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Aug. 23, 2010

In This Issue
Leadership Camp Celebrates 6th Successful Year
MWCC Student Completes Summer Internship at Statehouse
MWCC Named to List of Military Friendly Schools
Community Garden at MWCC Thriving
Child Care Subsidies Available for Eligible Students
Upcoming Events
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Leadership Camp Celebrates 6th Successful Year 
Leadership Camp 2010MWCC's 6th annual Summer Leadership Camp, held August 12  and 13, was a great success.
More than 50 new and transfer students participated in team building activities, educational workshops and civic engagement projects.

Among the service projects, the participants held a school supplies collection drive in conjunction with the college's Center for Democracy & Humanity, then assembled 44 backpacks to donate to children in foster care through the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families. The incoming students also helped with landscaping at the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center and at MWCC's Gardner campus, and assisted with sign construction, painting, library and classroom cleaning and other tasks.

"I am always amazed at what a difference Leadership Camp makes with our new and transfer students entering the college," said Greg Clement, assistant dean of students. "It is very rewarding to be able to share in their excitement as they embark on their academic journey. Their enthusiasm is contagious. It truly makes the start of the new school year amazing!"

The Leadership Camp is designed to give newcomers a jump start on their first semester at MWCC. As in previous years, the success of the program relies on dedicated faculty, staff, alumni, current students and other community members who participate in the program, Clement said.

"Leadership Camp gave me the skills that I need to succeed in college," said Chelsea Johnson, who has been accepted into the Pre-Nursing Academy for new high school graduates. "The things I learned in Leadership Camp I will take with me and use throughout the year."
Pictured: Leadership camp participants and other contributors from throughout the campus donated enough school supplies to fill 44 backpacks for foster children. Serving on the backpack assembly line during Leadership Camp 2010 were: Dr. Vincent Bates, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Math, Education and Developmental Studies, incoming MWCC students Nancy Werts, Brianna Walker, Chelsea Johnson, and Kaytlin David, with Fagan Forhan, director of MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity.

MWCC Student Completes Summer Internship at Statehouse

Joe Benavidez and Governor PatrickLike many college students, Joseph Benavidez spent his summer months working as an intern. But unlike many of his peers, he started within the state's top office.
Throughout the summer, Benavidez worked as an intern in the Statehouse in Governor Deval Patrick's press office. There, three days a week, he helped write Twitter updates for the governor, posted the most important news stories of the day to the governor's website, and compiled news clips pertaining to the governor or cabinet members for email distribution to all Statehouse employees, among other tasks.
"I had a lot of fun this summer. It was really nice to interact with the people there and I definitely made friends that I hope will last a lifetime," he said. "It was a great experience to interact with other students in this career field, too."
Benavidez, who will serve as editor of The Mount Observer student newspaper this fall semester, began his academic studies at MWCC through the Gateway to College dropout recovery program. After graduating from the Gateway program in 2009, he remained at the college to pursue an associate degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences and will graduate in December. He plans to transfer to Salem State University in January to pursue a bachelor's degree in communications.
Natalie Mercier, resource specialist in the Gateway to College program, encouraged Benavidez to apply for the internship. To become an intern, he had to submit a cover letter, resume and letters of recommendation and a short writing sample. He was then called in for an interview, and later was selected to be one of 10 interns in the press office this summer.
 "Joe's love of journalism has been steadily nurtured by his work on the college student newspaper," said Gateway to College Director Deb Bibeau. "But this summer, his dream of being a writer came one step closer as his learning experiences expanded to include this summer internship at the Statehouse. We are very proud of his success."
Pictured: Joseph Benavidez had the opportunity to meet Governor Deval Patrick through his internship at the Statehouse this summer.

MWCC Named to List of Military Friendly Schools

Mount Wachusett Community College has been recognized as a top college for veterans by G.I. Jobs, which recently released its 2011 list of Military Friendly Schools. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's veterans as students.

Schools on the list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools. The common bond is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience. Criteria for making the list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students and academic accreditations.

MWCC was selected for providing "a very welcoming environment" as well as "a lot of positive energy, enthusiasm and support" for military students and veterans, according to the report. The college was praised for contributing land for the construction of the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center, a residential facility serving veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the other highlights cited, MWCC was selected for being a Yellow Ribbon school through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs; having a student veteran club on campus; for its academic degree programs; and for program flexibility, including online course availability, financial aid benefits and support services for veterans.

"We are proud and honored to be included in this report," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "The men and women who serve our country in the military - and their families - do so at a tremendous sacrifice. It is our duty to ensure they have the support and services they need to achieve their academic and career goals. By their very presence on our campus, veterans and military students enhance the educational experience for all of our students by sharing their life experiences and leadership."

As more veterans take advantage of academic benefits provided under the new Post-9/11 GI bill, the list will help them know which schools will offer them the greatest opportunity, flexibility and overall experience, according to Derek Blumke, president of Student Veterans of America and a member of the list's Academic Advisory Board. "It's especially important now with so many veterans returning home who are looking for direction to take the next step in their careers," he stated.

