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03/2020

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March, 2020

  • QCC Respiratory Therapy students from left: Jaclyn Banach, Kiara Still, Allison Foskett and Tiffany “Tiff” Wayland.
March, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College Respiratory Therapy students are in the thick of things these days, and while they have all dedicated themselves to caring for others, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the scope of what they do. In the coming weeks we will be featuring our amazing Respiratory Therapy students, who each day are on the front lines, working in area hospitals to help save lives. These amazing...

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Quinsigamond Community College Respiratory Therapy students are in the thick of things these days, and while they have all dedicated themselves to caring for others, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the scope of what they do. In the coming weeks we will be featuring our amazing Respiratory Therapy students, who each day are on the front lines, working in area hospitals to help save lives. These amazing students are the embodiment of the QCC guardians and our Wyvern mascot - a mythical, winged dragon that was viewed as the ancient protector of Worcestershire, England. As the Wyvern protected Worcestershire, England, QCC's students and alumni protect our communities. Below are four Respiratory Therapy students who are making a difference one patient at a time. They are protecting our communities each and every day, selflessly putting their lives on the line for others. 

Meet some of our amazing QCC students:

  • Kiara Still is a QCC Respiratory Therapy sophomore who will graduate in May. She’s joining the team at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester next week because she wants to make a difference during this uncertain, unprecedented time. Ms. Still lives with her boyfriend who is considered high-risk, but has made the decision to put her nerves aside and jump right into the front lines.

    "I am grateful for the Quinsigamond Respiratory Care program and as scary as it is, I am ready! We are the Quinsigamond Community College Class of 2020, and we are ready,” she said. Ms. Stills is one very special guardian.
  • Tiffany “Tiff” Wayland is a QCC student who is on her second week as a student respiratory therapist at Harrington Hospital. She is taking care of COVID-19 pending patients, running ventilators and checking blood gases. She will also be wearing two pairs of gloves and two masks, along with everything else that goes into keeping herself and her patients safe. As scary as it is, Tiff says loves helping out. Tiff was a student just two weeks ago...now she is working to save lives.
  • Jaclyn Banach is a QCC Respiratory Therapy student who has been on the front lines for five years, working overnight at Marlborough Hospital in Emergency Registration. She is in the process of having her license expedited by the Board of Respiratory Care. As soon as she gets it, she said she is ready to jump in and work directly with those suffering from Coronavirus/COVID-19. Thank you for being a QCC student and protecting our community.
  • Allison Foskett is on her second degree at QCC. Currently she is a Respiratory Therapy student who has been working at UMass Memorial on the University campus since last fall in a student position as a Respiratory Therapist I. She said the experience and lessons she has learned during the time she has been there have been "significant" and says she has loved every minute of it. Today, her world has turned upside down due to the pandemic crisis.

    "I don’t think any of us could have predicted what is happening now, it’s surreal. I have to say that I am in awe of my coworkers, they are amazing! Under stress and uncertainty, they are still taking the time to teach me. That speaks volumes about the respiratory department at UMass, she said. "I am doing the best I can through this trying to balance working through a pandemic, completing school work, studying for the boards, and raising my four children."

    Ms. Foskett said she is grateful that all the people she loves and cares about are healthy at the moment, which is really all that matters. Her message to others is a simple one, "Stay safe and stay home." Thank you, Ms. Foskett for taking care of our community and helping keep us all safe. You are a true hero.

Do you know someone who is helping during this time of great need? Please send an email to Marketing Manager Gina Cone at gcone [at] qcc.mass.edu and let her know so that we can tell the world about their incredible feats.

  • QCC Professor Lee Duerden demonstrates a 3D protoype mask he made. Two UMass Memorial nurses were thrilled to try the masks out.
March, 2020

As the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis deepens, Quinsigamond Community College faculty, staff, students and alumni have come together to assist area hospitals and healthcare facilities. The College’s science department recently donated 45 cases of nitrile gloves to Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

“This totals 45,000 gloves, which will go to hospitals and healthcare facilities in the...

