Two Recent MCC Events Celebrate Diversity & Inclusivity 11/23/202211/23/2022 9:55 AM
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Middlesex Community College hosted two events for international students to gather and share their experiences of pursuing higher education in Massachusetts. The events were an opportunity to bring the MCC community together outside of the classroom, while celebrating the numerous and diverse cultures that make up Middlesex.

“Our diverse, talented and hard-working students are the biggest part of what makes MCC so special and our community so strong,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “We are grateful to once again be able to gather in person and offer a safe space for our students to share a meal, reflect on their cultures, and celebrate the different backgrounds and experiences every individual brings to the college community. I enjoyed both opportunities to visit with students and hear more about their stories at MCC and beyond.”

Every year, MCC’s Office of Multicultural and International Affairs hosts a dinner for international students to learn about the American Thanksgiving Dinner tradition and share a meal with each other.

“The students did a fantastic job,” said Noreen McGinness Olson, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Student Success. “The event was different from previous years in that the table was set up as a long family style meal, which created a more intimate feeling similar to what someone would have at home.”

This year’s celebration was run by Vanessa Heinen, from Brazil, and Scarlet Ly, from Cambodia. Those in attendance had the chance to try new foods and make new connections.

“Vanessa and I planned the event and we wanted to get all the international students connected with each other,” Ly said. “They are mostly in class and then they go home. Our plan was for them to get to know someone and then get them involved on campus.”

“It was a really good social event for international students,” said Ritta Kuong, from Cambodia. “I was able to connect to other people in the same situation as I am in. I enjoyed the food, and I never had turkey before and really enjoyed it. However, I loved the mashed potatoes the most!”

The African Cultural, Asian Students in Alliance (ASIA), and Latinos Unidos Clubs, also held a potluck celebration for the International Club in celebration of the diversity and inclusivity of student clubs at MCC. More than 50 students and employees came together to share dishes representative of their cultures and to celebrate a number of different countries and traditions.

“Great cultural food, music and dance – all this was represented at the successful potluck event hosted by the African Cultural Club in collaboration with Latinos Unidos and ASIA,” said Juliet Ndegwa, an MCC student. “Students from the affinity groups brought appetizing foods and drinks from their various cultures, and shared the recipes and heritage behind their dishes. It was a wonderful space where students were able to network and feel the sense of community amongst each other. I cannot wait for future events.”
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MCC Recognized as a 2022 ALL IN Most Engaged Campuses for College Student Voting11/22/202211/23/2022 9:53 AM
Middlesex Community College is one of 394 college students recognized for its efforts to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement in the 2022 election.

(Washington, DC) Middlesex Community College has been recognized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) as a 2022 ALL IN Most Engaged Campuses for College Student Voting. The ALL IN Most Engaged Campuses for College Student Voting recognizes colleges and universities for making efforts to increase student voter participation. Middlesex joins a group of 394 colleges and universities recognized by ALL IN for completing these four actions:
  • Participate in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge
  • Shared 2020 NSLVE Reports with campus voting data with ALL IN
  • Developed and submitted a 2022 democratic engagement action plan with ALL IN
  • Have a current signatory to ALL IN’s Higher Education Presidents’ Commitment to Full Student Voter Participation
“I am very proud of Middlesex for receiving this honor,” said Kelly Bowes, MCC’s Coordinator of Civic & Service-Learning. “The award recognizes what I have been seeing all along, that ensuring that our students are active, informed participants of our democracy is not just the responsibility of my office, but that everyone at MCC – President Phil Sisson, our faculty and staff, and our students – are committed to the cause. I am especially proud of our students, including Student Government Association and MASSPIRG, who do so much work to ensure that their peers are ready to use their voices to be the change they want to see.”

“College student voter turnout has increased since 2016, and this increase has been driven by students. The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is excited to expand our ALL IN Student Voting Honor Roll to recognize these student voting champions across the country,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, Executive Director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “These students registered voters, served on their campus voting coalitions, spearheaded voter education efforts, advocated for campus polling locations and organized other voter engagement efforts to ensure their peers were confident and informed voters. We are excited to see what they continue to accomplish ahead of the 2022 midterms.”

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge empowers colleges and universities to achieve excellence in nonpartisan student democratic engagement. Campuses that join the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge complete a set of action items, with the support of ALL IN Challenge staff, to institutionalize nonpartisan civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation on their campus. The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge currently engages over 9 million students from more than 950 institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Campuses can join the ALL IN Challenge: https://allinchallenge.org/join

ABOUT ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge:

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) is a national nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organization. The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge strives to change civic culture and institutionalize democratic engagement activities and programs on college campuses, making voter participation a defining feature of campus life.

ALL IN, in collaboration with over 960 higher education institutions, seeks to make participation in local, state, and federal elections a social norm; substantially increase the number of college students who are democratically engaged on an ongoing basis, during and between elections, and not just at the polls, and; make educating for democratic engagement on college campuses an accepted and expected part of the culture and curriculum so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and values needed to be an informed and active citizen.

With MCC, students of all experiences, backgrounds and needs can access options, resources and support that set them up for success from day one. By starting at MCC, students save thousands on tuition costs, complete general requirements that transfer to four-year schools, and learn skills that make them competitive in the job market. Offering an immersive community experience on-campus, online and in a hybrid format – and 70+ degree and certificate options – MCC provides flexible and accelerated courses that fit into students’ busy lives. In removing barriers that often prevent students from pursuing higher education, MCC makes attending college more affordable and equitable. With MCC, education is possible!
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MCC Culinary Student Spent Summer Interning at U.S. Golf Open11/17/202211/23/2022 9:52 AM
Nelly Martin spent her summer interning at the U.S. Golf Open. The Middlesex Community College Culinary Arts student, who lives in Dracut, was inspired to follow her childhood dream of pursuing a culinary career because of the pandemic. Middlesex helped make that possible by equipping her with valuable knowledge and skills and connecting her to the internship.

“It’s true what they say – there’s no substitute for experience,” Martin said. “I was told the hospitality field was brutal, long hours, hard work, incredibly rewarding – I got to experience all that. That was so affirming that what I’m doing in a classroom translates into real life so well.”

During her internship, Martin worked as a prep cook at a concession stand. Her job consisted of helping prep, grill and work the fryer. She also had to check that the food was safe to eat at the right temperature and wrapped up properly.

Having learned how to dress for the job in her classes, Martin opted to wear a chef’s jacket for the internship. She believes her teammates and supervisor respected the choice, leading to more networking opportunities. Her classes also taught her important food prep skills, such as having a meat thermometer on her at all times, which helped her pass a surprise health inspection.

“Food and Beverage management classes prepared me to not only understand what my boss wanted, but to anticipate it,” Martin said. “We got along so well, at the end, he gave me his apron and thermometer as a token of respect. Also, I now kind of have a standing job offer at the Convention Center in Washington, D.C.”

Martin learned of the opportunity from Middlesex Program Coordinator Kimberly Morrissey who sends students many internship, job and workshop listings. Interested in the catering side of the industry, Martin decided to apply after attending an alumni talk on career advice.

Completing the internship showed Martin she was on the right track. The hands-on opportunities and classes combined to offer an experience “packed with useful information.” Being able to take online, in-person and hybrid courses also made getting an education more accessible.

“My education is preparing me to see the bigger picture,” she said. “That will result in a much better upward mobility in the industry.”

By being in the process of finishing the certificate program, Martin was already able to secure her first job in the industry. In the future, she looks forward to exploring her career options and is grateful to Middlesex for its affordability and access to opportunities. The time and money she saved being able to dive right into the industry “is paying off already.”

“MCC had a program that would give me the most for my money – a culinary certificate that would give me the basics in both cooking and business, and in only nine classes,” Martin said. “That’s a value that’s hard to beat, and I looked around. Going to MCC was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
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Veteran Student Credits Middlesex CC For Being His Starting Point11/10/202211/23/2022 9:52 AM
From Braintree and now living in Lowell, Kevin Murphy is a United States Marine Corps veteran who spent two years in Afghanistan. To help him discover what he was capable of after serving, Murphy decided to go back to school. At Middlesex Community College, the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) helped set him up for success from day one.

“MCC has helped me understand who I am, what I want to do in life, and how to get there – providing not only classes needed to get a degree, but also introductions to different lifestyles and topics that have made me think outside the box,” Murphy said. “This includes values I have learned here, which I will carry with me my entire life.”

Murphy decided to reach out to Middlesex because he would drive by the college’s Bedford campus on his way to work. At first, the process of figuring out how to use his GI benefits and apply to school felt stressful. Staff at the VRC – including director Jessica Frost – walked him through the steps of applying for the college and taking advantage of his benefits.

“Jessica Frost is one of the most excellent and thoughtful people I have met, which made signing up for college and getting through the semester much more accessible,” Murphy said. “Her understanding of veterans and how it is for them to return to college is a skill you don’t see much of in the world.”

Led by Frost, the VRC offers access to advising services and resources, as well as holds special events for veteran and military-connected students to network with each other and the MCC community. On Wednesday, November 2, the virtual Veterans Day event “Surviving Trauma” featured combat veteran Jeanette Garcia, a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault and war. Garcia shared her story of trauma and healing in the hopes of empowering others to talk about their own experiences.

The VRC also guided Murphy in transitioning from a History, Politics and Global Studies major to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Working with a Veterans Readiness and Employment advisor helped Murphy get a better sense of what he wanted to pursue for a career long-term. In the Spring 2023 semester, he looks forward to taking more classes for his new major as a full-time student.

As he continues his studies, Murphy keeps busy on campus. In addition to working at the VRC as a student employee a few times a week, he is looking to get the Veterans Club started after the pandemic put activities on hold for a few semesters. After graduating from MCC, he hopes to transfer to a four-year institution. He credits Middlesex for being his starting point.

“Coming up this winter will mark the year that I have attended this college, and since the beginning, I could not see myself doing this well in school or how it has affected my life outside of school, including the pride I have and my values of who I am as a person,” he said. “Leaving the Marines, I did not see myself where I am today – not because of where I am financially or what I have, but because I am happy where I am going to college today.”
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MCC Is a Leader of Professional Development & Personal Enrichment11/8/202211/23/2022 9:52 AM
Middlesex Community College makes upgrading careers quick and easy with a wide selection of professional development and personal enrichment programming. Registration for MCC’s Community Education and Training (CET) Spring 2023 courses and certificates is now open.

“As a leader of workforce education, our training courses meet the immediate needs of local employers and provide employees with education for career growth and opportunities,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development and Innovation. “MCC’s CET helps individuals advance in their careers, start on new paths, and enrich their lives with new experiences. Every course is designed to develop the knowledge, skills and certifications individuals need to fill in-demand roles and strengthen the workforce of the Commonwealth.”

Courses are offered in a variety of subjects that allow employees to develop or update professional skills, including Healthcare, Computer Applications and Information Technology (IT), and Management.

MCC’s Healthcare courses prepare students to sit for certification exams and enter the workforce in entry level roles with hands-on practice and training. Options include Pharmacy Technician, Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aid, Phlebotomy for Healthcare Professionals, Nutrition Considerations for Oral Health, Medical Terminology for Everyone, Dental Office Administration and Recovery Coach.

Students looking to update their computer and IT skills can engage in a suite of computer application courses that includes Google IT, Cloud Associate, Artificial Intelligence for Business, FAA Remote Pilot Certification, Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.

