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June 15, 2010

In This Issue
Gateway to College Graduation Celebrates Student Success
Partnership Program Advances Nurses Up Healthcare Career Ladder
President Asquino Receives Enterprise Bank Community Service Award
MWCC Instructor Honored as State 'Unsung Heroine'
MWCC Biology Professor Receives Course of Distinction Award in Distance Education
MWCC Offering $80,000 in Scholarships for Biotechnology Program
Student Veterans Receive Continued Support from Local VFW
Middle School Students Encouraged to Write On!
17th Annual Relay for Life Raises Funds, Hope
Upcoming Events
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Gateway to College Graduation Celebrates Student Success
Gateway to College graduation 2010
Twenty-two area students reached a milestone this spring when they received their high school diplomas though MWCC's Gateway to College program.
The Gateway to College program, launched four years ago with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its partners, is designed for youths age 16 to 20 who have dropped out of high school, are at risk of dropping out of high school, or are not succeeding in a traditional high school environment for various reasons. MWCC's program now enrolls nearly 100 students who simultaneously work toward obtaining their high school diploma and college degrees.
A graduation ceremony took place May 26 in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center theatre.
MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino congratulated the graduates on their dual achievement of simultaneously completing high school and beginning college. Five of the graduates were named to MWCC's Dean's List or President's List and one completed her associate degree program.
"I know you've had significant hurdles to get to where you are today, and you've crossed those. This is just the beginning of your journey," he said.
Garo Papazian, career vocational technical education linkage director, a pre-Gateway teacher, counselor and advisor in MWCC's Division of Access & Transition, delivered the keynote address.
"Through all of your difficulties you have remained true to yourselves and have been focused on your personal goals and this journey has not been easy. I would imagine at times so difficult you wanted to quit but you did not. You persevered and accomplished one of the biggest milestones in your life. You are graduates."
The graduation ceremony also featured remarks from Gateway to College Director Deb Bibeau; Michael Baldassare, superintendent of the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District, MWCC's lead partnership district; and class Valedictorian Olivia Joseph.
"It may not have been the ordinary way of going about high school education, but it was what we needed for our various reasons," Joseph told her classmates. "Today is the day that we show everybody that each and every one of us got back up."
A majority of the graduates plan to continue their post-secondary education at MWCC or another academic institution, or serve the country in the military.
Pictured: Members of the 2010 Gateway graduating class.

Partnership Program Advances Nurses Up Healthcare Career Ladder

RN Partnership PinningTwenty-seven healthcare workers have advanced up the career ladder by completing academic studies through a partnership between MWCC and four long-term healthcare facilities. The Health Partnership Grant was developed in a joint venture with MWCC and Colonial Health Group-Westridge LLC, Life Care Centers of America, Quabbin Valley Healthcare Center and LaChance Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. The program was funded by a grant through the Workforce Training Fund Program, through the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development.
The training addressed the need to fill critical PN and RN nursing positions throughout the region in long term care facilities, said Eileen Costello, dean of MWCC's School of Health Sciences and Community Service Programs. Not only does the training strategy advance mid-level and lower-level workers up the career ladder, but in doing so creates new vacancies for entry-level certified nurse aides seeking employment.
The newly licensed nurses will be eligible for promotions and wage increases at the 11 facilities represented by the four partner organizations.
The milestone was celebrated on May 27 during two separate pinning ceremonies in the theatre of MWCC's Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center. One ceremony celebrated the achievements of students completing academic studies to become Licensed Practical Nurses, and the other recognized the accomplishments of LPNs who have now moved up in their training to become licensed Registered Nurses.
During the ceremonies, each graduate, dressed in a traditional nurse uniform, was welcomed into the profession by having a nursing pin fastened to his or her lapel by a fellow nurse, a family member, friend or faculty member. MWCC's eight-star pin is imprinted with the words "Service to Humanity and the World." The pin symbolizes the medal of excellence Florence Nightingale presented to the women who nursed women soldiers of the Crimean War.
Guest speakers included State Representative Stephen DiNatale; Vincent Lopes, director of the Workforce Training Fund Program; MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino; Academic Vice President Melissa Fama; Director of Nursing Nancy Duphily; MWCC Professor of Business Michael T. Greenwood; and representatives from the four partnership organizations.
Pictured: Members of the Associate Degree Nursing Partnership Class.

