March 13, 2012
In This Issue
Senator Stephen Brewer to Deliver 2012 Commencement Address
Legislators, State Officials, to Convene Roundtable on Veterans in Higher Education
MWCC Lauded as National Leader in Fire Science Education During Summit
Board of Higher Education Focuses on Civic Engagement
MWCC Students Attend First Collaborative Public Higher Education Advocacy Day
MWCC Fitness and Wellness Center Raises $10,115 for American Cancer Society
Renowned Author and Activist Gloria Steinem to Speak at MWCC to Benefit HOPE
MWCC Celebrates Women's History Month
MWCC Hosts United Way Youth Venture Event
Upcoming Events
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TopSenator Brewer to Deliver Commencement Address

Senator Stephen BrewerState Senator Stephen M. Brewer will be the featured speaker at Mount Wachusett Community College's 47th Commencement on Thursday, May 17.

"We are delighted to have Senator Stephen M. Brewer return to Mount Wachusett Community College as our 2012 commencement speaker," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino.


"Senator Brewer works tirelessly to serve the needs of his constituents in Central and Western Massachusetts, and has long supported efforts that benefit students of all ages in our region. His commitment to serving others epitomizes the virtues of civic engagement that are incorporated into the educational experience at Mount Wachusett Community College and also reflects our values as an academic institution."

"It is an honor to have the opportunity to speak at MWCC's 47th Commencement," Senator Brewer said. "The students graduating this May have worked hard and have remained committed to making education a priority in their lives. Their partnership with MWCC has prepared them with the right skills and tools to enter the workforce and excel."

Senator Brewer is currently serving his seventh term in the State Senate, representing the residents of 29 municipalities in Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties since 1997. He previously served as a State Representative from 1989 to 1996. He is chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, and is a member of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules and the Joint Committee on Rules. Previously, Senator Brewer served as Senate vice-chair of the Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture, as vice-chair of the Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee, and as a member of the Joint Committee on Public Safety.  The senator  also served as the first ever Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. During this time, Senator Brewer championed one of the most comprehensive state benefits legislation for Veterans, known as the Massachusetts Welcome Home Bill.

Recently, Senator Brewer joined the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management to announce $800,000 to fund the design and study for a new Science and Technology Building addition at Mount Wachusett Community College.  The $37.9 million project will be one of the biggest construction projects in North Central Massachusetts and will include critical infrastructure upgrades and accessibility improvements to the Haley Building.

Senator Brewer also serves as the host of the annual Missing Children's Day at the Massachusetts State House, working closely with the family of Molly Bish to raise awareness and enhance public safety for missing children. Senator Brewer is also the sponsor of a Senate bill "An Act relative to missing persons," that  articulates expanded procedures for police to accept missing persons reports and sets forth standards for 'next steps' 30 days after the report was filed. Through his diligence, child safety laws in the Commonwealth have been strengthened and services to veterans have been enhanced.

Senator Brewer earned his baccalaureate degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and obtained a master's degree in history and government from Assumption College. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from MWCC during the college's 2008 commencement. He is a resident of Barre, where he lives with his wife, Valerie, and is the proud father of their two daughters, April and Audrey. 

Legislators, State Officials, to Convene Roundtable on Veterans in Higher Education

American FlagLieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Secretary of Veterans' Services Coleman Nee and Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland will take part in a roundtable discussion on the issue of "Veterans and Higher Education in the Commonwealth" on Monday, March 19 at Mount Wachusett Community College.


The roundtable is being convened by Representative Richard Bastien (R-Gardner), Senator Michael O. Moore (D- Millbury) and Representative Tom Sannicandro (D- Ashland), co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, in partnership with the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. The event, which is open to the public, will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the North Cafeteria.


The two committees will hear from the state officials and the public, including MWCC staff and students, on the types of support services that are available to veterans in the higher education system, and the coordination underway by the two departments to ensure that higher education needs of veterans are being met.


All college and community members are invited to attend.


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MWCC Lauded as National Leader in Fire Science Education During Summit

MWCC Receives FESHE Recognition CertificateMount Wachusett Community College has been recognized for being among the first four colleges in the country to adopt the nationally recognized Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) model curriculum for fire science majors.
Superintendent of the National Fire Academy Dr. Denis Onieal presented the FESHE Recognition Certificate to MWCC officials during a March 12 ceremony at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services hosted the second Fire Service Professional Development Summit.

