time staff member to Quinsigamond Community College:

On February 19, 2019, College and Career Pathways welcomed Andrew Kupec as the High School to College Linkage Specialist. Andrew brings to this position over 30 years of experience. Most recently, he was an Admissions Recruiter at Worcester State University....

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We are very pleased to announce the addition of the following new full-time staff member to Quinsigamond Community College:

On February 19, 2019, College and Career Pathways welcomed Andrew Kupec as the High School to College Linkage Specialist. Andrew brings to this position over 30 years of experience. Most recently, he was an Admissions Recruiter at Worcester State University. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Bentley College and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from C.W. Post College.

On February 25, 2019, College and Career Pathways welcomed Joanne LaMorticelli as a Clerk IV-Program Assistant. Joanne brings to this position over 5 years of experience. Most recently, she was the Program Assistant for Student Involvement and Leadership Development at Worcester State University. Joanne earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Worcester State University.

Please join us in welcoming Andrew and Joanne into their new roles at QCC.

January, 2019

  • From left: QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Professor James Heffernan
  • Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Benjamin Aryeh, Student Trustee
  • Representative James J. O'Day
  • Professor James Heffernan, President Dr. Luis Pedraja and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito
  • QCC alumni discuss the manufacturing programs they were in at QCC with Lt. Gov. Polito.
  • QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja
  • Leslie Greis, owner of Kinefac Corporation and founder and managing member of Perennial Capital Advisors, LLC
January, 2019

A robotic hand, CNC machines and a packed-house were on tap January 14, as Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Quinsigamond Community College President Luis G. Pedraja, regional workforce leaders, state and local officials at QCC’s QuEST Center to announce $2.5 million in grant funding to four regional consortiums, through the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program. It was a particularly special time for...

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A robotic hand, CNC machines and a packed-house were on tap January 14, as Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Quinsigamond Community College President Luis G. Pedraja, regional workforce leaders, state and local officials at QCC’s QuEST Center to announce $2.5 million in grant funding to four regional consortiums, through the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program. It was a particularly special time for QCC to host this event in the QuEST Center, as it was the third anniversary of the opening of the building, which is dedicated to technology.

The state-wide program was designed to address the skills gap in the manufacturing industry by creating a fully-coordinated manufacturing training system that will connect residents to full-time employment, and meet the needs of regional industry.

“Since October 2017 we’ve added over 3,500 manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.

The event featured the awarding of grants to each of the four regions in the Commonwealth. The Central region received $638,750 for the training and placement of 160 individuals. Manufacturing represents 10% of the Commonwealth’s total economic output.

“As the skillsets continue to evolve, students and the workforce are going to require more advanced training. These skills are vital to the success of advanced manufacturing,” QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

Since 2015, the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program has invested more than $5 million in workforce development, and this year’s award round nearly doubled the yearly investment over previous years. This round also further aligns the program with the efforts of the Workforce Skills Cabinet to regionalize workforce development approaches, and better streamline resource access points for job-seekers and employers. In April 2017, the Workforce Skills Cabinet launched regional teams to gather and analyze data to better understand the needs of local employers, existing skill gaps in the talent pipeline, and determine high-growth industries with long-term hiring needs.

“QCC works closely with manufacturers to ensure a strong and solid pipeline of workers are available to help them grow and prosper,” Dr. Pedraja said. “We thank the Commonwealth and the Administration for the funding to continue our efforts to be able to train our students for the jobs of today, and tomorrow.”

To learn more, visit QCC’s manufacturing programs.

  • QCC will offer a training program to eligible businesses that includes critical soft skills.
January, 2019

Quinsigamond Community College’s Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education has been awarded a $143,000 Direct Access Grant from the Workforce Training Fund. QCC’s grant is part of $2.98 million in Small Business Direct Access Program grants awarded to qualified training organizations by the Commonwealth Corporation, a state agency that fosters partnerships between industry, education and...

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Quinsigamond Community College’s Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education has been awarded a $143,000 Direct Access Grant from the Workforce Training Fund. QCC’s grant is part of $2.98 million in Small Business Direct Access Program grants awarded to qualified training organizations by the Commonwealth Corporation, a state agency that fosters partnerships between industry, education and workforce organizations.

The Small Business Direct Access Program addresses the training needs of small businesses by offering free training to eligible businesses. The state grant was recently redesigned for businesses with no more than 100 employees, in order to help them remain competitive in today’s marketplace. This is the first time QCC has been awarded a Direct Access Grant. The college will offer a training program to eligible businesses that includes: critical workplace skills such as listening, collaborating with others, presenting ideas, and communicating with team members.  These topics were chosen due to the overwhelming need that was expressed by businesses in the region.

