Feb. 27, 2012
In This Issue
MWCC Receives Funding for New Science and Technology Building Study and Design
Math Anxiety Addressed During Campus Presentation
Assistant Dean Published in National Higher Education Magazine
AmeriCorps Job Ready Program Accepting Applications
Dental Hygiene Students Win top Award; Benefit from New Grant Partnership
MWCC Celebrates Black History Month with a Series of Events
TAM Set Designs on Display in East Wing Gallery Exhibit
MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center Raises Funds for American Cancer Society
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TopMWCC Receives Funding for New Science and Technology Building Study and Design

President Asquino gives campus tour to state officials

Local legislators and Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management Commissioner Carole Cornelison visited MWCC on February 21 to announce $800,000 to fund the design and study for a new science and technology building.

The project is envisioned as a 39,000-square-foot addition on the Gardner campus for new laboratories, specialized space, and general classrooms, the replacement of the existing greenhouse and critical infrastructure upgrades and accessibility improvements to the Haley Building. Following the design and study phase, the $37.9 million construction project will be one of the largest in North Central Massachusetts.

Students enrolled in MWCC's Natural Resources and Energy Management programs, the health sciences and other programs requiring science courses, would be among the beneficiaries of this new state-of-the-art wing. The preliminary plan for the addition includes 21 classrooms and 12 laboratories.

"This funding is an important investment in the future of MWCC and for the citizens of Central Massachusetts," said Senator Stephen M. Brewer. "As we come out of one of the worst recessions in history, investments like this one that improve infrastructure and invest in education are important to our continued economic growth."

The study of the school, its needs, and the site for the addition could take about six months to a year to complete followed by approximately one year for the design process before the project goes out to bid. Money for the project will come from a state-authorized bond.

President Daniel M. Asquino welcomed the state officials to the campus and provided a tour of areas slated for improvement.  Joining Senator Brewer and Commissioner Cornelison for the announcement were Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan, Representative Stephen DiNatali, and Representative Richard Bastien.

"We're excited for the opportunities this new science and technology building will provide for our students," said President Asquino said. "We greatly appreciate the support of our legislators, the Division of Capital Asset Management, and the Patrick-Murray administration for this project, and their commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for students who traditionally remain in the Commonwealth after graduating and contribute to the betterment of our communities."

Founded in 1963, MWCC built its main campus in Gardner in the early 1970s.


"This is a structurally sound building, but it is 40 years old," the president continued. "The science labs and a majority of the classrooms are 40 years old. The new building will allow us to update all of our classrooms and laboratories, which support our science and health care programs. It will truly bring the entire campus into the 21st century. When our students graduate, they will leave with a state-of-the-art experience," he said.


"It is tremendously gratifying to see the Patrick-Murray Administration's ambitious capital program for higher education come to fruition," Commissioner Cornelison said. "We are working hard to build first class public higher education facilities in every region of the Commonwealth, and this project at Mount Wachusett Community College is yet another example of the administration's commitment to that goal."


Pictured: MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino with DCAM Commissioner Carole Cornelison, Senator Stephen M. Brewer and Representative Richard Bastien on a tour of the 40-year-old main campus to view areas that would benefit from a new science and technology wing. 
Math Anxiety Addressed During Campus Presentation
Professor Yoav Elinevsky, chair of the
Math Department, presenter Gail Hilyard and Dean Janice Barney
Gail Hilyard, a doctoral student at UMass Amherst and coordinator of the Math Center at Holyoke Community College, presented "Math Anxiety and the Connections Between Trust and Learning Mathematics" on February 22 at the Gardner campus. The presentation was sponsored by MWCC's Math Department and the Math Club.

Nationally, two million students are in developmental math courses, Hilyard explained. "This is a national crisis."

Hilyard shared her results of a 2010 pilot study done at Holyoke Community College addressing students' math anxiety, what motivated them to learn mathematics, and the significance of trust between students and professors in overcoming barriers to succeed in math.

Her data compares how students felt about mathematics during middle school and high school in relation to how they are learning and doing in college. After surveying students from HCC, Hilyard concluded that most times, if students were previously intimidated by in the classroom, this anxiety would grow and develop through the rest of their education and throughout their lives unless someone supports them differently. The teachers' instruction and participation in learning greatly impacts students' trust and ability to do well in a class, she said.

