Faculty and Staff Stories

CJ

Charles “CJ” Husselbee, a first-generation college student, simultaneously earned his high school diploma and an academic certificate in accounting through MWCC’s Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation Career Tech Scholarship. He went on to earn an associate degree in Business Administration in 2014 a year ahead of schedule, and is now pursuing a bachelor’s in accounting at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Mount Wachusett Community College’s dual enrollment programs are showcased as innovative models in the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy’s second annual report, the Condition of Education in the Commonwealth. The report, released January 22 by the Cambridge-based research institute, examines areas of success and areas for continued improvement in student outcomes across the education pipeline, from birth to college and career success.

The report notes MWCC’s record of success and its potential to serve as a model for other communities across  Massachusetts, citing as examples the Gateway to College program for students at risk of dropping out, the Pathways Early College Innovation School, and the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation Career Tech Scholarship.

The second annual report includes a set of 25 data indicators representing critical student outcomes and, for the first time this year, an action guide that focuses on three areas where data indicate the need for further reform: setting a strong foundation in early childhood, attending to the whole child with comprehensive supports, and preparing college-ready students through innovative high school designs.

The action guide focuses on existing programs that could, if brought to scale, lead to substantial progress in educational outcomes for students. Mount Wachusett Community College was showcased as a model for policymakers and practitioners.

“The Condition of Education project offers a platform for constructive dialogue among stakeholders about the most effective strategies to promote student success,” said the center’s Executive Director Chad d’Entremont. “Through this report, the Rennie Center brings together thought leaders to develop a shared understanding, grounded in evidence, of the state of our educational system. We are excited to shine a light on the great work that Mount Wachusett is doing to contribute to positive outcomes for Massachusetts students.”

“Dual enrollment programs expand academic opportunities and open doors to higher education for teenagers,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “Our programs cover a wide spectrum – including programs that restore excitement in learning for students who feel disengaged from the traditional high school experience, to those that help students accelerate the pace of their studies to get an early start on their career goals. We are delighted to partner with the Rennie Center to share our best practices with communities across the commonwealth.”

The report was released during a forum on Jan. 22 in Boston. Speakers included Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser, Dr. Andrew Hargreaves of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and author of The Fourth Way: the Inspiring Future for Educational Change.

Building upon its successful Gateway to College program, MWCC partnered with the Mahar Regional School District to launch the Pathways Early College Innovation High School in. Students with a GPA of 3.0 enroll during their junior year and earn a high school diploma and an associate degree simultaneously. The program focuses on high-achieving students, and recruits a largely low-income, first-generation population that might not attend college without this opportunity. The Pathways school draws on a variety of public and private funds, including district school-choice funds, to remain sustainable.

In partnership with Winchendon Public Schools, high school students can opt into a one-year, full-time dual enrollment program that features career-oriented options, such as health care, information technology, accounting or computer science. Funded by the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation, this program lets students earn their high school diploma and an academic certificate simultaneously, which can be applied toward an associate degree. The Rennie Center report notes that these are popular choices for students who are eager to complete a two-year degree or a work-based certification and enter the workforce quickly. Students are provided with private foundation scholarships from the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation to cover the costs associated with coursework.

MWCC has also expanded on its college transition offerings in other ways as well, the report notes. As a solution to remediation, the college administers the Accuplacer math and English placement tests to all juniors in nine partner high schools. In addition, MWCC faculty collaborate with high school faculty to develop rigorous and targeted 12th grade math courses to prepare all students to enter directly into credit-bearing coursework upon graduation. Fitchburg High School, Leominster High School, Leominster High’s Center for Technical Education Innovation and Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School participate in this Math Modeling initiative, with a planned expansion to an additional two to three high schools in the 2015-16 school year.

The Rennie Center was launched in 2002 by then-Secretary of Education Paul Reville as a division of the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC). In 2005, the Rennie Center became an independent non-profit organization committed to addressing the critical challenges of reforming education in Massachusetts. For more information and to view the report, visit www.renniecenter.org.

 

FHS alumni event with MWCC 2015

Fitchburg High alumni with Principal Jeremy Roche, left, and MWCC Assistant GEAR UP Director Victor Rojas, right.

Recent graduates of Fitchburg, Athol, Ralph C. Mahar and Murdock high schools returned to their alma maters this month to offer tips to current high students on a wide range of topics, including the application process, coursework and study requirements, financial aid and dorm life.

