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Sept. 8, 2010

In This Issue
MWCC Receives $2.9 Million in TRIO Grants for Student Services
MWCC Welcomes New & Returning Students
Art Department Awarded NEA Grant
Fitness & Wellness Center Updated with New Equipment
MWCC Hosts Candidates' Debate
Upcoming Events
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MWCC Receives $2.9 million in TRIO Grants for Student Services 
Mount Wachusett Community College has been awarded two five-year grants from the U.S. Department of Education totaling $2.95 million to help low-income students, first-generation college students and students with disabilities achieve their academic goals.
Beginning this semester, the college will receive $1 million over the next five years - $200,000 per year - to launch a new Student Support Services program to serve 120 students annually who are majoring in health sciences programs. Participants will receive additional support that includes tutoring; academic advising; career, personal and transfer counseling; supplemental courses; financial aid advising and workshops; and financial and economic literacy education. The support program will be available to eligible students enrolled in the college's nursing, practical nursing, dental hygiene, physical therapist assistant, complementary health care, medical assisting and general studies allied health programs.
MWCC's existing Student Support Services TRIO grant - which funds the college's Visions Program - will receive $390,593 per year over a five-year span beginning in Fall 2011, for a total of $1,952,965 million. Visions, now entering its 32nd year as an educational opportunity TRIO program serving eligible students enrolled in any major, is currently funded under a prior five-year grant for the 2010-2011 academic year. The program provides a variety of services to 200 students each year, including academic advising; personal, career and transfer counseling; tutoring; seminars; a summer bridge program; financial aid advising and workshops; financial and economic literacy education; a faculty and peer mentoring program; and supplemental courses.
"We are delighted to receive two highly competitive TRIO grants to continue providing students with a range of services that promote academic success," MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino said. "These awards are a testament to the outstanding work of our dedicated faculty and staff and to the perseverance of our students."
U.S. Senator John Kerry and Congressman John Olver have been strong supporters of TRIO programs at MWCC and throughout the Commonwealth.
"I am delighted that Mount Wachusett Community College has been rewarded for its unwavering commitment to quality education," said Congressman John Olver. "The faculty and administrators at MWCC have done an outstanding job, and this funding will enable deserving students to obtain a quality education," he said.
"The TRIO programs have been terrific for students across Massachusetts who have the drive and the dream of attending college," Senator Kerry stated. "This is critical funding to ensure those dreams are realized."

MWCC Welcomes New & Returning Students 

MWCC New Student OrientationMore than 1,000 new students recently attended day, evening and program-specific orientations at Mount Wachusett Community College, marking a dynamic start to the 2010-2011 academic year. A majority of the new day students attended orientation on Wednesday Sept 1, which included seminars and other activities.
Coordinated by the office of Student Life, the orientation sessions provide students with an opportunity to learn about college life and MWCC programs and activities. Students met with faculty, deans and advisors, toured the campus, received information about campus resources, and attended a student club expo. In addition to participating in the orientation day events, veteran students were welcomed during a reception in the Lion's Den student center.
During the orientation for day students, MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino and college administrators greeted the incoming students, and encouraged them to become involved with campus activities, tap into college resources and services and make the most of the MWCC's technology, including updated computer labs, the Blackboard learning management system and the new web portal, called iConnect.
"It's great to have you here at Mount Wachusett Community College," President Asquino said. "All of you have a dream, whether it is to receive a degree and go directly into the workforce or to receive your associate degree and continue on for a bachelor's degree. Our job is to make sure you reach those aspirations."
The president praised the incoming students for choosing to begin their academic careers at a community college, not only to obtain a quality education, but to do so at a tremendous cost savings. "All four of my children attended a community college and then continued on for their bachelor's and master's degrees, and I am encouraging my 15-year-old granddaughter to do the same. That's how deeply I believe in the community college experience and the opportunities it provides to you."
Executive Vice President Ann McDonald; Vice President of Academic Affairs Melissa Fama; Assistant Dean of Students Greg Clement; Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology Vincent Ialenti; Dean of Liberal Arts, Math, Education and Developmental Studies Vincent Bates; Associate Professor Maureen Provost;  Student Government Association President Scott Brown; and Student Trustee Chrissy Lajoie also were among the featured speakers.
In addition to welcoming new students, MWCC began the academic year on Sept. 7 by welcoming returning students on the college's campuses in Gardner, Leominster, Devens and Fitchburg, as well as those enrolled in online courses.
Pictured: Javier King, a Liberal Arts & Sciences major, was one of many volunteers during the college's orientation for new and transfer students on Sept. 1. Incoming freshmen Cami Charlonne, a 2010 graduate of Murdock High School, and Kiara Burak, a 2010 graduate of Monty Tech, are among the new students. King serves on the Student Government Association, and as a Student Ambassador, and is a member of the college's Honors Program.