Following her presentation, she led a focus group discussion among faculty, advisors and students in attendance on the ways MWCC professors and students are currently addressing ways to overcome math anxiety. Hilyard will use relevant information gathered during the focus group to add to her study.

- Hannah Adams
Assistant Dean Published in National Higher Education Magazine

 Greg Clement

MWCC Assistant Dean of Student Services Greg Clement will be published in the March issue of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) magazine, Campus Activities Programming. Clement, along with Melissa Chaves Welch of Middlesex Community College, address ways to hold effective student activities on a tight budget.


The article, "Avoiding Budget Roadblocks in Diversity Programming," explains how college is a place to meet and learn from others and that student affairs specialists need to stay creative in order to get students involved on a limited budget. The authors focus on 10 topics to think about when planning a year full of events for students: collaboration; community resources; colleagues; other colleges' plans; grants; corporate resources; social media; fundraising; civic engagement; and block booking.


Collaboration with clubs and offices that already sponsor events allows room and funds to add a diverse/educational twist on the program, and utilizing community resources or other local colleges to combine events, block book, or adopt programs gives students the chance to experience things that might not have been possible on the given budget. Local festivals are also a great way to meet vendors and performers who may be less expensive and more willing to come to the area again, the writers note. Reaching out to faculty, staff and students who are involved in cultural community programs or interested in sharing their experiences is another way to bring diversity to college campuses.


Clement and Welch also recommend applying for grants or finding organizations that have received grants and working with them, reaching out to local companies to sponsor speakers or activities that may pertain to their business, and making the most of free resources, such as social media sites, to promote activities. Fundraisers and civic engagement are other active ways to get students involved, encourage collaboration and leadership, and give back to the community.

 - Hannah Adams
AmeriCorps Job Ready Program Accepting Applications
AmeriCorps Logo

The AmeriCorps Job Ready Program, a partnership between Mount Wachusett Community College and Fitchburg State University, is recruiting 15 new AmeriCorps Members to serve 11-month terms of service beginning in August. The positions will be 40 hours a week, from Aug. 20 through June 30.


The AmeriCorps Job Ready Program brings together a coalition of high schools, middle schools, higher education and community-based organizations to better prepare individuals in North Central Massachusetts for job readiness. This is made possible through a grant from the Center for National and Community Service and the Massachusetts Service Alliance.


Through the placement of 15 full-time members each year for three years, the partnership works with 3,300 participants across the region to assist in development of job readiness knowledge, development of career goals, and understanding the path needed to attain these goals. The program works with many populations in North Central Massachusetts, including high school and middle school students, college students and alumni, as well as unemployed, underemployed and dislocated workers.


Information sessions about the AmeriCorps Job Ready program will take place on April 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Crocker Center at Fitchburg State University, and on April 12 at MWCC's Gardner campus, room W11.


For more information, contact AmeriCorps Job Ready Assistant Director Shelley Errington Nicholson at 978-630-9219 or Applications are due by June 15 and are available online at


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Dental Hygiene Student Wins Top Award; Benefit from New Grant Partnership
Yankee Dental Congress competition winners Kaitlyn Therrien and Pam Heline
A top award for two MWCC students and expanded learning opportunities through a partnership grant with UMass Medical School are among the highlights this semester in the Dental Hygiene program.

Second-year students once again took a top award among Massachusetts dental hygiene students during the Yankee Dental Congress' annual Student Table Clinics, held Jan. 28 in Boston and sponsored by the Massachusetts Dental Society.

Students Pam Heline and Kaitlyn Therrien won the award during the 37th annual competition with their presentation "How Abrasive is Your Toothpaste." They received a $300 first place award and have been invited by the American Academy of Dental Science to attend its annual dinner on March 7 at the Harvard Club in Boston. MWCC students who also presented during the competition include Melissa Burdett, Jocelyn Goodale, Jessica Laprade and Caitlyn McBride.

In other department news, the Dental Hygiene program is enhancing student support services through a federal grant it received in partnership with UMass Medical School. The Department of Health and Human Services/Health Resources Services Administration grant is geared toward addressing cultural disparities within the field of health care, said program Director Anne Malkasian. The grant is providing participating students with additional academic advising and support, mentoring and additional services, expanded clinical time and a monthly speaker series.

