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August, 2020

  • QCC President, Dr. Luis Pedraja signs the a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Southbridge Public Schools.
  • Southbridge Receiver/Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jeffrey Villar signs the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with QCC.
August, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College has started a new chapter in the Southbridge community with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Southbridge Public Schools. The partnership will see the college expand its presence in South County as it moves to a larger location within Southbridge High School, 132 Torrey Road. The strengthened partnership will allow QCC to become more embedded in the communities...

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Quinsigamond Community College has started a new chapter in the Southbridge community with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Southbridge Public Schools. The partnership will see the college expand its presence in South County as it moves to a larger location within Southbridge High School, 132 Torrey Road. The strengthened partnership will allow QCC to become more embedded in the communities it serves.

QCC President Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D. and Southbridge Receiver/Superintendent of Schools, Jeffrey Villar, Ph.D. touted the merits of the partnership, which brings a new level of higher education access to the South County region.

“Being closer to the communities we serve allows for a broader footprint in the region as a whole, and a more comprehensive approach to program development. Southbridge High School is a recognized and central location in the South County area,” President Pedraja said.

"I look forward to building a strategic partnership with QCC. Together I believe we can help the students of Southbridge High School engage in rigorous early college experiences, participate in internships, and pursue other academic endeavors while also supporting the larger Southbridge community by keeping QCC and its high-quality educational offerings in the Town of Southbridge,” Dr. Villar said.

“The Town Council is very excited that Quinsigamond Community College has entered into an agreement with the Town of Southbridge Public Schools and will remain as a fixture in the Town of Southbridge. We believe this partnership will be beneficial to our students and the community,” said Jack Jovan, chairman of the Southbridge Town Council.

QCC officially moved from its Optical Drive location earlier this summer as a way to deliver greater access to the college’s Early College Program for high school students, and for their family members, who can also take advantage of QCC’s academic and workforce development offerings. QCC Southbridge offers access to higher education to not only Southbridge residents, but also to all communities in South County.

In response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, the College is delivering its instruction and support services remotely throughout the Fall semester, with plans to hold in-person classes once it is safe to do so. More information is available at the College’s Web site, www.QCC.edu.

“This is an exciting time in our college’s history. We have been working with Southbridge and regional leaders to develop a plan to help strengthen the K-12 system, create educational pathways responding to workforce development needs in the community, and expand and solidify the relationship between QCC and the South County region,” President Pedraja said.

“I was truly impressed with the meeting that I was part of when officials at Quinsigamond presented their ideas to Dr. Villar and town officials. We look forward to the opening of the school facility and the programs that QCC will bring to the community,” Mr. Jovan added.  

  • QCC student Kiara Diaz
August, 2020

The leaves are beginning to change color and there’s a coolness in the air. This can only mean one thing – Fall semester is upon us. Classes begin on September 9 and while it may have a different look and feel than last Fall semester, students can be assured of the same high quality education that has made QCC the smarter higher education choice for so many.  The college transitioned to remote...

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The leaves are beginning to change color and there’s a coolness in the air. This can only mean one thing – Fall semester is upon us. Classes begin on September 9 and while it may have a different look and feel than last Fall semester, students can be assured of the same high quality education that has made QCC the smarter higher education choice for so many.  The college transitioned to remote instruction in early March and is continuing remote instruction for the Fall semester, giving students the assurance that there will be no unforeseen changes in the delivery of their courses. Courses are being offered in three different ways to meet the needs of all students from online and remote synchronous classes that will require specific "live" meeting times through technology tools, to remote asynchronous classes that do not not require specific meeting times (assignments and assessments are completed according to the course syllabus). There's a learning style to meet every students' unique needs.

Students new to the college were asked to take part in a new Online Orientation Program. Students were sent a welcome letter with a link to the program and were required to watch it prior to the start of the Fall semester. Students were assigned to an Orientation group and are being contacted by an Orientation Mentor for a remote group meeting during the week of Monday, August 31 – Friday, September 4. This is a great way to learn about college resources and support services, as well as connect with other students. New students who have not heard from an Orientation leader are asked to contact Interim Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership Josh Cole, jcole [at] qcc.mass.edu,  or Administrative Assistant Cheryl Pike, cpike [at] qcc.mass.edu.

On September 9, make sure to watch your email as President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja gives a welcome address on the first day of classes, sharing his enthusiasm for the new semester and giving words of encouragement.

