MWCC e-News

Feb, 3, 2016

In This Issue
A Message from President Asquino
MWCC Appoints New Dean of Liberal Arts, Humanities, Education, and Communications
Area Educators Appointed to New Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program
MWCC Announces Winners of President's Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition
New Year, Fresh Start, with MWCC's Gateway to College Program
MWCC Offers Free Adult Basic Education Program Throughout the Region
Magic of Motown at the Mount Raises $100,000 for Scholarships, Youth Programs
Presentations & Performances Highlight Black History Month Events at MWCC
MWCC Humanities Project, "Myths, Monsters, and Modern Science," Continues
MWCC Students, Faculty, Join Forward in Health on Medical Mission to Haiti
College Freshmen Return to Area High Schools with Advice for Peers
Upcoming Events
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A Message from President Asquino
The New Year began at Mount Wachusett Community College not with the customary noisemakers of bells and horns, but with drills, hammers and saws as construction continues on our Gardner campus.

The patience of our students, faculty, staff and visitors during the modernization of our 45-year-old facility is greatly appreciated. In the coming weeks and months, renovations to our Advising Center, Commons Area, Theatre at the Mount, and main entrance will be unveiled, followed later this year by the opening of our new science and technology building.

Less obvious than these outwards signs of growth and improvement, but equally impressive, is the transformation taking place inside the classroom walls. New student support services, new faculty and staff, new transfer agreements, and new civic engagement initiatives will enhance our existing resources to help students build up their academic and career skills in preparation for the workforce or a bachelor's degree.

This spring semester provides opportunities to help students build up their résumés as well as increase understanding on national issues, including race, income inequality, and citizenship.

Upcoming events include a not-to-miss presentation in March by Harvard political scientist and best-selling author Robert D. Putnam, sponsored by our Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement. This presentation comes to the Mount through our involvement with the national "Citizenship Under Siege" program sponsored by the American Association of Colleges & Universities and The Democracy Commitment, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

MWCC Appoints New Dean of Liberal Arts, Humanities, Education, and Communications
Following academic and career pursuits that have taken her to three continents, educator and anthropologist Dr. Laurie Occhipinti has returned to her native Massachusetts as Mount Wachusett Community College's new Dean of Liberal Arts, Humanities, Education, and Communications. Prior to joining MWCC in January, Dr. Occhipinti served as an assistant dean and professor of anthropology at Clarion University in Clarion, PA. An alumna of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, she is the author of numerous publications including Making a Difference in a Globalized World: Short Term Missions that Work.

Area Educators Appointed to New Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program
Four area educators have been appointed to MWCC's Workforce Diversity Pipeline program, a new partnership with the Fitchburg and Leominster school districts funded through a five-year, $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health. Melissa Bourque-Silva is overseeing the program as director, and Shaunti Phillips, Heidi Wharton and Train Wu have been appointed senior outreach specialists/career coaches. The goal of the new program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged healthcare providers by creating a high school-to-college pipeline of students who plan to enter the healthcare field.

MWCC Announces Winners of President's Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition
MWCC students from a variety of academic disciplines shared their views on diversity during the college's annual President's Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition. This year's winners are Gemini Walter of Leominster, Monica Kwan of Fitchburg, Darrège Bruny of Clinton and Eddie Vargas of Gardner. Each will receive a free, three-credit academic course for use during the spring or summer semesters. Now in its fourth year, the competition was developed by MWCC's Diversity Committee to highlight the value diversity brings to the learning and working environment.

New Year, Fresh Start, with MWCC's Gateway to College Program
This semester, Mount Wachusett Community College welcomes its largest spring cohort of Gateway to College students to campus. The free dual-enrollment program, offered in partnership with the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District, is open to Massachusetts residents ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school, are at risk of dropping out, or experienced a setback due to health or personal reasons. Home schooled students are also eligible to enroll in the program, which allows students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and college credits toward an academic degree or certificate.

MWCC Offers Free Adult Basic Education Program throughout the Region
MWCC's free Adult Basic Education courses prepare students for the HiSET test and are available at the college's campuses in Gardner, Leominster and Devens, as well as sites located in Fitchburg and Winchendon. The courses are offered through grants from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation. Mount Wachusett is committed to providing adults and out of school youth the opportunity to obtain a high school equivalency credential in order to help them access post-secondary education and skills training programs.

Magic of Motown at the Mount Raises $100,000 for Scholarships, Youth Programs
With toes tapping and fingers snapping, an audience of hundreds grooved to the soulful songs of the Motown era during a benefit performance that raised more than $100,000 to support student scholarships and youth programs in the region. The "Magic of Motown at the Mount" benefit, co-sponsored on January 22 by the MWCC Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, took place in the college's newly renovated Theatre at the Mount.

Presentations & Performances Highlight Black History Month Events at MWCC
In recognition of Black History Month, MWCC is hosting several events in February at its Gardner campus and in the community. All events are free and open to the public. Events include a talk by Elizabeth Young, author of Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor at the Fitchburg Art Museum; a Men of Color panel presentation exploring obstacles men of color face in today's society, workforce and education system; a viewing of the film Freedom Summer; and performances the Bamidele Dancers and Drummers and spoken word poet, rapper and activist Afro D.

MWCC Humanities Project, "Myths, Monsters, and Modern Science," Continues
Though the calendar says it's the dead of winter, Frankenstein's monster is still alive as Mount Wachusett Community College's Humanities Project, "Myths, Monsters, and Modern Science: Frankenstein's Legacy," continues through April. Sponsored through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this year's theme takes an in-depth look at Mary Shelley's 200-year-old novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, and its impact in the modern era. Free events, including author presentations, films and lectures, will take place at MWCC's Gardner campus and in the community.
 
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MWCC Students, Faculty, Join Forward in Health on Medical Mission to Haiti
A weeklong medical mission in Haiti gave a team of Mount Wachusett Community College students and faculty a close-up look at poverty in one of the world's poorest countries, and an opportunity to do something about it. The students and educators traveled to Fonfred, Haiti in January with MWCC nursing alumna Paula Mulqueen, who with her husband, Dr. John Mulqueen, founded the nonprofit Forward in Health to bring much-needed medical care to the Les Cayes region of Haiti. This past fall, the Gardner couple's dream came to fruition when the Fonfred Klinik opened its doors after more than a decade of fundraising, construction and medical missions.

College Freshmen Return to Area High Schools with Advice for Peers
Take time to tour a variety of colleges and universities prior to enrolling. Seek out scholarships and financial aid. Once enrolled, become involved with clubs and activities to meet new friends. Beware the "freshman 15" weight gain. Learn to manage your time. Don't skip class, and above all, study.
A dozen Fitchburg High School alumni returned to their alma mater in January to offer these and other tips to high school seniors about successfully transitioning to college. Similar events also took place at Leominster, Ralph C. Mahar and Murdock high schools.

Upcoming Events
  • Black History Month events: Feb. 10 - 29
  • MWCC Humanities Project events: February - April
  • Spring Film Fest: February - April 

For information about upcoming events, click here.

Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College
978-630-9547