Mount Wachusett Community College ranked number four across the country in the Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings for 2-year colleges conducted by Military Times, an independent news and information source for service members and their families. MWCC, continuing its long-held commitment to veterans and their families, moved up two spots from its 2016 rank.

The eighth annual rankings factor in the results of Military Times’ comprehensive school-by-school survey of veteran and military student offerings and rates of academic achievement. More than 500 colleges took part in this year’s detailed survey.

MWCC launched its Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success in 2010 to address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs of veterans, military personnel and military families transitioning to college life. The dedicated veteran center offers computer access, free printing, student meeting and study space, and opportunities for veteran students to talk and connect with other like-minded individuals. Textbooks and laptops are loaned at no charge.

The Director of Veteran Services is a full-time advocate for veteran students. He educates the college staff and faculty on veteran challenges, counsels students and arranges for clinical meetings if necessary.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as a top military-friendly school. This reflects the positive, helpful attitude that students can expect from all departments of the college. We pride ourselves on being student friendly, so it is a natural extension for us to be military friendly as well,” said Robert B. Mayer, Director of Veterans Services at Mount Wachusett Community College.

Student veterans are active members of the campus community, participating in such clubs and organizations as the Veterans Group and Student Government Association.

“As a veteran myself, I am proud that Mount Wachusett Community College receives continuing recognition as one of the top colleges for veteran students,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “MWCC has served our region’s veterans for decades and will continue to do so into the future by providing them with a robust network of support both on campus and with key partner organizations.”

MWCC maintains community partnerships with 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.

Military Times’ annual Best for Vets: Colleges survey asks colleges and universities to meticulously document a tremendous array of services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties; and to describe many aspects of veteran culture on a campus. These institutions were evaluated in several categories, with university culture and academic outcomes bearing the most weight.
“We limit our list to encourage competition, and we genuinely hope this helps raise the bar for veterans on campus,” said Amanda Miller, editor of Best for Vets.

Military Times also factors in data from the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, as well as three Education Department sources: the IPEDS Data Center, College Scorecard data and the Cohort Default Rate Database.

The rankings appear online at, as well as,, and and in a special magazine issue of Military Times in mid-November. The release of this year’s list also marks Military Times’ inaugural declaration of the month of November as Veterans Month.

For more information about MWCC’s Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, please visit:
To view the full Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings and survey methodology go to:

The Mount Wachusett Community College East Wing Gallery will open two new art exhibitions by local artists Jesse Connor and Tracie Pouliot on October 17. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 4 from 4:30 to 7 PM and will feature talks by each artist as well as an opportunity to tour the gallery.

Artist Jesse Connor’s exhibition entitled “Far Reaches” includes large scale paintings that borrow from close observation of settings, houses or nature with unusual emotionally charged interpretations of color. Connor lives in western Massachusetts, teaches painting at MWCC and is an active, highly respected artist with many recent exhibitions across the state. He is a dedicated teacher and artist working in acrylic and oils.

Work from “Far Reaches” by Jesse Connor

Work from “Far Reaches” by Jesse Connor

Artist Tracie Pouliot’s exhibition entitled “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” is based on the lives of 14 workers in the last furniture manufacturer in Gardner. Pouliot is a local artist who opened a grant-funded community art center in Gardner to complete the book series project. She first took printmaking in the MWCC Teen Art summer program and fell in love with it. Pouliot then went on to get her bachelor’s degree in printmaking and a Master’s degree in Community Art /Public art before returning to the area as a new adjunct faculty member in the art department, teaching printmaking. Her exhibition was orchestrated in conjunction with a National Endowment for Humanities grant.

Work from “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” by Tracie Pouliot

Work from “Oral History Book Series: Chair City Community Workshop” by Tracie Pouliot

All are welcome to visit the gallery, attend the reception and participate in the free gallery talks. The East Wing Gallery, housed in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center on the Gardner Campus, is open Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 pm. The Gallery will be closed on November 11 in observance of Veterans Day.

Mount Wachusett Community College student and Worcester resident Jasson Alvarado Gomez was a featured speaker to nearly 300 high school seniors from North, Burncoat, and Doherty High Schools in Worcester on Wednesday October 12 at the Department of Higher Education’s GO HIGHER! event, a partnership with Massachusetts’ 29 public colleges and universities to raise awareness of the growing number of outstanding programs and opportunities available to students at our community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses.

Alvarado Gomez, an aspiring filmmaker studying Media Arts & Technology at MWCC, participated in a student-to-student panel discussion about choosing a college and a major, navigating campus life, and the challenges that undocumented students face. Alvarado Gomez impressed upon students that “there are plenty of financial and support services available to all students in the community college system. You just have to ask.”

