Dec. 22, 2011
In This Issue
From Classroom to Boardroom: MWCC Business Students Present Findings at SimplexGrinnell
Nursing Students Welcomed into the Profession During Traditional Pinning Ceremony
Broadcasting Student Awarded National Scholarship
Area High School Students Get a Head Start on College
ESL Program Graduate Prepares for Next Chapter
Artist Returns to MWCC with First Solo Exhibit
Upcoming Events
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

TopFrom Classroom to Boardroom: MWCC Business Students Present Findings at SimplexGrinnell

Business students at SimplexGrinnellStudents enrolled in MWCC's Strategic Management business capstone course went from the classroom to the boardroom when they presented an in-depth analysis of SimplexGrinnell's Service Resource Center at the corporation's Westminster location.

Officials from SimplexGrinnell, a Tyco International company and a recognized leader in the life safety industry, invited the team of business students to analyze the service center's operations this semester. The project included an analysis of the center's organizational strengths and weaknesses, as well as recommendations in the areas of strategic planning. The students worked with SimplexGrinnell Director of National Accounts Service Steve Ferry and Service Resource Center Manager Matt Collins throughout the six-week project.

"One of the cornerstones of a Mount Wachusett Community College education is applied learning," President Daniel M. Asquino said at the presentation. "We like to make certain that when our students graduate, they apply that knowledge to the business world and also civically in the community. This would not be possible if companies like SimplexGrinnell did not take the time to work with the students."

Following the presentation, SimplexGrinnell President Robert Chauvin commended the students for their work, determination and ability to turn a tremendous amount of complex data into an effective presentation. The company already has implemented some of the recommendations, Ferry added.

Dr. Michael Greenwood, who teaches the course, said the company is now one of several organizations that have participated in the capstone project, which provides students with hands-on, practical experience. Other area corporations that have participated include Nypro, Inc., Bemis Worldwide and Workers Credit Union.

"This is an experience that will be part of me for the rest of my life," said Lead Project Manager Matthew Cucchiara. "It was a journey into my own abilities."

Project Manager Jeremy Bowers called the capstone course "a comprehensive review of all the information I have learned over the past two years."

The team members also included: Project Managers Tyler Emma, Christopher Kyprianos and James Morrison and Christado Adu, Brenton Allen, Steven Audet, Brad Cook, Fran Hamel, Rodney Kay, Mike Maccioci and Crystal McElhone.


Pictured: MWCC Business Administration students, President Daniel M. Asquino, and representatives from the college and SimplexGrinnell gather for a group photo prior to the Strategic Management capstone presentation at the company's Westminster location.

Nursing Students Welcomed into the Profession During Traditional Pinning Ceremony 
PN class of 2011Friends, relatives and members of the college community gathered Dec. 20 to welcome 34 graduates of MWCC's Practical Nursing program into the nursing profession during a traditional pinning ceremony.
Susan Hope, an instructor in the nursing program, delivered the keynote address on "The Road Traveled." She congratulated the students on their achievements and wished them well on their journey as nurses and in their future academic pursuits. "Remember, whatever road you choose on your journey in nursing, never stop learning or asking questions. No matter where the road takes you in your career, it began here with this first step at Mount Wachusett Community College's Practical Nursing Certificate Program."

Robert LaBonte, vice president of Finance and Administration, and Eileen Costello, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Community Services Programs, also addressed the students and those gathered for the ceremony.

Associate Professor Kathleen Panagiotes spoke on the significance of the pinning ceremony and other traditions, and class representatives Analeisha Guy and Caitlin Cormier delivered student addresses. For the class gift, students Heather McDonald and Christopher Baker explained that they were giving "the gift of giving back" in honor of their professors, PN program coordinator Kathleen Panagiotes, Collene Thaxton and Janice Keskula. Donations were made to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Diabetes Association, and Soldiers' Angels.