"Our new affiliation with the National Fire Academy's FESHE program aligns our college with national standards and provides students with a solid foundation of knowledge from a standardized curriculum that will enhance their capabilities as firefighting professionals," said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. "We are delighted to be among the first colleges to receive this distinction," he added.
Dr. Melissa Fama, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Janice Barney, Dean of the School of Business, Science and Technology, Dr. Vincent Ialenti, Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, and Fire Science Technology instructor and advisory board member Fred LeBlanc accepted the honor on behalf of the college. Barney and LeBlanc also were among the summit's presenters, addressing ways to integrate the FESHE model.

The event was attended by colleges from around the state who were interested in how the FESHE model curriculum has been implemented in Massachusetts, and how it could be expanded to additional institutions. Bunker Hill Community College, Quinsigamond Community College and Anna Maria College also received certificates for their participation.


North Central Massachusetts fire chiefs and other officials who serve on MWCC's Fire Science Advisory Board actively pursued the designation and MWCC's affiliation with FESHE, which now aligns the college's associate degree program with the national, standardized curriculum advocated by the NFA, a division of the U.S. Fire Administration. MWCC's degree program, geared toward those already working in the field as well those interested in pursuing a fire science career, can be completed entirely online or in combination with on-campus courses.


"Massachusetts has taken the lead in working to integrate the training that the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy provides with the education colleges provide," state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan remarked. "This helps to eliminate duplication of training and education efforts while enhancing the overall professional development of the fire service. The goal is that firefighters and fire officers, armed with knowledge and a college degree, can more effectively reduce the human and economic impact of fires in their communities."


Pictured: Dr. Melissa Fama, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Fred LeBlanc, Fire Science Technology instructor and advisory board member and Janice Barney, Dean of the School of Business, Science and Technology, with Dr. Denis Onieal, Superintendent of the National Fire Academy during the recognition ceremony. 


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Board of Higher Education Focuses on Civic Engagement;
Commends MWCC as Model Institution

Service Learning CelebrationThe Massachusetts Board of Higher Education voted March 6 to begin tracking public college and university success in producing the "best-educated citizenry" in the nation, effective 2013.
Specifically, the board action will require the Department of Higher Education to develop a plan for incorporating a civic education and engagement key outcome as part of the Vision Project, a far-reaching agenda to achieve national leadership in key areas of academic work at Massachusetts' public colleges and universities. The new focus on citizenship was suggested by dozens of faculty members attending Vision Project meetings at campuses across the state.
"Educating our students for citizenship is one of the most fundamental - and often neglected - responsibilities of colleges and universities in the United States," said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. "By placing this work at the center of the Vision Project and in keeping with the goals and promise of liberal education, Massachusetts public higher education is affirming its role in nurturing a responsible democracy."
Massachusetts public colleges and universities have a long history of fostering civic engagement through service learning opportunities, internships and through the establishment of policy institutes that engage students in local and global civic action. Mount Wachusett Community College was commended as a model among institutions in the Commonwealth that already actively engage students in civic learning. UMASS Amherst, Westfield State University, and North Shore Community College were also recognized.

In January, MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino announced that the college has received its largest single donation to date with a $2 million donation from an anonymous donor to support civic engagement. The donation, made to the college through the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, will provide MWCC with an annual allocation.

The donation will establish a Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement at MWCC. Civic engagement and service learning programs provided through the college's Center for Democracy and Humanity, initially established in 2005, will be incorporated into the newly renamed center and refocused to further these values, goals and initiatives.

Now in its second "Decade of Civic Engagement," MWCC will continue initiatives through this generous donation that will ensure future generations will continue to gain awareness, appreciation and practical experience for volunteerism, civic involvement, and the value of giving back to the community.


Pictured: Early Childhood Education major Jerica Alliy, recipient of MWCC's 2011 Student Service Learning Award, with Associate Professor Maureen Provost at last year's annual Service Learning Celebration.


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MWCC Students Attend First Collaborative Public Higher Education Advocacy Day

Massachusetts Public Higher Education Advocacy Day 2012A group of MWCC student leaders spoke out on key issues during the first collaborative Massachusetts Public Higher Education Advocacy Day on March 8 at the State House. The event united community college, state university, and UMass students in an effort to convince legislators to support the more than 200,000 students attending public colleges and universities throughout the Commonwealth.


