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April, 2020

  • Future Focus Coordinator Gilmarie Vongphakdy (L) and Director of Community Bridges Deborah Gonzalez.
April, 2020

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently awarded Quinsigamond Community College’s Future Focus program a three-year $450,000 Adult Education Transition to Community College Grant. The Grant is divided into three yearly allotments of $150,000, which is the maximum amount awarded.

QCC’s Future Focus program was designed specifically for adult learners from adult...

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The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently awarded Quinsigamond Community College’s Future Focus program a three-year $450,000 Adult Education Transition to Community College Grant. The Grant is divided into three yearly allotments of $150,000, which is the maximum amount awarded.

QCC’s Future Focus program was designed specifically for adult learners from adult basic education programs to create a direct pathway to degree and certificate programs. Since 2010, the program has significantly increased its student enrollment and to date has served over 300 nontraditional students.

“Those in our community who are under-represented and under-served have benefited greatly from our Future Focus program. Increasing the award amount will enable us to assist more people in their quest for a better future,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

Future Focus students are non-traditional students who have gone through the traditional U.S. education system, but did not complete their school requirements and instead earned their GED or HiSET high school equivalency. These students can also be English as a Second Language (ESOL/ESL) participants who already have their high school diploma; or students who graduated from high school years ago and went directly into the workforce. Participants receive comprehensive support in order to help them succeed as they transition into higher education. The program covers all tuition and fees, books, school supplies (and bus passes if needed), in addition to career and academic advising.

“The program had a rotation of students, made up between first-semester students and second-semester students. The goal is to have 15 new students each semester, and students stay with the program for one year (two semesters). For the fall 2019 semester, the program served 26 students and during the spring 2020 semester, 30 students are currently enrolled,” said QCC Future Focus Coordinator, Gilmarie Vongphakdy.

QCC Future Focus students come from all areas in the community, which includes CNAs, police officers, grocery clerks, PCAs, a phlebotomist, caseworkers with Worcester youth, medical assistants, dental receptionists, factory workers, forklift drivers, bank tellers, parents, and many more.

“We have two students graduating this May and two more finishing up at the end of the Summer II semester,” Ms. Vongphakdy continued. “One student was accepted and will be attending Assumption College and the other student was accepted to Worcester State University and is waiting to hear back from some other schools. One of the other students who is graduating this summer has also been accepted to Boston University and is waiting to hear back from some other schools.”

To learn more about visit QCC’s Future Focus program

  • QCC to Hold Virtual Commencement
April, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College will hold its first ever virtual commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 on Thursday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m. The ceremony, which was to originally have taken place at the DCU Center in Worcester, will now be streamed live online and graduates and their families will be able to experience the ceremony in the comfort and safety of their homes. While the Class of 2020 is certain to go down...

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Quinsigamond Community College will hold its first ever virtual commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 on Thursday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m. The ceremony, which was to originally have taken place at the DCU Center in Worcester, will now be streamed live online and graduates and their families will be able to experience the ceremony in the comfort and safety of their homes. While the Class of 2020 is certain to go down in the records books as having one of the most unique commencement ceremonies in history, with over 1,500 students expected to graduate this year, it is also one of largest.

“While the effects of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic have made it necessary for us to change the way we will be celebrating Commencement this year, this will in no way diminish the amazing accomplishments of the Class of 2020,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja. “Our graduates have worked through incredible challenges, particularly these last few months as they have adjusted to modes of learning. Yet through it all we have seen the best that QCC has to offer and I am deeply moved and inspired by our students who have risen to these unprecedented challenges."

The choice to move to a virtual ceremony was one the Administration did not take lightly, according to President Pedraja. However, due to Governor Baker’s orders that limit gatherings to 10 people or less and the DCU Center being used as a field hospital for patient overflow, the College Administration felt this was in the best interest of its students, faculty and staff.

"Our virtual ceremony is going to be posted live at the same time as our original ceremony was intended to be held. I hope all students and their families gather around to watch commencement, look for their student's name and celebrate their amazing accomplishments," Dr. Pedraja continued. 

Diplomas will be mailed to all QCC graduates and when the current pandemic subsides, plans are in the works to have a physical ceremony at a later date, as yet to be determined. 

"I, along with the QCC Board of Trustees, look forward at that time to having the opportunity to congratulate each graduate in-person and welcome them into the QCC alumni family. Our QCC family has made an indelible impression on our local communities and many of the first-responders, nurses, respiratory therapists, police officers, firefighters are QCC graduates or soon to be graduates, who each and every day set out to make our world a better place," Dr. Pedraja added.

Visit QCC's Virtual Commencement Ceremony Page to stay up to date.

