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May, 2020

April, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about visit QCC’s Future Focus program

  • QCC to Hold Virtual Commencement
April, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more, visit PTK Honor Society.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staying Connected with PTK

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

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

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

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

 

eduardo
April, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring 2020 inductees include:

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

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

The impetus behind the portal...

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the portal contents include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did you chose to attend QCC?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your plans once you graduate from QCC?

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

What would you tell someone who was considering attending QCC?

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

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

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

Do you...

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

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

March, 2020

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

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

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

Meet some of our amazing QCC students:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • QCC student Murillo Gomes
March, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your major at QCC...

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

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

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

Why did you decide to get involved in making masks?

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

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

How did you find the pattern for the masks?

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

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

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

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

How many have you made or are planning to make?

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

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

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

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

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

What are your plans after you graduate from QCC?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Register online today
March, 2020

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

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

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

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

Summer Sessions Set to Start Early June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QCC students Veronica Morson and Alyssa Durham
March, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yoga session
March, 2020

Yoga Session

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

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Yoga Session

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

A little Wyvern 'Weights' for No One

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

Men’s Soccer

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

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Women’s Volleyball

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

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Women’s Soccer

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

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Heathy Eating

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

Simple Salad (241 calories)

Ingredients:

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

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

  • December 2019 STEM Students of the Month
March, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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