During the ceremony, each graduate, dressed in a traditional nurse uniform, was welcomed into the profession by having a nursing pin fastened to her or his 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" with the nursing symbol in the middle. The pin symbolizes the medal of excellence Florence Nightingale presented to the women who nursed the wounded soldiers of the Crimean War.

The ceremony also included the traditional recitation of the Florence Nightingale Pledge and lighting of a candle as a symbol of the care and devotion nurses administer to the ill and injured.
Broadcasting Student Awarded National Scholarship 
Broadcasting and Electronic Media major Tiffianie LeBlanc has been chosen as a recipient of the 2012-2013 Two Year/Community College Broadcast Education Association Award Scholarship. The Gardner native is one of only two students in the country to receive the $1,500 award.

LeBlanc has been a film and video enthusiast from a young age. "When I was 10 years old, my parents let me use their old, over-the-shoulder video camera," explained LeBlanc. "Ever since then I have been obsessed with anything video, audio or photography related."

A 2005 graduate of Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, Leblanc carried her interest in film and video throughout high school by participating in the drama club and media club. LeBlanc, an Honors Program student at MWCC, is currently pursuing all three available concentrations in the Broadcasting and Electronic Media major: audio engineering, photography and film/video. She is also a writer for the student newspaper, The Mount Observer, and is a work study student in the college's media services department. While working in the media services department, she has been instrumental in several projects, including editing the college's wind turbine dedication ceremony video and editing the 2011 commencement video.

"She gets involved in just about everything she can, and every project she takes on has a little extra creativity in it, her own little spin and personality," said Associate Professor Joel Anderson, chair of the Broadcasting and Electronic Media department. "We are very happy for her. Having her recognized for such an award definitely reflects positively on the program," he said.

After earning her associate degree from MWCC, LeBlanc is interested in continuing on for her bachelor's degree in the communications field.

- Angela Marini
Area High School Students Get a Head Start on College Through Dual Enrollment 
Dual enrollment courseMotivated high school students who want to get a head start on their college degree are increasingly using dual enrollment to achieve their academic goals.

The dual enrollment program at MWCC offers high school juniors and seniors and home schooled students the opportunity to earn transferrable college credits as well credit toward their high school diploma. Currently, more than 150 area high school students are taking part in dual enrollment options at MWCC, including a grant-funded opportunity that costs just $30 per three-credit course.

"Dual enrollment courses give high school students the skills college students need, but may not receive in a high school course, including online education skills, emailing skills and the ability to be independent and to do coursework outside the classroom," explained MWCC Vice President of Access and Transition Pati Gregson.

For Brooke Morgan, a senior at Gardner High School, dual enrollment is helping her figure out what she wants to do for a living. "I'm extremely interested in Clinical Laboratory Science. I would never have even known about it if not for dual enrollment," said Morgan, who is currently taking a weekly biology course at MWCC's Gardner campus with a group of other local high school students. The course, Emerging Diseases, is taught by Dr. Jeffrey Leftin, an instructor in MWCC's Clinical Laboratory Science program.

Cameron Viens, a senior at the Gardner Academy for Learning and Technology who is also enrolled in the course, said dual enrollment is providing him with hands-on experiences in a lab setting. "I'm interested in the medical field and this was more interesting than sitting in a traditional biology class."

Area students who are interested in pursuing dual enrollment options for the upcoming spring semester at MWCC have several options. Courses being offered for $30 to eligible students include: Introduction to Psychology, which will be held on Thursdays from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School; Introduction to Human Services, which will be held on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School; English Composition I, which will be held on Tuesdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at MWCC's Gardner campus; First Year Seminar, which will be held on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Fitchburg High School and also on Mondays from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Athol High School; and Plants and Society, which will be held on Thursdays from  4 to 6:30 p.m. at Mahar Regional High School. Gardner High School students also have the option of enrolling in First Year Seminar and the biology course Emerging Diseases.