  • QCC students and alumni working to keep us all safe.
April, 2020

Each day as we deal and acclimate to the changes that have occurred due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic crisis, many QCC students and alumni are adapting to this “new normal” in ways they might never have thought possible. Present and former students are working around the clock to protect our communities. These are the first responders, respiratory therapists, nurses, mental health workers,...

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Each day as we deal and acclimate to the changes that have occurred due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic crisis, many QCC students and alumni are adapting to this “new normal” in ways they might never have thought possible. Present and former students are working around the clock to protect our communities. These are the first responders, respiratory therapists, nurses, mental health workers, social service workers, custodial workers, delivery drivers, grocery store and restaurant workers who are taking care of others and keeping our essential businesses running. Below are some of the amazing Wyvern guardian protectors who each and every day make us proud that we are the Wyverns.

Monica Salazar Carmona is in her second year at QCC, double majoring in Public Health and Business Administration. She also works full-time at the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center as a community health worker and said it is the best job she’s ever had. In her “free time” you might find her delivering essential food to an elderly neighbor or volunteering at Mutual Aid Worcester, an agency that provides referrals and resources for a variety of social services that are even more information in today’s world.  Some of the services they help with include: unemployment, MassHealth, Snap/WIC, transportation, housing, access to food pantries and much more. Thanks for all you do, Monica!

Brittany Casasanta is a 2015 graduate of QCC who is doing double-duty to help those in her community. She works as a respiratory therapist at UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, in addition to working as a healthcare simulation support technician at QCC.

“We are caring for multiple COVID positive patients who are intubated and on mechanical ventilation. Things can change rapidly in the ER and ICU with critically ill patients; you have to be on your toes at all times. You have to be ready to think critically and act by using everything you have learned in school and through experience as an RT,” she said.

Brittany emulates the meaning of a Wyvern. Thank you Brittany!

QCC student Genesis Santos is a front line worker in the healthcare industry, working directly with coronavirus/COVID-19 patients at Harrington Hospital. She is risking her own safety in order to help save the lives of others. She encourages everyone to stay home and be safe. Thanks for showing us the definition of a Wyvern, Genesis!

QCC paramedic student Taylor Belsito, like so many first-responders today, has seen her world turned upside down by the pandemic. Yet, like her fellow first-responders, she has a passion for caring and protecting complete strangers within her community. Today, Ms. Belsito is one of three students in QCC’s paramedic program who are also Career Firefighters/EMTs for Auburn Fire/EMS Department. She is currently working 96-hour rotations, followed by 12-days of self quarantine to help keep those in her department, community, as well as those in her immediate family safe.

"The conclusion of the 12-day quarantine is the start of the next 96- hour rotation.This cycle will continue until the conclusion of the COVID pandemic,” Ms. Belsito said.

The daughter of a former fire chief, Ms. Belsito understands the responsibilities of what it takes to be a first-responder, particularly during a health crisis. On April 3, he said good-bye to her parents and grandfather (who was due to have surgery, but it was put on hold for safety reasons) and will not see them again until the health crisis has passed. Taylor, thank you for showing us the true meaning of a Wyvern!

QCC alumnus Glen Berger works at a medical center, loading and unloading trucks. “My role is not glamorous, but it is vital,” he said.

While there used to be eight people doing this work, the company is now down to three. If he stopped doing his job, no one would get the crucial supplies needed to be able to do their jobs. Glen is one of the many QCC alumni and students who are showing just what it means to take care of their communities in whatever capacity is needed. Thank you, Glen. We’re so proud to call you a Wyvern!

Do you know someone who is helping during this time of great need? We want to know! Please send your photos and stories to Wyvern Guardian newsletter.

  • PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman (L) and Dean of Students Terry Vecchio keep the College's food pantry running for students in need..
  • QCC students can easily access support services online, wherever they may be!
April, 2020

In colleges and universities across the country, in-person classes have transitioned to online learning and remote instruction due to the coronavirus/COVID-19. For those students looking to make a decision on their higher education this fall, Quinsigamond Community College is one that should be at the top of the list. Online learning is nothing new to the faculty and staff at QCC, nor is the support mechanisms the...

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In colleges and universities across the country, in-person classes have transitioned to online learning and remote instruction due to the coronavirus/COVID-19. For those students looking to make a decision on their higher education this fall, Quinsigamond Community College is one that should be at the top of the list. Online learning is nothing new to the faculty and staff at QCC, nor is the support mechanisms the College has in place to make sure students succeed.

From the onset of this heath crisis, QCC transitioned completely to remote instruction, with each course tailored to meet the needs of its students. Support services are a key component to student success and the College has made sure support services that were “on the ground,” continued to function online and remotely.

