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September, 2020

  • Massachuetts Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago and QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja
September, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College has been awarded a Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership (CDEP) Grant of $32,400. The grant provides funding for high school students to take college-level courses that fulfill high school requirements, as well as earn college credit towards their degree. The CDEP helps to ease the transition from high school to college, enabling high school students to get a head start on their...

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Quinsigamond Community College has been awarded a Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Partnership (CDEP) Grant of $32,400. The grant provides funding for high school students to take college-level courses that fulfill high school requirements, as well as earn college credit towards their degree. The CDEP helps to ease the transition from high school to college, enabling high school students to get a head start on their college careers. The program offers academic experiences to qualified students who otherwise may not have access to an early college experience. The CDEP’s goal is to increase the population of high school graduates who are college ready. 

QCC has a strong Early College Program and is a pathway to higher education for those historically underserved. Since 2018, the College has worked with Worcester Public Schools, creating college equity access to more students who have historically been underserved. Currently, the College has partnered with seven Worcester Public High Schools and 22 Central Massachusetts High Schools. Classes range from general education to business and healthcare.

“The CDEP Grant funding will be used to offer college credit courses to underserved students in the Worcester County Early College Programs,” said Christina Hebert, director of Educational Partnerships K-12 & Early College Initiatives at QCC. “We are excited that this CDEP Grant will enable us to offer credit courses to students in schools that to date have not had access to this type of program.”

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito praised QCC’s program in a letter to President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

 “We want to thank you for your commitment to increasing college participation through dual enrollment activities, particularly for low-income, underrepresented, and first-generation college students. Through this funding and your continued support, we hope to expand access to great educational opportunities for every student in the Commonwealth.”

Visit Early College to learn more.

  • QCC hosted a flu shot clinic for the public.
September, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College has been working to support the Worcester community by hosting a drive-thru COVID-19 test site at its main campus, 670 West Boylston Street. The event began mid-September and will run through October. Testing is being conducted by AIDS Project Worcester, Inc., and is part of the Commonwealth’s “Stop the Spread” program.  The testing is open to the general public...

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Quinsigamond Community College has been working to support the Worcester community by hosting a drive-thru COVID-19 test site at its main campus, 670 West Boylston Street. The event began mid-September and will run through October. Testing is being conducted by AIDS Project Worcester, Inc., and is part of the Commonwealth’s “Stop the Spread” program.  The testing is open to the general public regardless of whether or not a person is symptomatic. No insurance is required, and testing is free.

“We are proud to help reinforce the City’s campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19. The best way to help stop the spread is by wearing face coverings, social distancing, hand washing, and getting tested to make sure you do not have the virus,” said QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja.

The drive-thru testing site will be open by appointment only. There will be no weekend hours, and only those with appointments will be tested. Tests will be given in Lot 3 of the College’s main campus.

“AIDS Project Worcester is an excellent partner for this endeavor. They are fully self-contained, and bring all testing equipment to every host site. It’s a remarkable operation,” said Community Public Health Specialist/Consultant, Susan Johnson. “The test is a PCR nasal test, the most reliable test available because of its high sensitivity. Tests are processed through the Broad Institute and results are sent by email within 24-48 hrs.”

“We are delighted to be working with such a compassionate and professional organization like Quinsigamond Community College. We look forward to this collaboration that will provide an important public health service to the Worcester community,” said Michelle Smith, executive director for AIDS Project Worcester.

Additionally, the College hosted a walk-in flu clinic for the public on Monday, September 28 and Thursday, October 1 from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the College’s main campus, 670 West Boylston Street, Worcester, Lot 3. Those attending the flu clinic were asked to bring their insurances cards, and the flu shots were free with most insurances. This year the influenza immunization will be required for all students attending Massachusetts colleges and universities.

“The new vaccine requirement is an important step in reducing flu-related illnesses. Flu symptoms can be comparable with those of COVID-19, so getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021, to protect yourself and the people around you from the flu,” Ms. Johnson said, adding that people who were feeling sick were asked to not attend the clinic. 

To make an appointment for a COVID-19 test, call 508.847.0623.  For information on how QCC is responding to this pandemic, visit the College’s COVID-19 Information Center at www.QCC.edu/covid19

  • QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja stops to visit with a group of QCC students in this 2017 photo.
September, 2020

 Advocating for the under-privileged and underserved has been a hallmark of Quinsigamond Community College President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja’s career. Dr. Pedraja was the recent keynote speaker at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology Barton Lectureship. He spoke on the multiple pandemics plaguing our society in a webinar, “Living in the Margins: Equity,...