President Asquino Receives Enterprise Bank's Community Service Award 

Enterprise Bank AwardMWCC President Daniel M. Asquino was recently honored with the Community Service Award during Enterprise Bank's 2010 Celebration of Excellence. More than 1,500 people attended the gala celebration, held May 5 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Tedy Bruschi, NFL superstar and stroke survivor delivered the keynote address.
The Celebration of Excellence awards, in the categories of community service, business excellence and entrepreneurship, honor "the men and women who have the vision, passion, determination, persistence and acumen to succeed," said bank CEO Jack Clancy. "Our combined efforts and achievements are growing strong communities, fueling the economy and demonstrating that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well even in challenging economic times."
Dr. Asquino was recognized for using his leadership, initiative and talent as president of MWCC to benefit the residents of North Central Massachusetts as an active volunteer and by forging community-building partnerships in the areas of education, the regional workforce and community service.
In accepting the award, he thanked the bank, as well as the faculty and staff of MWCC for their dedication to the students and to the community. He ended with a quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu: " 'Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.' Let's continue to go forward individually and together, collaboratively, we will change this world and make it a better place."
Pictured: MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, center, with Enterprise Bank CEO Jack Clancy and Judging Committee Chairman James F. Conway III, president and CEO of Courier Corp.

MWCC Instructor Honored as State 'Unsung Heroine'

Unsung Heroine 2010Yvonne Noyes-Stevens is allotted no more hours in a day than anyone else, yet the single mother of seven - and foster mother to more than 200 children over the past two decades - somehow finds time to continuously serve others. For her many unheralded acts of kindness and selfless sharing of her time, talent and enthusiasm, the Leominster resident was named one of 100 "Unsung Heroines of 2010" by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

Noyes-Stevens, an adjunct instructor of sociology, psychology and human services at Mount Wachusett Community College, was nominated by colleague Elizabeth Mazenac and student Jennifer Doyle for being involved in numerous service projects that have benefited hundreds in the region. She has regularly engaged her MWCC students in the endeavors including Thanksgiving baskets for those in needy; holiday toy drives for the Department of Children and Families to benefit children in foster care; collections for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti; as well as boxes of food and supplies for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, she coaches Leominster youths serving on a robotics team that made it all the way to the international competition in Texas this spring.
The honorees were recognized May 19 during the seventh annual celebration at the Statehouse, and  Noyes-Stevens was recognized June 7 at Leominster City Hall by Mayor Dean Mazzarella and State Senator Jennifer Flanagan.
This fall Noyes-Stevens and several students will be presenting a version of Romeo and Juliet to raise money for the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network, which runs the only area shelter for families. She is also involved with a documentary charting the change in the faces of homelessness in Fitchburg and Leominster, and is conducting a suitcase drive through Sept. 10 to benefit children in the foster care system.
"I was amazed and very excited," Noyes-Stevens said of receiving the award. She said her commitment to serving others is a trait found among those who work in the field of human services. "My theory is in order to be successful in human services, you have to want to give. It has to be part of who you are. Many things that you do in human services are not because you're compensated with a paycheck or even a thank you. It's the satisfaction of doing something for someone. For those of us in human services, it's what keeps us going."
Pictured: MWCC instructor Yvonne Noyes-Stevens, center, received a 2010 Unsung Heroine Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women for her community volunteerism. She was recently congratulated on her award by Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella and State Senator Jenifer Flanagan at Leominster City Hall.