“These skills are not only highly valued in today’s marketplace, they are necessary if the business and the individual are to succeed,” said Dean of the Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education, Kathleen Manning. “Strong soft skills ensure a productive, collaborative, healthy and effective work environment, key attributes for organizations in an increasingly competitive, global world.”

Companies that are eligible for these types of grants must pay into the Unemployment Fund, which allocates money into the Workforce Training Fund administered by Commonwealth Corporation and hold a Certificate of Good Standing that is issued from the Commonwealth.

QCC will begin offering six workshops, “Essential Soft Skills in the Workplace” beginning in April 2019.  The six workshops include:

  • Essential Business Skills
  • Communicating with Clarity and Impact
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Time Management
  • Presenting with Impact
  • Conflict Resolution

There will be four series offered in spring 2019, fall 2019, spring 2020 and fall 2020. Each workshop will enroll between 12-15 participants and be offered throughout the Central Massachusetts region.  Workshops are currently scheduled at QCC’s Healthcare and Workforce Development Center location on 25 Federal Street, Worcester; QCC Southbridge, 5 Optical Drive, Southbridge, and Courtyard by Marriott in Marlborough, 75 Felton Street, Marlborough.

To learn more, call QCC Program Specialist Christine McNally at 508.751.7929 or email her at cmcnally [at] qcc.mass.edu

  • QCC students who passed Level 1 certification.
  • QCC students who passed Level 1 certification.
  • QCC student Dhalin Lutaaya shows off the challenge coin he earned.
  • QCC student Will Nunes
  • MACWIC pyramid chart
January, 2019

A dozen manufacturing students recently passed the first level of the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC) credentialing/certification program. The program, which is designed and influenced by industry leaders in order to support the growing manufacturing initiatives in today’s marketplace, is a part of QCC’s advanced manufacturing program. The MACWIC credentialing...

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A dozen manufacturing students recently passed the first level of the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC) credentialing/certification program. The program, which is designed and influenced by industry leaders in order to support the growing manufacturing initiatives in today’s marketplace, is a part of QCC’s advanced manufacturing program. The MACWIC credentialing is a stackable system that builds onto itself, increasing manufacturing skillsets.

Seven of the students passed the Level 1 certification, which entailed achieving an average of 85 or better in a five section exam that focused on blueprint reading, metrology, shop math, safety and work readiness. Those students who attained an 85 or better in each of the five sections also received a challenge coin to commemorate their achievement.

Level 1 leads onto Level 2, and then onto Level 3. Levels 2 and 3 are focused on CNC (Computer Numerical Control) technologies and capability. MACWIC credentialing can go as high as Level 5 (see attached chart). Those who reach that level are then considered qualified to be machinists or even be part of manufacturing’s management sector.

According to Assistant Professor of Manufacturing Technology Lee Duerden, the students who passed Level 1 credentialing are now adequately prepared for entry level manufacturing jobs.

“This is the first step to a higher paying job in almost any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) industry,” he said, noting that while many of the students may have already been well-versed in some of the sections of the exam, blue print reading and metrology (the science of measurement) are skills they learned and can now apply with more confidence in the workplace.

Five QCC students also passed the Level 2 certification, which gives them a broader manufacturing skillset and enables them to move on to more advanced certifications.

“We have been using the MACWIC credentialing system for about 4 years now,” Mr.  Duerden said, adding that approximately 70 QCC students have already received this credentialing.

QCC students who passed Level 1 certification included:

  • Michael Mielinski
  • Will Nunes
  • Jonah Wicklund
  • Tomas Dorman
  • Vincent Algieri
  • Andrew Paquette
  • Dhalin Lutaaya

QCC students who passed Level 2 certification included:

  • Nick Mannella
  • Josiah Gianfriddo
  • Mark Nystrom
  • Johanny Polanco

Visit QCC’s manufacturing programs to learn more.

  • Joyful singing was a part of the MLK Worcester County Community Breakfast.
  • QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja spoke at the MLK Jr. Worcester County Community Breakfast.
  • Keynote speaker Rev. Lester A. McCorn
  • Congressman James McGovern was one of the many speakers at the MLK Jr. Community Breakfast.
January, 2019

Quinsigamond Community College once again was host to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Worcester County Community Breakfast. This is the 34th year the breakfast has taken place, with each year bringing Dr. King’s message to those in the Worcester region.