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 Advocating for the under-privileged and underserved has been a hallmark of Quinsigamond Community College President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja’s career. Dr. Pedraja was the recent keynote speaker at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology Barton Lectureship. He spoke on the multiple pandemics plaguing our society in a webinar, “Living in the Margins: Equity, Education, and Theology in the Age of Pandemics.”

The Roy D. Barton Lectureship was established in 1995, to honor Dr. Barton for his service to the seminary and his service to the Hispanic United Methodist Church. Through these lectures, participants have heard from the leading Hispanic/Latino scholars in theological education and church leaders who have made a significant impact on the Hispanic/Latino church and beyond.

“I had the pleasure of working with Roy and considered him a colleague and a friend,” said Dr. Pedraja, who taught religion, philosophy, and theology at SMU from 1994–2000.

Dr. Pedraja’s webinar defined and explored the topic of the "margins," as it relates to economic gaps, changes in ethnic and racial demographics, and the roles of the Church and higher education in the new decade. He focused on the historic racism that has plagued society and looked at racism through the lens of education, addressing issues such as underfunding K-12, diminished resources, lack of educational role models, legacy of segregation, criminalization and labeling, high stakes tests, cost of education and underfunding of minority serving institutions.

“These barriers and many others contribute to the growing equity gap in colleges,” he said.

He used the example of the higher education equity gap in Massachusetts, a state known for its contributions to higher education.

“The college attainment gap between white females and Latino males exceeds 40%. These gaps are not accidental, they are the result of a broken education system that intentionally marginalizes segments of the population,” Dr. Pedraja said, noting the declining state investment in public and higher education for educational institutions that cater to the under-served populations.

Today, community colleges serve close to 50% of all undergraduates in the nation and serve over 30% of minority populations. Dr. Pedraja added that at QCC, the minority percentage is 40%, higher than any other population sector yet in terms of state funding, all 15 community colleges in the Commonwealth only receive 25% of state funding allocation.

“We educate the most, yet we get the least support,” he said.

Addressing why these equity gaps should matter to society, Dr. Pedraja said that beyond the immorality of continuing to allow this to persist, in the aftermath of the pandemic if this continues, the economic gap will continue to grow.

“Education is essential to economic and social stability. In order to dismantle marginalization, we must be as intentional as those who marginalize others. Our task is to equitably and continually expand our notion of ‘we’ until we include those that we define as ‘they,’” he said. “The equity gaps that exist in our society must be acknowledged and dismantled in education and even in theology.” 

 

Mason Wheaton
September, 2020

One Quinsigamond Community College student has put her own spin on how to deal with today’s national health crisis – through song. Sophomore music major Mason Wheaton sang her way into the hearts of many, with her self-written and self-recorded video song, “We Can Fight the Virus,” sung to the tune of Bill Joel’s 1989 hit, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Her...

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One Quinsigamond Community College student has put her own spin on how to deal with today’s national health crisis – through song. Sophomore music major Mason Wheaton sang her way into the hearts of many, with her self-written and self-recorded video song, “We Can Fight the Virus,” sung to the tune of Bill Joel’s 1989 hit, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Her rallying cry celebrated the start of school at QCC, and offered a brief insight into what students, faculty and staff are doing to push forward during these unprecedented times. The song was part of All College Day, an informational and motivational event held for faculty and staff the day before each semester begins. 

“Mason is an example of the incredible talent that we see in so many of our students. This was a fun and effective way to demonstrate what we can and should be doing to fight the virus. Mason’s song will resonate with many in the days and weeks to come,” QCC President Dr. Luis G. Pedraja said.

Ms. Wheaton is a first generation college student, and her journey to higher education is similar to many community college students.

“I started college later in life at age 22. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I hesitated because I didn’t want a lot of debt, but I was worried about my future and didn’t want to keep working in low level jobs,” she said. 

After a bit of self-reckoning she enrolled at QCC to, as she put it, “save money and have a better life.” She registered for classes in 2019, taking a full course load and becoming an active member of the college community. She became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society; a student peer mentor; a tutor in the college’s Writing Center and a member of the college’s Music Club.

When Music Professor José Castillo was asked to find a student to perform a parody song to be played at All College Day and help motivate the QCC community during the pandemic, he immediately thought of Ms. Wheaton.