For students looking to grow into a management role, Middlesex courses highlight knowledge of key concepts that are adaptable for students to work in management in a wide range of industries. The certificate programs include the Nonprofit Management Certificate and the SHRM Essentials for Human Resources and Certification Exam Prep, Customer Service, and Accounting/Bookkeeping Fundamentals.

Middlesex offers self-paced test preparation for education students sitting for the MTELs and MCC Nursing and Allied Health students taking TEAS Exams. Students can also enroll in courses to add diverse skills to their resume, from an FAA Remote Pilot Certification to floral and interior design, cooking, art and more.

“Education is one of the best ways to improve lives and careers,” Nahabedian said. “Whatever stage you are in, MCC has options to fit your needs.”
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Middlesex CC Students Awarded at Fall 2022 Scholarship Ceremony11/2/202211/23/2022 9:52 AM
At the Fall 2022 Fall Scholarship Ceremony, 62 Middlesex Community College students received financial awards to help them continue their goals of pursuing an education. Scholarships are led by the Middlesex Community College Foundation and funded by generous donors, including memorial donations, local businesses, private foundations and private donors.

“The MCC Foundation is humbled to work with generous community partners who support our students whole-heartedly,” said Sherri McCormack, MCC’s Dean of College Advancement. “At the recent MCC Foundation annual scholarship ceremony, many deserving students were awarded financial assistance to continue their academic and life journeys.”

The special event was hosted on the college’s Bedford campus on Tuesday, October 18. A total of $127,500 was awarded to student scholars from 27 different cities and towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The 69 different scholarships ranged from $500 to $8,000.

“We had an exceptional list of scholarship recipients for the Fall 2022 award cycle,” said Barbara Maglio-Donovan, MCC’s Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving. “Many of these students would not have the opportunity to attend college without a scholarship.”

Richard Ma and Daniel Chin created the Sarem Neou Cambodian American Scholarship in recognition of Sarem Neou, a French teacher, government scholarship recipient, radio announcer, and participant in the UN backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal. They wanted to honor Neou’s contributions to the Cambodian American community and the value she placed on education.

“Daniel and I had discussed many different ways to give back to the community before we settled on a scholarship through MCC,” Ma said. “We wanted to focus on fostering education while supporting underserved communities and the MCC scholarship program gave us that pathway. We look forward to the future success of our scholarship recipients and creating more opportunities in the years to come.”

MCC Business Administration student Kimeang Chhay, from Cambodia and now living in Dracut, was this year’s recipient of the Sarem Neou Cambodian American Scholarship.

“As a Cambodian first-generation student in my family to attend college, this scholarship really means a lot to me,” Chhay said. “Additionally, I consider this scholarship extra special because it is a Cambodian scholarship. This scholarship feels like a reward for all the hard work I have done throughout my time at Middlesex, and the money will help me pursue my higher education to a four-year university.”

MCC Biotechnology student Varshil Patel, from India, was a recipient of the Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship.

“It is a blessing for me to get a scholarship and not have to worry about finances, so I can focus on my studies,” Patel said. “It helps my family so I can save money for future use.”

The 2022-2023 scholarship recipients include:
  • Jezebel Abreu – Juniper Scholars Scholarship Pilot Program
  • Gloitchelle Alisma – Robert Luddy Scholarship
  • Haley Altenweg – Ralph & Loretta Steeves Scholarship
  • Isabella Angelucci – New England Woodcarvers (NEWC) Scholarship
  • Lexi Balevre – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Shannon Barber – Collegiate TRIO Programs Scholarship
  • Mayza Barros Gordon – James and Dorothy Sullivan Scholarship & Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Ryan Berry – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Marsha Borges – Collegiate TRIO Programs Scholarship
  • Sara Bruce – Lowell Five Scholarship
  • Ashly Caredeo – Northeast Association of Realtors (NEAR) Scholarship
  • Kimeang Chhay – Sarem Neou Cambodian America Scholarship
  • Karter Cordeiro – Warren-Wharton-Sullivan Scholarship
  • Krissy Davey – Support Staff Scholarship
  • Alina Demianenko – Living the Dream Partners Scholarship
  • Nicole Dione Marques – Charles and Olga Malvers Memorial Scholarship
  • April Duffy – Galia Rabinkin Sonography Scholarship
  • Duran Elad – Mashu and Abu Alam Scholarship
  • Azza Eldusougi – Werfen Scholarship
  • Emily Ferri – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Pramila Gautam Luitel – Dr. Michael R. Tramonte Scholarship & Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Musu Gaye – Kathy Reticker Scholarship
  • Michelle Griffin – John Keough Award
  • Guadalupe Guerra – Mashu and Abu Alam Scholarship
  • Lucas Guerroro – Robert Minue Scholarship
  • Kaitlin Harrington – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Pichraksmey Hoeu – Paul Sheehy Memorial Scholarship
  • Leanah Jimenez – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Stephanie Kem – Werfen Scholarship
  • Tiffanie Kem – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Davis Keth – Deolinda Mello Memorial Scholarship
  • Barbara Klitzke – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Stephen Lanich – Debra Chemelli Evans Scholarship
  • Lihong Li – Keri-Lyn (Gleason) Farley Scholarship; Maryanne M. Mungovan Memorial Scholarship & Robert Cataldo Scholarship
  • Caitlin McLaughlin – Muriel G. Hervey Memorial Scholarship
  • Marco Mejia – Caryl Dundorf Scholarship
  • Tanya Miscowski – Leah N. Knowlton Memorial Scholarship
  • Jen Murphy – Shirley W. Thidemann Memorial Scholarship
  • Juliet Ndegwa – Tom McKay Memorial Scholarship
  • Quoc Nguyen – Werfen Scholarship
  • Joseph Nickerson – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Olivia Paulsen – Carole A. Cowan Scholarship
  • Varshil Patel – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Sam Perry – MCC Performing Arts Scholarship
  • Elizabeth Perez – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Alexa Ponce – Kathy Reticker Scholarship
  • Julia Pourali – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Samira Razaghi – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Laura Rodriguez – Presidential Equity Promise Scholarship
  • Allie Ruan – Kim M. Forte Memorial Scholarship
  • Maryam Salih – Aradhya-Beauchemin Arts Scholarship
  • Valentina Sang-Ababio – Alumni Association Scholarship
  • Salome Serrata – Linda Gallagher Scholarship
  • Renee Surrette – Patricia R. Cahalane Memorial Scholarship
  • Pete Sylvain – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Mercy Thiongo – James C. & Judith G. Mabry Completion Scholarship
  • Connor Triehy – Ely Kumler Scholarship
  • Emery Weaver – New England Woodcarvers (NEWC) Scholarship
  • Delaney Williams – Emily Boudrot Memorial Scholarship & Geraldine B. Deragon Scholarship
  • Susan Woods – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Maggie Yi – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA)
  • Scholarship & Markowicz Dundorf Scholarship
  • Madison Zolkos – Bruce J. Corcoran Memorial Scholarship & Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
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MCC’s Nursing Program Receives Full Accreditation with Strength10/31/202211/22/2022 11:48 AM
Middlesex Community College’s Nursing program received full accreditation with three areas of strength for faculty mentorship opportunities, student support services, and preparation to pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination). The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Education and Nursing (ACEN) every eight years.

“ACEN was complimentary and said it was the best self-study that they have read,” said Carolyn Walsh, MCC’s Director, Nurse Education. “The accreditors were astounded that the information was clear, accurate and truthful, and was easily validated while they were onsite. They thought we have a phenomenal program and commended us on doing a great job during the pandemic.”

The accreditation results are reaffirming for Walsh, who knows the value of MCC’s Nursing program. Of the 43 students who graduated in Spring 2022, 40 passed the NCLEX, with three students who still need to take it. The 2021 graduating class had an 89 percent NCLEX pass rate, 97 percent program completion rate, and 91 percent job placement rate – all of which is above the state and national means.

“We provide a succinct and well-executed program,” Walsh said. “The accreditation affirmed that our program’s academic rigor and integrity is allowing students to be successful and follows all of the national standards and recommendations for best practices.”

The 200-page self-study addressed six standards, including how the program fits into the college as a whole, faculty, students, curriculum, resources and program outcomes. During the three-day visit to MCC, the accreditors verified that all of the data and supporting details were accurate.

In addition to talking with faculty, the accreditors had the opportunity to meet with 30 Middlesex students who spoke highly of the program and college. Walsh believes part of the success of the program comes from the hands-on support it receives college-wide, including from President Phil Sisson, Provost Arlene Rodríguez, and Dean of Health Karen Townsend.

“MCC’s Nursing program is a proven leader of providing an equitable, accessible and affordable education for students, as well as well-prepared and knowledgeable graduates for an in-demand industry,” Rodríguez said. “This most recent accreditation is further proof of the strength of this program, which includes relevant classroom, clinical and lab experiences that combined, leads to long-term success for our students.”

An MCC student herself, Walsh completed general education requirements while exploring career options. When she had an opportunity to return to Middlesex to work as an adjunct faculty member, she jumped at the chance. She went on to work as coordinator of the part-time program before being named interim, then full-time director in March 2021. The accreditation was Walsh’s first as director, and the first since the start of the pandemic.

“We were in full compliance in all six standards with three being identified as exemplary with many areas of strength, which is pretty remarkable,” Walsh said.
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MCC’s Spring Term Gets Early Start with Accelerated WinterSession!11/21/202211/21/2022 11:51 AM
As part of the Spring 2023 semester, Middlesex Community College will run a three-week WinterSession starting on Tuesday, January 3. The accelerated session is the perfect time for students to get on track to reach their goals and start off the semester strong!

“As a community college, Middlesex is in a unique position to offer flexible course options and formats that better fit the needs of our diverse population of students,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “By offering Spring semester classes early on, current students can keep up their momentum, while new students can get a head start. Many WinterSession classes are also offered online for convenience and flexibility.”

WinterSession allows students to complete degree requirements faster, as well as helps them fit more classes overall into their schedules. This keeps students on track toward graduation – and may even provide them with the opportunity to graduate early.

During WinterSession, students can take classes and get an early start on the Spring semester. Courses cover the same content, maintain the same academic standards, and contain the same number of in-class instructional hours as classes during the traditional 15-week semester.

Course subjects as part of WinterSession include English, Business, Marketing, History, Health and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). There is also a chance to register for First Year Experience seminars, which introduces new students to MCC and better prepares them for college.

In addition to the 15-week class schedule, MCC will offer two additional accelerated sessions. Mini-mester I will start on Monday, January 23, while Mini-mester II begins Monday, March 27.

“At Middlesex, we want to provide our students with a variety of options to help them fit education into their busy lives,” O’Neil said. “WinterSession is another example of how MCC makes college flexible and accessible.”
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Call for Auditions: MCC’s “RENT” Auditions Open to Community 11/16/202211/21/2022 11:50 AM
For Middlesex Community College’s Spring 2023 musical, the college is opening up auditions to the community. MCC’s Theatre department is seeking talented, non-union performers from the college’s diverse communities to be part of the groundbreaking, Tony award-winning musical “RENT” by Jonathan Larson.

“The Middlesex Community College Theatre department prides itself in offering productions that empower and challenge,” said Karen Oster, MCC’s Chair of Performing Arts. “For this production, we would like to open our production of ‘RENT’ to the community so that anyone is welcome to audition. These connections will allow our students to share their stories with others and be part of a larger community that sees the arts as a crucial addition to their lives.”