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As the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis deepens, Quinsigamond Community College faculty, staff, students and alumni have come together to assist area hospitals and healthcare facilities. The College’s science department recently donated 45 cases of nitrile gloves to Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

“This totals 45,000 gloves, which will go to hospitals and healthcare facilities in the most need,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

Other initiatives by the QCC community include a project spearheaded by Lee Duerden, associate professor of Manufacturing Technology. Mr. Duerden is utilizing QCC’s Fab Lab and its form lab resin printers to make respirator masks that have removable HEPA filters, capable of filtration rates to 0.01 microns. In comparison, according to the Centers for Disease Controls, N95 filtering face piece respirators filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles. N95 FFRs are capable of filtering out all types of particles, including bacteria and viruses. Mr. Duerden has currently printed prototypes that are being tested and utilized by 10 area nurses. 

QCC students are also taking part in the crusade to help out. QCC student Ilina Ivanova is a Liberal Arts Biology major, due to graduate this May. Ms. Ivanova has begun sewing masks after finding a Facebook group, “Worcester Stitchers for Health,” where people share patterns online. These masks also enable a filter to be inserted.

“I have made about 25 masks so far and I plan on making as many as I can. They take about 20-25 minutes to sew each, depending on the template,” she said, adding that the masks can either be dropped off at a drop box at the home of the coordinator of Worcester Stitchers for Health, or the coordinator will make arrangements to safely pick them up. 

They are taken to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) where they are either autoclaved or UV irradiated, depending on the mask material (anything that contains plastic will melt in an autoclave), packaged in sterile pouches and distributed by MEMA.

“However, many people know people personally who are working in high risk healthcare settings that are asking for these masks. For example, I know that a client at an ER veterinary hospital just made masks for the entire staff to alleviate pressure on their dwindling surgical mask supply," she said, adding that grocery store workers, delivery drivers, and other essential workers may also not have access to a mask.

Classes and labs at QCC’s Center for Healthcare and Workforce Development, located at 25 Federal Street, Worcester have also made donations to:

  • UMASS Medical School - N95 masks, gloves, gowns, surgical masks
  • Harrington Hospital – Gowns, and surgical masks
  • Salmon Healthcare – Gowns, gloves and surgical masks
  • Knollwood Nursing Home – Gowns, gloves and surgical masks

“In these unprecedented times, we must all do our part and try and help mitigate the medical supply demand our hospitals and healthcare facilities are facing,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja. “We will continue to do everything we can to assist our healthcare workers who work tirelessly on the front lines.”

  • Jacob Longacre, QCC associate professor of Electronics Engineering Technology
  • QCC has been host to many Vex robotics competitions.
March, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) was recently awarded a $298,108 National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant for a new Robotics Technician Certificate program. The program will be designed to offer a curriculum that supports technical communication, teaches problem-solving skills and offers a strong integration of industry-recognized certifications. Underrepresented QCC student populations that participate in QCC...

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Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) was recently awarded a $298,108 National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant for a new Robotics Technician Certificate program. The program will be designed to offer a curriculum that supports technical communication, teaches problem-solving skills and offers a strong integration of industry-recognized certifications. Underrepresented QCC student populations that participate in QCC’s existing robotics community outreach programs will directly benefit from the program. Additionally, other beneficiaries targeted include 400 pre-college and undergraduate students, who have demonstrated interest in robotics technology.

Robotics education is not a new concept at QCC. It is already a part of the College’s manufacturing and mechatronics programs. According to Jacob Longacre, associate professor of Electronics Engineering Technology at QCC, the new Robotics Technician Certificate will be based on input from industries within the region, as well as local high schools and four-year institution educators. The hope is for the new certificate program to act as a conduit between K-12 robotics outreach programs.

“We want to be sensitive to industries’ needs, how things are changing, and bring more of that interest and need to the program,” Mr. Longacre said.

While QCC faculty and staff have already begun reaching out to industry leaders, the grant funding will now enable QCC to formally begin a comprehensive fact-finding process. This summer, QCC will establish a local business and industry leadership team for robotics, to identify and prioritize the skills desired by local employers. The goal is to have the pilot program tested and in place within three years.

One key component to the program is finding ways in which to engage and inspire students in the world of STEM, particularly those students in middle and high school. For many years QCC has been involved with the VEX Robotics programs. These programs and competitions target high school and middle school students, in an effort to increase interest in STEM from an early age.

“These programs expand students’ interest in STEM and connects those students who may not have these types of technology opportunities,” Mr. Longacre said. “We want our certificate program to get these students excited and interested in robotics.”

“The awarding of this NSF Grant enables us to develop new career pathways for students,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja. “We must teach not only for today’s industry needs, but also teach to the needs of the future. I believe this program will be a gateway to self-sufficiency for many students.”