“My responsibility was to choose the perfect performer for the song. Someone who would not only have a beautiful voice and musical talent but, also someone who would make the lyrics come to life and add a special charisma to the overall project,” said Music Professor José Castillo. “I have worked with Mason for the past year, as she is part of the music option degree program. Mason has always been eager to take on new challenges in and out of the classroom, which is an excellent quality to have.”

Ms. Wheaton said the lyrics she wrote were inspired by information she found on the college’s website. Due to COVID-19 and in-person restrictions, she recorded the song at home on her phone in her closet, after Mr. Castillo suggested the clothing in the closet would help absorb the echoing sound often heard when recording in a room. Mr. Castillo assisted with the background music and put the production together. Not only has the song become a hit with the college, it has also earned additional attention through the college’s social media platforms. She was even featured on WHDH Boston News 7.

“I am hearing from everyone how they loved the song,” she said.

Ms. Wheaton plans to graduate in spring 2021 with her associate degree in music, and hopes to transfer to UMass Amherst to major in vocal performance/vocal pedagogy and become a vocal teacher. She said she is grateful to have begun her higher education at QCC.

“There is no shame in going to a community college. It’s the smarter way to go to school especially if you don’t have a lot of money, and then you can easily transfer to a four-year school,” she said. “I want to help students become interested in being a part of the college community and follow their dreams.”

September, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College’s Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education (CWDCE) has launched an innovative way to deliver professional development training with a new, “all you can learn” subscription model. The CWDCE performed extensive research to discover the best way to respond to the needs of both employers and individuals working in today’s digital age.

QCC...

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Quinsigamond Community College’s Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education (CWDCE) has launched an innovative way to deliver professional development training with a new, “all you can learn” subscription model. The CWDCE performed extensive research to discover the best way to respond to the needs of both employers and individuals working in today’s digital age.

QCC’s subscription-style model of learning contains over 500 unique online modules in 14 different areas of Advanced Manufacturing, as well as Microsoft 365 online software services suite. Participants can choose between 30, 60, 90, 180 or 365 days of unlimited access to all the training modules for a set rate. Since the pandemic began, companies have had to adopt more online practices into their current workplace practices to remain viable.

“We looked at a number of trends both locally and nationally, which resulted in some new course offerings for the fall, as well as new ways we will be offering our courses.  One of the most innovative ways we have responded to the need for workers to quickly ‘skill up,’ is by offering this type of learning model,” said Dean of the Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education, Kathleen Manning.

Students can mix and match between all modules to target their individual skill needs. Each module takes approximately one hour to complete and includes a pre and post assessment. Students can print out a certificate when the module is completed.

“We are moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach and are allowing individuals to design a custom program that is best suited to their individual career goals,” Ms. Manning said. “This is a smarter approach in delivering professional development training to our workforce of the future.”

QCC offered free business courses to help with online transition at the start of the pandemic, as well as a free infectious disease control course to assist companies in navigating the new workplace landscape.

“Now with these ‘all you can learn’ programs, there is another safe and effective way to learn new skills or increase existing skill sets,” Ms. Manning continued. “Adapting to the needs of our changing world is paramount to the economic prosperity of our nation.”

To learn more visit, https://www.QCC.edu/center-workforce-development-and-continuing-education.

  • Nursing alumna Kelly Ashe-Dailida and her chidlren from left: Ryan, Erin and Alex.
September, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College students and alumni play a vital role in keeping our communities safe and our economy intact as guardian workers on the frontlines during the pandemic. Recently we spoke with a former QCC adjunct instructor and alumna, who is one of today's guardian workers.

As an adjunct psychology instructor at Quinsigamond Community College for the past 15-plus...

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Quinsigamond Community College students and alumni play a vital role in keeping our communities safe and our economy intact as guardian workers on the frontlines during the pandemic. Recently we spoke with a former QCC adjunct instructor and alumna, who is one of today's guardian workers.

As an adjunct psychology instructor at Quinsigamond Community College for the past 15-plus years, Kelly Ashe-Dailida had become a familiar face to many. Yet, some may remember her more as a nursing student in QCC’s nurse education program than as a former QCC instructor. Today, Ms. Ashe-Dailida is an inpatient addiction/recovery nurse, living in Shrewsbury with her husband Kevin, and three children, Alex 20, Ryan 17, and Erin 14, as well as her 10-month-old golden retriever Mason.

She holds an undergraduate and master’s degree in psychology from Anna Maria College; however, throughout the years she felt she was missing the clinical aspect to her higher education. Ms. Ashe-Dailida toyed with the idea of going back to school to get her doctorate degree in clinical psychology, or perhaps go into something else entirely, such as nursing.