The events were sponsored by MWCC’s Division of Access and Transition in partnership with the high school guidance departments. Many of the returning alumni are past participants of MWCC’s Educational Talent Search, GEAR UP, North Central Mass Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound Math and Science, and Robinson-Broadhurst Career Tech programs. The alumni are now pursuing a variety of academic programs at public and private colleges and universities.

Murdock alumni 2015

MurdockPrincipal Josh Romano, left, MWCC Access & Transition Aide Davis Brush, second from right, and Angele Goss, right, Director, North Central Mass Educational Talent Search/UBMS, with Murdock alumni.

The annual alumni breakfast event “is a great way for our graduates to give back to their school,” said Murdock Principal Josh Romano. “Many of our students are first generation college students, so Mount Wachusett’s Access and Transition programs help them greatly with the process of preparing for college success. The programs give us another way of guiding our students and showing them the options that are available.”

“I think it’s important for kids who are thinking about going to college to hear from people who have gone before them how important and how impactful college is on their lives,” said Mahar alum Jessica Gilmore, who now attends Brandeis University. “When their questions can be answered, it isn’t so scary of a process anymore because real people have done it before them.”

Mahar

Mahar alumni

High school students said they enjoy the annual event. “I learned that once you get to college it is no more playing games,” said Fitchburg senior Shakira Collazo. “It is real life and you have to be ready to work. It is either go hard or go home.”

Participating alumni include:

Fitchburg: Erica Sandrelli and Luis Jusino (Mount Wachusett Community College);Rubin Seyde (Boston University); Nina Thirakoune (Bentley University); Rachael Lanni, (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); Matti Phaneuf (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).

Athol High School alumni event

MWCC Access & Transition counselor Steven ringer, front row, left, Athol Principal Dr. Steven Meyer, and alumni.

Athol: James Hughes (MWCC and University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Alex Page (Bentley University); Kyle White, (Bentley University); Marissa Roberts (Green Mountain College); Rachel Karen (Westfield State University); Gloria Walters (UMass Amherst); Jennifer Holden (Framingham State University); Devin Belden (Bridgewater State University); Elizabeth Arpide (Emerson College).

Mahar: Troix Adams (University of Tampa); Kurtis Graeff and Derek Porter (Worcester PoIytechnic Institute); Jessica Gilmore (Brandeis University); and Dylan Robichaud (Lyndon State College).

Murdock: Charles C.J. Husselbee, (MWCC and UMass, Amherst); Tyler Perry, (UMass Amherst); Brittany Eliason, (Saint Anselm College); Katrina Williams, (Worcester State) James Maynard (Westfield State); Justin Smith, (Salem State); Robert Holly, University of New Mexico; Justin Harris (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) Alex Emerson (Syracuse University).

From Imagination to Truth

January 20, 2015

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January 5, 2015

From Imagination to Truth

By Michelle Valois

At a recent event at my community college, students shared projects that were the result of an interdisciplinary study of Henry David Thoreau. One first-year student read an essay that compared “The Ponds” from Walden to E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake.” Eloquent and insightful, the essay describes Thoreau as having “a healthy mixture of the analytical and creative.”

I looked around the room at colleagues—faculty, staff, and deans—with whom I have sat in long meetings for the past year trying to develop a new set of learning outcomes. What did we hope that students at our college would be able to do and know upon graduation? Seems to me, I thought, that this student was able to convey the heart of the matter—in eight words—everything our long-winded conversations and multiple-page presentations could not.

Still, it would be absurd to bring eight words to our state’s Board of Higher Education, even if we want to keep our outcomes succinct. We finally came up with: Students will, upon graduating, be able to analyze, communicate, research, engage, and create.

Too simple? Not to worry. Many pages have gone into explaining, describing, articulating, defending, decrying, defying, and artifactizing these five outcomes, especially the last—the nearly overlooked, the most controversial of them all: create.

In A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong writes that humans are “meaning-seeking creatures.” That idea is central to any discussion of the importance of creativity, at any level of education. A key component of Armstrong’s philosophy is that humans are capable of both logical thinking and what she calls mythical thinking. Later in her book, Armstrong writes that “Western modernity was the child of logos” and explains that since the rise of science and the Industrial Revolution, Western cultures have placed logical thinking over mythical thinking, relegating the latter to a minor role in meaning-making.

Armstrong argues that this prioritizing of reason over faith, head over heart, has been the cause of much modern malaise, anxiety, and unrest. But why? Surely mythical thinking must be false thinking because a myth, after all, is not true. Didn’t the likes of Newton, Galileo, and Darwin persuade us to stop relying on myths to explain the world?

