Sept. 24, 2012
In This Issue
MWCC Named Top Military Friendly College
MWCC 9/11 Remebrance
MWCC's Federal TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science Grant Renewed
Alumnae Return for Art Exhibit
Theatre at the Mount Recognized by New England Theatre Conference
MWCC Hosts NEACAC College Fair
Upcoming Events
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TopMWCC Named Top Military Friendly College

American FlagMWCC has been listed as a top military-friendly college by two organizations, including a new report that ranked MWCC No. 1 in a review of best career and technical colleges for veterans.

Public community and technical colleges accounted for six of the top 10 spots in a new survey of best skills schools for veterans by Military Times Edge, with MWCC taking the top spot among career and technical colleges. MWCC is being showcased on the Military Times and Military Times Edge websites and affiliated Gannett Company publications, including the newsweeklies Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and the Marine Corps Times.

In addition, for the third consecutive year, MWCC has been named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs and other magazines. The 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that demonstrate outstanding services for student veterans. The 2013 list was compiled through research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. The full list of 1,739 institutions selected this year can be viewed at

"Mount Wachusett Community College has a long history of serving veterans, and we're delighted to be recognized for our commitment to those who courageously serve our country," said President Daniel M. Asquino. "Most recently, we have enhanced our services through our new Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, which is helping veteran students and their dependents transition to college life and receive ongoing support."

The center, established in January 2011, and other services for student veterans have helped MWCC create a culture of positive energy and enthusiasm for its military students. Established through a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the center is among the first 15 in the county selected to serve as national models and has become a staple in the lives of student veterans at MWCC. Support services address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs to veterans transitioning to college life.

"We've always been veteran-friendly, but now more than ever as we recognize the need to provide the support and services to our military service members and their families as they transition to college," said Assistant Project Director Kristine Larkin, who oversees the center. Collaborating with nonprofit community partners and building strong relationships with student veterans are contributing to the center's success in serving students, she said. Community partners include the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center, the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center operated by Veteran Homestead, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services' SAVE program, and local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

MWCC is also a designated Yellow Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. In addition, the college developed a First year Experience course designed specifically for veterans and many of the students are active in the veterans club on campus, which is affiliated with Student Veterans of America.

MWCC 9/11 Remembrance

Remember to Remember 9/11 Memorial MWCC's Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, together with members of the student Veterans Group, hosted the Remember to Remember 9/11 Memorial on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the Gardner campus to honor and reflect on those who lost their lives in the attacks in 2001. Remember to Remember is a silent memorial, except for the reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 victims.


Members of the college community as well as the public stopped by throughout the three-hour memorial to place a white daisy or carnation at the base of a flagpole. MWCC Natural Resources major Jacqueline Richard placed a sunflower at the memorial in remembrance of her friend, 1995 alumna Carrie Progen, who was among the World Trade Center victims. Richard, who initially attended MWCC in the mid-1990s, also placed a portrait at the memorial that she had created of Ms. Progen when the two took art courses together. "That's how much she stood out."


A commemorative flag and a piece of art work created by Ms. Progen are on permanent display at the college.


As part of the event, members of the Patriot Riders arrived to display a flag at half-staff before proceeding to MWCC's Devens campus for a remembrance there.


The Remember to Remember memorial was founded by local artist and poet James Pelletier of Winchendon, who organized the recordings in collaboration with the NY-RFB&D and The Pentagon and served as a volunteer at Ground Zero in the wake of the 9/11 attack.


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MWCC's Federal TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science Grant Renewed
Upward Bound Math and Science
Patrick Nally and Ilse Hernandez were among the UBMS students earning college credits in courses offered this summer.
MWCC has been awarded a five year, $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund the North Central Massachusetts Upward Bound Math and Science Program. This marks MWCC's sixth year of operating this program, which prepares 63 high school students from Gardner, Athol, and Winchendon for success in high school and college in the fields of math and science.
"We are delighted to receive this funding and the support of our Congressional delegation to continue this outstanding program," said President Daniel M. Asquino. "The Upward Bound Math and Science program  provides talented students with greater opportunities to hone their skills in the essential STEM fields." 

The UBMS program will provide a comprehensive academic year, summer and bridge program during the five year period that is customized to the needs of each participant. On Saturdays and school vacations during the academic year, all students will participate in college tours; monthly science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) based cultural/academic enrichment opportunities; hands-on laboratory STEM activities; STEM based field trips; lectures and other activities. The students also receive individual success plan development and follow-up meetings by trained UBMS academic counselors and program aides; secondary school course selection advising; after-school tutoring, guidance and assistance; alternative education programs; parent/guardian workshops; e-mentoring; workshops and more.

Freshmen and sophomores also will have access to state-mandated test preparation and a career fair and roundtable, while juniors and seniors also have access to dual enrollment courses, SAT and ACT preparation, Accuplacer preparation, a college fair, college admission assistance, financial aid assistance, and postsecondary course selection advising.