Her “aha” moment came when her middle son, Ryan, sustained a knee injury that required surgery. When he was hospitalized, she realized that while she had a great deal of knowledge she didn’t have all the knowledge she needed to be part of his care.

“I was so envious of the nurses. They had the required clinical knowledge to take care of Ryan and I didn’t. I wanted their knowledge to take care of my child,” she said.

Thankfully, her son recovered from his injury and Ms. Ashe-Dailida’s commitment to enter nursing school was solidified.

“When we got home the experience was still poking at me and I finally turned to my husband and said, ‘I made the decision, I want to go to school,’” she said.

She entered QCC’s nurse education program and in December 2019 graduated from the program as a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member.  

Once Ms. Ashe-Dailida graduated from QCC, she was required to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. She ended up taking the exam just before the pandemic hit, and was actually in the last test-taking group before everything shut down due to COVID-19. She passed the Boards on her first attempt and then began the arduous task of looking for a job during a pandemic.

“It was interesting to find a job at this time as a new nurse, as hospitals were trying to wrap their arms around this virus,” she said, adding that she got her first nursing job as an inpatient addiction/recovery nurse.

Although this was Ms. Ashe-Dailida’s first official nursing position, she has also performed some COVID testing in the middle of the pandemic, following all proper personal protection equipment (PPE) protocols.

“I feel I am doing all I can to remain safe and help others. With my current job and the COVID testing, you have to assume that everyone is positive in order to protect yourself and others. Among the many other communicable viruses and diseases, you must concern yourself with, COVID is even more insidious and mysterious to us right now,” she said. “While COVID is always on my mind, clients I deal with are not there for that, they are dealing with an equally formidable depravity and our number one job is to help them recover and keep them safe.”

Caring for others in this way seems to be in Ms. Ashe-Dailida’s DNA.

“My husband said this job takes a special kind of person or personality and said he could never do it,” she laughed.

She encourages others to dig deep and follow their dreams of being a nurse, even when nursing school gets hard and feels overwhelming.

“I hope I can inspire a few people who feel they lack confidence or stamina in believing that they can do it. The nursing program at QCC is one of the best around; it is also the most challenging, yet rewarding academic accomplishments I have ever experienced. I still keep in touch with my professors and they prepared me well. My family and my professors were always in my corner, offering encouragement, advice and honesty,” she said, adding, “PTK was surely a big part of urging me on and reminding me of what I had accomplished and the importance of maintaining a robust attitude in the face of adversity. “

Ms. Ashe-Dailida’s said one of the most surprising things about going to nursing school was that it was not only life changing for her, but also for her family.

“This was my dream, but if I didn’t have the support of my family I wouldn’t have made it. My daughter, who was only 8 when I began school, would leave me notes of inspiration in my lunch or in my notebook,” she said, adding, “All that my children learned while I was going to school was something I never expected. They saw me studying as hard as I did and it reinforced what Kevin and I taught them. I knew I wanted to go to school, but I never knew the positive effect it would have on my family.  ”

To learn more, visit QCC’s Nursing program.

  • QCC Wyverns E-Sports Captain Trevor Dodson practices with the team.
September, 2020

As summer has made its way into fall, QCC’s e-sports team is having an exciting first season. The team formed earlier in the summer and already they are making themselves known in the collegiate gaming world. Leading the Wyverns in their inaugural season is QCC freshman, Captain Trevor Dodson, a seasoned gamer. Recently the Wyvern Guardian caught up with him.

What is...

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As summer has made its way into fall, QCC’s e-sports team is having an exciting first season. The team formed earlier in the summer and already they are making themselves known in the collegiate gaming world. Leading the Wyverns in their inaugural season is QCC freshman, Captain Trevor Dodson, a seasoned gamer. Recently the Wyvern Guardian caught up with him.

What is your major?

My Major is Hotel Restaurant Management.

Why did you join QCC’s new e-sports team?

I joined the e-sports team for QCC because I won four state championships at my high school (Shrewsbury High School) for e-sports, so I figured it would be fun to do it again.

Have you always been a gamer?

I have always enjoyed playing video games and I have been playing competitively since the beginning of my high school career.

Can you tell me what it’s like to be a part of the QCC team? (Does it take up a lot of time? Are there practices?)

It takes a decent amount of commitment to be part of the team, but it’s well worth it to notice improvement in the team dynamic. There are practices three times a week, including my captain’s practice on Fridays.

Do you need any special equipment?

The only equipment you need is a functioning computer and a microphone headset to hear and talk to the team.

How do matches/games work?