Auditions are open to performers of all races and ethnicities, gender identities, sexualities, abilities and ages. Middlesex is looking for performers who are Asian/Asian American, Black/African American, Latinx/Hispanic American, Indigenous/Native American.

The first round of auditions will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4 and Thursday, January 5, with callbacks on Sunday, January 8, 2023. Performances will take place from Thursday, April 20 through Sunday, April 23.
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Middlesex CC’s Professor of English to Read & Discuss Poetry11/15/202211/21/2022 11:50 AM
Middlesex Community College’s Professor of English Tom Laughlin will read and discuss his poetry as part of the college’s Visiting Writers Series at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 1 in the Lowell Campus Federal Building, Assembly Room.

“I love teaching writing at MCC, helping students to build connections, strengthen their voices, reflect on and engage with the dialogues of the world around them, and explore creative ways to reach their audiences of readers and listeners using their intellect and imagination,” Laughlin said. “It’s wonderful to see the sparkle in students’ eyes, hear their thoughtful questions, and feel their enthusiastic energy when they have an opportunity to hear published writers read and discuss their work, their writing processes, and their life journeys.”

Laughlin has taught creative writing, literature and composition courses at Middlesex for over 20 years. He is also the coordinator of readings and events for MCC’s Creative Writing Program and has taught literature classes in two Massachusetts prisons.

Laughlin’s poetry has been featured in Green Mountains Review, Ibbetson Street, Sand Hills Literary Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Blue Mountain Review, Superpresent Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Hare’s Paw Literary Journal, Rockvale Review, Molecule, and MCC’s Dead River Review among others.

His chapbook of poetry “The Rest of the Way” was published by Finishing Line Press in August 2022. Laughlin was also a founding editor of Vortext, a literary journal at Massasoit Community College and was a volunteer staff reader for the literary journal Ploughshares.

The MCC Visiting Writers Series is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Office of Student Engagement.
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Registration is Now Open for Middlesex CC’s Spring 2023 Semester11/9/202211/21/2022 11:50 AM
Middlesex Community College helps students stay on track to reach their goals and on top of their plans. The Spring 2023 semester starts on Monday, January 23, while the three-week Wintersession kicks off on Tuesday, January 3. Registration for both opens on Wednesday, November 9.

“The college designs the academic calendar to make sure that students can fit classes into their busy lives and complete their education in ways that work best for them,” said Arlene Rodríguez, MCC’s Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “Whether a student is looking to get ahead, explore their options, or start on a journey to a new path, MCC makes education simple with equity, accessibility, affordability and flexibility at the forefront.”

Middlesex offers options for students of all ages, backgrounds and needs – including the accelerated Wintersession and two eight-week Mini-mesters. Part of the Spring semester, Wintersession provides the perfect opportunity for students to complete general education requirements and earn transferable college credits while most schools are on break.

Held twice in both the Fall and Spring semesters, Mini-mesters allow students to start taking classes on their own terms. Mini-mesters are also an excellent way for students to finish more classes in less amount of time, which helps them transfer or enter the workforce faster.

While Mini-mester I starts on Monday, January 23 – the same day as the traditional 15-week semester – Mini-mester II will begin on Monday, March 27.

During the Spring 2023 semester and Wintersession, students can choose between on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex courses for MCC’s over 80 associate degree and certificate programs. All Middlesex students also have access to award-winning student support services and resources, including academic, transfer, career and financial advising.

“We want all of our students to meet with their assigned faculty or staff advisor for assistance with planning ahead,” said Bryan Wint, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Pathway & Academic Advising. “With Spring courses – including accelerated Winter and Mini-Mester options – our students have plenty of ways to earn more credit and potentially graduate in a shorter than expected time frame. We also encourage the use of CLEP exams and Credit for Prior Learning options to lower costs and move ahead!”
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MCC Faculty Member to Perform As Part of College Concert Series11/8/202211/21/2022 11:49 AM
Middlesex Community College will welcome faculty member and noted guitarist Raley Beggs for a performance as part of the Fall 2022 “A World of Music” concert series at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 20 at MCC’s Concert Hall in Bedford.

“Middlesex Community College has been a blessing for me since 2016,” Beggs said. “Being able to give a performance for my artistic and professional home is just a very small way I can show my appreciation for the college, for the music department, and for my students at MCC!”

Beggs will perform an evening of colorful music for solo guitar by Francesco da Milano, Francisco Guerau, Isaac Albéniz, Giulio Regondi, Maurice Ravel, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

All of MCC’s “A World of Music” concerts are free and open to the public.

The next performances of the Fall 2022 “A World of Music” concert series includes an MCC Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 20 at the Bedford Concert Hall and Island of Peoples at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17 at the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center.

Previous performances of the semester include the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, North Sea Gas, the 100th Anniversary of Nosferatu, and A Peruvian Sojourn.

MCC’s Concert Hall is located in Henderson Hall at 591 Springs Road in Bedford. Parking is available on-campus.
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Ready for College? With MCC, It’s Not Too Late to Register for Fall!10/25/202211/17/2022 2:14 PM
Whether a student is in the workforce and looking for a new career, college-aged and needing a fresh start, high school-aged and wanting to get ahead, or at any age or stage in their lives hoping for a new path, Middlesex Community College’s Fall Mini-mester II has options to help them reach their goals. Starting on Monday, October 31 – Halloween – it is not too late to register!

“Now that we are well into Fall, many people are figuring out plans and realizing new goals, and MCC’s Mini-mester II offers the perfect opportunity to act on them now,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “Middlesex strives to bring education – and all of the opportunities that come with it – to our students, meeting their needs and where they are when they arrive at the college. With Mini-mester II, students can start when they’re ready, earn credits, and be on their path in just eight-weeks.”

MCC’s eight-week accelerated Mini-mester classes are a flexible, affordable and quick way to earn a college education. Students can take advantage of the same courses, credits and high-quality instruction in less time, while more easily balancing their job, family and personal responsibilities.

Offered twice in the Fall and Spring, Mini-mesters are a great way for students to complete their general education requirements and try a new subject. The wide variety of options during Mini-mester II include business and hospitality, English and communications, history and education, criminal justice and social sciences, and health and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“Mini-mesters are for students who are ready to commit to their academic path or just starting to think about making the commitment,” O’Neil said. “Register now to learn a new skill and get started on your path.”
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Middlesex CC Welcomes New Assistant Dean of Student Support11/3/202211/16/2022 11:19 AM
After witnessing his mother advocate for his learning needs throughout his time in school, Leonard Russ decided to pursue social work to help other people access support and services. He got his professional start in clinical therapy and went on to do social work at a school. As the new Assistant Dean of Student Support at Middlesex Community College, he is looking to help enhance the wellness services the college offers to students.

“My task is to revitalize and rebrand the Wellness Resource Center at MCC to meet the needs and the direction of the institution going forward,” Russ said. “This includes establishing a point place on the Lowell campus where, if a student has a crisis, they have a place they can go.”

Russ is spearheading a number of new ways Middlesex can help students stay mentally well. One includes a new partnership with Christie Campus Health that provides students with 24/7 access to a support line, counseling services, and a suite of self-help resources.

“The Wellness Resource Center is using Christie Campus and the current staff Lynn Gregory and Jonathan Crockett to continue what they’re doing to help students,” Russ said. “This is while finding ways to provide more resources to staff, address conflicts in the classroom, and support students who are having difficulties in that moment. I’m also overseeing that our Office of Disability Support Services is fully functioning and providing services for the student body, and assisting the TRIO PSA program operations.”

Russ is leading a team of staff at Middlesex whose focus is on students’ and faculty’s mental health – something that is particularly important during current times. He believes that doing so will better position students for long-lasting success as they graduate from MCC, transfer to four-year schools, and enter the workforce.

“From getting COVID, experiencing death as a result of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the possible recession, social isolation, and the loss of basic social skills, people have experienced a significant amount of trauma,” Russ said. “It’s important to name those deficits or issues and bring people to a place where they know how to cope with it, grow from it, and support others dealing with it.”

Born and raised in North Carolina, Russ attended North Carolina Agricultural Technical University after graduating from high school early. He moved to the Boston area to earn a master’s degree in social work from Boston University. Coming from a family of educators – as well as parents who were in the military – he wanted to work in education, but not as a teacher.

At a previous school where he worked before coming to MCC, Russ was an Alumni Service Counselor and helped students graduate from high school and get into college. Using his social work degree, he moved into a counselor role before becoming the Dean of Students. His last step before Middlesex was a promotion to Dean of School Culture.

“I’ve always had an interest in working in higher education, so I started doing things that would get my foot in the door,” Russ said. “In my career, I gained skills and worked in different areas that made me the right fit for Middlesex.”
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MCC’s ‘A World of Music’ Series to Hold Special Honors Concert11/1/202211/15/2022 11:27 AM
Middlesex Community College’s Music department and Commonwealth Honors Program will present A Peruvian Sojourn as part of the Fall 2022 “A World of Music” concert series at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 8 at MCC’s Concert Hall in Bedford.

“I am delighted that the Commonwealth Honors Program and the ‘A World of Music’ concert series have collaborated to take the Commonwealth Honors Program students through a wonderful musical journey into Peruvian indigenous melodies, rhythms and traditions,” said Binnur Ercem, MCC’s Director of the CHP and Professor of Sociology & Cultural Anthropology. “This is a great opportunity for our honors students to enhance their educational experience.”

MCC’s Chair of Music Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, pianist, and MCC Music faculty member Orlando Cela, flutist, will perform a lecture recital. Piano solos by Pablo Chávez Aguilar and Enrique Iturriaga, a flute solo by Celso Garrico-Lecca, and pieces for flute and piano by Clotilde Arias, Andrés Sás, Jorge Villavicencio Grossmann, and Gabriela Lena Frank will be performed.

“The works in this program range from simple folk settings to complex compositions,” Rodríguez-Peralta said. “They illustrate the colorful, haunting and energetic combination of Andean Indigenous musical traditions with western classical music, both tonal and new. Being of Latin American heritage, this program has special significance for Orlando and me, and we look forward to sharing this music with everyone.”

All of MCC’s “A World of Music” concerts are free and open to the public. MCC’s Concert Hall is located in Henderson Hall at 591 Springs Road in Bedford. Parking is available on-campus.

Additional performances at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall include Raley Beggs, guitarist at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 20 and a Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 20. Previous performances at the Academic Arts Center include the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, North Sea Gas and the 100th Anniversary of Nosferatu.

A World of Music” will also host the Island of Peoples at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center.
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With Learn & Earn, Middlesex CC Students Get into Workforce Fast10/18/202211/10/2022 3:24 PM
Through Middlesex Community College’s Biotechnology Learn and Earn Experience, Sara Shrestha turned her passion for science and technology into an immediate career. From Nepal and now living in Acton, Shrestha started working in the field while taking classes. Within six months of entering the program, she was hired full-time at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS).

“I am grateful and thankful for both MCC and BMS who gave me this opportunity to pursue my career in biotechnology,” Shrestha said. “It has given me a multi-faceted experience, and I am happy that I am part of a team working to bring hope to people with serious diseases.”

In MCC’s fully renovated, state-of-the-art biotechnology lab, Shrestha learned all of the equipment, techniques, methods and materials to be successful in her work at her internship. Originally hired as a Bioprocess Associate at BMS, she is now a full-time Manufacturing Operator for Cell Therapy.