This year’s keynote speaker was the Rev. Lester A. McCorn, a 1984 graduate of Doherty Memorial High School and current President of Clinton...

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Quinsigamond Community College once again was host to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Worcester County Community Breakfast. This is the 34th year the breakfast has taken place, with each year bringing Dr. King’s message to those in the Worcester region.

This year’s keynote speaker was the Rev. Lester A. McCorn, a 1984 graduate of Doherty Memorial High School and current President of Clinton College in Rock Hill, SC. Reverend McCorn was given keys to the City by Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty.

Reverend McCorn discussed his time in Worcester, telling those in attendance, "I’ve literally gone from being a college janitor to being a college president,” after discussing his time as a janitor when he was a teen at Central New England College (now closed).  The Reverend noted that while Rev. King had called out America to account for several of its original sins, they have still not been redeemed. He went on to ask those in the audience to help join in the fight against racism and hatred.

“Listen, the fight is not over. It did not end with the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act - I’ve been fighting all my life. The reason I’m here today is because Worcester taught me how to fight,” he said.

Other speakers included: Master of Ceremonies Susan Mailman, Chair of QCC’s Board of Trustees; Congressman James McGovern; Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito; QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja and Executive Director for the ELM Action Fund Joseph O’Brien.

The invocation was performed by Reverend Dr. Esau Vance and the benediction was performed by Reverend Clyde Talley. There were also performances by the New England gospel Mass Choir, Knights of Zion Men’s Choir and a traditional folk song performed by the Worcester Choirs.

Numerous scholarships and awards were given out during the breakfast including a $1,000 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship to QCC student Nelly Medina.

“Although the mountain top may still seem quite far for us, I still believe that we will reach it. Last year when I spoke, I said that we must dare to dream and that the dream must go on. So I say to you that amongst all that we face nowadays, let the dream go on. Dare to believe; dare to hope that we will reach that mountain top,” Dr. Pedraja said.

  • PTK Alumni Kimbery May
January, 2019

The Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Zeta Theta (AZT) chapter has been an integral part in the lives of thousands of QCC students since it became a charter on April 8, 1980. On November 30, 2018 PTK took a giant step forward in its mission to support the people, programs and priorities of the PTK Society with the founding of the PTK AZT Alumni Association Executive Board.

“This association grew out of a need...

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The Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Zeta Theta (AZT) chapter has been an integral part in the lives of thousands of QCC students since it became a charter on April 8, 1980. On November 30, 2018 PTK took a giant step forward in its mission to support the people, programs and priorities of the PTK Society with the founding of the PTK AZT Alumni Association Executive Board.

“This association grew out of a need to keep connected with our PTK students after they have graduated and moved on in their lives. Our students want to continue to be a part of PTK and QCC after they’ve left here, and this association will give them a way to maintain that connection,” said PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman.

The goals of the organization are to provide support to the PTK chapter and its members, as well as work on fostering personal and professional growth and relationships through networking, social events, leadership events, and community service. 

The newly formed Executive Board is made up of PTK alumni that include:

Advisor- Kayla Paterson is a 2016 QCC Elementary Education graduate and earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Anna Maria College. Ms. Patterson is currently a paraprofessional working with third and fourth graders in a nearby school district. She also works part-time in QCC’s PTK office.

President - Allen Phillips is a 2016 QCC Business Administration graduate. Mr. Phillips has been employed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for the last 14 years. He recently retired after 20 years of working for the town of West Boylston as a firefighter and EMT. He earned his bachelor’s degree in December 2018 in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from the University of Alaska.

Vice President - Kimberly May is a 2017 QCC graduate. Ms. May earned degrees in General Studies and General Studies Healthcare. She is a Medical Assistant and Clinical Office Coordinator for the department of Neurology at Emerson Hospital. She also works part-time in the PTK office as an assistant and advisor.

Treasurer - Tony Sanders graduated from QCC with three degrees and one certificate. In 2017, he earned a certificate in Electronics Technology and a degree in Electronics Engineering Technology Biomedical Instrumentation option.

Secretary - Laura Loranger is a 2018 QCC graduate with a degree in Liberal Arts. Currently she works as an Executive Assistant on the Pro’s Real Estate Team.

Officer-at-Large - Sean Lauziere is a 2011 QCC graduate with a degree in Liberal Arts. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in International Affairs from Northeastern University (Class of 2013) and his Master's of Policy Administration in 2014. In his current role, he works as a Senior Government Affairs Executive at Rave Mobile Safety.