In the summer, students will participate in a six-week residential program on a college campus that simulates a college going experience, while having the opportunity to take courses in a variety of subjects. Juniors and seniors have the option of earning dual enrollment college credit.

- Heather Layton
Alumnae Return for Art Exhibit
Art alumnae exhibit
Artists Samantha Hanson and Naida Knox

MWCC alumnae Naida Knox and Samantha Hanson returned to the Gardner campus last week for an artists' reception in the East Wing Gallery. Their exhibit, "New Work in Clay," continues through Oct. 12.

Ms. Knox, a 2011 graduate, created her stoneware pieces using hand-building techniques such as pinching, coiling or slab building. Most of the pieces were glazed and fired in the electric kiln, with the exception of beautiful orange and black, smoke-patterned pit-fired work. Many of the high-fire glazes used on the pieces were uniquely mixed by the artist. A whimsical teapot was inspired by a painting by Toulouse Lautrec and the other pieces were initially inspired by the rock formations and natural structures the artist saw on her trip to Utah. Her delightful sense of humor and inventive dialogue with the clay, as a medium in an art tradition, is revealed in all the work.

"When I create a piece I have an idea, but it isn't fully formed. As I work on the piece, the piece creates itself," she said. "At the beginning this work was inspired by natural structures from Utah - a natural growing from the earth, and then my whimsical sense of humor took over. I was surprised at how my inner self and thoughts revealed itself."

Ms. Knox graduated in May 2011 with an associate degree in art, having previously taken classes at Massachusetts College of Art. She has won several awards from local art organizations and continues to be actively involved in the Greater Gardner Art Association, Gardner Area League of Artists, Circle of Artists and the Princeton Portrait Society.

Ms. Hanson created her work in stoneware, also using hand-building techniques as well as the potter's wheel. As an advanced student in ceramics, Ms. Hanson made it her goal to try as many different firing and decorative techniques as possible. This beautiful body of work includes chicken forms that have been burnished with terrasigillata and pit-fired, tall vessels decorated with slips or underglazes, sculpted surfaces with varying incised marks, and several pieces that are bisque-fired and waiting for future decisions about color and surface. 

"Growing up on a farm was an amazing experience. It taught me to work hard and to respect everything in life," she said. "I have become more courageous and less timid. This new self-worth has allowed me to explore my love of working with clay. Clay is seductive and once you learn the basics it begs to be made into something beautiful. My recent clay pieces have been inspired from the colorful, playful ink drawings in my sketchbook. The pieces are created by exploring the relationship between the surface of the clay and the new and interesting spaces that I can create. Inspiration for these pieces comes from anywhere and everywhere, my daily life, everything in nature, art history, architecture, modern art and different cultures."

Ms. Hanson graduated in May 2012 with an associate degree in art and is transferring to Maine College of Art, where she was accepted with scholarship. 

- Joyce Miller


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Theatre at the Mount Recognized by New England Theatre Conference
Theatre at the Mount Frog & Toad
Wesley Young, left, as Toad, and Russell Holbert as Frog take a sled ride as they celebrate winter in A Year with Frog and Toad
Theatre at the Mount's production of A Year with Frog and Toad has been selected for recognition as honorable mention for a New England Theatre Conference Moss Hart Memorial in the Children and Youth Division. The presentation of the certificate will occur at the annual awards banquet during the NETC convention on October 27 in Natick.   
The annual Moss Hart Memorial Award has a two-fold purpose: to honor the memory of Moss Hart, dramatist and director, for his wit and sensitivity, for his unconquerable enthusiasm for life and for his work in the theatre; and to recognize and encourage outstanding theatrical productions throughout New England of play scripts that present affirmative views of human courage and dignity, that have strong literary and artistic merit, and which in their productions, exemplify fresh, imaginative, creative treatment with the intent of the playwright.
A Year with Frog and Toad was performed in April. The play was directed by Emily Smith; with music directed by Katrina Caouette, and choreography by Chris Casello, Johanna Recko and Thom Hardy. The show starred local high schools students Russell Holbert (Monty Tech) as Frog, Wesley Young (Leominster High) as Toad, and Merrick Henry (Fitchburg High) as Snail. Also featured in the cast were Erin Glenny, Vikki Chase, Olivia Ryan, Sadie Kennedy, Haley Martin, Kaitlynn Chase, Annie Cormier, Chanelle Goguen, Rory Young, Emily Waystack, Emma Lottig and a large ensemble of singers and dancers, all from local schools.


- Gail Steele

MWCC Hosts NEACAC College Fair

NEACAC College FairMore than 1,200 high school students from approximately 50 schools, MWCC students and others turned out for the annual New England Association of College Admissions Counseling (NEACAC) College Fair, hosted by MWCC's Admissions office on Sept. 20 in the Fitness & Wellness Center.