“We are excited to virtually welcome both new and returning students. Our professors are well-prepared and more than ready to kick off the semester,” he said. “We seamlessly transitioned to remote instruction, fortified our support services and adapted to the changing world landscape.”

While COVID-19 has brought about some unique challenges, QCC met those challenges head on, giving students robust resources that are all accessible remotely.

Vice President for Enrollment Management, Student Engagement & Community Connections, Dr. Lillian Ortiz, will also send a virtual welcome to students on the first day of classes, giving students a few tips on how to be academically successful.

“Our students trust us to provide them with a quality education and we won’t let them down,” Dr. Ortiz said.

Students should make sure to check their Qmail often for important announcements and log onto The Q for easy links to academic and support services. An important tool for all students is QCC’s Mobile app. This is a free app, available for most smartphones. Students can access course information, grades, and easily find online resources. In addition, students can make bookstore purchases, read the latest Wyvern news, utilize QCC Library services and much more.

Students are also encouraged to regularly check the COVID-19 Information Center  often for the latest coronavirus/COVID-19 updates and important college information.

“This year is unlike any other but the potential for a successful Fall semester is within reach for all our students,” Dr. Pedraja said. 

  • Phi Theta Kappa Advisor Bonnie Coleman packs bags of food that will be given to students in need.
August, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College has raised $109,070 for its Student Emergency Fund and repurposed $53,000 in grant awards to assist over 700 students in need. In a show of strength and solidarity to support its student body, QCC’s Foundation and the College banded together to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis by setting up a Student Emergency Fund for students in significant need and hardship due to the...

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Quinsigamond Community College has raised $109,070 for its Student Emergency Fund and repurposed $53,000 in grant awards to assist over 700 students in need. In a show of strength and solidarity to support its student body, QCC’s Foundation and the College banded together to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis by setting up a Student Emergency Fund for students in significant need and hardship due to the pandemic.

In March, the Foundation jumped in to help QCC students and allocated $25,000 that created the Student Emergency Fund. Knowing there was a much greater student need to be met, the Foundation began an aggressive fundraising campaign with donations coming from QCC’s faculty, staff, directors and trustees, alumni, foundations, banks, corporations, private donors and grants. To date, the Fund has assisted 526 QCC students to help with rent, food, medical services, childcare, other basic life and educational necessities. Students typically received anywhere from $100 to $250. Additionally, several repurposed grant awards provided 200 students with laptop computers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The college surveyed its students and found that of those who applied and received aid, 52% did not qualify for other aid, 47% had lost their jobs, 72% had reduced working hours, and 33% had out-of-pocket medical expenses. Most students said they used the aid to help with rent, mortgage, groceries, utilities, transportation, credit card bills, student loans, books and healthcare, due to the economic impact of the pandemic. The survey also showed that of those who received assistance, 81% were women, 63% were minorities, 43% were immigrants, 66% were parents, and 32% were enrolled in adult learner and workforce programs.

“The Student Emergency Fund solidifies the Foundation’s mission of eliminating barriers that prevent student success,” QCC Foundation President Dr. Linda Maykel said. “The many generous individuals, corporations and local foundations that recognized the needs of our student body and stepped up to assist have been overwhelming and heartwarming. However, the need is great and there is much more that must be done to help our most vulnerable students from the hardships incurred by the virus.”

To date, 76% of the Student Emergency Fund has been used, and while many students noted the difference the financial assistance has made, many others noted the ongoing financial struggles they were incurring.

“When COVID-19 hit us, my technology was not updated enough to be able to continue taking my courses online. Without QCC's help, I would not have been able to purchase a new device to attend my sessions. The cash help I received is destined to buy the materials that I will need for the Fall Semester. I am deeply and truly grateful for this help,” said one student aid recipient.

“I lost two jobs. The only one left was four hours a week. It was terrible,” said another student aid recipient.

While all colleges and universities nationwide received Federal CARES Act funding, many students were exempt from receiving this aid because of citizenship, residency or enrollment status. QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja noted the positive repercussions the Fund has had on students, particularly those who otherwise would be ineligible for aid.

“This aid has been crucial for our students’ success. The statistics speak for themselves. Of those students who received aid, 74% said the aid allowed them to stay in college for the semester; 80% said it reduced the stress caused by financial constraints, and 45% said that without it they would have had to withdraw from college,” he said. “Furthermore, 93% who received aid did not withdraw from college and 90% did not withdraw from any course. This is a testament to the impact the Student Emergency Fund is having on our students.”