At MWCC, Alvarado Gomez has served on the Student Government Association, as president of the ALANA Club, and on the Campus Activities Team for Students and SAGA organizations. He has served as a student ambassador and a volunteer for the United Way Day of Caring and the SGA annual food drive, and is a recipient of the Gateway Community Service Award. He is also an appointed member to the college’s Board of Trustees, following a spring election by his peers. Earlier this fall, the Worcester resident was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education as a full voting member representing all students attending the state’s 29 colleges and universities. Upon graduating from MWCC, Alvarado Gomez plans to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a Bachelor’s degree and begin a career in media arts.

According to Mount Wachusett Community College Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Management, Marcia Rosbury-Henne, the GO HIGHER! events celebrate the academic excellence and affordability of not only MWCC, but all public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth. “The financial advantages of attending a community colleges are often more obvious than the academic and social advantages,” according to Rosbury-Henne. “The GO HIGHER! events offer high school students an opportunity to hear firsthand from community college graduates that have transferred.” Rosbury-Henne continued, “And the student speakers today spoke of how their college experience has been enriched by attending two different institutions, as they experience two student bodies, two campuses, and for some even two different geographic regions in the Commonwealth.”

Immediately following the student panel session, all Worcester high school students in attendance had the opportunity to meet Mount Wachusett Community College faculty and staff at a college fair in the North High gymnasium to learn more about academic program offerings, the admission process and financial aid at the Commonwealth’s community colleges.

Mount Wachusett Community College’s third annual STEM Starter Academy came to a close on Thursday, Aug. 18, following a seven-week schedule that provided two free academic courses with textbooks, academic support, and a stipend for participants.

More than 30 students from throughout the region enrolled in one or two courses such as a four-

PHOTO: Stem Starter Academy students enrolled in Mount Wachusett Community College’s summer biology course Life Science for Allied Health, with Dean Janice Barney and Assistant Dean Veronica Guay, checked out the new science classrooms nearing completion at the Gardner campus.

Stem Starter Academy students enrolled in Mount Wachusett Community College’s summer biology course Life Science for Allied Health, with Dean Janice Barney and Assistant Dean Veronica Guay, checked out the new science classrooms nearing completion at the Gardner campus.

credit lab science and one general elective. In addition to earning up to seven free credits toward their STEM Pathway, the students toured the college’s new science, technology, engineering and mathematics building, received presentations on STEM careers, and explored MWCC’s transfer opportunities for its graduates.

“We are excited to complete our third annual summer program for local learners pursuing a degree in STEM fields,” said Veronica Guay, Assistant Dean of the School of Business, Science, Technology and Mathematics. “This summer’s Academy was outstanding. We nearly doubled the number of participants who attended in 2015 as the word is spreading about this amazing opportunity. Students have increased confidence in the areas of time management, study skills and ability to access to the college’s numerous student services. Some of the greatest areas of growth for the students include their interactions with college faculty, the willingness to access academic tutoring, and to assist one another and establish study groups. We are already looking forward to welcoming the summer 2017 STEM Starter Academy students!”

Funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the STEM Starter Academy is open to high school graduates or qualifying MWCC students who place into college-level English and math courses and are enrolling in one of MWCC’s STEM majors in the fall.

Qualifying MWCC STEM majors include analytical lab and quality systems, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, computer information systems, exercise and sports science, fire science technology, graphic and interactive design, interdisciplinary studies-allied health, medical laboratory technology, natural resources, physics, pre-engineering, and pre-pharmacy.

Courses offered during the summer academy included intermediate algebra, introduction to functions and modeling, life sciences for allied health, chemistry, statistics and introduction to psychology. In addition to the coursework, the students will also participate in MWCC’s Summer Leadership Academy on Aug. 23 and 24.

“Our students have had an outstanding summer and are ready to continue their studies this fall with two courses already under their belt,” said Christine Davis, MWCC’s STEM Starter Academy recruiter. Students from approximately a dozen area towns enrolled in the rigorous program, and tackled classes in an accelerated format that will prepare them for their careers, she said.

Many of the academy students are also recipients of STEM SET scholarships at MWCC. These awards of up to $3,500 per year are available to qualifying STEM majors through a grant the college received from the National Science Foundation.

In another MWCC STEM program supported by the DHE this summer, nearly 40 high school seniors participated in a four-credit introduction to physical science course and toured the college’s new science and technology building that is nearing completion.

For more information, contact MWCC’s admission’s office at 978-630-9110 or

Dr. Vincent Ialenti, Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, and Math Professor Ken Takvorian were recognized for 45 years of service by President Asquino and the college community during the 21st annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony.

Dr. Vincent Ialenti, Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, and Math Professor Ken Takvorian were recognized for 45 years of service by President Asquino and the college community during the 21st annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony.

