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MWCC Dental Programs 10 year celebration group photo

President Asquino, former Trustee Ellen Daly, outgoing Dental Education Programs Director Anne Malkasian and new chair Cynthia Cadoret are joined by students and alumni at the anniversary celebration.

Mount Wachusett Community College administrators, faculty, students and alumni joined representatives from North Central Massachusetts dental and medical community to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the college’s dental education programs. The event, held Jan. 22 at the programs’ new academic site, the Fitchburg Family Community Health Center, featured a reception, tours of the new facility, student presentations and refreshments.

President Daniel M. Asquino praised the college’s dental education programs as a model among the state’s community colleges for their clinical partnership with the Community Health Center to serve area residents who otherwise would not have access to dental care.

“There is no program like this, where students get the kind of exposure and experience they get at Mount Wachusett,” he said.

The college launched its dental hygiene program in 2005 following an outpouring of generosity from the dental community who saw a healthcare need and partnered with the college to address it, Asquino said. The part-time dental assisting program began in 2012. “It’s a model partnership where dentists and the dental community got some grants and we started the program for the community.”

To date, the programs have celebrated the academic success of 113 graduates. Alumni representing each graduating class from 2007 to 2014 attended the event, along with current students.

The event also recognized the decade-long leadership of Program Director Anne Malkasian, who is retiring.

“This evening we are celebrating a milestone for the dental education programs at Mount Wachusett Community College,” she said.

Malkasian thanked the numerous supporters who helped launch the program and ensure its continued success, including Ellen Daly, former chair of MWCC’s Board of Trustees. A retired dental hygienist, Daly was instrumental in starting the program. Daly, who attended the celebration, said she is delighted with the growth and continued success of the dental education programs.

“I may have planted a seed, but the work has been done by the college staff,” Daly said.

Professor Cynthia Cadoret, the new chair of the dental education programs department, announced the creation of the Dental Health Alumni Scholarship to benefit future students. Alumni, current students, college faculty and administrators, industry vendors and other supporters have contributed to the new scholarship. 

 

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 the Massachusetts, citing as example 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.

 

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.

 

Chad Stateler & Sandy TavaresWondering how close you are to earning a college degree? Mount Wachusett Community College is hosting a transcript evaluation day on Wednesday, Jan. 7 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Gardner campus Advising Center.

Past, current and prospective students who have taken credit courses at MWCC or at other private and public colleges and universities are invited to bring their transcripts and meet with an advisor to discuss completing an academic degree.

“This is a chance for students to make the most out of the work they have already accomplished, and accelerate their educational and career goals,” said Debra Boucher, MWCC Director of Student Success.

Advance registration is encouraged and can be done online at mwcc.edu/getcredit. The snow date is Monday, Jan. 12.

Archiect's Rendering: Visitor EntryAs we ring in 2015, we are also ushering the start of our Gardner campus transformation.

In preparation for construction of our new science building and improvements to the Haley Academic Center, contractors will remove ceiling tiles in designated locations in the basement and on the first, second and third floors during the holiday break. This will allow access to HVAC controls, plumbing, and mechanical and electrical systems, which will be replaced or upgraded as part of the overall project.

Regular college operations will continue throughout the project, though minor and temporary interruptions are necessary as we prepare to transform our campus.

The ceiling tiles being removed contain minimal amounts of asbestos and will be removed using strict containment and air monitoring procedures. For this reason, access to some offices will be unavailable.

Mount Wachusett Community College is taking every step to ensure a safe and healthy work and learning environment on campus. For the abatement work, the college has hired Environmental Compliance Services, Inc., a Massachusetts licensed asbestos abatement contractor that is also certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Abatement contractors follow strict rules (regulatory and contractual) and a third-party consultant is on site to document contractor compliance, including review of licensing and permitting prior to removal, pre-removal review of the regulated areas to document compliance, air sampling of critical barriers around regulated areas, safe work practice verification, final visual inspections and air testing upon project completion.

Once the tiles are removed, abatement work is completed. Most of the ceilings will remain open through summer 2015 to allow for continued access to the systems.

Check the NewsCenter regularly for updates as we begin this exciting time at MWCC.

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.