This was the first time all of the state public higher education institutions have worked together as a single unified group to advocate at the State House. Participants from Massachusetts' 29 institutions shared personal stories of struggles financing their education and met with legislative representatives throughout the day.

The MWCC contingent focused on four major topics: their concern for extensive budget cuts to public higher education over the past three years, totaling $164 million; that this lack of support leads to higher costs for students and makes college inaccessible for many; their call for a five percent increase in the operating budget and scholarship budget; and their opposition to a proposed community college consolidation. The group prepared a letter for legislators asking for their continued support for the students and institutions in the upcoming fiscal year.

SGA President and Criminal Justice major Isaac Matson explained the importance of affordable higher education to students. "If MWCC wasn't here and didn't offer scholarships and financial aid, I wouldn't be in school right now."


Pictured: From left, MWCC student leaders Julie Graziano, Benjamin Buckland, Isaac Matson and Christine Eck were among the MWCC students who attended the Massachusetts Public Higher Education Advocacy Day at the State House.


- Hannah Adams


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MWCC Fitness and Wellness Center Raises $10,115 for American Cancer Society

Spin for Hope 2012Participants in the fourth annual Spin for Hope sponsored by MWCC's Fitness & Wellness Center collectively pedaled their way to raise $10,115 for the American Cancer Society.

The three-hour event on March 4 was spearheaded by Lori Pucko, Karin Cormier and Noella Laitinen. Similar events to benefit the ACS took place throughout the country. A team from the fitness center pedaled in memory of Gail Martikainen, an Ashburnham resident who succumbed to lung cancer in May 2011 at age 64. She was the owner of Precision Auto in Ashburnham, which is now family owned and operated.

A member of the center for many years, Gail Martikainen visited several times a week and participated in spin, synergy, step, and other workout classes and also worked with weights. She was an avid fitness enthusiast, and with the exception of smoking for one year as a teenager, she was a nonsmoker. She also was a frequent participant in the annual Greater Gardner Relay for Life, the largest Relay held in New England and the fourth largest in the country. The community event takes place each June at the college.


Bob Martikainen, said he is honored that funds were raised in his wife's memory to help others. "She loved the gym and she loved everybody there. She always wanted to help people there and do whatever she could." 

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Renowned Author and Activist Gloria Steinem to Speak at MWCC to Benefit HOPE 

Gloria SteinemAuthor and activist Gloria Steinem will be the featured speaker at an event to benefit the House of Peace and Education (HOPE) on Thursday, April 19 at Mount Wachusett Community College's Theatre at the Mount. "Celebrating Women: An Evening with Gloria Steinem," will begin at 5:30 p.m. All proceeds are to benefit HOPE's work serving at-risk women and children.


The renowned feminist, journalist, and social and political activist became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. A prominent writer and political figure, Ms. Steinem has founded many organizations and projects and has been the recipient of many awards and honors. She was a columnist for New York magazine and co-founded Ms. Magazine. In 2005, Steinem worked alongside Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan to co-found the Women's Media Center, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content. She continues to involve herself in politics and media affairs as a commentator, writer, lecturer, and organizer, campaigning for candidates and reforms and publishing books and articles.


In addition to the keynote address, two local women, Marcelle Cormier and Paula Mulqueen, RN, will be honored. The event will include hors d'oeuvres, a champagne toast, desserts and a cash bar.


For more information and to purchase tickets, visit HOPE's web site at 


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MWCC Celebrates Women's History Month

MWCC is celebrating Women's History Month with a variety of events and speakers throughout March.

HerStory projectThe Women's HerStory Project will return with a display in the South Cafe. Students in Professor Susan Goldstein's Journalism 1 class and the office of Student Life will display photos with text of 10 MWCC faculty and staff members who play an important role in the lives of students.The women featured in the HerStory project will be recognized during a Women's Appreciation Day event on Wednesday, March 28 from 12:30 to 1:30 in the South Café. During this event, the musical duo "The Billies" will return to provide entertainment and flowers and gifts will be distributed while supplies last. 

In conjunction with the Student Life Film Series, the documentary Miss Representatiion will be presented on Thursday, March 22 at 12:30 p.m. in the North This film depicts the media's distortion of women and how it is impacting the society through news clips, YouTube videos, student stories, and compelling interviews featuring Condoleezza Rice, Rachel Maddow, Geena Davis, Katie Couric and Gloria Steinem.