QCC’s tutoring services have transitioned online, and students can easily get support in whatever class they may need additional guidance in, so they can be successful in their studies. Now that students are doing their schoolwork from home there are many distractions, which can cause students to disconnect from their college studies. This is where QCC support services and professors can assist, by encouraging and supporting students to stay engaged with online class sessions or discussion boards. The QCC mentoring program has also moved online, giving students a way to continue with their community mentors, get the encouragement and support needed to gain an understanding of workplace expectations, and help increase the likelihood of finding a rewarding career. 

Another great way to be a part of the QCC community is through the College’s robust Student Life. The Student Government Association has set up a Student Community Engagement Portal to help students stay connected with their peers. QCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Zeta Theta Chapter Honor Society has also moved online with online meetings, games and social service projects.

The transition to online learning can often stress the limits of low-income students, who may not have access to computers or Internet in order to continue with their studies. QCC has set up a Student Emergency Fund, which among its many uses, has been used to purchase laptops for students who cannot afford them.This type of financial support ensures that no student is left behind now or in the future. The fund is also being used to help continue to support the QCC Food Pantry and Resource Center. Students in need have been able to reach out online and fill out a food pantry and intake form for support and assistance. Each week college staff have been making sure food insecure students can have safe access to food, by delivering it right to their cars when they pull up to campus.

 “While the delivery of support services at QCC may have changed, our comprehensive services have not changed. We continue to do what we do best, helping our students succeed and giving them the tools so they can reach their full potential and have an amazing future,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

 

  • Coordinator of Transfer and Articulation Dan de la Torre and Transfer Counselor Beth Fullerton
April, 2020

Today’s higher education landscape has drastically changed due to the pandemic, and with that change comes a rethinking of college options this fall for newly graduated high school students. At Quinsigamond Community College students can begin their higher education close to home, obtain an associate degree, and then transfer to a four-year college or university as a junior. QCC has over...

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Today’s higher education landscape has drastically changed due to the pandemic, and with that change comes a rethinking of college options this fall for newly graduated high school students. At Quinsigamond Community College students can begin their higher education close to home, obtain an associate degree, and then transfer to a four-year college or university as a junior. QCC has over 250-transfer agreement pathways to both public and private four-year institutions that give students a seamless way to continue their education at a four-year school. Not only will students save thousands, while getting the same quality education at QCC, but they will also have a clear pathway to a four-year degree. A unique point that many overlook in this type of higher education pathway is that students will end up with two degrees - an associate degree AND a bachelor’s degree in the same time it would take them to earn just a bachelor’s degree.

We also offer incredible state transfer options, MassTransfer and Commonwealth Commitment. The MassTransfer program provides community college students the opportunity to transfer to baccalaureate programs at any Massachusetts State University or UMASS Campus with guaranteed admission, full applicability of credit and a tuition discount. Commonwealth Commitment offers eligible students a way to save even more with a freeze on tuition and fees upon entry into the program, as well as a 10% reduction of tuition and fees over four years. Students must sign up for Commonwealth Commitment when they first enroll at QCC, and maintain eligibility requirements along the way, so it’s a good idea to contact admissions [at] qcc.mass.edu (QCC Admissions )or //advising [at] qcc.mass.edu">Advising for details.

In these uncertain times, it makes sense to rethink your higher education options. Visit QCC.edu today to learn more. QCC. College. Made Smarter.

  • 2020-2021 Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Zeta Theta Officers
  • PTK Student Amber Comptois and her fitness team group recently got together to offer some words of advice and encouragement.
April, 2020

It’s the annual changing of the guard for QCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Zeta Theta Honor Society chapter. Each year during the month of April, PTK holds its annual induction ceremony, as well as announcing its officer elections for the coming year. However, what a difference a year can make! While the induction ceremony is canceled for this year due to the coronavirus, this year marks the 40th...

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It’s the annual changing of the guard for QCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Alpha Zeta Theta Honor Society chapter. Each year during the month of April, PTK holds its annual induction ceremony, as well as announcing its officer elections for the coming year. However, what a difference a year can make! While the induction ceremony is canceled for this year due to the coronavirus, this year marks the 40th year the Alpha Theta Zeta chapter has been inducting students. From its humble start of inducting 11 students in its first year as a chapter, to this year welcoming a historic 224 to the ranks.

“This is our largest group ever,” said PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman. “This is a true testament of the incredible work our students do and we are thrilled to welcome so many this year into the chapter.”