Each board member will serve a two-year term.

“It is particularly exciting to serve the Alpha Zeta Theta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at a time when the leadership is actively working to increase the connections among all divisions in recognition of a community approach for the future; continuing to foster a ‘community’ within and beyond community college,” said Ms. Patterson, a 2016 QCC Elementary Education graduate.

To learn more, contact the PTK Alumni office at 508.854.4411 or email ptkaztalumni [at] qmail.qcc.edu

  • QCC alum Josh Biernacki
January, 2019

Sometimes, just when you think you have your life plan figured out, something goes awry. It was that way for QCC alum Joshua “Josh” Biernacki, who had made a plan to join the Marines after graduating high school.  Today, the Marines are a distant memory and he is poised to begin the next chapter in his life as a high level technical recruiter at an IT consulting and recruiting firm in...

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Sometimes, just when you think you have your life plan figured out, something goes awry. It was that way for QCC alum Joshua “Josh” Biernacki, who had made a plan to join the Marines after graduating high school.  Today, the Marines are a distant memory and he is poised to begin the next chapter in his life as a high level technical recruiter at an IT consulting and recruiting firm in Boston.

Mr. Biernacki’s journey to QCC began circuitously. He had decided to forgo all college applications and went to a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) after his high school graduation with the intention of entering the Marines. It was there that he found out he would have to fill out a lot of waivers and paperwork in order to be considered for the Marines due to the fact that he was deaf in one ear. Not wanting to hold up his life while he went through the lengthy process, he decided that he would forgo the Marines and signed up for classes at Quinsigamond Community College two days before the semester began, enrolling in the General Studies Mathematics program. He said he chose QCC for its convenient location and affordability, but quickly realized there was much more to the college.

“There are infinite opportunities at QCC and you’ll save yourself so much money. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I first came here. I wasn’t a people person.This school opened the doors for me to be able to learn book skills and people skills,” he said.“Personal growth was everything to me at QCC.”

Breaking Out Of His Shell

Mr. Biernacki acknowledged that he had been bullied in both middle and high school and because of this he said he was not a very social person. Once at QCC, he made the conscience decision to change this behavior.

“The first or second week of classes the college had a Club Fair that I went to and it was there that I decided to run for Student Senate. It was at the Club Fair that things started to click for me and I knew I had to introduce myself to people. My goal was to go and meet 15 new people each day,” he said. “To this day I have lifelong friends from that journey.”

He became an active member of student life on campus, while also taking classes and working three jobs. One of those jobs was in the fitness world, an area he still enjoys today, working part-time as a trainer.

During his time at QCC he was the Student Senate Treasurer (2010); Student Senate President (2011); Student Trustee for the College (2012, 2013); was a member of the Massachusetts Community College Trustees Association (2011-2013; was QCC’s Representative on the Student Advisory Council to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (2011-2013) and he served as President of the Student Advisory Council. He also was the Student Representative on the Governance Review Team, was a QCC Student Ambassador, was on the 2011-2012 nationally placing math team, was a QCC Student Orientation Leader, and was the Student Representative on the All College Committee.

As someone who once described himself as, “never really getting along with anyone,” he had become one of QCC’s best advocates and a shining example for others. He attributes his success to the many mentors he had at QCC, from Maureen Giacobbe in Career Services, to Cheryl Pike from Student Life, former QCC President Gail Carberry, Joseph Adams in TRIO, Mishawn Davis-Eyene in Admissions, and alum David Chapin Jr., former QCC student trustee and current QCC Guardian.

“Everyone gave me so much time and personal attention. It was amazing. The staff really cares. What I learned here I can relate it to wherever I go. I always tell people that without QCC, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today,” he said. “Here you are not a number… you are never a number.”

Mr. Biernacki graduated from QCC with two associate degrees, one in Business Administration and one in General Studies Mathematics.  For several years he worked in a variety of sales and management positions at numerous companies (and was offered every job he had interviewed for), before realizing his true passion – to work closely with people and to help them find their ideal job.

He is quick to note that the advice, guidance, and support he received at QCC was invaluable and helped to get him where he is today.

“Put everything you can into QCC and you’ll get out twice as much,” he said.

Mr. Biernacki continues to follow his own advice and recently came back to QCC attending the college’s Career Fair as a recruiter. 

