MWCC Hosting Financial Literacy Fair

Mount Wachusett Community College will host a public financial literacy fair on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the college’s Gardner campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Although it is hosted by the college’s Financial Aid Office, the goal is to provide a greater understanding of personal finances regardless of whether a person is in school or not. There will be six workshops in total, with three focusing on personal finances and the other three focusing on college financial areas.

The personal financial workshops will be held in Room 115 and cover credit cards (11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.), credit score and establishing credit (12:15 to 12:45 p.m.), and budgeting (1 to 1:30 p.m.). The college financial workshops will be held in the Science Center Room 105 and cover financial aid (11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.), paying and repaying college debt (12:15 to 12:45 p.m.), and federal student loans (1 to 1:30 p.m.).

The event is open to the public, with a door prize of a free three-credit course having a value of over $700.

Boys & Girls Club COO Joins MWCC Board of Trustees

The Chief Operating Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner Donata J. Martin joined the Mount Wachusett Board of Trustees last week after being appointed by Governor Charlie Baker.

The Chief Operating Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner Donata J. Martin joined the Mount Wachusett Board of Trustees last week after being appointed by Governor Charlie Baker.

“I am pleased to welcome Donata Martin to the Mount Wachusett Community College Board of Trustees. Her experience with the Boys & Girls Club will be a boon to our extensive kindergarten through high school partnerships in the region,” said MWCC President James Vander Hooven. “These partnerships are essential to serving all students in our 29 community service area.”

Martin officially joined the board during a swearing in ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 12. In her role as COO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner, Martin is responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction of programs, staff, project management, budgets, and community and member relations. In cooperation with the Board of Directors, Martin develops strategic plans and goals for the organization to insure service to the Boys & Girls Clubs’ members, their families and the community.

In addition to her work at the Boys and Girls Club, she is a trustee at UMass HealthAlliance Hospitals, on the Board of Directors for the Montachusett Opportunity Council, and on the Board of Directors for United Way of North Central Massachusetts among other positions. Martin holds a B.A. in Sociology and Secondary Education from Boston University. She also holds certificates from the UMass Boston Program for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Commonwealth of Massachusetts Senior Executives.

Boston Comedy Festival Winner to Host Veterans Benefit Show

A fundraiser for Mount Wachusett Community College veteran students hosted by Andrew Mayer, a winner of the Boston Comedy Festival, will take place on Oct. 21 featuring a collection of Boston stand-up comics.

The event, Comics on a Mission II, will feature comedy from Sean Sullivan, Emily Ruskowski, and Nick Chambers. Host Andrew Mayer, encouraged people to come to the show to see this lineup.

“Sean Sullivan is a terrific local headliner, who has performed on Comedy Central, and just released his debut album on Friday. With him, Emily, Nick and me, it’s going to be a lovely time,” said Mayer of the show that will benefit student veterans at MWCC. “Second, the proceeds go to an excellent cause. You get to feel good from laughter, and also from doing a nice thing. “

Mayer recently tied for first place and a $10,000 cash prize at the Boston Comedy Festival, has received critical acclaim, with the Boston Globe dubbing him “seriously silly.”

“There’s a bit of observation, and quite a bit of whimsy, but it all comes out of just talking about my life,” said Mayer who then reflected on life after winning the festival. “It’s been a very fun couple of weeks since the festival, for sure. Contests have a lot of variables, most of which are out of your control as an individual, but it’s always nice when one works out the way you were hoping. I’ve competed in the contest before, and it’s always such a fun week.”

Mayer got his start in comedy 13 years ago after taking a stand-up class at MWCC with his father Robert who is the Director of Veteran Services at MWCC. Mayer had been a fan of stand-up since he was a child, and started writing jokes in my freshman year away at college.

“My Dad found out, and signed us both up for the summer stand-up class at the Mount. It was taught by Jerry Caruso,who was very welcoming and helpful. The final of the class was a live-audience performance, which was my first ever show,” said Mayer.