As part of the speaker series, Dr. John Giordano presented "Forensic Dentistry and Victim Identification" on the Gardner campus in January. Twenty five dental hygiene students and several evening dental assisting students were present. Students in the Criminal Justice and Nursing programs also were invited. Dr. Giordano has worked with the Medical Examiner's office in Rhode Island and the Worcester Police Department in aiding them with identifying victims of crime and disasters.

In February, Dr. Aidee Nieto-Herman, an associate clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, former president of the National Hispanic Dental Association, and founder of the Massachusetts Hispanic Dental Association professional chapter presented on the "Multicultural Crisis in Oral Health in America, the Role and Need of More Mentors and Leaders in the Dental Field."
Additional presentations are planned for March and April. 


MWCC Celebrates Black History Month With Series of Events
Student viewing the Black Inventions Exhibit
Student William Rivera checks out some inventions
on display during the Black Inventors Exhibit

Black History Month is observed every year as a remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans. In celebration, MWCC hosted several events throughout February sponsored by the office of Student Life.

The Black Inventors Exhibit returned to MWCC on February 9 with the exhibit "The Awakening: Black Inventors Worldwide." This multimedia presentation is a tribute to the unsung heroes, black inventors and innovators internationally.

Many of the things people use daily were created by a black inventor. The traveling museum revealed many surprising facts, and highlighted the accomplishments of Black inventors in the fields of science, aerospace communication, health care, agriculture, transportation and engineering. Some of the more commonly used products are the golf tee, automatic traffic light, the dustpan, mailbox, pencil sharpener, and even the Super Soaker water gun. The aim of the exhibit is not only to give credit to the inventors, but to inspire others to believe that anything is possible.

"There is a wide variety of inventions here and it is inspiring to see so many everyday things by African American inventors," said MWCC student Angele Goss.

Liberal Arts student, Ian Van Luven, admired the exhibit with much interest and commented on many of the pieces. "All exposure to history from any race or group needs to happen to learn about our nation's history and world history."

Over 150 authentic artifacts are represented in the collection including personal letters, rare photographs and biographies of black inventors. James Ince, the CEO and chief curator of the exhibit has been collecting these items for nearly two decades. "People donate, I collected things. A lot of the pieces I have are the original or close to it. I've met a number of family members of the inventors who have helped me in obtaining the inventions."

Since last at MWCC four years ago, the exhibit has changed greatly and gained a number of exciting pieces. "I like to transition things in and out," Ince said. "I'm showing more technology in this show because that is something students can relate to right now."

MWCC's Black History Month events also included the screening of the film Strange Fruit on February 8, which depicts the dramatic story of America's past and the rise of the Civil Rights Movement; and a performance on February 15 by spoken word artist, musician, and social activist Pete Shunghu (Afro D). The performer promoted reflection, understanding, and community building along with entertaining the crowd with trumpet playing, rap, poetry, and audience participation.  

- Hannah Adams
Theatre at the Mount Set Designs on Display in East Wing Gallery Exhibit
TAM's production of Snow Drop featuring Tom Simahk's stage design work
Theater at the Mount's Production of Snow Drop 
"The Stage as Canvas," an exhibit of work by artist Tom Simahk, is on display in the East Wing Gallery of the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center through March 18.

Simahk, a freelance designer, created many of the dramatic and beautiful sets for Theatre at the Mount shows, including The King and I, All Shook Up, The Drowsy Chaperone, the TAM Christmas specials, and many others. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Regular gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center Raises Funds for American Cancer Society
MWCC's Fitness and Wellness Center is hosting its fourth annual Spin for Hope on Sunday, March 4. Lori Pucko, team captain, will be leading the way along with Karin Cormier and Noella Laitinen. All available bikes were sold out in no time and some of the 40 participants are bringing their own bikes to the event. Those who join will be spinning for three hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Zumba for Hope participants working out in the fitness center
Zumba for Hope raised more than $700 for
the American Cancer Society


