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MWCC Appoints Area Educators to New Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program

MWCC Workforce Diversity Pipeline appointments group photo
MWCC’s Workforce Diversity Pipeline team, from left, Heidi Wharton, Train Wu, Melissa Bourque-Silva and Shaunti Phillips.

Four area educators have been appointed to Mount Wachusett Community College’s Workforce Diversity Pipeline program, a new partnership with the Fitchburg and Leominster school districts funded through a five-year, $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.

The goal of the Workforce Diversity Pipeline program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged healthcare providers by creating a high school-to-college pipeline of students who plan to enter the healthcare field. The program will provide counseling, coaching, field trips, guest speakers, and dual enrollment courses to 120 high school students attending Fitchburg High School, Leominster High School and Leominster Center for Technical Education Innovation.

Melissa Bourque-Silva of Fitchburg has been appointed director of the Workforce Diversity Pipeline program. Since 2006, she has worked in partnership with area high schools throughout her employment with MWCC’s Division of Access & Transition, beginning as an academic counselor for the GEAR UP grant in the Fitchburg Public Schools. As a senior community outreach counselor and then as the director of dual enrollment contracts, she has had the opportunity to serve over 12 area high schools under the College Access Challenge Grant and the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program, developing dual enrollment opportunities for underrepresented youth. Bourque-Silva is also an English adjunct professor at MWCC.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, and a master’s degree in English from Fitchburg State University.

The program’s three newly appointed senior outreach specialists/career coaches are Shaunti Phillips of Fitchburg, Heidi Wharton of Harvard and Train Wu of Fitchburg.

Phillips joined MWCC in 2005, working as an academic counselor advising and mentoring middle and high school students through the college’s Division of Access & Transition. For the past three years, she has served as career vocational technical education transition counselor within the college’s Division of Academic Affairs. She previously worked as a mentoring specialist with LUK, Inc. in Fitchburg.

Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in school guidance counseling from Fitchburg State University.

Wharton most recently worked as an academic counselor in MWCC’s Rx program, a federal TRIO Student Support Services program for students pursuing healthcare majors. Prior to joining MWCC in 2012, she worked as a graduate intern in the office of International Education at Fitchburg State University.

She earned a master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Spanish from Capital University. She previously worked in England for 3 Com (UK) Ltd.

Wu has more than 15 years of experience working with diverse youth and students in the education and human services sectors. He earned a master’s degree in education, with a concentration in higher education, from Merrimack College, and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College.

He previously was a case manager for My Turn, Inc. in Fitchburg, a program instructor at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, and a youth development coordinator at LUK, Inc.