Incoming Alpha Zeta Theta Officers elected for 2020-2021 include PTK students:

  • President: Alexander Riopel, a Business Administration major
  • Vice President of Leadership: Tabitha Leber, a General Studies Elementary Education / Early Childhood major. Ms. Leber was also elected the Greenhouse Manager, a role she held last year.
  • Vice President of Scholarship: Yash Batra, an early college student in his senior year
  • Recording Secretary: Tymannie Isales-Santos, an Interactive Media major
  • Officer at Large: Armela Xhindale, an Engineering, Biomedical Engineering major
  • Officer at Large: Cynthia Ramirez, a General Studies Health Care major
  • Officer at Large: Kristen M. Peters, a Business Administration / Logistics Supply major
  • Officer at Large: Sowmya Gontla, whose major is currently undeclared

“Every person who has gained acceptance into this prestigious group has the ability to make a difference on campus and that’s why I am excited to be faced with the opportunity to help us all fulfill our potential,” said Mr. Riopel. “This group of people is one of the most special on our campus and it is important to me to make sure we are each heading in the right directions.”

To learn more, visit PTK Honor Society.

 

  • Quinsigamond Community College is the optimum higher education option.
April, 2020

Today’s four-year colleges and universities have a different look and feel than they did a few short months ago due to the international health crisis across the globe. For high school seniors, the excitement of prom, graduation and the decision as to whether to live away from home in a college dorm for the first time is now filled with anxiety and uncertainty. The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has...

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Today’s four-year colleges and universities have a different look and feel than they did a few short months ago due to the international health crisis across the globe. For high school seniors, the excitement of prom, graduation and the decision as to whether to live away from home in a college dorm for the first time is now filled with anxiety and uncertainty. The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has given way to an unpredictability of what will transpire this fall and four-year schools are being understandably vague about whether their dorms will be open. However, there is an affordable alternative that offers students a way to stay close to home and obtain quality education – Quinsigamond Community College.

We understand the desire to stay close to home during these uncharted times, which is why QCC makes the perfect sense for today’s higher education needs. Online learning is nothing new at QCC. Prior to the pandemic, many of our students chose to take online courses that offered them the convenience and flexibility of taking courses that aligned with their schedules and their lives.

Nelly Medina is a QCC alumnus and current student. She chose to take many of her QCC courses online.

“I would not be so outspoken if it wasn’t for the online classes. As a visual learner, it was the smarter option for me, and it gave me new options to communicate with my professors and classmates and helped boost my confidence,” she said, adding, “These classes give you a great sense of community.”

With today’s economic instability, there also comes a lot of financial uncertainty for students and parents. QCC is one of the most affordable higher education choices in the region and many of our students attend for little to no cost thanks to financial aid. With over 120 degree and certificate programs taught by instructors who have real-world industry experience, QCC offers a way for students to seamlessly transition directly into the workforce, or transfer to a four-year college or university. All at a fraction of the cost of directly entering a four-year school.

“In 2019, I graduated with an associate degree in General Studies and a Law Enforcement Certificate. Today, I’m in classes that will transfer to a four-year school where I want to study Political Science,” she said.  “I want to be prepared to go to my next college and QCC is making that happen.”

To learn more visit our campus online and take a virtual QCC tour today.

 

  • QCC Veterans Club President Tony Barnardo was recently selected for a 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award.
  • QCC Veterans Club President Anthony 'Tony" Barnardo chops some garlic in his kitchen.
April, 2020

College students around the world are adapting to new ways of higher education, yet for some QCC student veterans, their lives have been completely been upended in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. Many student veterans across the country, including some QCC student veterans, are now finding themselves activated.

“Our students are protecting our communities, leaving their loved ones...

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College students around the world are adapting to new ways of higher education, yet for some QCC student veterans, their lives have been completely been upended in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. Many student veterans across the country, including some QCC student veterans, are now finding themselves activated.

“Our students are protecting our communities, leaving their loved ones and putting themselves in harms’ way for the greater good,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja. “We cannot begin to thank them enough for all they are doing to keep us safe.”

While some QCC student veterans are activated, others are finding ways to help the QCC community during this international crisis. One way in which QCC’s Veteran Affairs and the Veterans Club have come together to help others is by emailing easy to make recipes each week, with food items commonly found in many kitchens. The recipes, aptly titled, “Quarantined in the Kitchen,” have become a welcome addition to people’s weekly menus. Each week new recipes are added. Recipes run the gamut from baked French toast and banana bread to chicken cordon bleu and crock pot beef stew.

The QCC community is also learning how to make each recipe first-hand through a weekly Facebook Live show, hosted by Veterans Club President Anthony “Tony” Barnardo on Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m.  Mr. Barnardo, who is in the Hospitality Management-Food Service program, said the idea to do a Facebook Live show came about after he created a QCC Veterans Facebook page, as a way for student veterans at QCC to stay connected. Other ways of keeping student veterans connected has been through Zoom meetings that have also recently started up.

“I wanted to do a weekly live video, but didn't really know what the videos would be about. Paula Ogden (Director of Veteran Affairs) started the Quarantined in the Kitchen emails, which are recipes other veterans send to her. I thought doing a live, Quarantined in the Kitchen would be cool.  Paula thought it was a great idea and I've run with it,” he said.  