President Daniel M. Asquino and the Division of Human Resources and Payroll honored employees who reached the milestone years of service with the college during the 21st annual Employee Service Awards Ceremony on May 2.

Collectively, the recipients represent 625 years of service to MWCC students and the college community.

Vincent Ialenti and Professor Ken Takvorian were recognized for 45 years of service to MWCC. Donald Knower and Mary Plummer were recognized for 35 years of service, and Kathleen Suchocki was recognized for 30 years of service.

Rosanne Morel, Patricia Sabulis and Madhu Sharma were recognized for 25 years of service, and Denise Bolduc, Susan LaBonte, William Land, Jr., Ann Marshall, Kathleen Mcginn, Jo Ann Meagher, and Jacqueline Shakar were recognized for 20 years of service.

Employees recognized for 15 years: Eleanor Gauthier, Constance Helstowski, Deborah Holland, Angela Lunn-Marcustre, Joyce Maynard, Paul Swerzenski and Tina Wilson.

Employees recognized for 10 years: Charity Cooley, Peggy Dow, Dawn Fontaine, Andrew Goodwin, Amy Kendrick, Heather Layton, William Lefrancois, Thomas Matsuda, Kathleen Panagiotes, Ellen Pratt and Collene Thaxton.

Employees recognized for five years of service include: John Femino, Michelle Goderre, Festus Kiprono, Danielle LaPlante, John Little, Tammi Lloyd, Mary Maga, Sarah McMaster, Shelley Errington Nicholson, Raeanne O’Sullivan, Marcia Rosbury-Henne, Daniel St. Onge and Paul Valila.

MWCC has again earned a top spot among veteran-friendly colleges by Military Times.

Mount Wachusett Community College has earned national recognition for its support for veterans from several military-focused organizations over the past several years. On Veterans Day, Military Times again named MWCC to its Best for Vets: Colleges 2014 rankings.

Best for Vets provides service men and women a gauge by which to judge whether a school or degree program will truly benefit them. The rankings factored in service member enrollment, percentage of tuition covered by the GI Bill, and availability of specific programs to help service members. The organization placed a new emphasis on academic rigor this year when conducting and scoring the fourth annual Best for Vets: Colleges survey, a 150-question analysis of a school’s complete offerings for veterans.

MWCC was ranked fourth nationally for two-year schools. The full rankings include 120 four-year, two-year, online and nontraditional schools. The top schools in each category are being showcased in the November issue of Military Times EDGE magazine, the premier publication for military transition, and affiliated Gannet Company publications and websites, including USA Today and the newsweeklies Military Times, Army Times, Navy Times. Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times.

“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. “In recent years, we have enhanced our services through our 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 of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, initially established in 2010 through a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, has helped MWCC create a culture of positive energy and enthusiasm for its military students, said Director Kristine Larkin. The center was 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 and a hub of activity on campus. Support services address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs to veterans transitioning to college life.

Collaborating with nonprofit community partners and building strong relationships with student veterans are contributing to the center’s success in serving students, Larkin 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 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 Broadcasting & Electronic Media studentWilfred Momo and classmates created a concert video and DVD featuring singer-songwriter Kellianna.

If you missed the free Kellianna concert at Mount Wachusett Community College as part of the college’s 50th anniversary events, you can soon see what you missed on local cable access TV.

Kellianna, an internationally recognized singer songwriter of Celtic myth and magic, is originally from Westminster. She graciously accepted an invitation from MWCC to present a full concert in the college’s theater in March, which allowed students in Audio Engineering and Video Recording to practice their craft.  As part of their course work, students recorded the concert and later edited the video and mixed the sound to create both a full concert DVD and a half hour television program. The DVD is enjoying international distribution to Kellianna’s fan base and the TV show has been released to local cable stations and others throughout the United States.

The aesthetic of the concert would not have been possible without the donated help of Jeff Boisseau, Technical Theater Director for Theatre at the Mount. All faculty, students and staff, who participated in the presentation and recording of the concert, donated their time to the event. Six video cameras and two multi-track recording systems captured the show.

Though the concert was recorded in the theater, several weeks of subsequent student training in the media facilities yielded the final videos. The DVD and TV show are also the first productions to come out of MWCC’s newly completed recording studio. The most intricate of the Mount’s five sound studios, it is being utilized by Broadcasting & Electronic Media students concentrating in Audio Engineering.

A three-year project to create the studio began in 2009 when MWCC acquired a Yamaha PM 4000 large format analog mixing console from Comcast SportsNet New England, in Burlington. Acoustical engineering and architecture for the new studio was commissioned to Lou Clark of Sonic-Space, in Portsmouth, NH, and construction is credited to MWCC’s facilities department. The room has custom made equipment racks by Dave Ruthardt of The Woodesign Company in Medway and is designed to serve as a recording/mixing facility as well as a teaching/learning space as recommended by MWCC faculty.