MWCC Biology Professor Receives Course of Distinction Award in Distance Education

Chris KisielMWCC Biology Professor Christine Kisiel was recognized with a Course of Distinction Award in distance education during the seventh annual Massachusetts College Online Conference on E-Learning for her course, "The Biology of Cancer." Kisiel's course was one of 12 selected from more than 2,000 online courses offered through Massachusetts Colleges Online, a consortium of the state and community colleges in Massachusetts. The conference, held June 8 at MWCC, featured a keynote address by Ken Udas, CEO of UMass Online, and a variety of workshops.

Professor Kisiel's Biology of Cancer course exemplifies learning science within a context that is relevant and has broad appeal. Kisiel developed this online course in 2004, motivated by a strong desire to offer non-science majors a biology course that was not just a compendium of facts to memorize and potentially forget. The intent was to provide an understanding of how the human body works using cancer as an interesting and meaningful context.
The course attracts a diverse population, ranging from nursing students to first-time user of online courses with absolutely no science background.  For two semesters, the course was modified and offered as the colloquium for the college's Honors Program.
Students are engaged in the course content using a variety of methods, including "mini-lectures" using PowerPoint slides to help simplify complex topics, directed questions, assigned readings, interactive activities, online discussion with classmates and assessment of learning outcomes. The course also integrates a rich collection of animations, videos, animated tutorials and case studies to help students visualize abstract cellular and chemical concepts, as well as a variety of websites geared toward educating the non-scientist about how cancer works.
In addition to the biology of cancer, students are exposed to the psycho-social aspects of dealing with a serious disease by reading "The Diary of an Illness" written by an oncology nurse diagnosed in 2004 with a rare and fatal form of cancer.  The author, Dennis W. Pyritz, has outlived his prognosis and openly communicated with students on a regular basis; even mentioning the MWCC Biology of Cancer course in his writings.
"This component of the course demonstrates a humanness and realness of cancer and is a powerful stimulus for personal online reflection, application of biology concepts and active discussion," Kisiel said.  Constant contact with the class through emails, announcements and monitoring of student comments on discussion boards as well as timely individualized feedback on work submitted further generates student enthusiasm and a feeling of connectedness in this course.

In addition to receiving the award, Kisiel and other award winners were invited to present an overview of the courses as part of the conference's Best Practices Showcase. MWCC alumnus Christopher Watson, now a professor at Bunker Hill Community College, was also among the award recipients for his "Fundamentals of Algebra" course.

The Course of Distinction (COD) Award playfully gets its name from "the sacred cod" wood carving that has been on display in the Massachusetts Statehouse chamber since the 18th century to symbolize the importance the state's fishing industry has had in the past and its contributions over the years to the state's economy, welfare and life of its citizens, said Dr. Vincent Ialenti, dean of academic and institutional technology at MWCC. "It is appropriate that the awards given to those contributing to the 21st century's new resource of the Massachusetts Colleges Online and its distance education efforts be named the COD awards. Mass Colleges Online and these Courses of Distinction are also truly making contributions to the state's economy, welfare and life of its citizens," he said.

For more information on Massachusetts Colleges Online, including online course offerings, visit the website at

MWCC Offering $80,000 in Scholarships for Biotechnology Program 

MWCC is offering up to $80,000 in scholarships in the upcoming academic year to students pursuing an associate degree or certificate in the college's biotechnology/biomanufacturing credit programs.
"We want to reward continued excellent performance and help students pursue careers in this growing industry," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.
New and current students are encouraged to apply for the scholarships, which will be awarded based on merit as selected by a scholarship committee formed by Janice Barney, dean of Business, Science and Technology at MWCC.
The scholarships are available through a U.S. Department of Labor Employment Training Administration (DOL-ETA) Community Based Jobs Training Grant, which the college received to support its biotechnology program. The college already has awarded $42,414 in scholarships through this grant. Awards were made to students majoring in biotechnology with a cumulative grade point average greater than 3.0.
Program graduates will be able to pursue careers as lab technicians, lab assistants, research assistants and manufacturing technicians.