  • QCC student Murillo Gomes
March, 2020

As students came back from an extended spring break due to the Coronavirus, they came back to a new remote mode of learning. For some students this may be the first foray into this type of learning, for others it may be more familiar. Remote instruction can mean many different things depending upon the course and instructor. Over the past two weeks, professors have reached out to students and detailed their courses...

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As students came back from an extended spring break due to the Coronavirus, they came back to a new remote mode of learning. For some students this may be the first foray into this type of learning, for others it may be more familiar. Remote instruction can mean many different things depending upon the course and instructor. Over the past two weeks, professors have reached out to students and detailed their courses’ required mode of instruction, as students entered into their last weeks of the spring semester.

“It is with great pride and humility that I thank the QCC community for their support during these difficult times. In record time, our faculty, staff and students have adjusted to our new mode of remote instruction and supported one another in ways that have left me speechless,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja. “Our students came back to a well thought out plan in which to continue their classes.”

All QCC services, as well as student support services have also transitioned to online that include everything from simple email communication, to remote meetings and get togethers on various online platforms. All contact information and services can be found on the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information Center . For students in need of transfer advising services, there is currently regular drop-in transfer advising sessions using Zoom video conferencing. To learn more, visit QCC Transfer Services.

“We will have some challenges to overcome in the days and weeks to come, but I know that as we all pull together as a community, there is nothing we can’t accomplish,” Dr. Pedraja added.

  • A sampling of some of the homemade masks made by PTK student Ilina Ivanova.
March, 2020

Phi Theta Kappa student Ilina Ivanova is making a difference in her community one mask at a time. The Quinsigamond Community College sophomore has been putting the pedal to the metal…the sewing machine pedal that is, to make masks for healthcare workers in need. The Wyvern recently had a Q&A online interview with this inspiring and humble student.

What is your major at QCC...

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Phi Theta Kappa student Ilina Ivanova is making a difference in her community one mask at a time. The Quinsigamond Community College sophomore has been putting the pedal to the metal…the sewing machine pedal that is, to make masks for healthcare workers in need. The Wyvern recently had a Q&A online interview with this inspiring and humble student.

What is your major at QCC and when do you anticipate graduating from QCC?

My major at QCC is Liberal Arts Biology, and I am due to graduate this May.

Why did you decide to get involved in making masks?

For several reasons. First, I understand that there is a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) all over the country. I used to work as an Emergency Veterinary Technician, and the hospitals that I worked at have either made their own masks, or have had masks made by the community so that they can free up supply for the human hospitals. Second, I felt I needed to do something productive with my two idle hands that would help my community. I feel guilty when I go to the grocery store and I see the workers without masks. I wanted to offer them an alternative. I would do more if I had the resources or the training. I really wish I could be on the front lines doing everything I can at a moment like this, so I am doing what I think I can.

My goal is to reach out to people who are interested and able to help and connecting them to others who are doing the same.

How did you find the pattern for the masks?

It has been a good deal of trial and error. I am not an expert seamstress by any means. My father has a sewing machine and I asked him if I could use it. I researched patterns on the Internet and I joined the Facebook group, “Worcester Stitchers for Health” where people share patterns. That gave me a lot of hope because the number of people uploading pattern ideas via platforms like Facebook or Youtube in the last couple of weeks tells me that a lot of people all over the country are organizing to make masks with what they have. I know that these masks are not ideal, but this is not an ideal situation and some people are going with zero protection. The filter insert allows for further protection.

Here is a Youtube link for the pattern I am currently using: pocket facemask video

You mentioned dropping them off at your organizer’s home, to then be dropped off at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).  Do you know where WPI will distribute them?

I work at a small startup research company based out of the MBI Incubators at WPI. On my way into work on Monday, the lobby was filled with boxes of PPE donations being organized by the WPI community. I asked them if they were accepting handmade masks and that’s when I was put in touch with Kris Boudreau, who is the coordinator for Worcester Stitchers for Health. Once the masks are made, they can be dropped off at Kris’s doorstep (there is a drop-off box outside to limit social contact), or she is willing to pick them up given a reasonable distance. Kris takes them to WPI where they are either autoclaved or UV irradiated, depending on the mask material (anything that contains plastic will melt in an autoclave). Then they are packaged in a sterile pouch and distributed based on need. This part gets a little tricky because for the most part WPI is working with Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), which is working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to identify high need areas and distribute accordingly. However, many people know people personally who are working in high risk healthcare settings that are asking for these masks. For example, I know that a client at an ER veterinary hospital just made masks for the entire staff to alleviate pressure on their dwindling surgical mask supply. Not to mention all of the grocery store workers, delivery drivers, and other essential workers who may not have access to a mask.