As the Fall semester gets underway soon, the Foundation and College will continue with its efforts to help students in need. The Food Pantry and Resource Center will continue to operate as a weekly drive through service. Students in need of assistance should fill out a Food Pantry and Resource Center Intake Form.  

“The full impact of the pandemic on the economy and our community remains to be seen. In spite of all of the unknowns and all of the challenges, I am certain of one thing: we will do what needs to be done and we will make sure our students succeed,” Dr. Pedraja said.

To learn more or make a donation, visit the Student Emergency Fund

New incoming QCC Freshman Andrew Stefanik
August, 2020

For many incoming college freshmen, the excitement of moving away from home into a dorm and starting a new chapter in their lives has been stopped short due to COVID-19. Today, more and more four-year colleges and universities are pulling back from their initial “bringing students back to campus” for the Fall semester. Locally and nationally students are rethinking their options as their plans to take...

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For many incoming college freshmen, the excitement of moving away from home into a dorm and starting a new chapter in their lives has been stopped short due to COVID-19. Today, more and more four-year colleges and universities are pulling back from their initial “bringing students back to campus” for the Fall semester. Locally and nationally students are rethinking their options as their plans to take in-person classes, attend social functions and sporting events, has been radically changed.

One student who found himself in this situation was recent Shepherd Hill  Regional High School graduate and new college freshman, Andrew Stefanik, of Dudley.

“The college search, for me, seemed to work out all too perfectly in the beginning. I went on multiple tours to colleges such as Framingham State University, Salem State University, and finally, Westfield State University. I quickly realized that Westfield State seemed to be the ‘perfect’ college for me. I loved the campus and the staff seemed incredible,” he said.

Mr. Stefanik applied to his dream school and was accepted for the Fall semester. He got his dorm assignment, coordinated with his new roommate and “hit the ground running,” excited to begin his freshman year.

“Then, the COVID-19 pandemic began to raise concerns for going back to college. I had all of my classes scheduled and I was ready to go, when I realized that all of my classes had been changed to remote learning. I would be sitting in a dorm room paying multiple thousands of dollars to just sit there,” he said.

It was a wake-up call for him, as he realized this was not at all what he was paying for or wanted.

“I decided to open up my options to Quinsigamond Community College, which was going to be all off-campus and remote anyway. For the price difference alone, QCC seems to be the much smarter choice for this year,” he said, adding that the biggest contributing factor was the price difference. “It makes more financial sense to stay at home and get the same education I would have gotten otherwise.”

He recognized the many additional benefits attending a community college could offer him.

“I believe Quinsigamond will also help me to get acclimated to the college workload, which I would have struggled with while living away from home at Westfield. If I were to give advice to anybody going to a four-year college that is going completely remote this upcoming semester, I would suggest to always have an open mind! Everybody wants the ‘college experience,’ but that doesn't exist if you are sitting in a dorm room for 15 hours/day, not being able to eat at the dining commons, and not being able to hang out with friends outside of your residence hall.”

Mr. Stefanik said this Fall semester many not be what he was initially planning for, but he is looking forward to his new college (he is a history major) and taking classes in the comfort and safety of his own home.

“There is no shame in going to a community college. It is a stigma that must be broken because, in the end, you will get the same amount of education while saving thousands of dollars! It was a no-brainer for me, and I had my heart set on Westfield. I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to attend Quinsigamond this upcoming fall, even if it isn't in a traditional classroom,” he said.

It’s not too late to register for the Fall 2020 semester. Visit Admissions to learn more.

  • Worcester Public School Early College students took an 'Introduction to Information Technologies' last fall at QCC.
August, 2020

Students in the Worcester Public Schools and the surrounding communities have been taking advantage of Quinsigamond Community College’s Early College Program and the results have been promising. Early College Programs have become a way for high school students to get a head start on college, by enabling them to earn college credits while still in high school, and according to the Baker-Polito Administration, the...

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Students in the Worcester Public Schools and the surrounding communities have been taking advantage of Quinsigamond Community College’s Early College Program and the results have been promising. Early College Programs have become a way for high school students to get a head start on college, by enabling them to earn college credits while still in high school, and according to the Baker-Polito Administration, the Early College program model has been successful. QCC has seen 42% of its Early College students enroll at the college within one year of taking early college courses during the program’s early beginnings.

In the first preliminary data analysis completed since the state's Early College Program began in 2018, the findings showed that Massachusetts high school students who graduate from Early College programs are applying for Federal financial aid and are enrolling in college at significantly higher rates than their school or state peers. Data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education showed that high school graduates who participated in Early College programs are enrolling in college at a rate that is 20 percentage points higher than their school or state peers; and their FAFSA completion rates are 25 percentage points higher than school peers.