Art Department Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant

MWCC's art department has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to offer fall and spring professional development workshops to area high school teachers and several of their students.
The college has offered similar workshops each spring over the past 20 years on a limited basis. With the $8,000 Learning in the Arts grant, MWCC will be able to expand the professional development opportunity by offering two workshops during the fall semester and two during the spring 2011 semester.
"This is a very prestigious and competitive grant and we're thrilled to receive it to be able to offer workshops to high school art teachers," said Joyce Miller, chair of MWCC's art department. "The art educators love attending these courses and having something available that really applies to their curriculum and their profession. They come and learn some new mediums or a process and then tie it into their curriculum. And the students who participate get a new experience working side-by-side as artists and being mentored in a workshop."
All of the workshops will be led by established, professional artists. The focus of the workshops will be two-fold:  innovative and affordable ways of incorporating sculpture into a high school art program; and safer and alternative methods for printmaking.
Several local art teachers who have participated in the department's workshops previously wrote letters of support for the grant.
"During these difficult economic times, these workshop topics are relevant and interesting to me both as an educator and an artist," wrote Gardner High School teacher Sue Gallagher. "I have participated in many of MWCC's professional development art educator workshops over the years and have always found them to be of high quality. I especially enjoy the time to explore new techniques with the mentorship of a professional artist and actually have time in the studio and materials to compete these activities."

Fitness & Wellness Center Updated with New Equipment   

Fitness & Wellness CenterOver the summer, MWCC's Fitness & Wellness Center was updated with new equipment. The enhancements include 14 new treadmills, nine new elliptical trainers as well as 14 new Hoist ROC-IT Selectorized pieces and five Trixter X-Dream Interactive Bikes, which are putting the "fun" in functional cardiovascular and weight training.
"We are excited to be able to retrofit the facility with top-of-the line equipment," said center Director Steve Washkevich. "The upgrade allows us to provide so many more opportunities to assist MWCC students, faculty, staff and area residents in reaching their fitness goals. We are fortunate to have the support of President Asquino, who recognized the need to replace outdated equipment with new, state-of-the-art equipment. We encourage everyone to stop by and try it out."
In addition to the exercise machines, the Fitness & Wellness Center houses a multi-purpose area that consists of three full-size basketball courts, which can also be used for volleyball, badminton, tennis and other activities. The center also has a 200-meter walking/running track around the courts, a six-lane, 25-yard pool, men's and women's locker rooms, two regulation racquetball courts, a fully-equipped weight area with a sizeable collection of free weights and various plate-loaded pieces complimented by a full-circuit of Selectorized equipment. Cardiac equipment includes Stairmasters, lifecycles, treadmills, bikes, elliptical trainers, a rowing machine, arc trainers and versa climbers.
The center's group exercise program is free to members and consists of more than 50 classes a week to choose from that are led by certified trainers.
The Fitness & Wellness Center is open Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. To become a member or for more information, call (978) 630-9212 or visit  
Pictured: Fitness trainer Lori Pucko demonstrates new cardiovascular and strength-training equipment installed in the MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center this summer.