Students interested in obtaining the application materials should contact Tami Morin at the MWCC biotechnology department at Applicants must also fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The quickest way to apply for this is online at the website Applicants should list the federal school code for MWCC (002172) on the application.

Student Veterans Receive Continued Support from Local VFW

Gardner VFW donationDon Progen, commander of the Ovila Case Post 905 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Gardner, and commander-elect Bob Sans made a recent visit to MWCC's Gardner campus to donate $1,000 to MWCC Foundation's Veterans Memorial Scholarship.
President Daniel M. Asquino accepted the generous donation and thanked the veterans for their continued support of MWCC and student veterans. The scholarship was established to recognize the important role played by MWCC in ensuring that the sacrifices and service of veterans who served the country will not be forgotten.
Scholarship funds are awarded to new or returning full-time students who were honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, or are currently serving in the Reserves or National Guard. The award is presented each spring during the college's annual Evening of Excellence.
Pictured: President Daniel M. Asquino, center, is presented with a check for $1,000 from Bob Sans, left, commander-elect, and Don Progen, commander of the Ovila Case Post 905 Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Middle School Students Encouraged to Write On!

Write On PoetryMore than 150 area middle school students who participate in MWCC's Educational Talent Search program took part in the annual Write On! competition this year. Students from Gardner Middle School, Murdock Middle/High School in Winchendon, Longsjo and Memorial middle schools in Fitchburg and Sky View and Samoset middle schools in Leominster submitted artwork, short stories and poetry in the competition.

The event culminated with a half-day conference, writing and art workshops, luncheon and awards presentation, held June 3 at MWCC's Gardner campus. A total of $1,800 in Barnes & Noble gift certificates were awarded to competition winners, including $100 certificates to three grand prize winners and $25 certificates to first, second and third-prize winners in each category. Each participant also received a book containing this year's competition entries.
"The kids love it. They get to submit something they've written or drawn and it gets published in a book, and the schools get something they can show to the community," said Educational Talent Search Director Ramon Gonzalez.
This year's grand prize winner for poetry was Thalita Campelo, a student at Samoset Middle School in Leominster. Gardner Middle School student Anna Harris won the grand prize for short story writing and Gardner Middle School student Gage Butler won the grand prize in the art category.
Educational Talent Search is a program administered by MWCC's Division of Access & Transitiion.
Pictured: Samoset Middle School student Thalita Campelo, winner of the Write On! grand prize in poetry, with Talent Search Director Ramon Gonzalez and Talent Search Counselor Theresa Howland.

17th Annual Relay for Life Raises Funds, Hope

Gardner Relay for Life 2010MWCC's fields and fitness track were filled with tents, walkers, memories and hope during the 17th annual Gardner Relay for Life, held June 11-12, to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
More than 184 teams comprised of several thousand people took part in this year's relay, including 800 survivors who participated in the opening lap to start the overnight event.
The relay began Friday evening with a ceremony honoring cancer survivors and caregivers. During the opening ceremonies, Jim Cote, co-chair of the relay, presented MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino with a plaque recognizing the college's ongoing support for the event.
Later in the evening, thousands of luminaria were lit during a ceremony remembering loved ones who have died from the disease and to honor those who have won their battle. Many campsites were decorated to commemorate this year's theme, "More Birthdays to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back."
The Gardner relay has grown to become the largest relay in New England and fourth largest in the country to raise money for cancer research. More than $800,000 was raised during last year's event, with a similar sum estimated for this year. More than 90 events throughout Massachusetts are expected to raise over $10 million for the ACS. Nationally, 3.5 million participate in relays to collectively raise $385 million.
Pictured: Sheamus Connors, son and grandson of MWCC employees Jessica Connors and Denise Whitney, respectively, took part in his first relay on the Thumbprints team, in memory of his great-grandfather, Gill Lavoie. The family has participated in the relay every year for the past 16 years.