How many have you made or are planning to make?

I have made about 25 masks so far and I plan on making as many as I can. They take about 20-25 minutes to sew each, depending on the template. Part of what takes the most time is finding a template that you like and getting comfortable with it. The template that I am currently using is a pleated mask with a filter insert and a metal wire nose bridge. It can be made with elastic bands or with ties. I got my materials at Joann Fabrics the day before they closed and they were entirely cleared out of elastic! That’s how many people are making masks.

Is this something where anyone can get involved? If so, can you please share the details?

This is definitely something that anyone who has the tools and materials and is willing to deal with a minor learning curve can get involved with. I know a lot of people have more time on their hands these days, and for me, personally, when I feel myself going a little crazy, I now get behind the sewing machine. (The Facebook page is Worcester Stitchers for Health and Kris Boudreau’s email is kboudreau [at] wpi.edu)

Professor Lee Duerden made a prototype of a respirator mask and you mentioned a friend in Vermont who will be using Lee’s prototype to make 3-D Masks. Can you tell us a bit about this?

Sure. My friend, Josh Shedaker, is a musician and guitar/bass repair man, amongst other things, living in Vermont. He posted on Facebook about looking for resources on making 3D printed respirator masks. I shared Lee’s prototype with him and he said that this is the type of mask he is looking to make. What surprised me is that under his Facebook post, there were many others with 3D printer access who commented that they were also making 3D printed respirator masks. It is great to get the word out because it helps with organizing and connecting people who I think naturally want to help but either don’t know how or they think their effort will be insignificant.

What are your plans after you graduate from QCC?

After QCC I will be finishing my bachelor's in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Clark University. I actually just found out I was accepted last Friday and I am so excited. This would not have been possible without all of the support, inspiration, guidance, and quality education that I received at QCC. When I started last year, part of me didn't think this would have been possible. I will really miss QCC. 

If you are a QCC student or alumni doing something in your community to help others during this national pandemic, we want to hear from you and tell your story. Please email the Wyvern Guardian newsletter at khutner [at] qcc.mass.edu.

  • QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja and WBZ Anchor Kate Merrill
March, 2020

As Quinsigamond Community College transitions to a new way of delivering student services, QCC’s Food Pantry and Resource Center is working hard to continue to serve students who are food insecure. The College stands united in its commitment to students and in the coming days students will be receiving information in their Qmail about how to apply for food pantry assistance through a...

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As Quinsigamond Community College transitions to a new way of delivering student services, QCC’s Food Pantry and Resource Center is working hard to continue to serve students who are food insecure. The College stands united in its commitment to students and in the coming days students will be receiving information in their Qmail about how to apply for food pantry assistance through a new food pantry and resource center intake form.

According to Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Bonnie Coleman, the QCC Food Pantry and Resource Center will be picking up food weekly from the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB). Dean of Students Terry Vecchio and Ms. Coleman recently spent two and a half hours training with David Reed, agency relations coordinator for the WCFB, so that the College could have access to their food.

“We will have a variety of food staples, depending on what they have each week,” she said.

Each week Ms. Coleman and Ms. Vecchio will visit the food bank and pick up items for QCC’s food pantry, bringing them back to the College where they will be sorted and bagged. The food will be distributed into individual bags that can be picked up at the College’s turnaround area in front of QCC’s main campus (670 West Boylston Street, Worcester). Each bag with not only contain food items, but also valuable information on different resources available to students. The goal is to also rotate to QCC’s Healthcare and Workforce Development Center, on 25 Federal Street, Worcester.

Ms. Vecchio asks students for their understanding and patience as they navigate this new process.

“We will try and have a consistent day each week that is to be determined,” she said, adding that services will be on first-come, first-serve, rotating basis each week. We are going to do the very best we can to help out our students in need.”

For questions, please email foodpantry [at] qcc.mass.edu 

  • Register online today
March, 2020

If you are a current Quinsigamond Community College student, you know what time it is…it’s REGISTRATION TIME! Registration for current students is currently underway and beginning on April 13, the College opens up its registration to the general public.