Matches are set up five vs. five and take around five to 10 minutes to draft what characters each team wants to play. Then the actual game itself takes around 20-40 minutes typically.

What’s the best part of being on the college’s e-sports team?

The best part of being on the college team for me during this time would be meeting people and getting to play my favorite game with them. It is especially nice because it’s hard to get out right now and meet and talk with people.

What would you tell other students who might be interested in being a part of the team?

If there are any students who play League of Legends currently, I encourage them to check out the e-sports team because they might enjoy it.

There’s still time to be part of QCC’s e-sports team. To learn more, email Coach Nate Mello at nmello [at] qcc.mass.edu or Director of Athletics & Fitness Center Lisa Gurnick at lgurnick [at] qcc.mass.edu.

  • QCC's Human Services Wyvern
September, 2020

QCC alumnus Gordon Dupuis, of Southbridge, has a lot of experience in higher education. He has earned multiple college degrees, yet throughout his higher education what has resonated with him most was his experience as a human services student at Quinsigamond Community College.  

Despite having been enrolled in multiple colleges, he said QCC was the first college he attended...

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QCC alumnus Gordon Dupuis, of Southbridge, has a lot of experience in higher education. He has earned multiple college degrees, yet throughout his higher education what has resonated with him most was his experience as a human services student at Quinsigamond Community College.  

Despite having been enrolled in multiple colleges, he said QCC was the first college he attended that made him feel he could realize his full potential.

"Both Southbridge and Worcester faculty and staff, particularly Dr. Doe West and Professor Brenda Safford, took their time to personally support every student to help them achieve their best,” he said.

For Mr. Dupuis, his journey to QCC came by a circuitous route. In 2003, he graduated from Clark University with a BA in ancient civilization and decided to take a year off before looking into graduate schools to become a professor of comparative religion. After a year at Anna Maria College in Paxton, he settled on Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he graduated with a Master's Degree in Religious Studies in 2010, earning the highest GPA in the program.

"Once I graduated I was offered to teach one course there, but the funding for the position dried up,” he said.

For the next few years, he looked for an adjunct teaching position and dabbled in creative writing. In 2012, he met his wife who had recently returned to the area after living for a time in Texas and Florida. 

“My wife was the first one to discover and attend QCC,” he said, noting that she already had a BA in English with a minor in sociology.  “She decided to enroll in the Human Services program.”

A year later, Mr. Dupuis also enrolled in QCC’s human services program. It was to be a turning point in his life.

“After I received my associate degree (in 2016), both of us enrolled in the Master of Social Work program at Wheelock College (now Boston University), he said. "Both of us were also fortunate to have our clinical internships together at New Beginnings of Southbridge, an outpatient therapy clinic near the center of town,”

After graduating in 2019, his wife began work as a social worker at Harrington Hospital, in Webster and he became a clinician at the Open Sky Adult Community Clinical Services program, working to help those in his hometown of Southbridge.

“I have lived in Southbridge my entire life and know that it is an economically and emotionally depressed town,” he said. “I feel that QCC can uniquely provide the opportunity and community required for my town to heal from generations of poverty, apathy, and disenfranchisement.”

Visit QCC’s Human Services to learn more about the program.

  • Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago listens to QCC alumnus Jorgo Gushi discuss equity and equality.
September, 2020

On September 10, QCC alumnus and new Foundation Board member Jorgo Gushi was part of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s webinar, as the DHE and the Lumina Foundation announced a comprehensive new plan to achieve racial equity for students attending Massachusetts public colleges and universities. Others invited to the webinar included: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Senator...

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On September 10, QCC alumnus and new Foundation Board member Jorgo Gushi was part of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s webinar, as the DHE and the Lumina Foundation announced a comprehensive new plan to achieve racial equity for students attending Massachusetts public colleges and universities. Others invited to the webinar included: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser.

As Chair of the Student Advisory Council to the MA Board of Higher Education, Mr. Gushi was invited to give his viewpoint on equity and equality among the student population of public higher education in Massachusetts. He stressed the need for more investments in higher education to address racial inequities/barriers to student success.

“...I hope the administration and legislature will reexamine funding public higher education institutions and its students as we seek to produce more equity-oriented outcomes. Now is not the time to cut higher education’s budget, on the contrary, it is time to put hands deep in pockets to keep Massachusetts’s community colleges, state universities and the University of Massachusetts up and running,” Mr. Gushi said. “We must be willing to look at student outcomes and disparities at all educational levels disaggregated by race and ethnicity as well as socioeconomic status. We ought to recognize that individual students are not responsible for the unequal outcomes of groups that have historically experienced discrimination and marginalization in the United States. Respect for the aspirations and struggles of students who are not well served by the current educational system, is essential.”