A work of the imagination is inherently an untruth, yet it is one that reveals a truth. A painting, a poem, or a dance is trying to express something important about the human condition, a truth that is revealed through intuition and feeling. The creator engages in logical and analytical thinking, too, but the act of creation is fueled by our capacity to intuit knowledge and beauty, to imagine what is not and never has been through a faculty different from reason. The receiver of the work can analyze it—a logical endeavor. But art also engages the viewer/reader/listener in the act of making meaning, finding relevance—not only through analysis but by connecting emotionally with the meaning that the work helps us to make.

Hannah Arendt writes in The Life of the Mind: “To lose the appetite for meaning we call thinking and cease to ask unanswerable questions [would be to] lose not only the ability to produce those thought-things that we call works of art but also the capacity to ask all the answerable questions upon which every civilization is founded.”

Last year, my daughter and I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, a novel that reveals profound truths about human nature. But it’s all a lie. It never happened. How could it? The story is narrated by none other than Death himself. It’s like a myth: untruthful while revealing truth. For me, that truth has to do with ordinary people’s capacity for heroism, cowardice, and naïveté in the face of great evil and injustice. My daughter saw something else. She’s 13. She focused on the relationship between the protagonist Liesel and her best friend, Rudy. The novel allowed us each to make our own meaning.

What makes art different from science is that the scientific method relies on proof and evidence. Scientists and philosophers pursue knowledge to gain truth, to understand the truth of how things work and why they work as they do. While those pursuits do make meaning, they prioritize truth over meaning. A work of the imagination, while revealing truth, prioritizes meaning over truth.

In measuring and quantifying student learning, I fear that an outcome such as “create” will be co-opted by things like “creative problem solving” and “creative thinking,” both pieces of the same puzzle, but only small pieces. And those skills are so similar to analysis that to emphasize them too much is to shift focus away from what creation can do for students that analysis cannot.

Nurses, for example, use creative problem solving every day, and the training of nurses must emphasize that skill. But creativity encompasses much more because the problems that are often solved in creative problem solving—the thinking that is creative in the context of most disciplines outside the humanities—have a “right” or “best” answer. We want our students to be fluent in this skill, but don’t we also want them to engage in making meaning beyond solving problems?

Four years ago, I was on a semester-long medical leave to undergo a brutal treatment for a highly treatable cancer. The fact that I would recover was only small comfort during the worst of my treatment, in which I lost the ability to talk, swallow, drink, and eat. During that time, I received cards and emails, books and flowers, all welcome and precious. But the most profound gift I received came from my college’s nurse.

I had asked her in an email if I would heal, if my body would heal itself. I would heal, right? I was desperate for confirmation, and I thought that I wanted to hear something about cell reproduction and how many weeks or months it would take for the lining of my mouth to repair itself after radiation.

She sent me a poem by the 13th-century mystic Rumi, “The Guest House”: “This being human is a guest house,” the translation by Coleman Barks begins. “Every morning a new arrival.”

A metaphor is, by its very nature, a lie. Sometimes it’s a simple lie; sometimes not. I am not a house. But during my illness, the image of myself as a guest house was a lie that told a truth I needed to hear, a lie that helped me to endure pain and suffering by telling me that along with suffering, the house that I was would also be visited by other guests. The poem instructed me to “welcome and entertain them all! / Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows / who violently sweep [my] house, / empty of its furniture.”

Radiation and chemotherapy did not just sweep me clean; they stole much that spring. The biggest loss was connection with my children. Since I could not speak, and my youngest boys—4-year-old twins—could not yet read, we had a difficult time communicating. The poem, though, insisted that I “treat each guest honorably. / He may be clearing [me] out / for some new delight.”

The nurse had prescribed just the right medicine, but it didn’t come in a bottle or require a prescription. The healing offered was a lie, but it held in its invention a profound wisdom that my radiologist could not administer. Would the poem have shrunk my tumor? No. Did I not want a treatment plan guided by the latest in modern medicine, the result of careful study and years of research? Of course. I’ve heard it said that the arts and humanities are “nice to have” but not “need to have.” Four years ago, I needed a doctor who could treat my cancer with the most effective medical protocol available, but I also needed someone who understood the emotional aspects of healing.