The list was compiled through exhaustive research starting last April during which G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an academic advisory board comprised of members from several colleges and universities, the Student Veterans of America, the Veterans Administration, the American Council on Education, and others.

Community Garden at MWCC Thriving

Community Garden coordinator Amanda Dettloff
 In contrast to last year's cold, wet growing season, the hot and sunny conditions throughout most of this summer have provided near-ideal conditions at MWCC's Community Garden.

Thirty 15x20-foot plots tended by local families and community groups are yielding an abundance of squash, tomatoes, beans, melons, herbs, and other organically grown produce. Working with the college's grounds crew, MWCC alumna Amanda Dettloff returned this year to oversee the project as garden coordinator.

"People are definitely enjoying it," Dettloff said. "Community gardens provide a great opportunity for people to grow their own fresh produce and connect with others in their community. Friendships are forming through this."

Dettloff, who graduated from MWCC in 2009 with an associate degree in Natural Resources, will be starting her senior year at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in plant soil and insect sciences, with a concentration in sustainable food and farming. AT MWCC, she served as president of the student sustainability club, The Green Society.

Sponsored by GFA Federal Credit Union, W.E. Aubuchon, Co., Inc, and MWCC, the Community Garden was established by President Daniel Asquino last year to promote sustainability through locally grown food, promote healthy eating, and provide garden space for area residents who otherwise would not have access to a suitable growing site.

In September, applications will begin being accepted to reserve plots for the 2011 growing season, which will include seasonal plantings that can begin this fall. Applications can be found online at garden or call (978) 630-9262 to request an application form. Plots are available on a first-come, first-served basis to residents of all cities and towns within North Central Massachusetts.

Pictured: MWCC alumna Amanda Dettloff returned to MWCC this summer to serve as coordinator of The Community Garden.

Child Care Subsidies Available for Eligible Students

Financial assistance to help pay the cost of child care is available to income-eligible parents who are currently attending Mount Wachusett Community College or would like to enroll to pursue an academic degree or certificate.
MWCC's Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS) provides child care subsidies to 24 full-time and part-time students throughout the academic year who are also currently receiving a Pell grant. Students selected for the program have the freedom to choose from one of 75 pre-screened, licensed child care providers serving infants, toddlers, preschool and school age children located within five miles of MWCC's campuses in Gardner, Leominster or Devens. Subsidies range from 20, 40 or 60 percent.
MWCC received the multi-year grant in 2009 from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the participation and success of low-income parents in college by offering child care subsidies to students. Additional services and activities offered through CCAMPIS include monitoring the students' academic progress; referring students for tutoring, counseling or other supplemental support students as needed; and parent support workshops.
"The CCAMPIS grant is truly supporting our parenting students here at the Mount," said Deirdre Moran, the CCAMPIS advisor. "Because of the financial support of child care subsidies as well as other services, students who would not have been able to attend college are able to pursue their academic and career goals."
For more information or to apply for the CCAMPIS program, call (978) 630-9190 or email

Upcoming Events

MWCC invites prospective students to "Kick Off Your Education" by attending an upcoming open house Thursday, Aug. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Gardner campus. The event will provide resources about the enrollment process, filling out the FAFSA, taking placement tests and registering for classes. In addition, information will be available on degree and certificate programs, training opportunities for the unemployed, online learning, the new GI bill, health science careers, English as a Second Language programs, and more. Placement testing, by appointment, will begin at 3 p.m. at all three sessions. For additional information, contact the Enrollment Center at (978) 630-9284 or
Candidates running for State Representative, Second Worcester District, will square off in a debate on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Commons area at MWCC's Gardner campus. The debate is sponsored by The Gardner News and the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce. MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino will serve as moderator. Five candidates are competing for the seat being vacated by State Rep. Bob Rice, who is not seeking re-election. The district covers Ashbury, Ashburnham, Gardner, Royalston and Winchendon.
New and transfer students are invited to attend an upcoming Student Orientation. The session for evening students will take place Wednesday, Aug. 25 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Gardner campus. Orientation for day students will take place Wednesday, Sept. 1 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gardner campus. For more information, contact the office of Student Life at (978) 630-9252.
MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Accelerated Business Administration Transfer Degree: Sept. 21 from 3 to 4 p.m., Gardner campus room 125; Clinical Laboratory Science: Aug. 25, 3 to 4:30 p.m., HealthAlliance Hospital, Leominster and Sept. 22 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Heywood Hospital, Laboratory Education Area; Complementary Health Care/Massage Therapy/Physical Therapist Assistant: Sept. 14, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus room 204; Dental Hygiene: Sept. 15, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room W11; Energy Management: Sept. 16,3 to 4 p.m., Devens campus; Nursing A.S. Degree: Sept. 7, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204; and Practical Nursing Certificate: Sept. 21, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner campus, room 204. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday through Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Prospective students 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