All proceeds from the performance will benefit veteran students at MWCC. According to Robert Mayer, the majority of funds will go towards technology such as laptops or graphing calculators that can be loaned out to veteran students.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Theatre at the Mount. Tickets are $25 each or $20 for students and veterans. Special pricing of $60 is available in conjunction with the MWCC Foundation’s event A Tribute to Aerosmith that takes place on Oct. 27 at the Theatre at the Mount and is normally priced at $50 alone.

MWCC Hosts Reception for Alumnus Art Show

New work by painter and sculptor Taylor French Benoit, including this acrylic and vinyl on wood panel piece titled A Standardized Sleight, will be on display at the MWCC East Wing Gallery in Gardner through December 2.

A reception will be held on Friday for Mount Wachusett Community College Alumnus Taylor French Benoit at the MWCC East Wing Gallery to mark the beginning of an art show featuring his new work.

“Primarily concerned with painting as process, my paintings seek to describe a perceptual process in and of themselves and become frameworks of potentiality rather than images or objects loaded with a specific meaning. Thinking of Painting in this way, as precursory to contextual specificity, I am afforded the ability to examine contemporary issues from a metaphysical vantage, one of openness, emptiness, and potential,” said Benoit in his artist statement.

Benoit is a painter and sculptor currently living and working in South Portland, Maine. After attending Mount Wachusett Community College and receiving his Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Maine College of Art, his interests in Eastern Psychologies led him west, where he studied Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Now back home in his native New England, Benoit concerns himself with reconciling his psycho-spiritual findings with the process of painting.

The show will run from October 11 to December 2 at the East Wing Gallery located at Mount Wachusett Community College’s Gardner campus. A reception for the exhibit will be held on Friday, Oct. 13 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. A gallery talk will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

MWCC Celebrates Manufacturing Day with Devens Student Tours

Andrew Whittenburg, Assistant Production Manager at Nypro Healthcare, gives a tour to Fitchburg High School STEM students as part of Manufacturing Day activities organized by Mount Wachusett Community College.

Mount Wachusett Community College celebrated Manufacturing Day on Friday by holding tours of its Devens campus and three area manufacturers for nearly 100 students.

As part of Manufacturing Day, students attended tours of MWCC’s Devens Campus, Nypro Healthcare, SMC Ltd., and WestRock. The students were from Shriver JobCorps and the Fitchburg Freshmen STEM program. The tours were designed to educate them on advanced manufacturing taking place in their own communities and opportunities that are available in the field.

MWCC’s Devens location contains a number of the college’s STEM courses and labs such as health sciences and manufacturing. The Devens campus has over $1.2 million in advanced manufacturing equipment, allowing the location to offer training that translates directly to business needs. Adult Basic Education courses, workforce courses, and a variety of noncredit courses are also offered at the Devens location. MWCC’s presence at Devens can be traced back to 1966, when Fort Devens was an active U.S. Army base and the college offered 16 courses at the site.

Students from Fitchburg High School tour the Nypro Healthcare location in Devens as part of tours organized by Mount Wachusett Community College for Manufacturing Day.

Devens is a 4,400-acre self-contained community that hosts world-class high-technology companies. Devens has a carefully planned environment where businesses and residents alike can draw strength from each other and prosper.

MWCC Veterinary Technician Chair Speaks in Favor of Education Bill

Certified Veterinary Technician and the Department Chair and Assistant Professor for the Veterinary Technology program at Mount Wachusett Community College Alexandra McNamara stands in front of the Massachusetts State House with Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association Vice President Betsy Hensley, Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association President Erin Spencer, and previous President of the Massachusetts Veterinary Technician Association Melissa Supernor after testifying before the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee in favor of a bill to establish licensure requirements for Veterinary Technicians in Massachusetts.

Earlier this week, Certified Veterinary Technician and the Department Chair and Assistant Professor for the Veterinary Technology program at Mount Wachusett Community College Alexandra McNamara traveled to the Massachusetts State House to speak in front of the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee in favor of a bill to establish licensure requirements for Veterinary Technicians in Massachusetts.

“Presently, in Massachusetts, any person can be named a veterinary technician, regardless of their education and background. Pet owners trust their pets’ lives are in capable hands, and most are completely unaware of the fact that the person working on their pet may have no prior experience with animals,” McNamara said in her written testimony to the committee.