Thus far, he has done several videos making adjustments based on comments received from viewers. 

“The first two videos were recipes I've found in the past and enjoy making at home.  Last week I made a creamy shrimp and pasta dish that my daughter asks for regularly.  She said it's the best dinner I make.  Some people didn't watch the video because it was seafood, so this week I decided to make steak. During the video yesterday, I asked the viewers for ideas of recipes they'd like to see me make,” he said.

Some of the recommendations he has received include hamburgers, pad thai, lasagna, and tacos. He said the response from people has been promising and week-to-week viewership continues to increase.

“The hardest part for me is talking to my laptop and not having any interaction with whoever is watching. I see comments come in, but it's not like having a conversation with someone. Also, filling in any lulls between cooking has been a challenge,” Mr. Barnardo said, adding it is a bit of a juggling act to cook, while simultaneously respond to view feedback.

He said he hopes the show will offer people another option to turn to once a week as a distraction from Netflix, TikTok, or as a small break from schoolwork. 

“I'd like to maybe teach somebody a cooking technique or recipe they haven't tried before,” he said.

While he will be graduating from the hospitality program this spring, he will still be taking classes at QCC this summer and fall to fulfill requirements for a second major he is taking (Business Transfer) before he begins classes at Nichols College in spring 2021. His goal is one day to open a food truck.

Mr. Barnardo recently learned he was selected by G.I. Jobs Magazine for a 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award. The inaugural list honors 48 student veterans nationally who are making a positive impact at their school and in their communities. He will be part of a feature article in the August issue of the magazine. 

“The pandemic has shown me how vulnerable the service industry is in situations like this, but it hasn’t made me rethink my decision. When times get rough, you either let it defeat you, or you get creative and try something to keep going,” he said.

 

  • Soon to be QCC graduate Abel Delgado is now the new Credentialed Trainer at UMass Memorial Hospital.
  • PTK student Abel Delgado
April, 2020

There are times in a person’s life when things just don’t seem to go your way and then, almost overnight things change.

QCC sophomore Abel Delgado is a nontraditional student, who started out in higher education attending a four-year California university right out of high school, yet due to financial hardships had to drop out after a year and a half. Years went by until...

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There are times in a person’s life when things just don’t seem to go your way and then, almost overnight things change.

QCC sophomore Abel Delgado is a nontraditional student, who started out in higher education attending a four-year California university right out of high school, yet due to financial hardships had to drop out after a year and a half. Years went by until one day, after moving to the East coast, he found QCC.  

“Thanks to the QCC financial aid department, after attending open houses, new student orientations, and meeting one-on-one with an advisor, I was able to fully understand how I could continue my education with the help of financial aid,” Mr. Delgado said. “Without that assistance I would not be where I am today, ready to graduate and continue on to my bachelor’s degree.”

Mr. Delgado is a member of the College’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society and is set to graduate in May with an Associate Degree in Business Administration and transfer to Nichols College to pursue his bachelor's degree this fall. While attending QCC, he has also been working full-time for UMass Memorial Hospital as a Supervisor for Patient Access Services.

“I supervised a team of 30 people that handled scheduling appointments for various clinics within the UMass system,” he said. “With this pandemic, it has been extremely busy attending to the community who want answers for their symptoms, get tested for COVID, and see their providers for a hospital visit.”

Within the last few weeks, Mr. Delgado has transitioned into a new role as a Credentialed Trainer for the hospital. The position requires him to educate all ambulatory staff on all the programs required for their daily tasks. He works directly with doctors, nurse practitioners, medical assistants and CNA's, showing them various ways that the hospital’s programs can assist them in helping patients.

“This was possible due to finally completing my requirements for my associate's degree and graduating this upcoming May,” he added.

Staying Connected with PTK

You would think that schoolwork and a new full-time job in the healthcare industry would be more than enough for one person; however, as an active PTK member, Mr. Delgado has been working to engage his fellow PTK members during the pandemic. He has hosted a family-feud style game night that went so well they decided to do others, recently holding a Jeopardy night.

Mr. Delgado is using the website ‘Triviamaker’ to create these games and acts as the host through zoom, where he is able to display questions and answers.

“Everyone is having so much fun. We are all getting together to decide what topics we would like to have as categories. We have some ideas already of maybe having "The Office Jeopardy" or another TV show everyone is familiar with. We are also now planning a "Wheel of Fortune" night,” he said. “I was looking forward to this because I know with this pandemic, times are difficult. It could be that someone lost their job, doesn’t have family nearby, or just misses having connections. I wanted to provide an outlet where we could join together and feel a sense of normalcy, even if it's just a small game.”