Due to the current health crisis, QCC Advising has changed its registration format for the health and safety of students and staff. During...

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If you are a current Quinsigamond Community College student, you know what time it is…it’s REGISTRATION TIME! Registration for current students is currently underway and beginning on April 13, the College opens up its registration to the general public.

Due to the current health crisis, QCC Advising has changed its registration format for the health and safety of students and staff. During this registration period, ALL current QCC students are able to self-register for classes. Visit QCC Register Now for easy to follow instructions and support information.

Summer Sessions Set to Start Early June

Due to the current situation with the Coronavirus/COVID-19, Quinsigamond Community College has made the decision to delay summer courses until the beginning of June. The new session dates are:

  • Summer I:  Monday, June 8- Tuesday, July 14
  • Summer II: Monday, July 20 – Tuesday, August 25

Summer offers students, whether QCC students or students from other colleges or universities, a way to take a class they might still need, transfer the course credit, and be ahead of the game when they return to their schools in the fall.  Additionally, students from other collegiate institutions who choose to take a summer course at QCC often see a substantial cost savings.

Open registration for summer and fall classes begins on April 13. For more information, visit QCCRegister.

  • Karl Storrs employees are advancing their careers through QCC's Manufacturing Certificate program.
  • Karl Storrs employees at QCC's Advanced Manufacturing lab.
March, 2020

Karl Storz Endoskope Inc., of Charlton, recently partnered with Quinsigamond Community College to bring a Manufacturing Technology Certificate program to the company workplace. The goal was to encourage employees to further their education, by acquiring knowledge and skills to be more qualified for advancement. Storz employees from different shifts and different departments participated in the program.

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Karl Storz Endoskope Inc., of Charlton, recently partnered with Quinsigamond Community College to bring a Manufacturing Technology Certificate program to the company workplace. The goal was to encourage employees to further their education, by acquiring knowledge and skills to be more qualified for advancement. Storz employees from different shifts and different departments participated in the program.

Most classes were taught on-site in the company’s training room, with some “hands-on” classes conducted in the advanced manufacturing lab at QCC. Not only was this convenient for employees to attend the bulk of their courses on the jobsite (providing valuable time savings), but also helped remove an additional financial barrier by having the company fund the program.

QCC’s Manufacturing Certificate program is designed to prepare students to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills to the identification and resolution of production problems in the manufacturing of products. Additional courses in mathematics and microcomputer applications were provided to ensure the employees had the foundational skills they would need to be successful.

QCC manufacturing faculty members, Professors Lee Duerden and Damian Kieran, provided instruction that included basic machine operation, engineering materials science, computer-aided design, machine maintenance and instrumentation, manufacturing quality and safety. Some of the standard curriculum was also modified to directly support Karl Storz activities.

“An example of curriculum modification would be in the Strength of Materials. We specifically identified endoscope vertebra, which are tested to determine strength of the weld. There were some other areas where we brought in discussion points for Karl Storz manufacturing processes and quality control,” Mr. Duerden said.

The participating employees were challenged in many ways, juggling full-time work and family schedules, while also making their education a priority. Eight of the students who embarked in the 15-month program earned their Certificate in Manufacturing Technology. The students who were unable to complete the program retained their academic credits and can apply them to a certificate or degree in the future.

Storz company management recognized the accomplishments of the employees with a celebration at its Charlton site. President and General Manager Bruce Watkins addressed the group at the event, highlighting the company’s growth and calling out the participating employees for their contribution to the company’s success.

 “It takes a lot of work to complete 24 credits – you should be proud of your accomplishments. Congratulations on a job well done,” Mr. Duerden told the employees.

One of the participating employees, Jake Manilla, has already enrolled in the QCC Engineering Associate in Science Degree program.

“Karl Storz offering these classes on-site gave me the opportunity to see if college was for me. I now know that I can do it. I chose to enroll in the engineering program at QCC because there are many different kinds of engineering jobs at Storz that I can apply for with an engineering degree,” Mr. Manilla said. “I am very grateful to Karl Storz for having offered us the certificate program.”

For more information on QCC’s customized workforce training programs, contact QCC’s Business Development Specialist, Christine McNally at cmcnally [at] qcc.mass.edu

  • Phi Theta Kappa's Virtual Office is up and running.
March, 2020

Staying connected during these trying times is an important part of staying healthy and the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Zeta Theta Chapter is doing just that- staying connected. Each Tuesday PTK Alumna Kayla Paterson will bring live updates on (YouTube), called YouTube Tuesday with Kayla!  This virtual PTK office is the perfect way to keep PTK members informed, connected and engaged.