Since 2018, QCC has been providing Worcester Public Schools’ diverse student population with educational services, creating college equity access to more students who have historically been underserved. Data collected by QCC found that of those students who participated in the college’s Early College Program during the 2018-2019 academic year, the largest participating student populations were Latinx (29.2%) and Black (28.8%).

“At a time when we see racial equity gaps widening, it is encouraging to see the impact of Early College as an effective strategy to propel Black and Latinx students to successful college completion,” said Higher Education Commissioner Carlos E. Santiago.

The state data also showed that when outcomes for Black and Latinx students enrolled in Early College were compared with peers of the same race who were not enrolled in the program, Early College students of color attended college at higher rates. The differential between Black Early College graduates who enrolled in college and their Black school peers was 25 percentage points. Between Latinx early college program graduates and their Latinx school peers the difference was 30 percentage points. 

“While the Commonwealth performs well in many education measures, the launch and growth of Early College is an important step forward in equitable access to college for all students and a proven way to close the college degree completion gap,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. 

QCC has partnered not only with the seven Worcester Public High Schools, but also with 22 additional area Central Massachusetts High Schools. Students take classes that range from general education, business and healthcare and fulfill their high school requirements while completing college credits.

“Our Early College Program is making such a difference in the lives of students. It is giving them a pathway to higher education and a way to realize their dreams and have a better life,” said QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja.

According to QCC’s Director of Educational Partnerships K-12 & Early College Initiatives, Christina Hebert, the majority of high school students taking classes are juniors and seniors, with a small percent who are sophomores.

“Some students take two courses per semester and summer classes,” she said. “The goal of Massachusetts Early College Programs is to have all high school students graduate with at least 12 college credits. The opportunity is there for students to graduate from high school and also earn a certificate or associate degree. Some students have graduated with 15 to 24 or more credits.”

To learn more visit, QCC’s Early College program.

August, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College students are getting the word out about the power and impact of voting. The college has recently begun an informational video campaign that highlights students discussing the importance of voting. The videos remind people of the October 8 deadline for registering to vote and encourage everyone to participate in our upcoming elections. The webpage QCC.edu/vote offers a direct...

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Quinsigamond Community College students are getting the word out about the power and impact of voting. The college has recently begun an informational video campaign that highlights students discussing the importance of voting. The videos remind people of the October 8 deadline for registering to vote and encourage everyone to participate in our upcoming elections. The webpage QCC.edu/vote offers a direct link to the Commonwealth’s register to vote page and other important voting information. QCC is working in collaboration with the Higher Education Consortium Central MA (HECCMA) and MassVote to promote the videos throughout the City of Worcester and help build awareness.

“It’s such an important time in our nation’s history and exercising your right to vote is one of the most important and powerful duties we can do as American citizens,” said Director of Community Bridges Déborah L. González.

Young voters have the power to change elections and represent close to one third of the voting population, yet historically vote less often than those of the baby boomer generation.

“QCC’s voting campaign shines the spotlight on the ability to shape the future through your vote,” Ms. González said. “Voting enables people to affect change, shape polices and create a better future.”

To learn more, visit QCC Votes to get information on registering to vote, voting locations and deadlines, and listen to our students share their reasons for voting.

  • New college students show empowering messages in a zoom meeting during QCC's Summer Bridge Program.
August, 2020

A group of incoming QCC students zoomed through a summer program designed to prepare them for a fast start when their classes begin in September. The accelerated “Summer Bridge” program was designed for students pursuing STEM majors and was organized under QCC’s STEM Starter Academy (SSA) program. Students met remotely via Zoom each day for three weeks.

According to SSA program coordinator...

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A group of incoming QCC students zoomed through a summer program designed to prepare them for a fast start when their classes begin in September. The accelerated “Summer Bridge” program was designed for students pursuing STEM majors and was organized under QCC’s STEM Starter Academy (SSA) program. Students met remotely via Zoom each day for three weeks.

According to SSA program coordinator Darcy Carlson, the Summer Bridge program was based upon an existing course, First Year Experience (FYE 101) offered to all new QCC students. The STEM Starter Academy Grant fully-funded the Summer Bridge program. Successful completion of the program earned students three credits, as well as prepared them to begin their college careers at QCC.