Learning from professors such as Dr. Mariluci Bladon, MCC’s Professor & Chair of Biotechnology, taught Shrestha the knowledge and skills of the industry, as well as gave her an opportunity to practice her craft. Working alongside mentors from BMS “helped me to understand the process and procedure,” of what she did in her classes, she said.

“The theoretical knowledge from the school and practical knowledge from the workplace helped to enhance the knowledge and practice at the same time,” Shrestha said. “And also, we are paid while learning and gaining experience.”

Shrestha first learned of MCC’s Learn and Earn Experience from Stefana Soitos, MCC’s Director of Learn and Earn Experience, who she credits for guiding her on the right career path. After Shrestha decided to enter the program, Soitos helped her apply to partner companies and prepare for interviews, “which helped me improve my chances of being accepted.”

“MCC – especially the Learn and Earn Experience – is always there for me when I need any support financially or emotionally, helping me with the tuition fees,” Shrestha said. “I got support when needed and was provided an academic road map to reach my goal.”

To help balance her studies with her home and work responsibilities, Shrestha takes advantage of MCC’s evening classes and completes her assignments over the weekend. She also signs up for a few classes at a time to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

Having started taking classes during the pandemic, Shrestha chose Middlesex because it was an affordable and close-to-home option. Thanks to MCC’s Biotech Learn and Earn Experience and the guidance she received from Soitos, she was able to find a career path in a high-demand field without having to wait.

“I have felt very supported by the MCC staff,” she said. “They have gone out of their way to make my experience easier.”
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Alumna and Former 29 Who Shine Recipient Got Her Start at MCC10/27/202211/9/2022 10:12 AM
At Middlesex Community College, Amelia Sinclaire, of Dracut, explored her options and made lifelong friends in her classes and as a Supplemental Instructor for the college’s Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE). MCC’s community ¬– including a number of faculty and staff – offered the push she needed to be successful.

“Without that support, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now,” she said. “It’s given me a lot of confidence and helped me grow a lot as a person. They’ve given me a lot of guidance and direction that helped me find where I was going.”

In Spring 2020, Sinclaire was named one of the Mass. Department of Higher Education’s 29 Who Shine, an annual program recognizing outstanding students from Mass. colleges and universities. She was nominated – and chosen – to receive the award because of her academic achievements, record of leadership, and commitment to community service and civic engagement.

“I genuinely enjoy learning and love helping fellow students with their academic achievement,” she said. “It felt cool to be recognized in the work I did and engagement within the community. The award is the thing I’m most proud of during my time at Middlesex.”

After graduating from Middlesex in May 2020, Sinclaire transferred to the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) to continue studying Computer Science. MCC Professor Julia Kelly helped Sinclaire get an internship working at a human robotics lab on the UML campus. Still working in the role now, Sinclaire is completing a research study and plans to stay at the lab for the foreseeable future before finding a full-time job.

MCC’s variety of classes allowed her to complete her general education requirements as she narrowed down her field of study. She has long held an interest in Computer Science and Engineering, stemming in part from growing up with a father who worked in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Sinclaire enjoys the challenge of finding solutions that STEM presents. She believes the high-demand STEM workforce in Massachusetts will also provide job and financial stability.

“The base knowledge MCC covered made me really prepared,” she said. “The topics they cover are applicable for everything. All of my MCC credits transferred perfectly and I was prepared for the curriculum. It definitely gave me a leg-up over other UML students.”

Sinclaire first chose to come to Middlesex because it was “the most cost-effective way to get a degree.” Many of her classes and experiences at MCC offered lab work, guest speakers, and skill building opportunities, including communicating effectively and working with different people.

“MCC gave me the fundamentals to succeed in all my classes at UML, which I think is a big thing,” she said. “More importantly, it opened up the opportunity to work at the lab. A lot of the skills I gained at MCC transferred to real-life applications.”
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For Alumna and Now Employee, MCC Is All About Community10/20/202211/8/2022 1:28 PM
For Kayla Silva, community stands out at Middlesex Community College. As a student, Silva kept busy during her time at the college with a variety of work study positions. After graduating from her transfer institution, she is back at Middlesex now working full-time as an Administrative Assistant for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) division.

“I wanted to work at this community college because the personability and genuineness of the faculty and staff members made me want to become a part of this community in other ways,” Silva said. “I am looking forward to helping the students and faculty in the STEM division in any possible way needed.”

A graduate from the Business Administration Transfer program, Silva came to Middlesex on recommendation of several family members and friends who also attended. Starting her education at MCC was an affordable option and helped make her transfer to Southern New Hampshire University easy.

From the beginning of her time at MCC, Silva witnessed how faculty and staff focused on helping students reach their goals. She appreciated how everyone was willing to share their knowledge with students and – even if they did not know an answer to her question – “would point me in the direction of someone who did!”

“The institution is welcoming and everyone is passionate about their careers and goals,” Silva said. “Faculty and staff members are always here to help the students and share their personal experiences. At MCC, students get a personable feel to college, and the close-knit community is very supportive and a great place to start your educational journey.”

Opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom set up Silva for academic and professional success. Working first in the Bedford Fitness Center, she then became a Peer Writing Tutor and Blackboard Ambassador for the Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE).

After transferring to her four-year institution, she started working as a part-time Office Assistant for MCC’s STEM division before returning post-COVID as a part-time enrollment assistant for the Student Information Center. In her new full-time role, she is hoping to play a positive part in the community.

“I obtained a great deal of experience in multiple fields here at MCC and have worked with the student, faculty and staff populations while also being a part of the student population,” she said. “This allowed me to gain more insight at the college and learn from every experience and interaction.”
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MCC Continues to Enhance Mental Health Services for Students10/26/202211/8/2022 11:42 AM
As part of the college’s 2022 Professional Day, Middlesex Community College welcomed keynote speaker Dr. Nicholas Covino, President of William James College (WJC), to discuss the current mental health crisis impacting students. Middlesex continues to strengthen and adapt its mental health practices to better meet students’ needs by developing partnerships with external institutions, providing more access to mental health services and resources, and equipping faculty and staff with relevant strategies, knowledge and skills.

“With the help of state funding, Middlesex is proud to partner with William James College to create a professional development program for MCC faculty and staff to learn how to more effectively address the health and wellness needs of our students,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “The Center for Behavioral Health, Equity and Leadership in Schools at WJC is uniquely positioned to work with MCC, focusing on the topics of student mental health, diversity, equity, inclusion and social emotional practices in the classroom. We look forward to collaborating with WJC, Dr. Nadja Lopez Reilly, and our faculty and staff to find ways to keep our students well and on their paths to graduation, transfer opportunities, and stable careers.”

“The attendance and level of investment at the MCC Professional Day was most impressive,” President Covino said. “The college's commitment to moving to a public health model of prevention and wellness promotion embraces the mental health needs of all students on campus and provides support to those who have need for individual care. We're very grateful to MCC for our growing partnership.”

During his discussion, President Covino addressed the Youth Mental Health Emergency declared by the U.S. Surgeon General. Speaking on how the crisis has been developing for over a decade within higher education, President Covino also emphasized that the trauma, social isolation and helplessness brought on by the pandemic worsened the situation.

Believing that higher education is one of the best spaces to help heal the crisis and trauma from the pandemic, President Covino called for a new model of behavioral healthcare on campus. This includes providing more access to education on this topic for educators, as well as rethinking pedagogy, policies and climates on campus.

During the response panel, Leonard Russ, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Student Support Services, talked about the college’s new partnership with Christie Campus Health, an online mental health service that is free for students. This new partnership led to the creation of MCC’s new wellness hub that includes 24/7 access to a support line, counseling services, and a suite of self-help materials. Lynn Gregory, MCC’s Wellness Counselor, discussed how faculty can make counseling referrals to students, while social science professor Michael Cermak shared how he handles student issues inside the classroom.

President Sisson and Lopez Reilly ended the panel by discussing the creation of the professional development program to support Middlesex faculty, staff and students. “It is an incredible opportunity that WJC has to partner with MCC in thinking about what do we do to promote social and emotional learning,” Lopez Reilly said.
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Middlesex CC to Bring Celebrity Forum to Lexington’s Cary Hall10/24/202211/3/2022 11:42 AM
The Middlesex Community College Foundation will present the Fall 2022 Celebrity Forum, featuring Kal Penn – actor, author and former White House Associate Director. The fundraising event will take place on Wednesday, December 14 at Cary Hall in Lexington.

Proceeds from the event provide support for scholarships for Middlesex students. A donor reception will start off the event at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the 8 p.m. conversation between Penn and MCC President Phil Sisson.

“I am very much looking forward to sitting down and engaging in conversation with Kal Penn about his illustrious career in both the performing arts and political world,” President Sisson said. “After reading his book ‘You Can’t Be Serious,’ I became fascinated by his personal journey and believe he has a wonderful story to share with the MCC community. The Celebrity Forum allows Middlesex and the MCC Foundation to meet our shared mission of providing an equitable and accessible education to so many students who would not otherwise be able to afford the costs of attending college. It is an honor to bring this over 20-year community tradition to Lexington’s historic Cary Hall and celebrate an evening of culture, entertainment and philanthropy.”

MCC hosted its first Celebrity Forum since the COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2022, featuring singer and actress Darlene Love. This Fall’s event with Penn is the first to be held in Lexington.

“The work of the MCC Foundation allows the college to enrich the lives of the students whose access to education makes a great impact, and those of community members who thrive off of educational and cultural enrichment,” said Judy Burke, MCC’s Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. “It has never been a more important time to learn, grow and come together as a community, in the name of supporting student success. We are thrilled to be able to expand our event to the Lexington area and welcome a phenomenal talent in Kal Penn to the stage.”

Penn is known for his starring roles in “Designated Survivor,” “House,” “The Namesake,” the “Harold & Kumar” franchise, and the patriotic immigration sitcom “Sunnyside.” He recently wrapped production on the CBS Drama, “Clarice” and Freeform’s late night youth election format show “Kal Penn Approves This Message.” Penn currently stars in the animated Disney Junior series “Mira, Royal Detective,” Nickelodeon’s “It’s Pony,” and the culinary competition series “Money Hungry” on Food Network.

From 2009 to 2011, Penn served as the Obama/Biden administration’s President’s Liaison to Young Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the Arts community. He was a national co-chair for the Obama/Biden re-election campaign in 2012 and was a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Penn’s first book “You Can’t Be Serious” was released on November 2, 2021 from Simon and Schuster/Gallery Books.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/fall22cf or contact Sherri McCormack, MCC’s Dean of Advancement at 978-656-3034 or mccormacks@middlesex.mass.edu. To purchase tickets, contact Cary Hall at 781-862-0500.
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New Rad Tech Clinical Coordinator Brings 17 Years of Experience10/13/202211/2/2022 10:48 AM
With a Business degree from Babson College, Erica Stearns was working as a travel agent when September 11 uprooted the hospitality industry. She turned to a community college to start a new path in Radiologic Technology. For the past 17 years, she has been working in the field, including as an instructor at Middlesex Community College where she accepted a full-time position as the Clinical Coordinator ahead of the Fall 2022 semester.

“This was the next chapter of my career and progression to be involved in the field,” Stearns said. “I enjoy working with the students and sharing my personal experiences with them. I’m looking forward to my new position and finding my place in this program.”