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Staying connected during these trying times is an important part of staying healthy and the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Zeta Theta Chapter is doing just that- staying connected. Each Tuesday PTK Alumna Kayla Paterson will bring live updates on (YouTube), called YouTube Tuesday with Kayla!  This virtual PTK office is the perfect way to keep PTK members informed, connected and engaged.

Other ways of connecting will include Zoom Live meetings and while Wednesday may be “Prince Spaghetti” in some places, this Wednesday (April 1) Ms. Paterson and PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman hosted a Zoom Live meeting. The meeting discussed upcoming events, answered questions, and discussed PTK’s upcoming Interactive Trivia night. If you missed it never fear, another Zoom meeting is planned for Saturday, April 4. Details and login information will be emailed to all PTK members.

“This is a great way to stay in touch with our chapter,” Ms. Coleman said.

Ms. Coleman wants to remind all members about the upcoming officer elections and asks that everyone check out the latest YouTube post with information on each candidate.

“It is very important that all members vote. Voting will take place on April 8 and April 9, and students will receive an official ballot on April 8,” she said. “We are here to help with any questions or concerns. We also want to hear from students on any suggestions or ideas they might have. We are all in this together and I just know that our amazing Chapter will do incredible things in the days ahead. I want to thank everyone for all they do for our community. Stay safe, stay well and I hope to see you virtually soon!”

For more information visit PTK Alpha Zeta Theta’s Facebook page or email Ms. Coleman at bcoleman [at] qcc.mass.edu.

QCC students Veronica Morson and Alyssa Durham
March, 2020

QCC students Veronica Morson and Alyssa Durham, both Liberal Arts Music majors, took up the "John Oliver Tik Tok challenge" from Last Week Tonight to remind everyone that washing your hands frequently is an important step in helping to curtail the Coronavirus. Watch as they dance to the Vietnamese song "Ghen Cô Vy.” For more information, visit...

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QCC students Veronica Morson and Alyssa Durham, both Liberal Arts Music majors, took up the "John Oliver Tik Tok challenge" from Last Week Tonight to remind everyone that washing your hands frequently is an important step in helping to curtail the Coronavirus. Watch as they dance to the Vietnamese song "Ghen Cô Vy.” For more information, visit QCC’s Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information Center.

  • Professor Brennan works to inspire his students.
  • QCC Assistant Professor James Brennan
March, 2020

When someone says they love what they do, you know they are in the right job field and Quinsigamond Community College’s Assistant Professor of English, James Brennan loves what he does. The professor has been teaching at QCC for the last 10 years and recently received recognition for his dedication and contribution to his students and his profession, by being honored with a National Institute...

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When someone says they love what they do, you know they are in the right job field and Quinsigamond Community College’s Assistant Professor of English, James Brennan loves what he does. The professor has been teaching at QCC for the last 10 years and recently received recognition for his dedication and contribution to his students and his profession, by being honored with a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award. He also was chosen as a Suzanne Rouche Faculty Scholarship recipient and will receive complimentary registration, travel expenses and lodging to the NISOD’s Annual Conference, which was to be held in Austin, Texas in May (due to the current national health crisis this has been canceled and is expected to move to an online format).

An avid writer, Mr. Brennan already has published works and has been thrilled to pass on his passion for writing to his students.

“I teach what I love and inspire students to love writing. It’s one of the reasons I love what I do,” he said.

Mr. Brennan has a bit of a kindred spirit with some of his students. He is a first-generation college student who went on to earn an undergraduate degree from UMass Lowell and advanced degrees from Rivier College; Harvard University and Bennington College.

“Neither of my parents finished high school, but my mother instilled in me a love of reading and writing. She stayed home and my dad worked menial jobs. We never had much, but I knew I wanted an education,” he said.

For many years, Mr. Brennan worked in the human resource field in corporate America always thinking that one day he might change careers to go into a field that was his true passion. In January 2010, he had his opportunity and began teaching a Saturday composition class at QCC Southbridge. The class morphed into a seven-year stint as an adjunct professor and three years ago he became a full-time faculty member. He has taught an array of English and writing courses, all with the goal of helping students be the best they can be.