A major part of the system design of this new studio is state-of-the-art functionality for mixing audio with motion pictures.  It is now one of only a few college sound mixing rooms in the country that can marry sound and high definition video together to such a capacity.  Connecting the room’s equipment together took hundreds of man hours by MWCC’s media specialists Chris Chouinard, and Ben Mertzic.  It is estimated that if separated and connected end to end, the amount of wire used to connect this system together would reach five miles in length.

This recent production and other musical performances previously recorded at the college, including  “The Oakmont Jazz Band,” “The Fine Tuners” and Scott Beddia’s “IndepenDrum,” give media students experience creating content in a way that is rare to most colleges. MWCC is fortunate to have the facilities, equipment, faculty and staff to offer experiences of production equal to current professional standards of music on television.  This concert was recorded live with no opportunity for second takes.

MWCC’s newest recording studio is the latest upgrade to the college’s media facilities, which are constantly maintained and updated to meet industry standards and curriculum advancements. In the summer of 2011, a renovation to convert the college’s video training facilities to high definition yielded a new control room system, editing systems and video cameras.  Four existing audio studios have undergone regular updates and improvements, and the creation of a sixth audio studio is under way. It will feature an all-digital audio recording/mix room with a digital mixing console and digital connectivity to all performance areas including the college’s theater.

MWCC’s Broadcasting & Electronic Media degree offers concentrations in Audio Engineering, Video/Film Production and Photography.  The department is planning the next musical production for students to capture.

– John Little

Assistant Professor John Little teaches audio engineering at MWCC and is the owner and operator of the award-winning, full-service recording studio Up-Side-Sound in Ashburnham.

MWCC has received a four-year, $317,388 federal grant to continue its Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which provide childcare subsidies and other support services to eligible students.

The grant, part of $9.2 million allocated in September by the U.S. Department of Education, was awarded to 58 postsecondary institutions in 28 states to establish or support campus-based child care services.

The grant program assists students with reliable child care needs so they can remain focused on their studies, said MWCC CCAMPIS Coordinator Deirdre Moran said. Established at MWCC in 2009, it is the only CCAMPIS program funded in Massachusetts.

“Child care costs are approaching $200 a week for many parents and CCAMPIS can help with those expenses. That’s a huge savings for our students,” Moran said.

The CCAMPIS program at MWCC provides childcare subsidies to eligible students who are enrolled part-time or full-time at MWCC’s Gardner, Leominster or Devens campuses. Participating students can select from more than 100 pre-approved childcare providers, all of which fall within a 15-mile radius of one of the three campuses. Other services provided to participants include academic advising, regular monitoring of academic progress, career counseling, employment information, and referrals to community support services.

Awards can be used for child care services for all age groups: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, as well as before and after-school care for school-age children. Students eligible to receive services for their children through CCAMPIS must be eligible for Pell grants, which are awarded based on financial need.

Approximately 100 members of the North Central Massachusetts business community joined Mount Wachusett Community College to celebrate the second annual National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 4 and the opening of the Manufacturing Workforce Certification Center at the college’s Devens campus.

Mount Wachusett Community College hosted an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at its Devens campus during the second annual National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 4 Pictured, from left Nashoba Valley President and CEO Melissa Fetterhoff, MWCC Devens campus director Julie Crowley, MWCC workforce development staff Bill Blais, John Henshaw, and Vice President Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC President Daniel Asquino, Liz Penney, director of member services and programs for the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, and Kerrie Griffin of MWCC.

The open house, also sponsored by Mass Development, Amp it Up, and the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, also included exhibitions and displays as well as a presentation by Dr. John R. Mullin, associate director of the Center for Economic Development at UMass Amherst, sponsored by the North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council in partnership with the Manufacturing CEO Roundtable.

The development of the center has been made possible through the Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through its TAACCCT program. The center provides industry-recognized assessments to companies looking to evaluate current and potential staff in the areas of mechanical, electrical and programmable logic circuitry skills. Other assessments including the nationally recognized WorkKeys program are available to employers. Curriculum designed to meet specific incumbent worker training needs is also available, as is the ability to work with companies to develop grant proposals for training through the state Workforce Training Fund.

In addition, the center provides space and tools to provide hands-on experience to participants seeking skills recognized by industry as critical to their success, as well as a venue for industry meetings and workshops and a resource to the region.

New short-term training programs that lead to industry credentials including OSHA certification and the National Career Readiness Certification were recently added to the Devens campus offerings. Applications for a new training session beginning this month are now being accepted.

The need for more advanced training in the area of analytical testing and quality control and assurance has been recognized by a recently announced award from the National Science Foundation to Mount Wachusett that will enable the college to develop programming that will lead to a new credit degree in Analytical and Quality Technology.