First-time dual enrollment students are required to take the Accuplacer college placement test, attend a mandatory orientation session, pay a $30 fee and complete an MWCC dual enrollment application.
In addition to the grant-funded courses, many area students also participate in traditional dual enrollment options, as well as MWCC's Pathways Early College Innovation School and the Gateway to College program.

For more information about dual enrollment course offerings, students should e-mail their full name, grade, and current high school to Veronica Guay, MWCC's director of dual enrollment, at
Pictured:Dr. Jeffrey Leftin, an instructor in MWCC's Clinical Laboratory Science program, guides dual enrollment students Tiajah Hudson, Brooke Morgan and Ashley Hart in a laboratory lesson. 

- Angela Marini
ESL Program Graduate Prepares for Next Chapter 
ESL programAs a student in Egypt, Fayez Matta studied interior design and the fine arts. Four years ago, he carried his dreams to a new country, where he has renewed his goal to work in the field of design.

Mazza, who immigrated to the U.S. with his wife, Fifi Shenouda, was recognized on Dec. 15 by his professors and friends in MWCC's English as a Second Language program. The Leominster resident has completed his ESL coursework and will soon begin art and other general education courses at MWCC as his next step toward a career in interior design. An assistant manager at AL Prime Energy, Mazza said he enrolled in the ESL program to further his command of English in preparation for academic studies.

"The people at MWCC do everything they can to help," said Mazza. The event included a year-end party attended by students, instructors and college officials, as well as an exhibit of Mazza's artwork.

Pictured, from left, during the ESL program year-end celebration: ESL students Gladys Jaramillo, Fayez Matta, Academic Counselor Jose Mangual, Dr. Vincent M. Bates, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Math, Education and Developmental Studies, and Dr. Madhu Sharma, ESL professor and department chair.
Artist Returns to MWCC with First Solo Exhibit
Jason KotochJason Kotoch, a former Mount Wachusett Community College student, returned to the Gardner campus on December 15 to discuss his artwork recently on display in the East Wing Gallery. The exhibit, "Systems," comprised nine sculptures and paintings that explored the idea of systems.

"Everything is in a system," said Kotoch. "I don't have answers. This is me questioning the legitimacy of systems."

At a "Meet the Artist" event, Kotoch spoke to a group of art students about his art and the process involved with creating it. All the pieces in the exhibit were made of materials that Kotoch found, such as old wood and steel.

Currently a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (SMFA), Kotoch said he was honored to be chosen to have his first solo exhibit at MWCC. "I'm flattered that the professors at MWCC saw something in me. They are my teachers; they taught me the process of being creative."

Kotoch would like to continue making art, and hopes to someday make a living from it. "I don't make art because I'm in art school; I'm in art school because I make art."

- Angela Marini


(Photo by Art Professor John Pacheco)


Go to top

Upcoming Events

Tickets are available to Theatre at the Mount's 2012 season! The season kicks off with Fiddler on the Roof with performances on February 24, 25, March 2, 3 at 8 p.m. and March 4 at 2 p.m. The season continues with Father of the Bride on June 15, 16, 22, 23 at 8 p.m., and June 24 at 2 p.m.; Legally Blonde the Musical on August 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8 p.m. and August 19 at 2 p.m.; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum on October 5, 6, 12, 13 at 8 p.m. and October 14 at 2 p.m.; and A Very Special Christmas on November 23, 24, 30 and December 1 at 8 p.m. and November 25 and December 2 at 2 p.m. Season tickets for all five shows are just $65. To purchase tickets or request a season brochure, call the box office at 978-632-2403. Tickets may also be purchased online at

Orientation for New and Transfer Students will take place Friday, Jan. 13 at the Gardner campus. Check in is at 8 a.m. in the South Café. The orientation runs through 12 p.m. and will include a general information session, academic and student success sessions, student IDs and more. For more information, contact the office of Student Life at 978-630-9142.

Go to top

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