Nurses and secretaries, computer programmers and auto mechanics, clerks and case workers, managers and accountants, dental hygienists and police officers are more than just highly trained practitioners of skills learned at the community colleges that produce our work force. They are human beings who are as befuddled and pained and lost and lovely and generous and confused as the rest of us—those of us who, as students, because of family wealth or an innate doggedness, were shown the gifts that are given through encounters with our own creativity and with the creative spirit of humans throughout time.

In early December, my students and I discussed the Langston Hughes poem “Night Funeral in Harlem,” published nearly 70 years ago, which I had put on the syllabus in August: “Who preached that / Black boy to his grave? … The street light / At his corner / Shined just like a tear— / That boy that they was mournin’ / Was so dear, so dear / To them folks that brought the flowers, / To that girl who paid the preacher man— / It was all their tears that made / That poor boy’s / Funeral grand.”

On that day, in college classrooms across America, my colleagues in criminal justice might have been discussing with their students police-community relations and the line between enforcement and brutality. A class in the paralegal program might be focusing attention on the recent Supreme Court rulings. A sociology class could be studying institutionalized racism; and a U.S. history class might be connecting our country’s history of lynching to the events in Ferguson and Staten Island.

But in my class, we look at poetry and art as ways to understand the world. To imagine another’s grief, to find meaning in the incomprehensible, to ask unanswerable questions, to learn about how people have coped with what Armstrong calls “the problematic human predicament”—these are not only valuable but necessary. The why and how of meaning-making have changed very little over time. No one would choose a treatment for a life-threatening illness that was used in 1949, but a poem published in 1949 might very well be the medicine to, if not heal us, then at least help us cope, nurture in ourselves and others compassion and tolerance, and, finally, offer some hope for our troubled world.

That freshman saw something profoundly relevant about Thoreau, whose observations of the flora and fauna around Concord and records of the water temperatures of Walden Pond have proved invaluable to climate scientists today. Thoreau was a citizen-scientist as well as a poet. His ideas, metaphors, and descriptions of the natural world, his call to live deliberately and simply and to stand up to injustice are hard to measure and quantify—but they continue to inspire us, to help us make meaning and to cope.

A healthy mixture of the analytical and creative. We need both.

Michelle Valois is a professor of English and chair of liberal arts and sciences and general studies at Mount Wachusett Community College.

 

 

Dental Hygiene pinning 2014 awards

Dental Education Programs Director Anne Malkasian with members of the 2014 graduating class.

Following extensive planning and support from the North Central Massachusetts dental community, Mount Wachusett Community College launched its dental education programs in 2005 in Fitchburg. To mark the 10 year anniversary and the programs’ recent relocation to the Fitchburg Family Community Health Center, MWCC invites area dentists, alumni and program supporters to a celebration on Thursday, Jan. 22 from 4:30 to 6:30 at the new program site.

MWCC’s full-time dental hygiene program and part-time, evening dental assistant program are housed within the Community Health Connections’ newly opened, $20 million Fitchburg Family Community Health Center, located at 326 Nichols Road and adjacent to the original site at Health Alliance Hospital, Burbank campus. The relocation continues a long-standing partnership between MWCC and CHC that enables students to work with dentists and patients.

The event will include a reception, tours of the new facility, student presentations and refreshments. The celebration also will mark the retirement of Program Director Anne Malkasian and appointment of the program’s new coordinator, Professor Cynthia Cadoret.

“Our dental education programs were created in collaboration with the dental and medical community to address a specific need for trained dental professionals in our region, as well as provide care for area residents who otherwise would not have access to dental care,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “We are delighted with the success of these programs, the success of our graduates and current students, and the success of this ongoing community partnership. Many in our community were involved with making this happen, and we look forward to celebrating this milestone with them.”

Reservations to the free event are requested and can be made by contacting Anne Malkasian at amalkasian@mwcc.mass.edu. In case of inclement weather, the snow date is Tuesday, Jan. 27.

 

 

 

Winners Photo

“The Trivial Pursuits,” winners of the first MWCC Alumni Association Quiz Night, from left, Karen Doherty, Shawn LaRoche, Joseph Stiso and John Doherty.

On Thursday evening, January 8, “Quizters” and spectators braved the arctic cold and made a spectacular showing at the Mount Wachusett Community College Alumni Association’s first annual “Quiz Night” event.

In a dynamic game of question and answer, teams tested their knowledge related to current topics and college-related trivia. Promoted as a fun and entertaining evening, the event proved to be just that. Teams were encouraged to give themselves humorous names and to come dressed in costume. Many did, adding to the amusing atmosphere. Complementing the levity of the evening was Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Mark Hawke, whose quick wit truly entertained the crowd. “I didn’t find the questions all that difficult, but then again I had the answers” Mayor Hawke commented. “What a fantastic night and a great way to raise funds for the MWCC Foundation.”