MWCC Hosts Candidates' Debate

Candidates' debateThe five candidates seeking to serve residents of greater Gardner in the House of Representatives outlined their priorities and fielded questions in a debate on Sept. 1 in the Commons at MWCC's Gardner campus. The debate was sponsored by The Gardner News and the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce and was hosted by MWCC's Center for Democracy & Humanity. MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino served as moderator.
Jobs and the economy, education, economic development in the district, declining state revenue for local aid, public safety, funding for infrastructure, and health insurance were among the top issues discussed before an audience of nearly 100 local residents.
The Second Worcester District seat is being vacated by State Rep. Robert Rice, who is not seeking re-election this fall. Candidates vying for the seat include Democrats Amy Feeley-Knuuttila and Pat Gerry, Republican Rich Bastien and Unenrolled/Independent candidates Carolyn Kamuda and Colleen O'Neil-Laperriere. The district covers Gardner, Ashby, Ashburnham, Royalston and Winchendon.
Pictured: MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino served as moderator during the Second Worcester District candidates' debate.

Upcoming Events

The annual Welcome Back Fall Fest BBQ will take place Wednesday, Sept. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the back lawn of the Gardner campus. The event will feature music by Grupo Fantasia in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, and will include a free BBQ, big chair photos, glass etching, henna tattoos, caricatures, cotton candy and student club expo. The festival is open to all MWCC students, faculty and staff and is sponsored by the office of Student Life and CATS (Campus Activities Team for Students).
A Constitution Day Democracy Café Qwizdom contest will take place Thursday, Sept. 16 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the South Café. Sponsored by the Center for Democracy & Humanity, the office of Student Life and the Student Government Association, this interactive trivia contest about the constitution and government will award prizes to the winners.
Jean Tandy watercolorAn exhibition of recent works by artist Jean Tandy, former chair of MWCC's art department, will run through Oct. 8 in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center. An artist's reception will take place Friday, Sept. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gallery. The reception is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"As We Age Health Fair," a free event for seniors, will take place Friday, Sept. 17 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in MWCC's Fitness & Wellness Center. Business and health care professionals from North Central Massachusetts will be on hand to provide information about a variety of health and wellness topics, including home health care and extended care options, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and financial assistance. The event will also feature a SilverSneakers demonstration, free screenings, samples and more. For more information, call (978) 630-9212.
MWCC will host the annual New England Association of College Admissions Counseling (NEACAC) College Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Fitness & Wellness Center. The free fair is the largest college fair held in Worcester County and allows attendees to interact with representatives from nearly 200 public and private colleges and universities, as well as military institutions. The fair is open to the public. For more information, contact the MWCC Enrollment Center at (978) 630-9284 or visit
A Diabetes Education Fair, sponsored by Heywood Hospital, will take place Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. at MWCC's Gardner campus, in the North and South Cafeteria. The free event will include health screenings and vendor tables and a presentation by Dr. David Harlan, a leading physician in diabetes and clinical research. Dr. Harlan is the director of the UMass Memorial Health Care Diabetes Center of Excellence and chief of the Division of Diabetes. He is the former diabetes branch chief at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. To RSVP or for more information, call (978) 630-6248.
The Northern Worcester County Memory Walk will return to the MWCC Gardner campus on Saturday, Sept. 25 beginning at 10 a.m. The Memory Walk is the largest annual fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Association. Proceeds from the walk will help fund programs throughout Worcester County including support groups, research, caregiver trainings and a 24-hour statewide Helpline. For more information, contact Kristi Mendoza at (978) 365-4537 or visit
The fall Student Life Film Festival will kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 29 with The Motorcycle Diaries, a biopic about the journey and memoir of 23-year-old Ernesto Guevara, who would later become internationally known as the iconic Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. The film recounts the 1952 journey, initially by motorcycle, across South America by Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado. The screening will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café.
Theatre at the Mount will present the madcap comedy of mistaken identity, Leading Ladies, in October. Leo and Jack are two actors who are so down on their luck that they're playing "Scenes from Shakespeare" on the Moose Lodge Circuit in Pennsylvania's Amish country. When they read about a rich old woman who is about to leave her fortune to her two long-lost relatives, whom no one has seen since birth, they decide to impersonate the two men. It's only when they're a few minutes out of town that they realize that the nephews are in fact nieces, and that they must appear as "Maxine" and "Stephanie" if they're to collect the loot. Performances are October 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m., and October 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for evening shows and $15 for the matinee and may be purchased at the TAM box office, by phone at 978 632-2403 or online at  
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: Sept. 22 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Heywood Hospital, Laboratory Education Area; Complementary Health Care/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: Oct. 5, 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