Before she started her program, Stearns received early exposure to the field in the form of a job shadow. This made all the difference in her decision because the opportunity showed her she was on the right track. From day one, Stearns “fell in love with the hospital environment and nature of the work with patients.”

Now as a clinical instructor at Middlesex, she tries to show her students how much they affect the patient experience and how important it is to provide appropriate care. On a rotating schedule, students move around to different clinical sites to see firsthand what it is like to work at both a larger hospital and a smaller community hospital.

“That gives them more experience with different protocols, equipment and patients,” Stearns said. “When they finish the program, they’re really well-rounded because they’ve been in the operating room, emergency room, worked with pediatric and geriatric patients, and have had the opportunity to observe advanced modalities.”

Although there are four-year Rad Tech programs, Stearns believes MCC’s option is the most affordable and the best way to go, especially for someone changing their career. After graduating, students are prepared to pass the registry and enter the workforce where “there are so many opportunities out there right now,” according to Stearns.

At Middlesex, Stearns believes students also benefit from small class sizes and instructors who bring their years of direct patient care experience into the classroom and clinical sites. Her and the team of Rad Tech professors also know how to explain things in different ways and better set up students for deeper understanding with real life examples.

Stearns has worked at Winchester Hospital – where she still does per diem hours – and Salem Hospital, where she first met William Darmody, MCC’s Program Coordinator for Rad Tech. Although she did not expect to love teaching as much as she has, the experience has been rewarding.

“The mission of MCC speaks to me,” she said. “I enjoy interacting with the students and working with people from all different walks of life, cultures and stages. Some students are right out of high school, some are career changers. It’s fun to help guide them along in their process.”
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From Student to Employee, MCC Alumna Gives Back to Community10/19/202211/1/2022 1:43 PM
Once Serrahtani Parrish came to Middlesex Community College, she never left. Starting as a Psychology student, Parrish worked as a part-time employee even after she transferred. Now she works as the full-time Financial Wellness Coach for MCC’s Success Scholars Program.

“The way I was treated as an adult learner made me at ease with attending school,” Parrish said. “I received the support I needed from semester to semester, and I also received encouragement to further my education beyond MCC.”

When she first started at Middlesex, Parrish had plans to only complete an associate degree. After she took the course Creative Thinking, she was inspired to continue her education. Working with her academic and transfer advisors Ivette Caletz and Diane Parcella helped her through the graduation and transfer process.

Parrish transferred to the University of Massachusetts Lowell and graduated in 2012. Although she felt a little overwhelmed at her new college, Middlesex had given her a strong introduction as to what to expect in college, as well as the support to get her through.

“The transfer process was fairly seamless,” she said. “The tools I learned at MCC prepared me to navigate my way through the UML system.”

For her undergraduate degree, she decided to major in Psychology because her aunt would tell her, “If you know how someone is, you know how to deal with them.” In 2019, Parrish earned a Master of Education from Merrimack College. The combination of degrees gave her the skills and strategies she needs to be successful in her position as the Financial Wellness Coach at MCC.

“I felt Psychology would give me a great foundation to understanding how people are and why they do what they do,” Parrish said. “By knowing this information, I can better support them.”

From networking around campus to proving her strong work ethic as part of her work study positions, Parrish was first hired to work in MCC’s Enrollment Management Office. She then moved into a full-time role in the Student Information Center.

Now with the Success Scholars Program, she is part of an initiative within the Massachusetts community college system to help eliminate and limit barriers surrounding access to education for Asian American, Black, African American, Latinx and LGBTQ+ students.

‘The program is designed to support marginalized students with intentional programming,” Parrish said. “As the Financial Wellness Coach, I am tasked with creating financial workshops and collaborating with community organizations to bring financial awareness to MCC students.”

In her role, Parrish has an opportunity to give back to the community – and its students – that gave her a start on her career path. “I am very pleased with my overall experience here at MCC,” she said. “Both as a student and now as an employee.”
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MCC-led Conference Highlights Success of Supplemental Instruction10/12/202210/31/2022 10:22 AM
Since 2012, Middlesex Community College has successfully offered the peer-led Supplemental Instruction (SI) program certified by the International Center for Supplemental Instruction (ICSI) In 2017, Middlesex created and hosted the first Northeast Regional Supplemental Instruction (NERSI) conference and will co-chair its third conference in March of 2023.

“The conference was created because we wanted to bring colleagues together to share ideas and learn from each other, and there were no SI conferences in the northeast,” said Christine Bell, MCC’s Director of Academic Support Programs and co-creator of the NERSI Conference. “As a community college, other schools are intrigued by how we run our SI program, the impact it has on academic success, and what support we provide our SI leaders. The conference allows us to highlight what we do, connect with other programs, and talk about best practices.”

MCC’s SI program was the first community college program to become accredited in 2016. Bell and Noreen McGinness Olson, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Student Success, created the first conference with the full support of MCC’s Provost at the time – and now President – Phil Sisson. With 60 participants the first year and 90 the second, MCC is hoping for over 100 in 2023.

Held at Housatonic Community College in Connecticut, the 2023 conference will feature guest speaker Dr. Paul Hernandez, author and Senior Advisor to the President of Achieving the Dream. The conference’s theme “Focus on the Future – Embrace a New Perspective” reflects the changes that higher education has undergone from the pandemic. This includes adding online and hybrid offerings for SI in addition to in-person sessions.

“None of us are ever going back to what we used to do,” Bell said. “We are always going to have face-to-face and online SI sessions. It works, especially at community colleges where students are extremely busy. Now they can have an 8 p.m. session that allows more people the opportunity to attend. Our title this year is relevant to the times.”

In Spring 2022, students who attended SI sessions were 87 percent more likely to complete the course, with 68 percent earning a B or higher. The average grade point average (GPA) for MCC students participating in SI was 3.11 versus 2.53 for non-users.

“SI Leaders are working with one class that they have taken previously and are helping all of the enrolled students pass the class through creative ways of reinforcing the course material,” Bell said. “We have talented students at Middlesex who – whether they have confidence going into it or not – have a faculty member who believes in them, have gotten a B+ or higher in the class, and can come back and help their peers achieve academic success in that course.”

Registration for the conference is open. Excited to represent the college and its award-winning model, Bell will present in addition to a few of her Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE) colleagues and SI Leaders. “The SI model is a beautiful way for students to build their confidence within their concepts and courses, and also be led by another peer,” she said. “We’re proud of our SI Leaders.”

There is an early bird special for registration through December for staff and faculty. Registration for student leaders will be $35 and we hope many SI’s can present at the conference. The Call for Proposals is open and we welcome proposals from SI faculty, SI Program Coordinators, SI Coaches, SI Leaders, and researchers. Visit https://www.housatonic.edu/nersi/nersi-conference-home for more details.
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Middlesex CC to Host First Ever Lowell Asian American Film Festival10/5/202210/27/2022 12:26 PM
Middlesex Community College is proud to present the first ever Lowell Asian American Film Festival (LAAFF). Over two days, Middlesex will screen Asian American-directed films from across the country, in celebration of art, culture and diversity.

“MCC is excited to be the sponsor of the first ever Lowell Asian American Film Festival,” said Virak Uy, MCC’s Director of Asian American Student Achievement Program. “The mission of LAAFF is to empower Asian Americans through films and to bring Asian American films to the public. Our goal is to inspire future generations of filmmakers, as well as to provide access and opportunities for underrepresented community members who are interested in pursuing a career in the film industry.”

The weekend-long event will take place from Friday, October 21 to Saturday, October 22 at the college’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center. MCC will sponsor the event with support from the Middlesex Community College Foundation.

“Middlesex is honored to host the first ever Lowell Asian American Film Festival, featuring a line-up of wonderful films, highlighting several MCC alumni who have gone on to success in the film industry, and representing one of the college’s largest populations of students,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “In returning to more in-person events and activities, MCC is also proud to showcase our beautiful and historic buildings, such as the Academic Arts Center. The Center is not only a space to foster learning, growth and artistic exploration, but to bring together the Greater Lowell community and celebrate the diverse voices, experiences and entertainment that makes this city and college special.”

An Opening Reception at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 21 will kick off the event, sponsored by Enterprise Bank. A screening of “In the life of Music” and a Q&A with the director will follow. At 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 22, MCC will screen “The Roots Remain.” The documentary features Cambodian Artist Fonki – one of Montreal’s most prominent street artists – who visits Cambodia to create a mural in honor of his deceased grandparents.

MCC’s next presentation will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday with a screening of “The Last Good Bye” and “The Transfer” by director Vibol Sunkriem, who will also do a Q&A. At 2:30 p.m. director Jenny Thach will screen “Let Me Fall,” followed by a Q&A.

With support from the Boston Asian American Film Festival, LAAFF will host a screening of “Bad AXE” with a Q&A by director David Siev and stars of the film starting at 4:30 p.m. A reception at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday – sponsored by Mosaic Lowell – will close out the festival.

Tickets are $5 for each event or $20 for the full festival and may be purchased in advance.

“With extensive connections with many Asian American community organizations and cultural institutions in Greater Lowell, MCC is always striving to build stronger and deeper connections,” Uy said. “LAAFF is another example of MCC’s commitment to the communities it serves.”
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Former Poet Laureate of Boston to Speak at Middlesex CC10/3/202210/26/2022 10:39 AM
Middlesex Community College will host poet Danielle Legros Georges as part of the college’s Visiting Writers Series at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19 in the Bedford Campus Café East.

“As an educator and practicing creative writer, I draw on the theoretical frameworks and approaches of the arts traditions, and feel they allow us to experience different perspectives in powerful ways,” Georges said. “The arts allow students to appreciate and reconsider boundaries of identity, culture, and perceived or understood ability.”

The 2015 to 2019 Poet Laureate of Boston, Georges is a Professor of Creative Writing at Lesley University. She has been awarded several honors, including the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowships, a MASS MoCA Fellowship, and a PEN/Heim Translation Grant.

“I see creative writing as a powerful tool for inquiry, reflection and knowing,” Georges said. “And art practice as a way to enhance critical engagement and the development of valuable critical skills.”

Georges is the author of three collections of poetry, “Maroon” (Curbstone Books, 2001), “The Dear Remote Nearness of You” (Barrow Street Press, 2016), and a book of translations “Island Heart: The Poems of Ida Faubert” (Subpress Collective, 2021), which was the winner of the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize. She also wrote the chapter book “Letters from Congo” (Central Square Press, 2017).

Her poems have also appeared in a number of literary journals. These include Agni, Callaloo, Poiesis, Black Renaissance Noire, Ibbetson Street, Salamander, and The American Poetry Review. Georges’ works were featured in the anthology New Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby in 2019, and she edited City of Notions: An Anthology of Contemporary Boston Poems for the City of Boston in 2017.

MCC Visiting Writers Series is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Office of Student Engagement.

“I feel that art allows for complexity in the complex world we all inhabit," Georges said.
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Attend Middlesex CC’s Bedford Open House Ahead of Mini-mester II!10/12/202210/25/2022 12:32 PM
Middlesex Community College offers many opportunities for students, including on-campus activities and events. The Fall 2022 Open House in Bedford will show prospective students and their families how Middlesex sets up students for success from day one!