House Bill 159 offers a chance for pet owners across Massachusetts to receive a level of protection for their pets that is higher than what is currently available, she told the committee on Tuesday. The Veterinary Technician is the registered nurse of the veterinary sciences. By requiring veterinary technicians to attend an American Veterinary Medical Association accredited program, and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam, pet and vet clinic owners can be confident technicians are providing top-notch care and practicing appropriate safety measures in doing so, McNamara said.

While the bill includes a grace period to allow current technicians to take the test without getting the degree, there would be more people looking to get their degree moving forward if the legislation passes. The schools of Massachusetts are ready to step up to meet the educational demand that would be created, according to McNamara.

“I am happy to report that the cost of a Veterinary Technician Associate’s degree is coming down considerably thanks to the efforts of higher education institutions and high schools across Massachusetts. At Mount Wachusett Community College, we are in the process of building an American Veterinary Medical Association accredited program, offering students an affordable option for an exceptional education,” she testified. “At just over $8,700 a year, the program offers the ability to be completed for tens of thousands of dollars less than a Veterinary Technician program at a private four-year college.”

Certified Veterinary Technician and the Department Chair and Assistant Professor for the Veterinary Technology program at Mount Wachusett Community College Alexandra McNamara signs her written testimony before appearing before the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee to speak in favor of a bill to establish licensure requirements for Veterinary Technicians in Massachusetts.

The college is also partnering with Chapter 74 technical high schools, such as Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, Worcester Technical High School, and Nashoba Technical High School, to create an educational pipeline for their Veterinary Assistant students into the Veterinary Technology program at MWCC. Passing this bill will ultimately benefit both private and community collegiate institutions by supplying more potential students to their programs, McNamara told the committee.

“House Bill 159 will build state revenue and eventually produce more opportunities for studying veterinary technicians,” McNamara said.

MWCC’s new program will begin in February at the college with a curriculum designed by McNamara. The two year Associate’s Degree program will allow students to gain all the knowledge they need to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam test. Students passing that test will be able to fill the important role of Veterinary Technician.

Secretary Rosalin Acosta Visits MWCC Devens Campus During Manufacturing Week

Mount Wachusett Commmunity College President James Vander Hooven (center) addresses a group of students during a visit from Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta at the college’s Devens campus.

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta joined Senior Vice President of Devens Thatcher Kezer III for a tour of Devens during Manufacturing Week that culminated in a discussion with local business leaders at MWCC’s Devens campus, which was facilitated by Mount Wachusett Community College President James Vander Hooven.

During the meeting, Acosta, Kezer and Vander Hooven discussed manufacturing opportunities and concerns with the gathered manufacturing and business leaders. Acosta talked about holistic approaches to ensure there is a pipeline from early education up to employment in the Commonwealth’s clean, modern manufacturing jobs. The Baker administration is currently working to assess and address the demands of the different regions of Massachusetts, she told the group.

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta addresses a group of business and manufacturing leaders at Mount Wachusett Community College’s Devens campus on Wednesday during an event organized by Senior Vice President of Devens Thatcher Kezer III (seated).

The tour of manufacturing facilities and discussion at MWCC’s campus was part of Manufacturing Week events at Devens. Additional events will include a tour of three Devens manufacturers on Friday, Oct. 6 by students from Fitchburg High School.

MWCC’s Devens location contains a number of the college’s STEM courses and labs such as health sciences and manufacturing. The Devens campus has over $1.2 million in advanced manufacturing equipment, allowing the location to offer training that translates directly to business needs. Adult Basic Education courses, workforce courses, and a variety of noncredit courses are also offered at the Devens location. MWCC’s presence at Devens can be traced back to 1966, when Fort Devens was an active U.S. Army base and the college offered 16 courses at the site.

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta addresses a group of business and manufacturing leaders at Mount Wachusett Community College’s Devens campus on Wednesday.

Devens is a 4,400-acre self-contained community that hosts world-class high-technology companies. Devens has a carefully planned environment where businesses and residents alike can draw strength from each other and prosper.

MWCC Senator Stephen M. Brewer Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement Re-Opens

Senator Stephen M. Brewer with MWCC Students
Senator Stephen M. Brewer (center) stands with (from left to right) Student Leaders in Civic Engagement Jake VanHillo and Laryssa Truesdale, Brewer Center Staff Assistant Julie Cronin, and Brewer Center Director Shelley Errington Nicholson.