The FYE 101 course was customized for the new incoming STEM students by Psychology Professor Lizette Cordeiro, and was designed to help build student success. One aspect of the course emphasized self-discovery, and students learned more about their values, interests, motivations, behaviors, personalities, and interaction styles. They acquired and developed skills for career planning, job searching and an understanding of job satisfaction. The students also focused on acquiring practical tools and strategies for being successful students by exploring effective learning strategies, and gaining information on how to navigate and use college procedures and resources.

This customized course included a variety of workshop sessions taught by six different STEM faculty members who each conducted a session featuring a different area of STEM. Students explored the fields of physics/astronomy, optics and the scientific method, website design, biotechnology, robotics and environmental science. Sessions were designed to be a combination of lectures, as well as hands-on activities that students completed outside of class. Some sessions included presentations from people working in the STEM field.

QCC Photonics Professor Jacob Longacre’s session focused on the scientific method, demonstrating the challenge of designing a controlled experiment where only one variable is tested. Students designed and conducted experiments themselves and wrote about what they did as their homework.

“I was very impressed with many of the experiments that students designed with limited instruction from me,” Professor Longacre said.

STEM student Tarrah Muldoon was one of the students who participated in the Summer Bridge program. Ms. Muldoon is joining the cybersecurity program at QCC this fall. She is currently working in the field of cybersecurity and is seeking her degree to be able to grow and progress in her career. Like many QCC students, she is working full-time and is a parent of two young children.

“I was a bit concerned about starting college after having been out of school for so many years, but I felt very welcomed by Professor Cordeiro and my fellow students in the summer bridge program,” Ms. Muldoon said. “It was great to share ideas, be introspective, and get support with what I needed to get done before starting classes; setting up my QCC email account, accessing the Blackboard learning management system, Starfish system, and learning about all the resources available to support my success - the general tutoring center, math center and writing centers, advising and career services. I think it would be overwhelming to have had to learn all of this on my own while taking classes and juggling everything else in my life.”

  • Attending QCC this Fall is a smarter, safer decision.
August, 2020

Wow...what a difference a few weeks can make! Many students were set to move into their dorms and begin the fall semester, only to learn late in the game that some colleges and universities had changed their policies and classes were no longer being offered in-person. Furthermore, on-campus events were being prohibited and masks must be worn at all times if...

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Wow...what a difference a few weeks can make! Many students were set to move into their dorms and begin the fall semester, only to learn late in the game that some colleges and universities had changed their policies and classes were no longer being offered in-person. Furthermore, on-campus events were being prohibited and masks must be worn at all times if students leave their dorm rooms. COVID-19 testing is required and the threat of an outbreak of the virus is a constant on campus. This is not the college experience students signed up for, but the Fall 2020 semester is unlike any other in higher education's long history.

While this may seem like a good time to take the year off, there is more that meets the eye when considering a gap year. Not attending college this fall may have lasting consequences, particularly during a pandemic, than students know.

Let’s discuss the gap year. This is a time when students either delay entering college, or choose to take time off from the college where they are currently enrolled. The goal is to take a year off and then pick up where you left off. Yet taking a gap year may mean losing touch with friends, falling behind or losing momentum to go to college, and can change the forward trajectory of your life.

Students already enrolled in college and who choose to take time off, run the risk of not getting readmitted (colleges do not have to readmit you!). Students who are admitted back may now incur extra fees and find their financial aid has changed for the worse. And, those who don’t get readmitted may find themselves in financial distress as loans must now be repaid. Don’t be fooled into thinking the coronavirus relief package will keep loans at bay should you take a gap year. The CARES Act currently suspends loan payments only until Sept. 30, 2020, when it is set to expire. If this does not get extended and you have taken the year off, the six month grace period given before loans come due will expire, and you will be expected to begin making payments. An important thing to remember – Federal loans are only given for ONE six-month grace period. Once you use it, that’s it. If you have a private loan this is even more concerning, as not all private lenders allow for academic deferments for students who take time off and then return to school. This means your private loans may come due even if you are back at college full-time.

Additionally, new incoming freshmen who think they can easily re-enroll at the college they were accepted this fall, may find a very different scenario when they try to get back in. While many colleges and universities have deferred enrollment policies, students who chose to delay school due to the pandemic are not considered traditional gap students, and may run the risk of not being readmitted.

Gap years many sound “romantic.” We’ve all heard about a friend or acquaintance’s gap year plans when he or she took a year off from school to backpack through Europe, staying in youth hostels and seeing incredible sights. Yet this year things like the Eiffel Tower and the Roman Colosseum will be beyond reach as the bulk of international travel is banned for the foreseeable future.