To make suggestions or learn more, email PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman, bcoleman [at] qcc.mass.edu

 

eduardo
April, 2020

Thanks to several Quinsigamond Community College students and their instructor, Adjunct Faculty member Eduardo Rivas, residents in the Worcester community were able to receive free remote tax assistance through the City of Worcester’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program through the end of April. VITA is a free tax preparation service available to individuals whose household income is $56,000 or...

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Thanks to several Quinsigamond Community College students and their instructor, Adjunct Faculty member Eduardo Rivas, residents in the Worcester community were able to receive free remote tax assistance through the City of Worcester’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program through the end of April. VITA is a free tax preparation service available to individuals whose household income is $56,000 or less, the elderly, those with disabilities, as well as limited English speakers who need assistance in preparing their tax returns.

Mr. Rivas is the volunteer coordinator for the VITA program, as well as a QCC instructor for the College’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance course (not to mention a QCC Admissions Enrollment Counselor). Until the recent state closure of non-essential businesses, he and his 50 volunteers (both QCC students and volunteers from the community) had prepared over 300 tax returns at both the Main South Community Development Corporation and at QCC’s Community Learning Hub, located at Great Brook Valley.

According to Mr. Rivas, the need was so great that there were times when 14 preparers were working at the two sites, making him realize that he needed to find a way to continue to help people prepare their taxes. Several QCC students, who were part of Mr. Riva’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance course, helped him prepare the taxes they remotely received.

The QCC course is designed to introduce students to concepts and languages of the IRS and taxation. The students had to become certified tax preparers before they were allowed to prepare federal and state taxes for others. The course also required all students to complete 12, three-hour volunteer sessions. According to Mr. Rivas, this was the second year the course has been offered and nine former students came back to volunteer again this year.

“This class was truly rewarding. I also enjoyed doing the necessary work and enjoyed working with the clients, as well as the volunteers. I see such a diverse group of people who come and have been through so much. I am glad that we could help, and in the same way help ourselves by gaining experience and skills,” said QCC student Joe Ramos, an accounting certificate major.

Once the state closed the in-person program, students worked on returns for their own family and friends, while they waited to help others who sent in remote taxes.

“I received emails from a lot of my volunteers expressing their willingness to help me in preparing returns remotely, or with any other projects related to the VITA project during this time,” Mr. Rivas said.

Many of Mr. Riva’s students have sung the program’s praises and encourage other students to consider taking the course when it is next offered.

“Go for it! You will learn so much more than you would have learned in a classroom setting. You will gain so much from this program - on an educational level and a social level,” said Elaine Bond, a business administration transfer major.

If someone is considering being part of this volunteer program, I highly recommend it. It is an excellent opportunity to help the community. I was super happy to see such a large Spanish speaking community and I loved helping them in their own language,” said Miosotis Rosado, who is a Business Administration Career major.

For more information, visit Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

  • A few of QCC's newest Psi Beta inductees.
  • Some Spring 2020 Psi Beta inductees.
April, 2020

This spring, 14 Qunisigamond Community College students were inducted into the Psi Beta Honor Society. Psi Beta is a national honor society designed for students who are attending community college who are majoring, minoring or just have an interest in psychology. Eligibility requirements include completing at least one psychology course, having a minimum of a “B” average in all psychology courses taken,...

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This spring, 14 Qunisigamond Community College students were inducted into the Psi Beta Honor Society. Psi Beta is a national honor society designed for students who are attending community college who are majoring, minoring or just have an interest in psychology. Eligibility requirements include completing at least one psychology course, having a minimum of a “B” average in all psychology courses taken, with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.25. Students must also have completed at least 12 credits. 

Due to the coronavirus-COVID-19, the newest inductees were mailed their certificates and medallions due to the cancellation of the physical induction ceremony.

"Although we were not able to hold our Psi Beta induction ceremony this spring as planned, we are incredibly proud of our latest inductees. We look forward to celebrating with our newest members in the not too distant future, and welcoming them into our vibrant and active psychology community," said QCC Professor and Psi Beta Advisor, Dr. Valarie Clemente.

QCC’s Psi Beta chapter provides students with numerous opportunities to engage in psychology, such as conducting original research, presenting research at professional conferences, hosting a guest lecture series, community service, leadership opportunities, and fundraising for mental health and other community initiatives.

Spring 2020 inductees include:

  • Calvin Michael Aia
  • Yashvardhan Batra
  • Kaitlyn Byington
  • Amanda Campbell
  • Ann Marie Gabor
  • Derek Richard Girardin
  • Michelle Ndunge Ngila
  • Shyleigh Ann O’Packi
  • Luceily Cristina Ortiz
  • Kimberly Placzek
  • Monica Salazar-Carmona
  • Zunera Sarwar
  • Lyndsay Anna Uvanitte
  • Kathryn Marilyn Walton
  • Student-Community Engagement Portal
April, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College Student Government Association President Jorgo Gushi (who also happens to be the Chair of the Student Advisory Council) is one busy person.  Since the College has gone to complete remote instruction, the sophomore engineering major has taken his talent and put it to great use, developing a Student-Community Engagement Portal.