Mary HollandWomen's History Month events continue with a presentation by Mary Holland, a naturalist, wildlife photographer, columnist, and author, on Thursday, March 29 at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café. She has directed the state-wide Environmental Learning for the Future (ELF) program for the VT Institute of Natural Science, worked as a resource naturalist for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, designed and presented her own Knee-high Nature Programs for libraries and elementary schools, and compiled Vermont's Rare Bird Alert for the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Her most recent book, "Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-Month Journey Through the Woods, Fields and Marshes of New England," won the 2011 National Outdoor Book Association award, in the Nature Guidebook category. Her blog can be found at

Meghan K. McCoy, M.Ed. program coordinator for the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center  at Bridgewater State University, will present on the topic of Bullying and Cyber Bulling Prevention on Wednesday, April 4 at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café. She provides training, research, and consultation about bullying and cyber bullying prevention, recognition, and intervention for students, faculty, administration, and parents. McCoy is also published in the International Journal of Contemporary Sociology.

Throughout the month, the Student Life bulletin board will have women's history quiz with prizes for winners, and the Green Street Café will feature recipes by women who had an influence on Chef Lynne Franciose.


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MWCC Hosts United Way Youth Venture Event

United Way Youth Venture presentationSenator Stephen Brewer and Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong joined college representatives and business and community leaders on March 8 to serve as panelists for the next round of community projects being planned by middle and high school students who participate in  United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts. Seventeen teams presented and each were selected to receive seed money to begin their ventures. 

"This truly is a magical program that introduces youth to entrepreneurship, volunteerism, and important skills for after high school and in life," MWCC President Asquino said.


"This is one of the most exciting and transformative experiences for the youth who take part," Mayor Wong said. "I support all efforts to promote any invitation to get our youth ready for careers in a global market place."


Local community leaders, politicians, and entrepreneurs served as panelists for the young people, as they begin the important next step of putting their ideas into action. The Community Panel determined the level of seed funding each Venture Team received, up to $1,000. Approximately $12,000 was awarded in total. The funding was provided by the United Way of North Central Massachusetts through the generous donations from various community organizations and sponsors.
Proposals ranged from environmental awareness, helping local animal shelters and saving endangered species to using video games to bridge generational gap and collecting and up-cycling e-waste and household materials.


"The personal transformation of young people who participate in Youth Venture is incredible, said UWYV Coordinator Kumar Raj. "By taking their concept, cultivating it to fruition, and leading it through passionate action, they are undeniably changed for the better. As the program is non-competitive, we believe that every young person is capable of becoming a change maker."


As a three-way partnership between MWCC, Ashoka's Youth Venture, and the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, the program encourages young people and inspires them to initiate and create positive, lasting change in their communities. More than 2,100 young people from 23 schools and community organizations throughout North Central Massachusetts now participate each year in United Way Youth Venture, now in its ninth year. Over the past eight years, 122 Venture Teams in the region have received more than $120,000 to start their ventures.


Pictured: United Way Youth Venture participants propose their idea to Community Panel members Senator Stephen Brewer, Senior Vice President of Access, Transition and Development Sharyn Rice and Dr. Michael Greenwood, Business Professor.


- Hannah Adams


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Upcoming Events

On Monday, March 19, MWCC will host the annual Wellness Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Commons. The event will feature services and information on staying healthy. Vendors include Heywood Hospital, MWCC's Nursing Department, the MWCC Fitness and Wellness Center and The Green Society.

Miss Representation posterThe spring 2012 Student Life Film Series continues Tuesday, March 22 at 12:30 p.m. in the North Café with Miss Representation, Jennifer Siebel Newsom's documentary about the media's distortion of women and how it impacts society. Through news clips, YouTube videos, shocking student stories and compelling interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Rachel Maddow, Geena Davis, Katie Couric and Gloria Steinem, the film breaks apart our media's distortion of women and how it has led directly to an underrepresentation of women with power in "the real world."

Students are invited to attend a free Drop-In Relaxation Workshop on Thursday, March 29 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 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'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 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 15 from 5 to 6 p.m. in classroom 2 at the Leominster campus. Practical Nursing certificate: March 20 from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 204 at the Gardner campus; March 15 at the Devens campus; and 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 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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To submit to the MWCC e-News or request coverage for your event, contact the Public Relations Office at 978-630-9547. Archived issues of Mount Wachusett Community College e-News can be found online at

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