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QCC Grad Engineers a Successful Future Thanks to QCC

July, 2020
  • QCC/PTK Alumnus Mark Hogan
    QCC/PTK Alumnus Mark Hogan
  • Former PTK officers (L to R): Mary Sylvester, Tony Sanders, Maia Shalev, Mark Hogan and Kyle Mondino.
    Former PTK officers (L to R): Mary Sylvester, Tony Sanders, Maia Shalev, Mark Hogan and Kyle Mondino.

Mark Hogan has glowing words of praise for Quinsigamond Community College and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor (PTK) Society. The QCC engineering alumnus recently graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and attributed much of his success to the foundation he received at QCC.

“If someone is considering attending QCC they should definitely look into it. It’s not only a great experience and an awesome way to improve yourself as a person, it’s a huge help in improving your life overall. Just having an associate’s degree will open up so many more opportunities that you wouldn’t normally get without having years of experience in a field,” he said.

Mr. Hogan's foray into the engineering world began in 2015, taking classes at QCC as a way to better prepare for his future goal, which was to earn a four-year engineering degree at WPI. He had been out of school for some time and realized that while he wanted to attend WPI, he just wasn’t prepared nor did he have the knowledge, skills, or drive to handle WPI’s rigorous engineering schedule.

“I looked into QCC and talked to Engineering Professor Dadbeh Bigonahy. After doing some figuring out, I knew that QCC was the way to go,” he said.

A former roommate told Mr. Hogan about QCC’s many articulation agreements with colleges and universities, and learned that QCC had this type of agreement with WPI. It made his decision to attend QCC even more attractive.

“I started going part-time, taking three classes while I was working a full-time job as an insurance processor. This meant I had to take night classes, and did so practically the entire time I was at QCC. It wasn’t until the last two or three semesters that I was able to go during the day, as I switched jobs and was able to work from home and make my own schedule,” Mr. Hogan said, adding that he also took two classes each summer (one per semester).

“I left QCC prepared to handle anything that was thrown at me, and believe had I not gone here prior to WPI, I would have not been able to complete my degree. Dadbeh really created rigorous expectations of the engineering students, which were vital to my success. He was instrumental in setting me up for success, as he presented his students with challenges that anyone can overcome, but ones that also have benefits that surpass simply ‘doing well,’” he said.

Mr. Hogan said PTK has also had a huge impact on his life. He described joining PTK as soon as he had enough credits, maintaining a 4.0 almost his entire time at QCC; however, by his own admission he initially wasn't very active in the honor society due to his heavy work and school schedules. A  chance conversation with a PTK officer who was one of his classmates made him realize he should get more involved and he met with PTK Advisor Bonnie Coleman.

“Bonnie definitely has a super power or something because I don’t know anyone else who is that good at rallying people, or it’s just her passion for PTK! I went from an Officer-at-Large to an Executive Team Lead working as a volunteer on the Early Chapter Project, and helping start and co-lead the Burncoat Mentoring program,” he said. “It really got me focused on how to get things done, between school work and projects. It made me a better person overall, and equipped me with skills that I really needed, such as public speaking, decision making, confidence, research, networking, and so many more.”

Once Mr. Hogan graduated from QCC, he transferred to WPI’s engineering program, where he was required to do two large qualifying projects in order to earn his four-year degree. For his first project, he chose to research college greenhouses to help determine what QCC/PTK could do to make sure their next greenhouse was the best it could be, working with two fellow PTK transfer students and another WPI student. His second project involved working as the project manager for a 10-person team, creating a unique application for both patients and staff at a Boston hospital. Similar to Google maps, the application enables people to navigate inside the hospital and other buildings, has handicap accessible features and the ability to change to different languages. The program is particularly valuable, as it is interchangeable with any hospital.

Today he is posed to start a new career and said he is thankful for his time at QCC that brought him full circle in realizing his dream for the future.

“I definitely believe QCC gave me a good foundation. Again, not just as a student but as a person as well. On top of that, QCC gives you the ability to figure out how to learn. The courses aren’t ridiculously hard, and manageable to the point where you can generally take them at your own pace. I really could go on for a long time about how great the school is, how important education is, and just what an amazing time I had going here. Again, I would have gone to QCC for four years if I could have – it’s that great of a school,” he said.