  • Dean of Institutional Research and Planning Ingrid Skadberg
September, 2020

Quinsigamond Community College Dean of Institutional Research and Planning, Ingrid Skadberg, has been elected secretary for the North East Association for Institutional Research (NEAIR). Ms. Skadberg has been a member of the NEAIR since 2007, the same year she served on the Grants Committee (2007-2010). She was also elected by her peers to the Steering Committee (2012-2015) and in 2010, was elected to...

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Quinsigamond Community College Dean of Institutional Research and Planning, Ingrid Skadberg, has been elected secretary for the North East Association for Institutional Research (NEAIR). Ms. Skadberg has been a member of the NEAIR since 2007, the same year she served on the Grants Committee (2007-2010). She was also elected by her peers to the Steering Committee (2012-2015) and in 2010, was elected to the Nominating Committee.  

 NEAIR primarily serves the northeast region, with a goal of promoting effectiveness in postsecondary education through excellence in the field of institutional research. To date, there are 325 institutions represented by 682 members.

Ms. Skadberg said there have been numerous information and resources from NEAIR that have been useful for QCC.

“While serving on the Steering Committee a number of years ago, I was introduced to ‘Trello,’ which is the tool the campus uses to track strategic planning progress.  In addition, I was introduced to the strategic planning model at a NEAIR pre-conference workshop, upon which QCC’s strategic plan is based,” Ms. Skadberg said.

 She is quick to point out that NEAIR has been invaluable in her professional development.

“NEAIR has given me the chance to learn leadership skills and research techniques from my peers, understand best practices, and anticipate the future of the profession,” she said.

  • Social Justice Community Space located in the Harrington Learning Center on QCC's main campus.
September, 2020

QCC’s Leadership Equity Series ran on September 23 with the topic being Racial Equity. Rob Jones, of T. Lee Associates presented.

This session included discussions on racial equity foundations and principles, key components of racial equity and the impact of racial equity across our society and our industries. Participants learned the definition of racial equity, which refers to what a genuinely non...

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QCC’s Leadership Equity Series ran on September 23 with the topic being Racial Equity. Rob Jones, of T. Lee Associates presented.

This session included discussions on racial equity foundations and principles, key components of racial equity and the impact of racial equity across our society and our industries. Participants learned the definition of racial equity, which refers to what a genuinely non-racist society would look like, as well as social justice terms and what each of us can do to “find our voice” and make a difference.

“Through these sessions and other equity programs we continue to work together to make our campus more equitable,” said President Dr. Luis Pedraja.  

The next Leadership Equity session will take place on October 21 at 2:00 p.m., and calendar invites will be forthcoming.

  • Tune in each Thursday to Live with Josh and Lisa!
September, 2020

E-sports

Congratulations to the QCC Athletics Wyvern E-sports team for winning both League of Legends exhibition games against Bunker Hill Community College on September 26. Fall scrimmage begins the week of October 10 with a match against Bristol Community College (exact day and time to be determined).

If you are a full-time student this fall (12 credits of more) or you know of a full-time...

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E-sports

Congratulations to the QCC Athletics Wyvern E-sports team for winning both League of Legends exhibition games against Bunker Hill Community College on September 26. Fall scrimmage begins the week of October 10 with a match against Bristol Community College (exact day and time to be determined).

If you are a full-time student this fall (12 credits of more) or you know of a full-time student who may be interested in being part of QCC’s E-sports team there’s still time to join in the fun! Contact Coach Nate Mello at nmello [at] qcc.mass.edu

Yoga

Looking to get your downward dog on today? QCC’s Zoom Yoga is the perfect place to take time out of your hectic day, regroup and get some exercise. Zoom classes are free, five- days-a-week for the Fall 2020 semester.

Classes are Monday – Friday from 12- 12:40 p.m. and run until December 18. To receive a Zoom invite, email Athletic Director Lisa Gurnick at lisag [at] qcc.mass.edu

Zumba

Dance away your stress with QCC’s new, free Zoom Zumba. Classes are held twice a week, Tuesdays 1:15 p.m.-2:00 p.m. and Fridays 6:00 p.m.-6:45p.m., beginning October 6. To receive a Zoom invite, email Athletic Director Lisa Gurnick at lisag [at] qcc.mass.edu

Live with Josh and Lisa!