 “In my previous position at QCC, I worked in the Career Services Office. During that time, I had the privilege of meeting, and getting to know, Josh. From the moment I met him, his tremendous motivation and enthusiasm were evident.  It was that drive which brought him to the Career Services Office often, to pursue internships, job opportunities, or to update his resume. I recently reconnected with him when he was visiting QCC as a recruiter and am happy to say he still embodies the greatest personal and professional attributes a person could offer,” said Coordinator of Instructional Technology & Assessment Maureen Giacobbe. “I am confident Josh will succeed in any goal he pursues.”

  • From left: Helen Hatzopoulos, Eduardo Rivas and Benjamin Aryeh
January, 2019

For many, the thought of the upcoming tax season can bring about trepidation, confusion and uncertainty. Imagine trying to figure out your taxes if English is not your first language or if you have a disability. In Worcester, the Volunteer Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free tax preparation and electronic filing to low and moderate income families (making $54,000 or less), persons with disabilities and limited...

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For many, the thought of the upcoming tax season can bring about trepidation, confusion and uncertainty. Imagine trying to figure out your taxes if English is not your first language or if you have a disability. In Worcester, the Volunteer Tax Assistance (VITA) Program offers free tax preparation and electronic filing to low and moderate income families (making $54,000 or less), persons with disabilities and limited English speakers who may need assistance in preparing their own taxes. The program is run by volunteers in the community who are looking to give back to their community and runs from January to April. It’s offered through the Worcester Free Tax Service Coalition at four locations: the Worcester Community Action Council, Inc., Main South Community Development Corporation (CDC), Plumley Village and Worcester State University.

Volunteers do not need any previous accounting experience and will be trained. Every volunteer must pass a certification test in order to be a certified tax preparer and help with tax preparation. QCC student volunteers work out of the Main South CDC location.

QCC Offers A Variety of Options

This program has become near and dear to the heart of QCC Enrollment Counselor Eduardo Rivas, who was a volunteer in the program for several years when he was a student and is now the VITA Program Coordinator at QCC. He had become a volunteer while at QCC and was able to use the experience for prior learning credit. He continued to volunteer each year thereafter.

The program at QCC is already expanding exponentially since Mr. Rivas has taken over.

“Last year we had 24 volunteers in total. When I took over the position it was 10 or 11 volunteers,” he said, noting that they helped approximately 290 families.

One of those QCC volunteers was Business Administration major Helen Hatzopoulos. She worked as a volunteer last year and obtained prior learning credit for the experience. This year she is volunteering again.

“The training wasn’t too difficult. You have a book and then you get hands-on experience, learning as you go. It looks really good on your resume,” Ms. Hatzopoulos said, adding, “It’s a very welcoming place and giving back to the community is very rewarding. They are very grateful.”

Today, Mr. Rivas is taking the existing volunteer training program at the college and expounding upon it to include, for the first time, a class that QCC business majors can take as a program elective or as a free elective for any major.  Mr. Rivas said he took some valuable pointers from a class he took at Assumption College as part of his MBA degree.  Students who register for the class (ACC 225 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), must attend training during the first two-weeks of classes and become certified as a tax preparer, which they will do in class. Students will then be required to complete 12, three-hour sessions at Main South CDC and attend a recognition ceremony.

Students also still have the prior learning credit option or just straight volunteering. Mr. Rivas said unlike other area colleges who do this type of volunteer training, no one from outside the QCC community will be turned away from volunteering. The only caveat, they must be certified to participate. In fact, he had a PHD student from Worcester Polytechnic Institute reach out and volunteer last year and has had Assumption College reach out and refer volunteers.

A Hope for the Future

QCC Student Trustee Benjamin Aryeh is a big advocate of the VITA program and its positive impact not only on QCC students, but on the community as a whole. He is currently training to be a volunteer and is working with Mr. Rivas on getting the word out.

I’m passionate about working with people and I have the soft skills that will be helpful in helping people prepare their taxes. I’m a bilingual speaker so I will be able to help translate. I like helping to serve the underrepresented population,” he said.

Mr. Rivas said that recently the Worcester Housing Authority approached the Worcester Tax Coalition to discuss ways to either open their own site or affiliate with one of the four existing sites.

“This information was brought during our last coordinators’ meeting. I contacted the Worcester Tax Coalition to see if some of our QCC students could prepare taxes at their office to start a partnership with them," he said, adding that Mr. Aryeh would be interested in taking the lead on this initiative.

“My goal this year is to increase the number of volunteers and prepare returns for more people,” Mr. Rivas said.