Students may not have grand plans to travel internationally. They may decide to work for the year and consider it a good gap year strategy. This idea should also be reconsidered. Across the country we are seeing historic unemployment numbers similar to the Great Depression and in Massachusetts alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate of 16.1% in July. This was the highest unemployment rate in the country!

Don’t be fooled into thinking a gap year is a student's only alterative this fall during the pandemic. There is a smarter safe choice – attending Quinsigamond Community College. Students can continue with their education from the safety of their homes, earn credits to transfer to a four-year program and save thousands. There is support every step of the way from academic to financial and most importantly, students are not putting their futures on hold.

Make the best alternative to a gap year and enroll for the fall 2020 semester today.

  • QCC nursing student Christine Reid
August, 2020

Nursing Student is A Guardian Among Us

South Grafton resident and Quinsigamond Community College student, Christine Reid knows what it’s like to be on the front lines during the pandemic. As a unit secretary in the maternity ward at Milford Regional Medical Center, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus affected her in ways she could have never anticipated. Yet through it all, she has...

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Nursing Student is A Guardian Among Us

South Grafton resident and Quinsigamond Community College student, Christine Reid knows what it’s like to be on the front lines during the pandemic. As a unit secretary in the maternity ward at Milford Regional Medical Center, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus affected her in ways she could have never anticipated. Yet through it all, she has remained steadfast in her commitment to caring for others in the community.

A nurse education major at QCC who is also a Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society student, Ms. Reid was in the middle of a medical microbiology class when COVID-19 hit the Massachusetts region and the state shutdown.

“To say that this class helped me prepare is an understatement. I’m an older student, so just getting back into the swing of classes, the testing and waitlist for nurse education, it all helped me learn to roll with the punches,” she said. 

Ms. Reid said working as a frontline worker in the hospital during a pandemic was “surreal,” as she quickly learned that everyone was at risk of getting the virus.

“I felt that I was ‘safe’ on the maternity ward because I wasn’t in the COVID/ICU units. I quickly realized that we were just as vulnerable, as I had checked in patients, walked them to their rooms, only to find out hours later that they had tested positive for COVID,” she added. 

Similar to many hospitals and healthcare facilities in the region, the medical center’s PPE supply was also extremely low, especially in the beginning.

“We had to reuse disposable masks for multiple shifts; we were running out of sanitizer, and we even had amazing volunteers who would come in to make PPE gowns for us. Seeing the panic, fear, uncertainty in the eyes of my coworkers, some of the toughest people I know, was sobering. I realized that we were IN this now,” she said.

Not only was Ms. Reid dealing with the virus on a workplace level, she was also dealing with it on another level, having become a foster parent and welcoming a pre-teen to her home two weeks before the mandatory quarantine. Today, her new normal mirrors that of many other frontline workers. Her awareness of her surroundings has increased exponentially, as has her hand washing and safety procedures and protocols.

"I spend part of the beginning of my shift just reading and catching up on the day-to-day changes, not only for me, but for the nurses, doctors, patients and community. When you know better, you do better,” she said, adding that the community rallied around the frontline workers during the most of critical times during the beginning days of the health crisis. “I cried many times over the generosity of complete strangers who were doing what they could to help support us. So the least I could do is show up and do my job.”

While the future remains uncertain, Ms. Reid said she plans to continue on her journey to becoming a nurse.

“The truth is, this is my job. This is what I signed up for, this is what I’m striving to be. I didn’t get into nursing or the hospital field thinking that I would be safe and healthy,” she said, adding, “It’s just what I do, and if I don’t or won’t do it, who will?”

Visit QCC's Nursing program to learn more.

Make sure to read next month’s installment of “QCC’s Frontline Workers – Making a Difference in Our Communities,” and learn more about the students and alumni who protect and guard our communities.

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

  • QCC Student Veteran Tony Barnardo awarded 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award.
August, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College Alumnus and current student Anthony "Tony" Barnardo was honored earlier this month in the latest issue of GI Jobs Magazine as one of the 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award recipients. The award honors 48 student veterans from across the country who are making a positive impact at their school and in their communities.

Mr....

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Quinsigamond Community College Alumnus and current student Anthony "Tony" Barnardo was honored earlier this month in the latest issue of GI Jobs Magazine as one of the 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Award recipients. The award honors 48 student veterans from across the country who are making a positive impact at their school and in their communities.