“I can really empathize with students. I know what it is like to have obstacles,” he said. “I feel proud to help them.”

Recently, he helped students set up a creative writing club after a few students from his creative writing course last semester wanted to continue to get feedback from him on their writing. Today the club has four officers and is up and running.

“Inspiration. In a word, that is what I love about teaching at QCC: those times when we can inspire a student, but even more, the many times that our students inspire us. Celebrating students’ achievements is another wonderful part of the job: watching them graduate, writing recommendations for them as they pursue further education, nominating them to receive scholarship awards recognizing outstanding achievement,” he said.

Mr. Brennan fondly remembers a student who was in one of his speech classes. The student was painfully shy and had a stutter, which made a class of this nature particularly difficult.

“I worried about how he would get through the course. Speech, of course, is best learned by doing. My preferred pedagogy is experiential, as well as leveraging relationships, mine with students and students’ relationships with one another, to build learning communities and trust. In that environment, feeling supported, this student thrived,” he said. “Not only did he successfully complete all of his prepared speeches, we could not get him to stop talking in front of the class. He volunteered for every role, for example speech timer that would get him up front and talking.”

Mr. Brennan told of the joy the student felt getting up to speak in the class.

“Sure, the stutter came back every now and then, but it didn’t stop him from being one of our most accomplished speakers by the end of the semester. And he made quite a few friends in class that I have a feeling will extend through his time at the college and perhaps beyond,” he said.

Mr. Brennan said that while he is honored to be receiving the NISOD Excellence Award, it is experiences like these that are the true award.

“I’m one of many people here at QCC who are recognized this way. At QCC ,we are all like-minded working for the common goal of our students. I’m very happy to be part of this community…and it really is a community,” he said, adding, “I believe in the product and feel fortunate I do what I do.”

 

Yoga session
March, 2020

Yoga Session

Due to the current pandemic crisis the QCC Athletic Center will be inaccessible until further notice. Although the Center is inaccessible, it is still important to get exercise and QCC’s Yoga instructor recently filmed a full yoga class to get you off the couch and moving!  Please remember during these uncertain times to be kind to yourself as we all adjust to this new way of life....

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Yoga Session

Due to the current pandemic crisis the QCC Athletic Center will be inaccessible until further notice. Although the Center is inaccessible, it is still important to get exercise and QCC’s Yoga instructor recently filmed a full yoga class to get you off the couch and moving!  Please remember during these uncertain times to be kind to yourself as we all adjust to this new way of life. Namaste!

A little Wyvern 'Weights' for No One

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QCC's Assistant Director of Athletics and Fitness, Josh Cole, has been spending some quality time with his son Jaxson, and dog Tyson. The recent 115 lb. barbell he made was a bit of a match for QCC's young Wyvern, but with the help of Tyson, he just might lift it!

Men’s Soccer

Wyvern sports have had many firsts this past year! The Wyvern Men’s Soccer team had their first season and gave their conference rivals highly competitive games, finishing out their inaugural season with 4 wins and 5 losses. 

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Women’s Volleyball

The Wyvern Women’s Volleyball team gave it their all in a hard fought first year season. Their regular season record earned them the right to participate in the NJCAA Region 21 Tournament, where they finally lost in the semi-final game. Their overall record this season was 5 wins and 5 losses. This looks like a great start to a future dynasty!

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Women’s Soccer

The Lady Wyverns Women’s Soccer team was able to play on their home field this year for the first time since they formed a team four years ago. Despite injuries and a lot of inclement weather, the women played extremely hard and finished their season with 1 win and 9 losses.

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Heathy Eating

QCC’s Director of Athletics & Fitness Center, Lisa Gurnick wants to remind everyone to practice healthy eating during these stressful times. A simple, heathly eating suggestion is to make a salad as a meal. Below please find a simple salad recipe.

Simple Salad (241 calories)

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Feta cheese
  • 1 -2 apples cut small pieces
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Optional/extras -  (341 calories – chicken, 351 calories – tuna)

For questions, reach out to Lisa Gurnick, director of Athletics and Fitness at lisag [at] qcc.mass.edu or Josh Cole, assistant director of Athletics and Fitness at jcole [at] qcc.mass.edu

  • December 2019 STEM Students of the Month
March, 2020

Each month, the professors in QCC’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs recognize and acknowledge the perseverance of one student in their perspective STEM areas. Below are the December 2019 STEM Students of the Month, with a few comments from the professors who nominated them.