The impetus behind the portal...

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Quinsigamond Community College Student Government Association President Jorgo Gushi (who also happens to be the Chair of the Student Advisory Council) is one busy person.  Since the College has gone to complete remote instruction, the sophomore engineering major has taken his talent and put it to great use, developing a Student-Community Engagement Portal.

The impetus behind the portal was to continue to keep students engaged and make sure they are still a part of campus life.

“We all know that COVID-19, this fast-spreading virus that has captured our planet and has forced us to #StayHome and has put on hold all our daily activities... Yet, we will not let things such as campus closures and the complete disruption of our daily lives spoil all of our activities. Instead, we adapt,” he said.

And adapt they have. To get the portal up and running, Student Government Association members put their heads together and came up with suggestions for activities and challenges that can all be done remotely. Each week Mr. Gushi meets with the Student Engagement Team that consists of QCC staff members Cheryl Pike, Lisa Gurnick, Josh Cole, Bonnie Coleman in order to get information and ideas to update the portal almost daily.

The Student-Community Engagement Portal is found by going to QCC’s home page, clicking on the Q, then going to the far left of the page and scrolling to the bottom.

Some of the portal contents include:

  • Daily challenges for students to complete
  • Athletics that include yoga sessions, nutrition and exercises
  • Virtual Volunteering Opportunities
  • Healthy Food Recipes
  • Reading Time Videos (each Wednesday and Friday for the semester)
  • Student Government Association Updates
  • Phi Theta Kappa Updates
  • Blackboard Help Videos
  • Volunteer opportunities and so much more!

“Stay tuned and check our Student-Community Engagement Portal frequently, since information is updated daily,” Mr. Gushi added.

  • Three of the four March STEM Students of the Month
April, 2020

Each month professors in Quinsigamond Community College’s STEM programs recognize and acknowledge the perseverance of one student in their prospective STEM areas. Below are the March 2020 STEM Students of the Month, with a few comments from the professors who nominated them.

Science - Rebecca St. Hilaire - nominated by Hirul Patel, Professor of Chemistry & Coordinator of Chemistry Program...

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Each month professors in Quinsigamond Community College’s STEM programs recognize and acknowledge the perseverance of one student in their prospective STEM areas. Below are the March 2020 STEM Students of the Month, with a few comments from the professors who nominated them.

Science - Rebecca St. Hilaire - nominated by Hirul Patel, Professor of Chemistry & Coordinator of Chemistry Program

“Rebecca is one of our hardworking chemistry students. I always see her strive for success with hard work. Her goal is to be a high school chemistry teacher, and I can see that she has the patience for it. Rebecca’s attitude is always to help others and this helpful quality of hers will make her a wonderful teacher in the future. With her calm nature she is able to learn new things around the chemistry lab, and has become a reliable helping hand in the Chemistry department.”

Technology -  Anthony Le – nominated by Hao Loi, professor of Computer Science & Coordinator of Computer Science Program

“Anthony Le has been a peer computer science and math tutor who assists his classmates with homework, in-class assignments, long-term projects, as well as helping his classmate preparing for the exams.  Anthony has a passion for knowledge and an uncanny ability to make anyone else understand the subject.  He is a very respected person among his classmates and no one ever feels like he is impatient with them.  If someone doesn’t understand the subject, he always comes up with a different approach to explain the topic until his classmates understand.  Anthony also is an undergraduate research assistant for the computer science department.”  

Engineering - Kyle Morrill – nominated by Jacob Longacre, professor of Electronics Engineering & Photonics Technologies

 “Kyle exemplifies the perseverance of QCC students. He first took courses at Quinsigamond Community College in 2004. He returned to QCC in 2018 and enrolled in the Electronics Engineering Technology Program, working toward his Photonics Certificate. Since returning to QCC, Kyle has excelled academically. He also brings a wealth of work experience to his photonics and electronics classes. He demonstrates a professional attitude in the classroom and provides the other students with valuable real-world context to the subject matter being presented. Kyle is a dedicated and knowledgeable student who enriches the educational experience of his classmates and will be an excellent representative for QCC in the future.”

Mathematics - Javery Mann – Philomena D’Alessandro, Professor of Mathematics

“Javery Mann, a sophomore in Engineering, has been selected for STEM Student of the Month based on his persistence in the STEM pathway.  In Spring 2018, he began his studies at QCC by taking College Algebra.  He is currently taking Linear Algebra and Differential Equations, and is on track to graduate in May 2020.  He also works in the Math Center as a Student Support Tutor, and has participated in the last two rounds of the Student Math League Competition.  Please join the Math Department in recognizing Javery for his academic achievements.”        