QCC's new Live Sports and Fitness Chat with Josh and Lisa is the perfect way to get the answers you need to fitness and sports questions. This live, hour-long session is held Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Students can log on to Blackboard Collaborate and ask questions to Athletic Director Lisa Gurnick or Interim Assistant Director of Student Life and Leadership, Josh Cole.

  • The Commonwealth's 2020 STEM Week theme is "See Yourself in STEM."
September, 2020

October brings autumn pleasures – crisp air, colorful leaves and pumpkin spiced treats. October is also when STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) becomes the focus for engagement throughout the Commonwealth. And October is also national Manufacturing Month – a great overlap with STEM Week, as Manufacturing is a STEM discipline. There are lots of activities to participate in for people of all...

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October brings autumn pleasures – crisp air, colorful leaves and pumpkin spiced treats. October is also when STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) becomes the focus for engagement throughout the Commonwealth. And October is also national Manufacturing Month – a great overlap with STEM Week, as Manufacturing is a STEM discipline. There are lots of activities to participate in for people of all ages and interests. Below are a few things to be on the lookout for this month. Students should check their Qmail, as well as social media posts for opportunities to participate in virtual events throughout October.

Mass. STEM Week: October 19 - 23

This year Governor Baker has designated October 19 – 23 as Massachusetts STEM Week, with this year's theme of “See Yourself in STEM." Colleges, school systems, community organizations, museums, libraries and others will be hosting events to engage people of all ages in STEM experiences. Activities include participating in design challenges, attending STEM career panels and accessing video company tours. Most events will be conducted virtually, with some being run real-time (where you can tune in live), while others will be recorded in advance. Many live sessions will also be recorded, with most recordings being made available for use on demand beyond STEM Week.  

QCC is working in partnership with the Central Mass. STEM Network to create STEM career panels in five different STEM career areas that will be widely available to students across Central Massachusetts. "See Yourself in STEM" career panels will highlight a diverse population of STEM professionals in different jobs that require differing levels of education (certificates, degrees, etc.). The panels will be run live via Zoom (one industry area each day during STEM Week) and will also be recorded for later use. The planned areas of focus are:

  • Health careers
  • Engineering/Construction/Environmental career
  • Biomedical/biotech careers
  • Computer Science / IT careers
  • Manufacturing Careers

For more information, visit STEM Week. Events from all over the state are housed on this website. Listings are updated frequently, so check back regularly. 

October is Manufacturing Month

While October 2 is officially National Manufacturing Day, so much activity is planned that the entire month has been designated as National Manufacturing Month. The goal is to raise awareness among students, parents, educators and the general public about modern manufacturing and the rewarding careers available. Since its inception, federal agencies and senior officials have enthusiastically supported Manufacturing Day in countless ways – including official proclamations, factory tours, presentations, and other outreach initiatives. Due to the current pandemic, Manufacturing Day 2020 activities and celebrations will largely take place virtually.

QCC faculty and staff are part of a Massachusetts team that is building a website explaining the many high tech aspects of today’s manufacturing including robotics, artificial intelligence, computer aided design – and highlighting several local manufacturing companies and the types of careers they offer. The website is scheduled to launch for STEM Week. Watch for announcements and a link to the site.

Visit Manufacturing to learn more about the many manufacturing programs available at QCC. 

  • PSI BETA National Psychology Honor Society
September, 2020

Are you wondering how the mind works or are you curious about human behavior in general, especially during these unprecedented times on our society? If so, students at QCC just might be interested in the PSI BETA National Psychology Honor Society and Psychology Club.

To be considered for the PSI BETA National Psychology Honor Society, students must have a desire to learn about psychology; however, any major...

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Are you wondering how the mind works or are you curious about human behavior in general, especially during these unprecedented times on our society? If so, students at QCC just might be interested in the PSI BETA National Psychology Honor Society and Psychology Club.

To be considered for the PSI BETA National Psychology Honor Society, students must have a desire to learn about psychology; however, any major will be considered. Psi Beta’s mission is to encourage professional development and psychological literacy of all students at two-year colleges through promotion and recognition of excellence in scholarship, leadership, research, and community service.

To be considered, the following criteria must be met:

  • Completed at least one psychology course
  • "B” average in any psychology course taken and an overall 3.25 GPA
  • Completed at least 12 credits

To be considered for induction, send the following information to professor of Psychology, Dr. Valarie Clemente, vclemente [at] qcc.mass.edu by October 23, 2020.