“This turned out to be a great way to raise much needed funds for student scholarships” said Carol Jacobson, Associate Director Alumni Relations at MWCC. “Being our first effort with this event, we are thrilled with the level of support and enthusiasm we received from members of the community and within the college. We’re already looking ahead to next year.”

Thomas Mutti from the Ronald M. Ansin Foundation participated as a member of the HealthAlliance Hospital team. “I can’t imagine a better night for a better cause” he said. “Fun was had by all and a day later I’m still laughing.”

The event netted nearly $3,000 and proceeds will fund student scholarships through the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation.

 

 

 

 

Survivor BGCFL benefit 2014

Participants in last year’s Survivor: The Musical benefit performance helped raise $50,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. On Friday, Jan. 23, prominent local leaders will take to the stage at MWCC’s Theatre at the Mount to support the club.

Twenty contestants, two tribes, but only one “Survivor.” Local celebrities will try to “out sing, out perform and out shine” the competition in Survivor, the Musical, an upcoming Theatre at the Mount production to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.Tickets are now on sale for the event, which will take place at Mount Wachusett Community College on Friday, Jan. 23. Following upon the success of last year’s event, MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino, BGCFL Executive Director Donata Martin and business and community leaders will appear as featured contestants.

Performers will compete in this take-off on the popular TV reality show. Singing, dancing, acting, puzzles, trivia, and the dreaded “tribal council” will provide a full evening of non-stop fun. Survivor, the Musical is conceived and hosted by Theatre at the Mount veteran Chris Casello.

“We are delighted to once again offer this fun evening of entertainment to benefit the children served by the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “Survivor the Musical, featuring well-known members of our community, promises to be an evening of exceptional entertainment for a worthy cause. Having received the support of this national organization as a child, I know first-hand that the opportunities and experiences are transformative.”

Since 2001, the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster has worked in youth development with young people ages 8 to 18 from many economic, social and family circumstances.

“We are grateful for the community’s generosity and ongoing support of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster and its many fine programs, and to Mount Wachusett Community College in particular for serving as our primary sponsor and host of this event,” said Justin Gelinas, president of the Club’s Board of Directors. “The collective efforts of individuals, corporations and organizations help us fulfill the Club’s mission of inspiring and enabling young people to realize their full potential.”

Tickets to the dinner and theatre performance are $100 per person, and tables of eight or 10 are available. For reservations and sponsorship opportunities, contact Patty Fields at 978-534-8358, ext. 17 or email pfields@bgcfl.org. Dinner and theatre tickets may also be purchased through MWCC by contacting Lois Cox at 978-630-9101 or lcox@mwcc.mass.edu. Dinner reservations are requested by Friday, Jan. 16. Tickets to attend only the performance are $20 and are available through the Theatre at the Mount box office at 978-630-9388 or online at www.mwcc.edu/tam.

 

Tom Matsuda and Sculpture I students fall 2014

Art Professor Thomas Matsuda, front right, with Sculpture I students near one of nine site specific installment pieces created this semester.

Proving once again the power of art outside the gallery, MWCC students wrapped up the fall semester by installing nine sculptures throughout the Gardner campus.

The project, new this year to Art Professor Tom Matsuda’s Sculpture I course, provided students with the opportunity to create site specific installment tailored to a particular location on campus. Earlier in the semester, the class created sculptures from nature that were located inside and outside the campus.

“It’s great to have an environment where we can share art with the student body,” said Kyle Johnson, president of the student art club. ““We’ve had such great response from the college, which really motivates us. It’s invaluable for the art program here,” said Johnson, who worked with classmate Amber Martinez to create a colorful, multi-piece cloth sculpture they installed in the Commons.

Other participating students include Heather Chadsey (sculpture located near theater box office); Julia Stokes (art wing); Alexander Singleton (Commons and art wing); Bethany Proctor (art wing); Samantha Rutkowski (art wing stairwell to basement); James Ham (art wing) Garret Watson (art wing stairwell to second floor); Isabela Bourque (Commons).

Practical Nursing Class of 2014

Thirty five graduates of MWCC’s Practical Nursing program, pictured with faculty members Kimberly Shea, Kathleen Panagiotes and Collene Thaxton, were welcomed into the nursing profession during a traditional pinning ceremony on Dec. 17.