Science - Ilan Grossman – nominated by Jessica Crowley, professor of Biology and...

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Each month, the professors in QCC’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs recognize and acknowledge the perseverance of one student in their perspective STEM areas. Below are the December 2019 STEM Students of the Month, with a few comments from the professors who nominated them.

Science - Ilan Grossman – nominated by Jessica Crowley, professor of Biology and coordinator of Biology and Biotechnology Programs

“Ilan Grossman is an excellent candidate for STEM Student of the Month. Ilan is a General Studies--Biotechnology Option major who not only performs well academically, but also shows many other characteristics that will ensure his success in the field. For example, in the Introduction to Biotechnology class, Ilan often led discussions on various aspects of biotech whether it was the ethics of gene-editing or the value of GMOs. He is also a valuable team player as he often led in-class groups to solve laboratory math problems. If you asked any of his classmates, they would whole-heartedly agree that Ilan is engaging, helpful, and is truly interested in what you have to say. His passion for biotech is evident in the internship he has completed and his performance in class. When Ilan graduates, he will be a valuable member of any biotech firm that is lucky enough to hire him.”          

Technology - Raven Clarico – nominated by Nathaniel Mello, professor of Interactive Media Game Design

“Raven is an excellent student and someone who is constantly trying to push himself and others in the class to do more. He is a budding game designer already and is showing that he will be an excellent one in the future; with original game design ideas he brought into class and new ones he is creating as the semester rolls on. Raven is always one to help a student who might be stuck on an issue, as well as lend his time to test and critique another’s work. In just his first semester, he and the other students have built a good relationship together which is important in working as a cohort for school and in their future career endeavors.”          

Engineering - Jason Chapman – nominated by Robert Recko, professor and coordinator of HVAC/R Technologies Program

“Jason Chapman entered the HVAC/R program like so many others have. After a series of unsatisfying jobs, he realized that he needed and wanted something more rewarding and fulfilling to his talents. In spite of having a family and all its responsibilities, he threw himself full force into the study and practice of the skills and knowledge required in HVAC/R. He compiled notes and technical information well beyond the stated requirements of the program, and spent hours mastering and applying this technical knowledge to his lab projects. Within the class he was a leader, counseling some of his classmates and taking others under his “wing” and helped with their study habits outside of school hours. The class was very fortunate to have him leading the way and helping to take all to a higher level.

Jason’s plans involve becoming employed as soon as possible so he can help to support his family. He even obtained a position at Huhtala Oil in Templeton several weeks before the end of our program. He has shown himself to be a valuable asset in the short time that he has been there and is held in very high regard by his employer. Jason has proven the old adage: Hard work will get you anywhere you want to go.”             

Mathematics - Bezaida (Betsy) Vilomar – nominated by Donna Dominguez, professor of Mathematics

“Bezaida (Betsy) Vilomar was years out of high school and her last math class, when she registered for MAT 100 this semester. She was also extremely anxious about the course. Betsy is two classes away from her bachelor’s degree at Worcester State and left her math requirement for the end because she has always found math to be difficult and intimidating.  As algebra does not come easily to her, she puts hours into each homework assignment, more than any of her classmates. In order to do this, Betsy has to juggle other responsibilities in her life, including those as a mother. Her efforts have paid off and she did quite well. She is an inspiration!”     

March, 2020

On March 1, 2020, Academic Affairs welcomed Kathy Rentsch in to a new role as Associate Vice President for Strategic Academic and Workforce Initiative. Kathy has been working at Quinsigamond Community College for over 20 years. Most recently, she worked as Acting Dean of the Public Service & Social Sciences/Assistant Vice President for Workforce Readiness and Innovation.

On March 15,...

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On March 1, 2020, Academic Affairs welcomed Kathy Rentsch in to a new role as Associate Vice President for Strategic Academic and Workforce Initiative. Kathy has been working at Quinsigamond Community College for over 20 years. Most recently, she worked as Acting Dean of the Public Service & Social Sciences/Assistant Vice President for Workforce Readiness and Innovation.

On March 15, 2020, Auxiliary Services welcomed Jacob Fontanez as Central Receiving/Supply –Storekeeper II. Jacob brings to this position two years of experience. Most recently, he was part-time Staff Assistant for Auxiliary Services.

Please join us in welcoming Kathy and Jacob into their new roles at QCC.