Upcoming Events

MWCC, in association with the Broadcasting and Electronic Media program and Phi Theta Kappa, is pleased to once again offer Commencement DVDs. This professional quality, edited DVD of MWCC's 2010 graduation ceremony will be available at a cost of $15 each. This low cost includes shipping and handling. Half of the profits from the DVD sales will go to MWCC's Phi Delta Chapter of the PTK Honor Society. PTK students will donate the other 50 percent of the profits directly to the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center's food pantry. To order a DVD, contact Sheila Murphy, PTK advisor, at

Theatre at the Mount opens its summer season with Always...Patsy Cline in June. Written and originally directed by Ted Swindley, the production tells the story of the special friendship between two women, one a rising star and the other a devoted fan, over a pot of strong coffee in Louise's kitchen and through letters and phone calls shared until Patsy's untimely death. Relive the magic through the songs that made Patsy Cline a pop and country music legend, including Crazy, Sweet Dreams, Walkin' After Midnight, I Fall to Pieces and more. Performances are June 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. and June 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for evening performances and $15 for matinees. For tickets, contact the box office at (978) 632-2403 or go online at
The city of Gardner's 225th Anniversary celebration comes to MWCC's Gardner campus on Sunday, June 27 with live music and games beginning at 6 p.m. and fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m. The rain date is Monday, June 28. The college is a presenting sponsor of the 225th celebration, which features events throughout the city through October.
MWCC's Practical Nursing Pinning Ceremony will take place Monday, June 28 at 6 p.m. in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center theatre. Dr. Colin Blake of Heywood Hospital is the keynote speaker. 
MWCC is accepting registrations for Summer Programs for Kids & Teens. Families are encouraged to reserve seats early to secure a spot in popular summer programs in drama, art, computers and athletics. Sports and fitness camps offered through the MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center include basketball, soccer, baseball, field hockey, tennis, fit camp, and more. Course descriptions and registration forms can be obtained on the college website at or call (978) 630-9124 for more information.
MWCC Golf TournamentMount Wachusett Community College Foundation, Inc. will sponsor its 15th Annual Golf Tournament to benefit student scholarships on Tuesday, July 27 at Wedgewood Pines Country Club in Stowe. The cost is $200 per person to play, which includes breakfast and dinner, or $40 for dinner only. Registration, breakfast and a silent auction begin at 8:30 a.m., with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. The tournament will conclude with a social hour and awards dinner from 3 to 6 p.m.
Auction items include Red Sox tickets donated by the Huhtala Oil Company; tickets to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, donated by the museum; tickets to the Worcester Tornadoes and Worcester Sharks games, donated by the teams; gift certificates to Sean Patrick's, O'Connor's Restaurant and Gardner Ale House, donated by the restaurants; golf apparel and items, donated by Provo Financial Services; overnight accommodations at Four Points by Sheraton, Leominster, and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Devens Commons Center, donated by the hotels; and a three-credit academic course and gift certificates to Theatre at the Mount, donated by MWCC. Corporate sponsorship and silent auction opportunities are still available. For more information or to register, call (978) 630-9387 or email
The Enrollment Center is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Complementary Health Care/Massage Therapy/Physical Therapist Assistant: June 15 from 2 to 3 p.m., Enrollment Center; Clinical Laboratory Science: June 23, Heywood Hospital, Laboratory Education area; Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing: Aug. 2 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Devens campus; Energy Management, June 17 from 3 to 4 p.m., Gardner campus, room 201. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday - Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Prospective students interested in the Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing program are asked to call Tami Morin at (978) 630-9578, (TTY (978) 632-4916), or email Prospective students interested in all other information sessions are asked to call the Enrollment Center at (978) 630-9284 (TTY (978) 632-4916), or send an email to
Archived issues of Mount Wachusett Community College e-News can be found online at To submit to the MWCC e-News or request coverage for your event, contact the Public Relations Office at (978) 630-9547. 
Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College
(978) 630-9547