For those interested in learning how to become a volunteer for the 2018 tax season, email Mr. Rivas at erivas [at] qcc.mass.edu

  • PTK Food Pantry Manager Max German and student volunteer Alexandra Hernandez
January, 2019

The need is growing and so is QCC’s Food Pantry and Resource Center, dedicated to helping those in the QCC community who are in need. Located in Room B63A, the Food Pantry and Resource Center has new hours and new resources beginning this semester.  QCC’s Food Pantry Manager, Max German said the pantry is already seeing an uptick in usage, and with new community resources being...

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The need is growing and so is QCC’s Food Pantry and Resource Center, dedicated to helping those in the QCC community who are in need. Located in Room B63A, the Food Pantry and Resource Center has new hours and new resources beginning this semester.  QCC’s Food Pantry Manager, Max German said the pantry is already seeing an uptick in usage, and with new community resources being brought in he expects to see more and more people utilizing its services.

New resources will include a biweekly visit from a representative from LUK, a not-for-profit social service agency located in central Massachusetts that is dedicated to improving the lives of those age 26 and under. The agency offers a full spectrum of programs that address homelessness, mental and behavioral health, trauma, addiction and substance abuse prevention.  Additionally, Cooking Matters in Massachusetts will be coming in to assist with nutritional training. The Central West Justice Center will also be coming to campus and will hold informational sessions on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The SNAP information sessions will be available to students, as well as all faculty and staff.

Another Central West Justice Center session coming to the resource center will offer information on knowing your rights and what government benefits are available (such as housing, food and transportation), as well as the eligibility requirements.

 The food pantry and resource center hours for spring 2019 are:

  • Monday 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday 8:00 a.m. – noon
  • Wednesday 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

If you are (or know of) a student, faculty or staff member in need, please come to the food pantry and resource center for assistance. All information is always kept confidential. There will be an intake appointment for your first visit and then each time you return, all you’ll need to do is show your QCC Food Pantry and Resource Center identification (ID) card. ID cards have just a number on them to ensure privacy.

If you need assistance outside of the hours listed or you have questions, call 508.854.7403 or email foodpantry [at] qcc.mass.edu.

Mr. German said they are still looking for volunteers to help out in the food pantry and resource center. Anyone who is interested can email him directly at mgerman [at] qmail.qcc.edu.

“Training takes less than an hour,” he added.

To learn more about the resources available visit QCC Food Pantry and Resource Center

  • The December 14 ADN Advanced Placement RN students pinning ceremony.
  • Graduates from the Day Associate Nursing Program
  • QCC’s Dean of the School of Healthcare Pat Schmohl
January, 2019

Nursing is not a 9 to 5 job and those who choose a career in nursing recognize the dedication and devotion it takes to enter the profession. On December 14 and 20, over 80 Advanced Placement evening program nursing students and day nursing students received their pins at pinning ceremonies held at the Harrington Learning Center.

Pinning ceremonies have become an important part of nursing graduations, going...

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Nursing is not a 9 to 5 job and those who choose a career in nursing recognize the dedication and devotion it takes to enter the profession. On December 14 and 20, over 80 Advanced Placement evening program nursing students and day nursing students received their pins at pinning ceremonies held at the Harrington Learning Center.

Pinning ceremonies have become an important part of nursing graduations, going back as far as the 1800s. Each nursing school has a unique, identifiable pin that differentiates where the students earned their nursing degree. Each QCC nursing student also received a lamp, which represents one of the most celebrated nurses in history, Florence Nightingale, who was known as the “lady with the lamp,” for her nightly sojourns taking care of injured soldiers. The Nurse’s Pledge was also recited at each pinning ceremony, which is based on the Florence Nightingale pledge of practicing the nursing profession with integrity, honesty and commitment.

QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja and QCC’s Dean of the School of Healthcare Pat Schmohl each gave opening remarks and congratulated the graduates.

“I love seeing all of the smiling faces on the stage and the proud family, children, and friends in the audience. The energy in our auditorium during a nursing pinning ceremony cannot be reproduced. Students are always so thankful to their family, friends and faculty during the actual pinning,” said Mr. Schmohl, adding, “The pinning ceremonies are always an inspiration.”