“Attending an Open House is one of the best ways to learn about all that MCC has to offer, and we are so excited to welcome prospective students and their families to meet with them in person and show them one of our beautiful campuses,” said Jillian Freitas-Haley, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Admissions. “The event will also be the perfect time to submit an online application while having someone available to answer all of your questions about the admissions process.”

MCC’s Fall Open House will take place 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26 in the Bedford Campus Center. Prospective students and their families will have a chance to meet with faculty and staff, get their questions answered, connect with student support services and resources, and tour the campus.

Middlesex understands that the process for applying for and going to college can feel overwhelming. Attending an Open House provides access to all of the information, resources and people who can help students get ready for their next steps.

Anyone interested in applying to Middlesex can register for classes as early as the Fall 2022 semester. With MCC’s Fall Mini-mester II – starting on Halloween, Monday, October 31 – students can take advantage of the eight-week courses and get a head start on reaching their goals.

Mini-mesters are the perfect time to complete general education requirements, learn new skills, or explore academic and professional paths. The accelerated courses offer the same courses, credits and high-quality instruction MCC is known for in its traditional 15-week semester – in less time.

“Middlesex prides itself on offering education that is flexible, affordable and accessible for all students,” Freitas-Haley said. “The Bedford Open House on Wednesday, October 26 will provide students with more information on how to get started on their path, including registering for classes during MCC’s Fall Mini-mester II!”
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Graduate Prepared for In-Demand Medical Career with Middlesex CC9/29/202210/24/2022 10:49 AM
Having already earned a degree from a four-year university, Adrianne Brown, of Tyngsboro, came to Middlesex Community College to study Medical Assisting. Excited to be back in school to learn as much as she could in her new field, the adult learner found that the professors she met and education she received from Middlesex rivaled that of her previous institution.

“You can get an excellent education at MCC,” Brown said. “I love the medical field and this program has offered me the opportunity to start a new career. I enjoyed the learning experience of patient care, the human body and camaraderie between the instructors and students.”

Brown’s most influential professor was Claudia Guillen, MCC’s Program Coordinator of Medical Assisting. Guillen advised Brown and her classmates throughout the duration of the program to “never give up.” The “words to live by” was the encouragement Brown needed to continue her studies.

Early on in the program, Brown found that the most important part of Medical Assisting is caring for the patient. Both in her classroom learning and clinicals, Brown learned from “seasoned individuals who know and explain how to care for patients very well.” This helped her practice all of the steps to proper patient care during her clinicals and set her up for success at her externship in the spring.

“MCC has already established the groundwork for attaining what I need academically,” Brown said. “The knowledge is there, I need to take the knowledge and apply it to my personal goals.”

With MCC’s Medical Assisting program, students can work in hospital clinics, physician practices and specialty offices. The program teaches students to work with patients and medical records, communicate verbally and in writing, and assist the medical team among other valuable skills. MCC’s nine-month program requires basic computer skills in order to start.

“Becoming a medical assistant is a good career choice because it is an in-demand career with many opportunities,” Guillen said. “The demand for medical assistants is expected to increase by 18.9 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average compared to other occupations.”

There is still time to register for MCC’s Medical Assisting program, starting on Monday, October 3. For students who are interested in pursuing a stable and in-demand career, Brown recommends “you get what you put into the program.”

“If you study and apply yourself, you will be great,” she said. “If you love people and like caring for them, then this field is great. As I’m reading and looking at jobs now, I’m seeing the opportunity for this field grow more and more.”
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MCC to Screen of “Nosferatu” with Accompanying Music by Alum10/11/202210/20/2022 12:58 PM
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the film “Nosferatu,” Middlesex Community College’s Music department will hold a performance as part of the Fall 2022 “A World of Music” concert series and MCC’s Film Series at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 20 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

The 1922 W. Murnau German Expressionist horror film will be presented with accompanying music presented by the Dylan Jack Quartet, led by MCC Music alum Dylan Jack, drummer.

“The Dylan Jack Quartet's presentation of ‘Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens’ is an original improvised score that is anchored with five main musical themes representing the four main characters Hutter, Ellen, Knock and Nosferatu, and the fifth being the plague,” Jack said. “These themes develop along with each character as the film progresses and moods change. It's our hope that the themes create an unspoken dialogue on the screen that leaves the door open for audience interpretation and therefore gives those in attendance a whole new way to experience this iconic film.”

The Dylan Jack Quartet also includes Eric Hofbauer, guitar; Jerry Sabatini, trumpet, and Tony Leva, bass and electronics. The ensemble will play both a composed and improvised soundtrack full of emotional themes and spontaneous development to enhance the creepiness of the film.

All of MCC’s “A World of Music” concerts are free and open to the public.

The next performance at MCC’s Academic Arts Center this semester will be Island of Peoples at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17. Previous performances include concerts by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra and North Sea Gas.

“A World of Music” will also feature performances at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall – A Peruvian Sojourn at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 8; Raley Beggs, Guitarist at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 20; and an MCC Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 20.

MCC’s Academic Arts Center is located at 240 Central Street in Lowell. With parking not available on site, the nearest public parking facility is the Early Garage on 135 Middlesex St.
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MCC Awarded Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad to Cambodia9/28/202210/19/2022 11:21 AM
In partnership with Lowell Public Schools (LPS), Middlesex Community College was awarded its fourth Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad (GPA) grant to send 10 educators from Middlesex and LPS to Cambodia in the summer of 2023.

According to the grant’s director Dr. Lara Kradinova and Program Manager Kerri Gamache – both MCC English faculty – “the heart of this project is to amplify Cambodian American voices, histories and cultures within classes at MCC and LPS to promote enhanced cultural awareness, inspire enduring mutual understanding and connections, and to promote empathy and shared healing in the community amid the ongoing pandemic. Our hope is to center Cambodian American histories, stories, voices and scholarship in future classes at MCC and LPS.”

The “Healing Connections: Art, Education and Well-being” grant brings together the social science, health and humanities disciplines. The trip will explore how access to equitable education and culturally-responsive health services for Cambodian/Khmer communities – paired with exposure to traditional cultural arts – can create a deeper sense of belonging for students, and create the necessary conditions for success within the Greater Lowell community.

“LPS is excited to take part in this prestigious endeavor with MCC, making this our third Fulbright-Hays GPA together,” said Dr. Phala Chea, Coordinator of English Language Education Program of LPS and Curriculum Specialist for the 2016 and 2023 Fulbright grants. “The GPA will allow educators the time and the resources to commit to research, learn, share, collaborate and be able to bring back new perspectives, ideas and lessons into their classrooms. One of the essential goals is to provide educators with professional and personal enrichment that will impact and advance teaching and learning and student and family engagement.”

The group plans to visit educational and health nonprofits in Cambodia with a focus on how access to education, health, arts and culture within different communities of Cambodia impacts young people and communities. The group will meet with the U.S. Ambassador, the Minister of Education, and visit secondary education schools, including the Royal University of Fine Arts and the American University in Phnom Penh.

“We will meet traditional dance performers, contemporary artists, talk to nonprofits that provide educational access to women and rural communities,” Kradinova said. “We will also go to a conservational nonprofit, an elephant sanctuary whose employees are Indigenous people living in the nearby village who also support the local school.”

Community grant partners include UMass Lowell, the Center for Hope and Healing, the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, METTA Health Clinic, and Refuge Arts. MCC Ceramics Professor and National Heritage Fellow Yary Livan will also travel with the group.

Leading up to the trip, MCC will put together an Interdisciplinary Weekend dedicated to Cambodian arts and culture this spring. Events include a visit to a local temple, ceramics and dance workshops, a traditional music concert, and Cambodian food.

Both Kradinova and Gamache were participants in MCC’s Fulbright-Hays grant to Cambodia in 2016. “The Fulbright enriched our classes and personal lives tremendously,” Kradinova said. “It was a life-changing experience. We were exposed to so many new ways of thinking and doing, and we’re still practicing it in our classes. It was amazing seeing a new culture and experiencing it for the whole month. We’re hoping to expand on this experience this time around.”
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For MCC Biotech Learn & Earn Student, the “Benefits are Endless”10/6/202210/18/2022 11:40 AM
After 20 years of working as a certified Pharmacy Technician, Krystal Nieves, of Dracut, was looking for a career change. Through Middlesex Community College’s Biotechnology Learn and Earn Experience, she made an easy transition into a new field, got hired to a full-time role before graduating, and is now well on her way to reaching her professional and personal dreams.

“My education has already helped me in so many ways,” Nieves said. “I can take care of my child without any anxiety. I have bought the car of my dreams. Eventually, I will purchase a house for my family to call home. MCC has given me an edge over other candidates looking to work in the field, which has already played a part in my career.”

In MCC’s Biotech Learn & Earn Experience, Nieves works at the partner company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) while earning an associate degree. To help students balance their coursework, labs and the internship, Middlesex fits classes into the working schedule.

Nieves also appreciates that MCC matches the curriculum of their classes to what the students are working on in their internships. This makes their education from MCC even more relevant to what they will experience in the professional world, setting them up for lasting success.

Before starting, Nieves was nervous about completing labs. Her professors and colleagues taught her a “variety of techniques that I have been able to apply to my work at BMS.”

“Every experience I’ve had has been something new for me,” she said. “The classes have been tailored to the program and the hands-on experience has helped me attain a full-time job.”

Dr. Mariluci Bladon, MCC’s Professor & Chair of Biotechnology, and Richard Middleton, an MCC Science Professor, have had the most impact on Nieves’ time at the college. Grateful to Bladon for her energy, enthusiasm and knowledge, Nieves believes Middleton stands out for his kindness and positivity. For Nieves, this is of particular importance because “setbacks happen, but don’t let them bring you down. Keep on moving toward your goals.”

Nieves came to Middlesex because her sister is a professor and recommended she attend. With a passion for and background in science and pharmacy, the Biotech Learn and Earn Experience seemed like the best fit to start on her new path.

As she looks ahead to graduation, Nieves is excited to see where her career goes with BMS. She also hopes to continue her studies to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

From learning everything she needs to be successful in the new field to being hired full-time just three months into her internship with MCC’s Biotechnology Learn and Earn Experience, for Nieves, “the benefits have been endless.”

“The staff is very kind and knowledgeable and I’ve made great connections in the field of biotechnology,” she said. “MCC has made attending classes and working full-time a breeze.”
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Classic Films Return to the Big Screen at MCC’s Academic Arts Center10/4/202210/13/2022 9:45 AM
Middlesex Community College prides itself on bringing art, culture and diversity to Greater Lowell. Since opening in 2018, the MCC Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center has enhanced the college’s arts offerings, including hosting the college’s theatre performances, concert series, art shows and other events.

Starting in the Fall 2022 semester, Middlesex will offer MCC at the Movies, a series of film screenings open to the community. Classic films include “Singing in the Rain” on October 6, “Casablanca” on January 23, and “Top Hat” on April 14 – all start at 7 p.m.

“We are thrilled to offer some of the finest classic films to the public on the big screen,” said Peter Waldron, MCC’s Academic Arts Center Manager. “As people start to venture out to more in-person events, Middlesex is excited to be able to offer these films for just $5 a ticket. This inexpensive arts experience is just the start of more events planned for MCC’s Academic Arts Center in Lowell!”

The college will also host the first annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival (LAAFF) on Friday October 21 and Saturday, October 22. Over two days, Middlesex will screen Asian American-directed films from across the country. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from various directors, actors and artists involved in the films during Q&As. Tickets are $5 per event or $20 for the weekend.