  • QCC student and PTK member Savannah Vangel.
April, 2020

Being home with her family has not stopped Quinsigamond Community College student Savannah Vangel from helping out her community. The QCC sophomore and new Phi Theta Kappa, Alpha Zeta Theta Honor Society member has gotten her whole family involved in helping those in need, whether that's delivering food or just giving someone a bit of cheer. Recently we interviewed Ms. Vangel about her time at QCC and...

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Being home with her family has not stopped Quinsigamond Community College student Savannah Vangel from helping out her community. The QCC sophomore and new Phi Theta Kappa, Alpha Zeta Theta Honor Society member has gotten her whole family involved in helping those in need, whether that's delivering food or just giving someone a bit of cheer. Recently we interviewed Ms. Vangel about her time at QCC and learned how the recent pandemic has brought her family together for the common good and caused her to rethink her future.

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

My major at QCC is Liberal Arts- Psych Option and I will be graduating this May.

Why did you chose to attend QCC?

I picked QCC due to my financial situation. I also was not sure how far I wanted to go with college and QCC seemed like the best choice.

You mentioned being a new Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) member. Congratulations! Can you tell us why is important for you to be part of the PTK Honor Society?

I decided to join PTK because I had been receiving emails about it for a while and it looked pretty cool.  I finally just did it and I have not regretted it. Everyone in the office is so kind and I have made so many new friends and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I am usually very shy and prefer to keep to myself, but they helped me express myself and go out to help my community.

Community service is a large part of being a PTK member. For one of your community service projects, you mentioned delivering meals to people who cannot get out. Can you tell us a little bit about this?

Delivering meals and groceries was something my family and I thought of right in the beginning of all of this. My grandparents were the main people we delivered to, since they are both considered high risk and we did not want to put them in danger by having them go out and become exposed. We really just wanted to help those who are scared to leave home or do not think it is best for them. Some people out there really have no one and we wanted to make sure they knew they were not alone.

You and your family also made cards for nursing homes. How many did you make and how did you distribute them?

Overall, we distributed about 25-50 cards to a local nursing home. We also got more people in the community involved. I had made a Facebook post and a couple of my friends decided to join in. We did practice social distancing. They simply put their artwork in the mailbox and I swung by and picked them up.

Did you find out how the residents of the nursing homes liked your cards?

The residents loved the cards and were thrilled to receive messages and a little bit of positivity to brighten up their day.

During these uncertain times, what has been motivating you to help in your community?

As I said before, my number one motivation throughout all of this is to make sure these folks know they are not alone. To make sure they know there are people out there willing to help and make sure they have what they need without putting themselves in harm's way.​

What are your plans once you graduate from QCC?

I currently do not know what my plans are after graduating this spring. COVID-19 really altered my plans. I was going to go back to school, but now I feel as though I want to go to work full-time and continue to help out the community the best I can.

What would you tell someone who was considering attending QCC?

To anyone considering attending QCC, do it! I am so pleased with my experience and extremely happy I chose to go to a two-year school. QCC has an amazing group of faculty who are always willing to go above and beyond to help you get the best education possible. The guidance and motivation these professors provide is some of the best I have ever been given. I would recommend QCC to anyone struggling to decide where to go to college. Not only is it affordable but it also provides some of the best educational experience possible.

  • QCC's Assistant Director of Advancement Program and Services Keith McKittrick gets a helping hand (paw!) as he works remotely.
  • Dean of Compliance Liz Woods unloads food picked up from the Worcester County Food Bank.
  • Each week QCC staff members continue servicing students who are food insecure with a type of drive up food pantry.
  • QCC's facilities staff continues to ensure the campus remains safe.
  • QCC Sports are offering free daily yoga sessions for the QCC community, Monday- Friday on Zoom.
  • This April the daffodils on QCC's main campus didn't seem to get the message about social distancing.
  • QCC Alumna Kayla Paterson hosts a Facebook Live program for PTK members to stay engaged and informed.
April, 2020

As college campuses across the country adjust to working and educating remotely, Quinsigamond Community College faculty and staff have rallied to show true Wyvern spirit. They have adjusted their mode of teaching, increased support to students, adapted to less than ideal working conditions and put their fears aside in order help students fulfill their dreams of a higher education.

Do you...

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As college campuses across the country adjust to working and educating remotely, Quinsigamond Community College faculty and staff have rallied to show true Wyvern spirit. They have adjusted their mode of teaching, increased support to students, adapted to less than ideal working conditions and put their fears aside in order help students fulfill their dreams of a higher education.

Do you have an interesting work helper, remote work space or are you doing something to help out our students in a unique way? We want to know! Please send us your "work from home" photos and stories to Wyvern Inspiration and you may be featured in an upcoming Wyvern newsletter.