Friends, relatives and members of the college community gathered December 17 to welcome 35 Practical Nursing graduates into the nursing profession during a traditional pinning ceremony.Each graduate, dressed in a traditional nurse uniform, was welcomed into the profession by having a nursing pin fastened to her or his lapel by a fellow nurse – a family member, friend or faculty member. MWCC’s eight-star pin is imprinted with the words “Service to Humanity and the World” with the nursing symbol in the middle.

Robert LaBonte, Vice President of Finance and Administration, congratulated the students on behalf of the college and President Daniel M. Asquino, and Eileen Costello, Dean of the School of Health Professions, Public Service Programs & Social Sciences, delivered greetings from the Nursing Department.

Faculty member Lisa Gendron delivered the keynote address, congratulating the graduates on their achievement and offering words of encouragement as they begin their nursing careers. “Your pinning ceremony is a celebration of all the sacrifices you have endured to be here this evening. So congratulate yourselves as we congratulate you all.”

Like many of the graduates, Gendron began her healthcare career as a nurse assistant, before becoming a licensed practical nurse and an registered nurse. An alumna of MWCC’s associate degree nursing program, she went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. Gendron encouraged the students to continue their education as lifelong learners.

“There are few investements that will yield as high an investment as education.”

Graduates Vanesa Sanchez and Monica Mbugua, delivered student addresses, and classmates Amy Lovern, Elizabeth Carville, Noella Vautour, Rebekah Thompson and Megan Rivard presented on the significance of the pinning ceremony and its traditions, including the lighting of the lamp and the Florence Nightingale Pledge.

Reflecting on the rigorous academic program, Mbugua said, “We are students of different ages, from different nationalities, with different life experiences, and we are here tongiht sharing the same stage because we’ve worked hard to be here.”

“We have experienced so much in one year,” said Sanchez, a class representative. “Some sad times, some happy times, and some amazing times that will help define us as nurses for the rest of our lives. We have witnessed new life enter the world, aided in the end of life care, and all the stages in between. In these moments I have watched my classmates grow. Our compassion is unmatchable, our perseverence is inspiring and our love for nursing is evident in everything we do.”

As part of the one-year academic program, the students trained with professionals at 23 clinical sites that partner with the college, including Athol Hospital; Clinton Hospital; Community Health Connections; DaVita Dialysis Center; Fitchburg Adult Day Health; Gardner Adult Day Health Centers; Gardner Rehabilitation & Nursing Center; Golden Living Center; Habit OPCO; Heywood Hospital MHU/GPU; Heywood Hospital Maternity Center; HealthAlliance, Leominster Birthing Center; Leominster Public School District; Life Care, the Highlands; Life Care, The Highlands Adult Day Health; Nashoba Nursing Service and Hospice; North Central Charter Essential School; North Quabbin Adult Day Health Center; St. Peter-Marian Jr.-Sr. High School; St. Vincent Hospital, Seven Hills Pediatric Center; Stetson School; and Worcester Recovery Center & Hospital.

 

Diversity Competition 2014

President Daniel M. Asquino, right, and Diversity Committee Co-Chair Carla Morrissey, left, congratulate the winners of this year’s President’s Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition, Gemini Walter, Shannen Pimental and Tonia Ciesluka. Not pictured, committee co-chair Maria Gariepy.

MWCC students Gemini Walter, Shannen Pimental and Tonia Ciesluka are the winners of the third annual President’s Commitment to Diversity Scholastic Competition. Each will receive a free, three-credit academic course for use during the spring or summer 2015 semesters.

Walter, a Human Services major, was selected for an essay focusing on interracial relationships and reflecting on how curent issues between Caucasions and African Americans stem from unresolved power struggles dating back to the Colonial era.

Ciesluka and Pimental were selected for sculptures depicting diversity. Ciesluka, a General Studies Allied Health major who plans to pursue a nursing degree, sculpted diverse figures that collectively spell out the word “Humanity.” Pimental, also a General Studies Allied Health major who plans to continue for a Physical Therapist Assistant degree, created a globe sculpture with seven clay figures representing diversity on the seven continents.

The annual scholastic competition, sponsored by the MWCC Diversity Committee, invites students to prepare papers, posters, essays, research work, or other original, creative work related to issues of diversity or identity, such as those involving disability, race, socioeconomic status, veteran status, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and national origin, as well as the value such diversity brings to the learning and working environment.