Students, staff and faculty celebrated the newly remodeled Senator Stephen M. Brewer Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Mount Wachusett Community College’s Gardner campus.

“The improvements to the center create a more comfortable and collaborative work environment that will help facilitate the center’s ongoing service learning projects, new food pantry, and everyday assistance of students,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer Center for Civic Learning & Community Engagement Director Shelley Errington Nicholson. “Being so close to the newly opened Bemis Student Center will only improve our ability to serve students.”

The remodeled space, which includes new furniture and layout, was celebrated during an open house that took place on Tuesday. The Brewer Center was closed during the remodeling, which took place this summer. The project coincided with the building of the new Bemis Student Center.

The Center promotes positive social change and healthier, more vibrant communities through innovative programming and partnerships that benefit our community and Mount Wachusett Community College. The Brewer Center’s programs engage students, faculty, and staff with the community through service learning, volunteerism, internships and co-ops, and civic outreach. Mount Wachusett Community College students annually complete approximately 144,000 hours of experiential learning that has a $3.5 million economic impact.

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito Visits MWCC to Meet with Early College Students

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito Visit MWCC Early College StudentsLt. Governor Karyn Polito visited Mount Wachusett Community College’s Gardner campus Thursday to discuss early college programs with a math class of high school students taking college-level courses at MWCC.

“We want to create an environment where there are no barriers for any student in this Commonwealth to continue their education,” Lt. Gov. Polito told the students. “We need more programs like this to engage you, our future workforce, to want careers and to prepare yourself for careers within the STEM field.”

The classroom was made up of students in the college’s Gateway to College and Pathways Early College Innovation School programs. Through these two programs, students are able to accelerate the path of their education. Both programs allow students to earn free college credits toward an Associate degree or certificate while completing their high school degree.

That is what attracted Aria Flematti, of Orange, to the Pathways program, she told the Lt. Governor who was joined by Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke, Rep. Stephan Hay, Rep. Susannah Whipps, and Rep. Jonathan D. Zlotnik.

“If I could accelerate my learning and get a degree and do it all for free why would I not?” she said explaining that this offers a big savings on the overall cost of college.

Upon closing her visit with students, Lt. Gov. Polito said that she valued the time they had taken to talk with her about early college opportunities and how the administration can encourage more people to consider the option. The administration has been highlighting early college programs, she said, and the opportunities they offer for students to further their education.

MWCC Hosts Speaker Discussion on Gender Identity

MWCC Tea Time Speaker Series Keynote Speaker Laura Farnsworth
Mount Wachusett Community College Tea Time Speaker Series keynote speaker Laura Farnsworth leads the discussion “Gender Identity: Understanding Identity and Sexuality,” on Monday, Sept. 25.

Mount Wachusett Community College’s Tea Time Speaker Series held an interactive discussion and presentation titled “Gender Identity: Understanding Identity and Sexuality,” on Monday, Sept. 25.

“Your gender identity is your interpretation of who you are,” keynote speaker Laura Farnsworth told a room of over 150 students, faculty and staff. “You don’t need to be put in a box. In fact, I wish we’d get rid of all the boxes.”

Farnsworth is the program director for Safe Homes & Greater Worcester PFLAG with The Bridge of Central MA Inc. During her discussion, she addressed the ever-evolving issues of gender and identity. The discussion takes place at a time when understanding identity and sexuality can be challenging and the language extremely nuanced.

Learning which words or phrases are most accurate, respectful, and useful is an important goal for classroom and workplace interactions. The training examined key terms and concepts for understanding gender diversity, sexual orientation, and for communicating with students and colleagues.

The Tea Time Speaker Series fosters conversation among the college community and greater community on social and cultural issues and awareness. MWCC President James Vander Hooven said he was pleased to have these ongoing discussions at the college and that they aid him in his own journey of lifelong learning.

The next Tea Time discussion, which is open to the public, will be held on Monday, Oct. 30 from 12 to 2 p.m. That discussion is titled “White Privilege? Understanding Systems of Power.”