Mr. Barnardo is a recent graduate from the college’s Hospitality Management-Food Service program and is now currently taking classes at QCC for a second Business Transfer degree before he transfers to Nichols College in the spring. He was recently featured in the April 2020 Wyvern Guardian newsletter for an online show he does weekly, “Quarantined in the Kitchen." The show features new weekly menu choices to help meal plan during the pandemic. He is a single parent who has overcome challenges in his life, and is working hard to realize his dream of one day opening his own food truck. He said QCC has been instrumental in helping him to reach his future goals.

“Things have just continued to get better and better, from being a part of the Veterans Club then becoming president, my professors have been great, I’m a PTK member, receiving the Student Veteran Leadership award, graduating this past May with High Honors, and being accepted to Nichols,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting everything to go so well.”

Mr. Barnardo is an active member to the college community and was recently featured in QCC’s Voting campaign, a college initiative designed to  inform and engage people about the value of voting.

“Starting at QCC for the spring semester of 2019 was the best decision I could’ve made,” he added.

Veterans looking to learn about the opportunities available at QCC can visit Veteran Affairs.

  • From left: Mentor Kara Wiersma, mentee Kristen Peters and Director of Mentoring Gabe Satner on a recent Zoom discussion.
August, 2020

QCC student mentee Kristen Peters and her mentor Kara Wiersma just seemed to click when they first met. The pair were matched together in January 2019, shortly after Ms. Peters began at QCC. The two have found not only a good mentor/mentee relationship, they have also established a friendship.

“I found out about the mentoring program during orientation and would recommend this to anyone...

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QCC student mentee Kristen Peters and her mentor Kara Wiersma just seemed to click when they first met. The pair were matched together in January 2019, shortly after Ms. Peters began at QCC. The two have found not only a good mentor/mentee relationship, they have also established a friendship.

“I found out about the mentoring program during orientation and would recommend this to anyone. As a student, being a mentee is the one of the best things you can do,” Ms. Peters said.

Ms. Wiersma couldn't agree more. As Vice President of Learning and Development at Fidelity Co-Operative Bank in Leominster, she helps employees with their training and development needs. Being a community mentor for QCC was a natural fit for her, partly because of the job she does at the bank, and partly due to the close ties she has to the college. Her mother, Liz Hanlan, works at the college and she is also a 2003 QCC alumna.

“This is a great opportunity to give back to QCC, help people out and I also saw this as a development opportunity for myself,” she said.

The two officially met at the Mentoring Program Kick-off event, where Ms. Peters said at first she was a bit timid.

“It was great to put a ‘face’ with the mentoring program. I’m shy and don’t like new situations but the initial meet and greet was very effective. I said, ‘I’ll just say it all to her,’ and I unloaded,” Ms. Peters said.

Director of Mentoring, Gabe Satner said it’s important for mentors to make the decision to open up to their mentors.

“It makes the ice breaking easier,” he added.

The two women quickly formed a close bond of mutual respect and camaraderie.

Ms. Wiersma said that in the beginning the two began with some goal setting objectives and actions plans.

“This was our starting point and we went from there. It set the stage for the rest of the semester and each meeting we touched base on those goals,” she said.  

“Focus points were a great thing. I had a lot of self-doubt and Kara inspires and encourages me. She gives me an uplift when I have doubt and she let’s me talk about not just school,” Ms. Peters said. “The goals gave me a road map and navigation tool.”

While meeting regularly to discuss goals was important, doing fun activities together also became part of their regular meetings

“We started to do activities together such as a Fab Lab project and it was really cool. We both loved doing an activity outside of our normal meeting,” Ms. Wiersma said.   

“I don’t generally schedule time for fun. It was great thing to do,” Ms. Peters added.

While the transition to meeting remotely was a bit challenging in the beginning, the two have now found a rhythm and found a remote way of meeting that works for them.

“We decided we would just FaceTime since we both had iPhones,” Ms. Wiersma continued.

Both said for the partnership to be productive and worthwhile, it is imperative to keep the lines of communication open and to be respectful of each other’s time.

“I found there were no challenges in this. You have to be open, honest, straightforward and committed. It’s like therapy,” Ms. Peters said, adding that if your mentoring partnership doesn’t work out it’s not the end of the world. “If you don’t connect, you don’t connect. It’s nothing personal.”

Ms. Peters said being a mentee has helped her learn about herself and stressed the importance of being honest with your mentor, as well as yourself.

“I learned it’s OK to reach out to people. I learned it’s OK to not be perfect and it’s OK to be scared and ask for help,” she said.