Graduates from the AP Evening Nursing Program included:

Adesina Adegoke
Kwabena Agyei
Caitlyn Andrews
Solomon Asare
Daisy Chege
Danielle Colpritt
Brittany Crooker
Katherine Daly - President
Amanda Davies
Stephanie Faranda
Edna Fine
Jennifer Fitzgerald
Janet Fortune
Amanda Gibree  - Vice President
Lillian Gichobi
Jessica Goyer – Secretary
Natalie Hartzell
Nancy Irianki
Peter Kimani
Yuliana King
Anjuli Kinell
Ann Labonte
Justin Lemieux – Class Representative
Heather Manning
Richard Marinelli
Dawn McInnes
Kara Miller
John Muchiri
Hannah Mungai
Catherine Munyua
Nicole Murphy
Robin Myrick
Faustina Odoi
Deborah O’Leary
Timothy Pepin
Viktorya Rubinova
Paige Shea - Treasurer
Ashley Starr
Jennifer Thorpe
Jillian Toomey
Jahleh Valipour
Esther Wanjuche
Francisca Williams

Graduates from the Day Associate Nursing Program included:

Daniel Anderson
Mercy Asare
Alfredina Asomaning
Mary Ball
Jessica Bergeron
Ethan Caless
Rebecca Carroll
Katelyn-Rose Church
Ashley Davis
Allison Denman
Joselyn Diaz
Jenna Eddy
Brianna Flanagan
Esther Gabriel-Gergous
Januka Ghimiray
Haley Hitchings
Brianne Johnson
Marissa Kaminski
Andrea Lacey
Kelly Lekas
Erin Lombardi 
Jacqueline Marinelli
Catherine Marschall
Kayla Mendelowitz
Jackelyn Miranda 
Zailynett Naranjo
Gifty Oppong 
Courtney Paquin
Ashley Perez
Briana Picard
Rachel Pilver 
Rosalie Pulsifer
Sheila Quick
Jules Rezidor
Keila Silva
Amanda Smith
Emmanuela St Surin
Deven Turner

 

  • Lady bugs are one of the natural ways the greenhouse volunteers control pests.
  • A gorgeous red pepper is ripe for picking in the greenhouse.
  • Nothing is better than fresh strawberries in winter.
  • The PTK Live and Learn Greenhouse
  • A water filtration system is used to remove any chemicals from the water.
  • Every drop of space is being utilized at the Live and Learn Greenhouse.
January, 2019

When the days of winter seem endless and you feel that one more day of winter just might be one day too many, the volunteers at the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Live and Learn Greenhouse suggest you stop by and see what’s growing. While the trees, grass, and plants around campus are dormant and under a blanket of icy snow, the PTK Live and Learn Greenhouse is alive with color, warmth and many, many plants that are...

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When the days of winter seem endless and you feel that one more day of winter just might be one day too many, the volunteers at the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Live and Learn Greenhouse suggest you stop by and see what’s growing. While the trees, grass, and plants around campus are dormant and under a blanket of icy snow, the PTK Live and Learn Greenhouse is alive with color, warmth and many, many plants that are growing throughout the year. According to PTK student and current Greenhouse Manager Vanessa Hanger, there are lots of plants being grown, with the produce being used to help feed those in need within the QCC community. Everything that is grown is either donated to QCC’s Food Pantry or given to someone in the QCC community.

“Our goal is to grow produce for people in need. Produce is expensive. Everything we grow is donated to the college community. Nothing goes to waste,” Ms. Hanger said.

Heathy Eating Means Healthy Plantings

The greenhouse is a completely organic one. Plants are not treated with pesticides, but use natural ways such as lady bugs, which eat many nuisance pests such as aphids. The lady bugs cause no harm to the plants and help to keep them healthy.  A water filtration system is also used to remove any chemicals from the water, ensuring clean water for the plants. This semester worms are being brought in to help with the growing process. They will be placed in a bin with holes in the bottom and fed with food scrapes.

“The digestive juices that the red wiggler worms excrete while eating will pass through the holes in the bottom of the bin. We will collect and dilute the juice before using it to fertilize the plants,” Ms. Hanger said. “It’s like liquid gold.”  

This semester they are looking into a camera that can take time lapse images showing the growth of the plants. Sensors are also going to be placed in the greenhouse that will not only now monitor the temperature, but also the humidity. In addition, new greenhouse volunteer Kevin Johns is working with QCC alum Thomas Rokicki on greenhouse automation and updating the website.

Currently the greenhouse is chock full of plants that include peppers, herbs, cucumbers, chives, strawberries and limes in different stages of growth. When the weather gets better, Ms. Hanger said the food pantry volunteers will plant outside, utilizing planters. Compatible plants such as different types of lettuce, tomatoes, basil and strawberries will be planted.

All College Volunteer Opportunity

Volunteers in the greenhouse include a variety of students (students who are in PTK, as well as those not in PTK), a QCC alum who is now a student at Worcester State University, in addition to faculty and staff. There are a variety of teams that volunteers can choose to be on such as Data Analytics, Engineering, Harvesting/Pruning, Research/Fertilization and Transplantation.