On February 18, the center hosted its first Zumba for Hope, which successfully raised more than $700 for the American Cancer Society. Approximately 80 people participated in the dance workout fundraising event.
Those interested in participating in the upcoming Spin for Hope with their own trainer may contact the Fitness and Wellness Center at 978-630-9530. Be inspired by those facing cancer and experience the benefits of spinning as you raise funds to support the lifesaving program and services of the ACS!
- Hannah Adams
Upcoming Events

The spring 2012 Student Life Film Series continues with Louder Than A Bomb on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café. The film is about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust. Every year, more than 600 teenagers from 60 Chicago area schools gather for the world's largest youth poetry slam. It's about the joy of being young, the pain of growing up, speaking out, making noise, and finding your voice. Upcoming films include Miss Representation on March 22; Bullied on April 3, and The Way We Get By on April 12.

Join Student Life in the Lion's Den Student Center for Birthday Celebrations! On Thursday, March 1, MWCC will celebrate the birthdays of students, faculty, and staff that have a birthday in February, March, or April. Stop by at 12:30 p.m. and enjoy a free piece of cake (while it lasts). Sponsored by the Student Life office.

Are you feeling stressed or find yourself having a hard time balancing school work and life? It could be time for you to Recharge, Regroup, and Relax. Attend a free Drop-In Relaxation Workshop for students on Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in room 342. This session will introduce a variety of breathing exercises and guided imagery techniques to help you relax and lead you to a higher likelihood of academic success. Nutritious refreshments will be served.


MWCC is offering a free Career Services Expo, "What is Your Life's Dream," on Tuesday, March 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Gardner campus. The career expo will take place in the college's Commons area from 5 to 8 p.m. In addition, career planning workshops will be offered from 5 to 6 p.m. and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the North Cafe. The event is geared toward current and prospective students including MWCC students, middle school and high school students and their parents or guardians, and adults who are interested in learning about career and academic opportunities. Faculty and advisors will be available to answer questions and provide information about career opportunities, academic programs, admissions, financial aid and transfer opportunities. MWCC alumni will share information about their experiences and current students will provide tours of the campus. Refreshments and a door prize will be offered. For more information or to reserve a seat in a workshop, call 978-630-9109 or email Alyson Foisy, Amanda Carpenito and Paige Crane (left to right) play Tevye's three daughters in Fiddler on the Roof at Theatre at the Mount.


Theatre at the Mount continues its 2012 season with the musical, Fiddler on the Roof,with performances on March 2 and 3 at 8 p.m., and Mar. 4 at 2 p.m. The production won nine Tony Awards including Best Musical and was one of the first Broadway musicals to deal with serious issues such as persecution, poverty and holding on to one's beliefs. The award winning score features such well-known songs as Sunrise, Sunset, Matchmaker, and If I Were a Rich Man. For tickets and reservations, call the Theatre at the Mount box office at 978-632-2403 or purchase tickets online at 


MWCC's Financial Aid office is offering FAFSA Filing Workshops to provide one-on-one assistance to students to complete the 2012-2013 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Workshops will take place every Friday from 10 a.m. to noon beginning Feb. 17 through May 11 in the Advising Center. In addition, workshops will take place on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. on April 17, April 24, May 1 and May 8. Contact the Financial Aid office at 978-630-9169 to sign up or for more information.


MWCC is offering Information Sessions on a number of academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Associate Degree in Nursing: March 6 from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 204 at the Gardner campus; March 13 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Devens campus; and March 15 from 5 to 6 p.m. in classroom 2 at the Leominster campus. Practical Nursing certificate: Feb. 28 and March 20 from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 204 at the Gardner campus; March 15 from 5 to 6 p.m. in classroom 2 at the Leominster campus. Dental Hygiene: March 14 from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 204 at the Gardner campus. Physical Therapist Assistant: March 15 from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 205 at the Gardner campus. Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical LabTech: March 21 from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Gardner campus, room 214, followed by off-site clinical lab tour. Energy Management: March 5 and March 20 from 5 to 6 p.m. in room 107 at the Devens campus. Automotive Technology/GM ASEP: March 30 from 3 to 4 p.m. in Lab 4 at the Leominster campus. In addition, small group information sessions are offered daily Monday through Thursday beginning at 3 p.m. Prospective students interested in attending an information session are asked to call the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 (TTY 978-632-4916), or send an email to    


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Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College