  • Name, Address & Phone Number
  • QCC ID Number & Qmail Address
  • Program/Major & Anticipated Date of Graduation

All documents will be reviewed and students will receive a response within a week. Students should check their email regularly, as time-sensitive information will be emailed. For accepted students, there is a one-time induction fee of $50 payable to the national organization. The induction ceremony will take place on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. via Zoom. Friends and family are welcome to attend and a Zoom link will be emailed prior to the ceremony.

Additionally, the Psychology Club is open to any QCC student who is interested in psychology. This is a great social outlet for those students interested in psychology. The Psi Beta Honor Society and QCC Psychology Club meets every other Friday from noon to 1:00 p.m. via Zoom. Zoom meeting links will be emailed prior to each meeting. To receive email reminders and event alerts, email qccpsychologyclub [at] gmail.com.  For questions, email Advisor, Dr. Valarie Clemente at vclemente [at] qcc.mass.edu.

To learn more visit Psi Beta Honor Society 

  • Students become adept at remote learning during the fall 2020 semester.
September, 2020

Wednesday, September 30:  Six-Week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction workshop. This six-week workshop is offered to faculty and staff as support during this unprecedented time and for professional development. Workshop outcomes will include gaining an understanding of what mindfulness is; an experiential process of how mindfulness can affect you on a daily basis; and how it reduces stress in our...

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Wednesday, September 30:  Six-Week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction workshop. This six-week workshop is offered to faculty and staff as support during this unprecedented time and for professional development. Workshop outcomes will include gaining an understanding of what mindfulness is; an experiential process of how mindfulness can affect you on a daily basis; and how it reduces stress in our lives. The workshop is designed for beginners and for those who wish to renew and/or restart their mindfulness practice. Each week will cover specific topics. This workshop is on Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. September 30 – November 4. A second workshop will begin on November 2. Visit Mindfulness Workshop to sign up.

Thursday, October 1: Transfer Services will be hosting numerous virtual transfers events with four-year colleges and universities throughout the month of October. Talk with transfer staff and learn how you can seamlessly transfer and save thousands towards a four-year degree. Visit the Events Calendar to learn what colleges and universities you can Zoom with this month.

Tuesday, October 6: All College Forum for faculty and staff, 2:00 pm on Zoom.  All College Forums are held on the first Tuesday of every month from 2 to 3 pm on Zoom.

Monday, October 12: QCC is closed for the Columbus Day holiday.

Wednesday, October 14: QCC Diversity Caucus Sankofa Lecture Series will feature a one-hour talk from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m with Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara, associate professor of History, Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Clark-Pujara’s research focuses on the legacy of slavery and persistent racism across U.S. history. Her presentation will be focused on the business of slavery in New England.

Wednesday, October 21: QCC to host the Virtual 35th Annual Hispanics Achieving and Celebrating Excellence (H.A.C.E) Youth Awards on Zoom from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 22: QCC Diversity Caucus Sankofa Lecture Series will feature a one-hour talk from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. with Dr. Nana Osei Quarshie, Assistant Professor of History, Yale University. Dr. Quarshie’s research illuminates the history of health care in colonial West Africa. His presentation will focus on the structure of health care, both provided and imposed, in the British Gold Coast colony (what is today Ghana).

October Spotlight: Virtual Leadership Academy. Students learn essential leadership skills, engage in fun and exciting activities, acquire networking skills and discover all that QCC has to offer. This is free and open to all current and incoming students. Students who complete all five sessions receive a free T-shirt. Meetings are held on Zoom, Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. beginning on October 7 and running through November 4. Pre-registration is required. For more information email Josh Cole at jcole [at] qcc.mass.edu or Cheryl Pike, cpike [at] qcc.mass.edu

September, 2020

September, 2020

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September, 2020

September, 2020

On September 27, 2020 Administrative Services welcomed Joseph "Joe" Cecchi as the Police Academy Program Manager – Police Captain.  Joe brings to this position over 12 years of experience. Most recently, he was a Police Detective Sergeant - Police Officer III at QCC. Joe earned a Bachelor’s of Science, Sociology Degree from Worcester State University and a Master...

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On September 27, 2020 Administrative Services welcomed Joseph "Joe" Cecchi as the Police Academy Program Manager – Police Captain.  Joe brings to this position over 12 years of experience. Most recently, he was a Police Detective Sergeant - Police Officer III at QCC. Joe earned a Bachelor’s of Science, Sociology Degree from Worcester State University and a Master’s of  Public Administration, Criminal Justice from Anna Marie College.

Please join us in welcoming Joe into his new roles at QCC.

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.

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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.