Current greenhouse volunteers include:

  • Thomas Rokicki: QCC alum
  • Annette Tolle: Staff
  • Archana Mudbidri: Faculty
  • Kevin Johns
  • Alex Sandberg
  • Carli Boudreau
  • Daniel Gangemi
  • Eunice Asare
  • Isabella Rodriguez
  • Jamilex Rivas
  • Kayla Bardell
  • Moesha Nugent
  • Santana Wright
  • James Barter
  • Mariam Mohammed

“Our focus is building the team of volunteers. This is available to the whole college. Previous botany experience is not required. This is all on a volunteer basis. Students are not getting any credit for this; they are doing this because they believe in giving back to the college community ,” Ms. Hanger said. “We’d love to have more faculty and staff members participate. This is a great opportunity for mentoring as well as giving back.”

While there is much going on at the greenhouse, the small space is limiting to what can be grown. Discussions are currently going on about building a new, much larger greenhouse (16' - 9 1/2" x 20' - 10 1/2").  PTK has already raised the funds to purchase the new greenhouse, which would quadruple the amount of produce that can be grown, according to PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman.

Anyone interested in volunteering can reach out to Greenhouse Manager Vanessa Hanger at vhanger [at] qmail.qcc.edu.

  • From left: Mark Blease and Manny Antwi
January, 2019

It all started out with a candy bar.

Over four years ago when the QCC Veterans Club was newly established and they were looking for fundraising ideas they decided to sell candy bars - Hebert candy bars. While the group sold most of the candy bars, there were still some left after the fundraising drive ended. Since it was Halloween time and QCC was hosting its annual trick-or-treating event at the college,...

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It all started out with a candy bar.

Over four years ago when the QCC Veterans Club was newly established and they were looking for fundraising ideas they decided to sell candy bars - Hebert candy bars. While the group sold most of the candy bars, there were still some left after the fundraising drive ended. Since it was Halloween time and QCC was hosting its annual trick-or-treating event at the college, members of the club decided to give the candy bars away to children who came by. That’s when this story takes a decidedly different turn.

According to Director of Veteran Affairs Paula Ogden, it was a child who had stopped by the Veteran Affairs office that took the bar and turned to the gentlemen behind him and said, “Look grandpa it has your name on it.” A discussion ensued between QCC student veteran Desiree Vinson and “grandpa,” who happened to be one of the owners of Hebert Candies. He said he was part of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and that perhaps there was something they could do to help. He gave Ms. Vinson a contact at the BBB and that’s when Ms. Ogden took over.

“I called the BBB every few weeks telling them the benefits of helping veterans, perhaps helping fund books,” she said.

For the better part of a year and a half Ms. Ogden went back and forth with her contact at the BBB discussing possible scenarios on how the BBB could help out. Finally in 2015, the BBB began Veteran & Service Member Textbook Scholarship. The first year the scholarship awarded three students $500 each. Today the BBB of Central New England and BBB's Consumer Education Foundation awards $500 each to up to eight veteran or service member students attending a university or college within BBB's service area of Central and Western MA and Northeast CT.

“We’ve always had a scholarship winner since this began,” Ms. Ogden continued, noting that this year’s winner is QCC student veteran Mark Blease.

Mr. Blease, who works part-time in the Veteran Affairs office, is an Army veteran who is planning to graduate from QCC with an Engineering degree this May. His goal is to move onto a 4-year college and most likely major in nuclear engineering. He said he was extremely happy to find out he had won the scholarship.

“Paula mentioned the scholarship when I was in the Veteran Affairs office and suggested I try for it,” he said. “There were 12 questions and I researched the answers to each one on the BBB website.”

Mr. Blease said that while it took some time to fill out the questions, it was certainly worth it.

“I probably spent more time than most people would have but it was pretty straightforward and all the answers were findable. They were business related questions and not too hard. I’d tell anyone to do it, why not?”

In other Veteran Affairs News - Red Shirt Fridays 

RED Friday (Remember Everyone Deployed) or Red shirt Fridays is a campaign to show solidarity and support for all men and women in the United States military. Red symbolizes the blood spilled by the brave men and women of the United States military and is a reminder of their sacrifice. Red Fridays is not intended as a political statement, just a nice way for Americans to show they support the people who serve our country. 

"If you were not already aware of Red Friday, please spread the word," said Ms. Ogden. "We hope to see everyone wearing red on Fridays."