Throughout the semester, MCC’s Academic Arts Center will be home to a number of student and community events. This Fall, MCC’s Performing Arts department will put on the play “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.” The Music department will host performances by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, North Sea Gas, and Island of Peoples – all part of the college’s “A World of Music” concert series.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of “Nosferatu,” MCC’s concert series will screen the film at the Academic Arts Center with accompanying music at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 20. The Dylan Jack Quarter – featuring MCC alum Dylan Jack – will perform.

MCC’s Academic Arts Center will also host a lecture as part of the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival on October 8, a Latino Film Festival on October 14 and 15, and a Poetry Festival November 4 to 5.

MCC’s Academic Arts Center is located at 240 Central Street in Lowell. With parking not available on site, the nearest public parking facility is the Early Garage on 135 Middlesex St.

“The Academic Arts Center provides a beautiful space for Middlesex students to learn, play and expand their knowledge and talents,” Waldron said. “We look forward to opening up the space even more to the community in the coming years!”
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Middlesex CC Names Darie Martinez 2022-2023 Student Trustee9/29/202210/12/2022 10:37 AM
Darie Martinez, of Lawrence, has been named to the Middlesex Community College Board of Trustees for the 2022-2023 academic year as Student Trustee. In her time as Student Trustee, Martinez wants to be a voice for the diverse students of Middlesex.

“I want to make sure that as a whole, all students can feel represented,” Martinez said. “I think that the Student Trustee has a lot of responsibilities and needs to be the person to speak for all students. I know that we have had some great Student Trustees and I want to make sure I do my part for the school’s students.”

An active member of the MCC community, Martinez enjoys helping her classmates. In addition to her new role as Student Trustee, she is both a peer and embedded tutor as part of the college’s Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE) department. As a tutor and trustee, she takes seriously the responsibility of reaching out and offering support to others when they are struggling. It is also important for Martinez to show the community the importance of participating in college activities, events and clubs.

“I want to be able to get more students to be active on campus because we are getting back to normal after being off campus because of the pandemic,” Martinez said. “I think if you’re active in campus life you get more out of the experience. You get to meet new people and there’s always fun activities going on at the school.”

Martinez also enjoys collaborating with her classmates and professors in her classes for her Liberal Arts and Sciences major. The best parts of the college have been learning from and engaging in conversations with others about the subjects she is studying and gaining a deeper understanding of certain topics. Knowing there are people at MCC who care about her success has also been beneficial.

She lists a number of professors who have offered her support at MCC. While Deborah Botker and Jennifer Bauer have offered Martinez encouragement, Stephanie Pesce helped Martinez improve her writing skills in three courses. In Jonathan Bennett’s course, Martinez has learned from inclusive and deep conversations that welcomed contributions from the entire class.

“I have had some great professors who have taught me a great deal,” she said. “[The best part of MCC’s Liberal Arts and Sciences program] is getting to collaborate with people who are just as passionate about the sciences and who want to make an impact in any way that they can.”

After she graduates with her associate degree from MCC, Martinez plans to transfer to a four-year college and continue her studies. Her path to Middlesex started when a friend who had also attended recommended it to her. As Student Trustee, she hopes to inspire others to choose to come to MCC and get involved with the community.

“It really helped me decide to join the school,” she said. “Overall, my experience at MCC has been great.”
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MCC Announces Exciting 2022-2023 Season for Performing Arts9/27/202210/12/2022 9:11 AM
The Middlesex Community College theatre department is gearing up for an exciting new season! In Fall 2022, the department will put on the play “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” by Saah Ruhl. The Spring 2023 season will be a performance of the musical “RENT” by Jonathan Larson.

“As we navigate our way through this pandemic, now more than ever, there is a need to make connections,” said Karen Oster, MCC’s Chair of Performing Arts. “’Dead Man’s Cell Phone’ is a play about the journey of a woman forced to confront her presumptions about morality, redemption and isolation in a technologically obsessed society. This couldn’t be timelier as we struggle to move from our technologically immersed world and isolation back to being together. We are also excited to be offering our production of the Tony award-winning musical ‘RENT’ as a community event – open to anyone who would like to audition.”

MCC student Samantha Perry, of Lowell, has been the stage manager for the past two Middlesex shows, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” While she is looking forward to auditioning for an acting role this year, she believes a show offers many different learning opportunities for students interested in the arts.

“It’s so important for MCC to offer performance opportunities because there’s so much to do within a production, not just acting or dancing on stage,” Perry said. “There’s so many roles that go into a production – I was stage manager, there is also an assistant stage manager, costume designers, a sound director, or the lighting director, tech people to move set pieces on and off stage, and people to run the front of house for tickets.”

Due to the pandemic, MCC made the most financial sense for Perry. She attended Middlesex on the recommendation of her cousin who is an alum of the college and after seeing MCC’s 2018 performance of “Spring Awakening.” Perry “fell in love with the production and knew it had to be because of the way the theatre company ran at MCC.”

From day one, Perry has felt supported at MCC, including participation in orientation events when she first started. She also appreciates Oster’s support in classes and in productions as she removes stress while bringing out the best in each of her students.

Perry is excited to participate in the upcoming shows any way she can. “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” will run from December 8 to 11, 2022 while “Rent” will be performed from April 20 to 23, 2023.

“We look forward to sharing stories and connections with the community,” Oster said.
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Middlesex CC Unveils State-of-the-art, Fully Renovated Biotech Lab9/23/202210/11/2022 12:24 PM
For 30+ years, Middlesex Community College has been a leader of educating the biotechnology workforce in Massachusetts. To celebrate the full renovation of the laboratory on the college’s Lowell campus, Middlesex held a special ribbon cutting event on Friday, September 23.

“One of the first in the state, MCC’s biotechnology program graduates are highly sought after for their extensive training and preparation,” said Phil Sisson, MCC President. “Part of the success of MCC’s program can be attributed to the hands-on lab work our students receive while completing their studies. As the biotech industry grows – especially in Massachusetts – it is more important than ever that we continue to offer state-of-the-art facilities, expert instruction from our incredible professors led by Dr. Mariluci Bladon, and opportunities for advancement in an industry that provides our community with stable jobs, incomes and opportunities.”

Following President Sisson’s address, Ryan Mudawar, Vice President of Education & Workforce Programs at Mass Life Sciences Center (MLSC) and Bladon, MCC’s Professor & Chair of Biotechnology spoke. After its start in 1990, MCC’s program is now platinum endorsed, highly respected, and a prototype for similar programs across the country, according to Bladon.

“Thanks to the funding provided by the MLSC Foundation, we are able to provide our students with the education for certificates and associate degrees,” Bladon said. “In addition to a scientific foundation, MCC’s program provides hands-on, in-person training in our clean room, preparing students to secure jobs and internships in the biotechnology industry. Our highly qualified graduates will have a profession, high income, and the ability to further their education. This 32-year-old program has prepared graduates who are now vice presidents, directors, managers, supervisors, etc. – they all started here, with a biotech degree from MCC. It is a great sense of accomplishment for our graduates and in turn, contributes to the economic growth of the state.”

MCC’s renovated biotech lab features state-of-the-art equipment and materials to provide students with a space to practice, grow and apply the skills they learn in their classes. The lab is designed to use the same equipment and materials students will see upon entering the workforce. This extensive hands-on training enhances students’ classroom learning and allows them to apply their skills to internships and jobs in the field.

Middlesex has continued to grow the program to match the demands of the industry. In 2020, MCC introduced the Biotechnology Learn and Earn Experience for students to work full-time at a partner company while earning their associate degree. The work they do in their labs and in their classes make this experience possible. In July 2022, MCC was also awarded funding to expand the biotech program to build a second lab location on the college’s Bedford campus.

“There are a number of exciting opportunities happening within MCC’s biotechnology program that maintains and strengthens the college’s position as a leader of biotech education, and we are so grateful for the support from MLSC and Middlesex to make this possible,” said Kathleen Sweeney, MCC’s Dean of STEM. “Being able to cut the ribbon on our fully renovated, state-of-the-art lab space is just the start of what a student can expect when they choose MCC to jumpstart their career in a rewarding and transformative field.”
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MCC Chair of Performing Arts Named Vice Chair for Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival9/21/202210/6/2022 1:10 PM
Middlesex Community College strives to foster a safe and inclusive space for students to learn, practice their skills, and gain access to opportunities. To support students studying the performing arts, Karen Oster, MCC Chair of Performing Arts, was named the Vice Chair of the Musical Theatre Division for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).

“I am proud to serve on the Board of an organization that is committed to the mission of nurturing and training the young artist in a competitive field,” Oster said. “I am looking forward to helping empower them to be the next generation of storytellers to be ‘heard, supported, celebrated and recognized’ for the wonderful diverse individuals they are.”

Much like Middlesex, KCACTF is dedicated to providing an accessible and equitable experience to the diverse population of which the organization serves. In her new role, Oster is working to bring meaningful workshops to the festival, as well as running the competition for the Musical Theatre division in the New England region.

KCACTF first showed interest in bringing Oster into the national theatre program for college students after MCC’s Spring 2021 performance of “Man of La Mancha.” Due to the pandemic, the show was performed socially distanced – so as to protect the cast and crew – and streamed online live to an audience.

“They were extremely impressed with the production and thought that my involvement would be a good fit,” Oster said. “I filled out the application and highlighted the work I have done with the college, as well as the experiences I have had working on Broadway and throughout the country as an educator, performer and director.”

Every year, MCC’s theatre department invites a member of KCACTF to attend the college’s spring musical. The member meets with the cast and crew to the production and often invites students to participate in the organization’s Musical Theatre and Acting Scholarship competition.

Oster’s new role – combined with the strength of the college’s pre-existing partnership with KCACTF – will benefit Middlesex students seeking to hone their craft.

“Participation at KCACTF has always allowed students to engage and work with people outside of MCC,” Oster said. “Working with professionals in the field, as well as students from all over New England, creates a network of support as they continue on their path in the arts.”
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MCC Provides Access to 24/7 Mental & Emotional Support Services9/26/202210/5/2022 10:57 AM
While getting an education can add onto challenges presented by other personal and professional stressors, Middlesex Community College is here to help. In partnership with Christie Campus Health, Middlesex is providing students with free, additional mental health support and resources.

“This has been a uniquely challenging time and we understand that our students are dealing with complex and stressful circumstances,” said Leonard Russ, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Student Support Services. “MCC is excited to partner with Christie Campus to offer a free program that will be available to our student 24/7 through a support line. The service also provides a plethora of articles and resources students can access at any time, and providers are available to meet with our students at a location and time that best supports their needs.”

MCC’s partnership with Christie Campus is meant to help the college guide students to reach their academic goals by supporting their mental and emotional needs. The 24/7 year-round access to services includes a support line, counseling services, and suite of self-help materials.

Regardless of the day or where a student is, a student can call the support line for in-the-moment help, speak to a counselor, and get connected to next steps.

Christie Campus also provides free telehealth or off-campus face-to-face counseling sessions. Students can access these sessions anywhere across the globe, no insurance necessary. For both the support line and counseling services, MCC will offer space on the Bedford and Lowell campuses for students to have privacy if they do not wish to call from home.

Articles, resources and self-help tools are available on the My Wellness Hub. Topics include information on mental and emotional health, fitness and nutrition, academic performance, stress management, healthy relationships, and more.