The free fair is the largest college fair held in Worcester County during the fall and allows attendees to interact with representatives from nearly 200 public and private colleges and universities, as well as military institutions. Representatives from institutions throughout the country attended, as well as one who traveled from London, England.


"It's a great fair for the students, as well as for the colleges and universities that attend," said Ryan Forsythe, Associate Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Financial Aid.


Faculty and staff members from throughout the college community helped ensure a successful two-hour fair by volunteering during the event.


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Upcoming Events

The fall 2012 Student Life Film Series kicks off Sept. 26 with the film 18 in '08, a nonpartisan documentary made by then-19-year-old director David d. Burstein. 18 in 08 features interviews with many of the most influential politicians in 2008 and today, as well as popular culture figures, political activists, media commentators, and student leaders. The film will air Sept. 26 at 12:30 in the North Café at the Gardner Campus, and on Sept. 27 at 11:40 a.m. at the Leominster Campus, in Lab 4. The film series will continue with Warrior Champions on Oct. 2 in Gardner and Oct. 4 in Leominster; Colors of the Mountain on Oct. 15 in Gardner; Little Sparrows on Oct. 29 in Gardner; and Native Spirit and the Sun Dance Way on November 13 in Gardner and Nov. 13 in Leominster.


MWCC is hosting a free Health and Wellness Fair for all ages on Friday, Sept. 28 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at the MWCC Fitness & Wellness Center. More than 40 organizations and experts from throughout central Massachusetts will be in attendance, providing information on a variety of topics. The event will include demonstrations, health screenings, hourly raffles and more. Beginning at 1 p.m. through 2:15 p.m., the following organizations will provide 15-minute demonstrations: HealthAlliance Home Health Care and Hospice; Caregiver Homes; the office of Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr. on current scams in the area; MWCC Fitness and Wellness Center; and the VNA Care Network and Hospice on the Philips Lifeline Medical Alert system.


The Advising Center is hosting a Transfer Fair on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the South Café of the Gardner campus. Representatives from more than 40 colleges and universities will be on hand to discuss transfer options with MWCC students.


Theatre at the MountTheatre at the Mount will present Broadway's greatest farce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, for five performances in October. Considered one of the funniest musicals ever written,the fast-paced, witty, and irreverent show was written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from time-tested, 2,000-year-old comedies of the Roman playwright Plautus with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville. John Sullivan tackles the role of freedom-seeking Pseudolus, a character made famous by the likes of Zero Mostel and Nathan Lane. Perennial Theatre at the Mount favorite Joey Andrade portrays his anxiety-ridden companion, Hysterium. Veteran TAM performer Sue DiRusso brings authority to the role of Domina and Matt Dombroski is her put-upon husband, Senex. The show also features Alyson Foisy, Kyle Kasabian, Garrett Zecker, Taylor Lawton, Tim Recko, Amanda Carpenito, Jillian Whitney, Valerie Andrade, Johanna Recko, Shani Farrell and Alison Laverdiere. Nicholas Marques, Jacob McDonald and Jason Garceau round out the cast playing the Proteans with exceptional range and energy. Performances are Oct. 5, 6, 12, 13 at 8 p.m., and Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for evening shows and $15 for the matinee. For tickets, call the box office at 978-632-2403 or go online at


MWCC's Fitness & Wellness Center is hosting an open house on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will include tours of the 65,000-square-foot facility, raffle prizes, free classes and use of state-of-the-art equipment. The center's amenities include a 25-yard indoor pool, new equipment, more than 70 classes including Zumba, personal trainers, full-size basketball courts, racquetball courts and more. For more information, call 978-630-9212 or visit


Martin F. Connors Jr.Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation, Inc. will honor long-serving community volunteer Martin F. Connors, Jr. as the 2012 Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year during the foundation's annual dinner on Oct. 18 at the Colonial Hotel in Gardner. Connors, President and CEO of Rollstone Bank & Trust, and outstanding MWCC students who receive foundation scholarship awards will be recognized.  The MWCC Foundation annually awards more than $260,000 in scholarship funds to students. Tickets to the annual foundation dinner are $75 per person. A social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made by contacting Jessica Connors at 978-630-9387 or


MWCC is offering Information Sessions on several academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Associate Degree in Nursing: Oct. 16 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 204; Clinical Laboratory Science: Sept. 25 and Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. Gardner Campus, room 214; Dental Programs (Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting Certificate): Sept. 26 and Oct. 10 from 2 to 3 p.m., room 204; Physical Therapist Assistant, Oct. 11 from 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 205; and Radiologic Technology, Oct 4 from 2 to 3 p.m., Devens campus . Prospective students interested in attending an information session are asked to call the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 (TTY 978-632-4916), or email

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