Ms. Wiersma said being a mentor has helped her to learn more about herself.

“You reflect a lot about your own life,” she said, adding, “Helping others is very rewarding.”

If there are resources out there (such as the mentoring program) that people want to give and it’s not going to cost and it can only help, then do it,” Ms. Peters said. “You’ll benefit and you might even make a new friend.”

To learn how to become a mentee or mentor, visit QCC’s mentoring program.

  • QCC offers a new esports team
August, 2020

Esports Team is Gearing Up for an Exciting Fall

Saturday, August 29, QCC’s esports athletes took on Mass Bay Community College in a League of Legends match up. The team emerged victorious in both of its games with scores of 45-16 and 31-20! The team is set to play Bunker Hill Community College in late September with a tentative date of September 26. 

"The team...

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Esports Team is Gearing Up for an Exciting Fall

Saturday, August 29, QCC’s esports athletes took on Mass Bay Community College in a League of Legends match up. The team emerged victorious in both of its games with scores of 45-16 and 31-20! The team is set to play Bunker Hill Community College in late September with a tentative date of September 26. 

"The team is having a really good time; they are all getting along well and seem to mesh well in the games," Coach Nate Mello said. 

Esports is one of the fastest growing sports today. Being part of an esports team enables you to learn valuable social skills, strategic thinking and planning, and most importantly you will have fun! Are you a full-time student (12 credits of more) this Fall semester? Interested in being part of QCC’s E-sports team?  There’s still time to be part of the online action! Contact Coach Mello at nmello [at] qcc.mass.edu to learn more.

Games can be viewed on Twitch, so make sure to logon and  cheer on your Wyvern athletes. This is the perfect way to be part of the action from the comfort and safety of your home.

ZOOM Into the Fall Semester with YOGA

Beginning on Monday, August 31, QCC will offer free ZOOM Yoga, Monday – Friday, from noon – 12:40 p.m. for the Fall 2020 semester. Classes will end on December 18, 2020.

Yoga is simple stretching that soothes the mind and helps stress melt away! This is a great way to break up the day, stay healthy and stay connected. You can participate every day, or whenever it fits with your schedule. The choice is yours!

To receive a Zoom invite and have access to the class, email Athletic Director Lisa Gurnick, lisag [at] qcc.mass.edu your name and email address that you would like the daily evite sent. For those already receiving daily invites, you do not need to resend your information unless you would like to be removed from the list. This is for faccluty, staff and current QCC students.

Live with Josh and Lisa! 

 Are you wondering the best way to stay fit during a pandemic? Do you have a burning sports question? Look no further than QCC's new Live Sports and Fitness Chat with Josh and Lisa, each Thursday from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Students can log on to Blackboard Collaborate to ask Athletic Director Lisa Gurnick or Interim Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership, Josh Cole, any fitness or sports-related questions. 

You're sure to score the right answers from Josh and Lisa, so remember  to log on each Thursday with your questions. 

  • QCC Welcomes Students Virtually for its Fall Semester.
August, 2020

Monday, September 7: QCC is closed for the Labor Day holiday.

Tuesday, September 8: Virtual All College Day for faculty and staff beginning at 8:30 a.m. Featured speaker is author and resilience expert Dr. SuEllen Hamkins, who will discuss “Promoting Resilience during the Pandemic and Beyond.” Virtual email meeting details will be emailed prior to the...

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Monday, September 7: QCC is closed for the Labor Day holiday.

Tuesday, September 8: Virtual All College Day for faculty and staff beginning at 8:30 a.m. Featured speaker is author and resilience expert Dr. SuEllen Hamkins, who will discuss “Promoting Resilience during the Pandemic and Beyond.” Virtual email meeting details will be emailed prior to the event.

Wednesday, September 9: Fall semester begins. 

Wednesday, September 16: Last day to add or drop a class.

Wednesday, September 23: Phi Theta Kappa General Meeting from 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. All meetings are held remotely on Zoom. For more details email PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman, bcoleman [at] qcc.mass.edu

Thursday, September 24, 2020: Voting Amid COVID-19, from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. This Zoom event will be presented in Spanish and will address what is different this year about voting, voter registration, how COVID-19 is changing how we vote, how to vote by mail, and how to vote in person. To request a Zoom link to the event or for more information, email Director of Community Bridges Déborah L. González, dgonzalez [at] qcc.mass.edu

This event is sponsored by QCC Voter Registration and Engagement.

August, 2020

August, 2020

In The News is is a sampling of QCC's monthly media coverage.

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