“The partnership enhances the services MCC offers through the Wellness Resource Center,” Russ said. “At Middlesex, we want our students to succeed here at the college and beyond, and that starts by helping to address their most basic, physical and mental needs.”
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One of Scotland’s Most Popular Folk Bands to Perform at MCC9/19/202210/4/2022 10:29 AM
For the next Fall 2022 “A World of Music” concert, Middlesex Community College will host the folk band North Sea Gas. The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“We are looking forward to presenting North Sea Gas, which is one of Scotland’s most popular folk bands,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC Chair of Music. “We are delighted that they will be stopping by to play in Lowell during their Fall U.S. tour – it will be a most entertaining evening!”

North Sea Gas consists of members Dave Gilfillan, Grant Simpson and Ronnie Macdonald, who deliver descriptive vocals and rich three-part harmonies. Instruments include guitars, mandolin, fiddle, bouzouki, harmonica, whistles, bodhrans and banjo.

Celtic Radio – Boston writes: “The band displays an attachment and a reverence for their roots from the very start. The music feels genuine, unpretentious, and spontaneous, with a fondness for storytelling and beautiful harmonies.”

All of MCC’s “A World of Music” concerts are free and open to the public.

Middlesex will kick off the Fall 2022 concert series with a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 24 at the Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

Other performances at MCC’s Academic Arts Center this semester include Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Nosferatu at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 20 and Island of Peoples at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17.

“A World of Music” will also feature performances at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall – A Peruvian Sojourn at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 8; Raley Beggs, Guitarist at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 20; and an MCC Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 20.

MCC’s Academic Arts Center is located at 240 Central Street in Lowell. With parking not available on site, the nearest public parking facility is the Early Garage on 135 Middlesex St.
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MCC Provides Fast Track to New Career for Education Student9/22/202210/3/2022 1:32 PM
After moving from Thailand to Lowell, June Nuchjaree Persons was unsure of what she wanted to do with her life. Middlesex Community College’s Early Education and Care (EEC) Career Pathways Grant – funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education – allowed her to take classes at no cost to her, enhance her skills at work, and create a stronger career path for herself.

“The future is stable for me,” Persons said. “As I have only worked in America for one year, it would have taken me several more years to prepare the funds I need to get into this line of work. Instead, I could just jump right in and begin to serve nine lovely toddlers, their parents, and the early childhood center where I work.”

As a wife and mother, Persons is balancing her studies with her job and personal responsibilities. In addition to removing the burden of the cost of classes, Middlesex is making education more accessible for her by offering the program online. This provides her with flexibility to finish her classes when she can and maintain a schedule that works for her family.

“The Career Pathways Grant is focused on people who have families and jobs to juggle,” she said.

Having earned a master’s degree in a different field in Thailand, Persons has felt confident in her classes at Middlesex. She has also benefitted from the support she has received from all of the faculty and staff who have shown they are “there to help us in each area of need,” she said.

Volunteering in a nursery at a church and donating masks for children at the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association fostered Persons’ passion for teaching. In addition to raising her own family, her work in the field has helped her understand the investment and trust a family puts in someone watching their children.

Because of how important it is to work with and treat children well, Persons believes that MCC’s program “promotes better quality in childhood care across Massachusetts.”

“What I learned applies so much to my culture, Thai families and educators, as we learn better ways to raise children and promote child growth and development,” she said. “My own experiences with young children in the past and now are coming together for me professionally.”

Thanks to her participation in the certificate, Persons is already advancing in her job. Now working as a lead teacher in her classroom, she is combining the skills and knowledge she has learned in her classes at MCC with the responsibilities of working in a management role. In the future, Persons is considering continuing her studies to earn a degree because the certificate has led to her earning more credit, trust, flexibility and opportunities at work.

“Choosing MCC is an obvious choice,” Persons said. “If there are others looking for a career that is fun, ever-changing and rewarding, I would recommend looking up this program on Early Childhood at MCC!”
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Take Charge of Your Finances with MCC’s Financial Wellness Series9/20/20229/29/2022 1:14 PM
Whether saving money, earning a degree, or planning for the future, Middlesex Community College is here to help students set themselves up for success. MCC’s Financial Wellness coach will host a six-part series to teach students strategies on how to get and stay financially well – starting on Monday, October 3!

“Research shows that over 70 percent of college students worry about their finances and how they are going to pay for college, books, or room and board,” said Serrahtani Parrish, MCC’s Financial Wellness Coach. “In addition to this worry, most students only have the basic understanding of how to be financially responsible. I am offering these workshops in the hopes of giving students a more thorough understanding of their personal finances and bringing awareness to how their financial decisions today will impact them in the future.”

All six of MCC’s Financial Wellness workshop events will be offered from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays in-person at MCC’s Lowell campus Multicultural Center or online.
  • Monday, October 3 – Where’s My Money?
  • Thursday, October 13 – Better Budget Basics
  • Monday, October 17 – My Savings First Aid Kit
  • Thursday, October 27 – Ready, Set, Let’s Tackle Debt
  • Monday, October 31 – UMC: Understanding and Managing Credit
  • Thursday, November 10 – Financially Ever After
Lunch will be provided for students participating in-person. Middlesex students who join three or more sessions will receive a $25 gift card.
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This Fall, MCC Students Take Action – Starting on Constitution Day9/14/20229/29/2022 10:56 AM
Named one of Washington Monthly’s 2022 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll, Middlesex Community College inspires students to play an active role in their communities. During the Fall 2022 semester, MCC’s Office of Civic and Service-Learning will host a series of events to spark students’ interest in their constitutional rights and voting, among other issues.

“MCC students have always been engaged participants in our democracy, but the past few years have ignited a passion in our community that is exciting to see,” said Kelly Bowes, MCC Coordinator of Civic & Service-Learning. “Throughout our history, we have seen time and time again how powerful a group of committed people can be. Middlesex hopes to inspire even more MCC students to vote and use their voice to elevate those who are often silenced in this country – and to go even further and create change through advocacy, activism and organizing.”

In honor of Constitution Day, the MCC community can tune into MassBay Community College’s panel The Supreme Court and Your Right to Privacy at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 15. Students can watch online or in the Bedford Library before participating in a discussion at 12:30 p.m. on how to get involved with the upcoming mid-term elections and other issues.

“I’m always enthusiastic about participating in discussions at MCC related to what’s happening with our local or federal government,” said Susan Woods, MCC History, Politics and Global Studies student, of Reading. “We’re living in an era when there is much critique and debate about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade as well as concern about other decisions that will affect us all for years to come. In a democracy such as ours, students and all members of a community need to be civically engaged beyond just criticizing. Using our voices to vote, supporting candidates who are dedicated to issues we believe in, attending rallies, donating money when possible, and partaking in various forms of protest are all ways we can collectively empower ourselves to help make the changes we want to see happen.”

To mark Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 20, MCC will have registration forms and QR codes available to make it easy for students to register to vote online. For National Voter Education Week – starting on Monday, October 3 – the college will run information campaigns, including a voter registration drive and how to vote early or by mail.

On Thursday, October 6, Middlesex will host #BallotReady, an event for students to learn what will be on the ballot in the next election and to understand how to make informed and educated decisions. MCC’s Get Out The Vote! event will take place on Tuesday, November 1 for students needing to make last minute plans, find out where they are registered, what to expect if voting for the first time, and to get the word out to others.

Representatives will also be available on-campus on election day to answer questions and remind community members to vote. Other events may be added throughout the semester. Visit https://mcc.turbovote.org/ to register to vote or check voter registration status for free.

“Now is not the time for complacency,” Woods said. “Now is the time for action.”
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MCC Graphic Design Students Thrive During College Internship9/15/20229/28/2022 12:14 PM
A summer internship with the college’s Office of Marketing Communications allowed Middlesex Community College Graphic Design students to flex their creative skills and learn more about the professional world. As Liz Krin and Hung To – who both live in Lowell – plan to transfer to four-year schools after graduation, this early exposure to the field helped them hone valuable skills, learn from real-life situations, and build their portfolios – setting them up for future success.

Working side-by-side with the team of MCC’s designers and writers and receiving relevant feedback on her work allowed Krin to apply what she learned in her classes to real life situations. While she figured out how to use her strengths in the field, she also identified her weaknesses and how to improve upon them. The experience, she said, “was the best thing ever.”

“The internship not only taught me about the skills needed to achieve my goals, but also about the goals themselves,” Krin said. “Which specific career path I want to pursue, what responsibilities that career entails, and how that fits into the overall pipeline of my graphic design courses.”

For Krin’s first internship, she was excited to work collaboratively on different types of projects. Her designs included Halloween-themed social media graphics for the upcoming Mini-mester II – starting on the holiday – and a display highlighting the history of MCC’s Academic Arts Center.

“Halloween Mini-mester II had a different style from what I normally do, so I had a lot of fun working on it and it gave me a chance to explore more design styles,” Krin said. “I enjoyed the challenges that I faced while working on the display. It is my first time designing a project with a big dimension, so I had to consider many aspects for this design, including font and image sizes.”

Hung also appreciated working on projects that served the college community. Her projects included a rack card on MCC’s student support services and social media graphics with a countdown to the start of Fall classes. The learning experience of working hands-on on projects with guidance from the team provided a safe space in which to practice her craft.

“Some accomplishments I have made from the internship are being able to pursue interesting and high-quality work that has made a positive impact, and being able to handle challenges, complexity and change while working on my projects,” To said. “The internship let me apply my skills and knowledge that I have gained from classes into practical situations.”

Calling her time at MCC “a great growing experience,” To built confidence in her work, improved her time management, and grew her perseverance through the internship and in her classes. Having an opportunity to work in the field early on has also made her more excited and hopeful for her future career.

“My internship with MCC’s Marketing Communications was amazing,” To said. “There were new things to learn every day and the knowledge I am taking away is immeasurable. I learned to not be afraid to ask questions and to keep an open mind and positive attitude, which are amazing skills to have while working in the design field.”
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MCC’s Lowell Campus Gets 5 Murals as Part of Citywide Partnership9/8/20229/27/2022 2:52 PM
This summer, Middlesex Community College got a lot more colorful! In partnership with Project LEARN, ArtUp Lowell and Beyond Walls, Middlesex oversaw the installation of five murals on the college’s buildings in Lowell.

“As a proud community partner, Middlesex is thrilled to be part of a collaboration to provide the space and support for diverse and creative artists to do what they do best, which is to create more access to public art,” said Phil Sisson, MCC President. “Working with these artists provided the college with the opportunity to celebrate the art, culture and the diversity of Lowell, invest in and enhance our campus spaces with five beautiful murals, and foster more representation of the community members we serve.”

The Cowan Center wall mural was painted by Fonki, one of Montreal’s most prominent street artists. A Cambodian artist born in France, Fonki’s parents were refugees of the Khmer Rouge Genocide. He began his work at 15 and has a collection of creations around the world.

For those interested in a firsthand look at Fonki at work, Middlesex will screen his documentary “The Roots Remain” at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 22 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell. The screening is part of the college’s first ever Lowell Asian American Film Festival, starting on Friday, October 21. Tickets are $5 for the entire weekend, which will feature six other Asian American-directed films.

Two murals were also installed on MCC’s Talbot building on the Derby Park side of Middle Street. One was created by Boston-born artist Mattaya Fitts, whose work combines fiction and reality in a dreamlike state.

The second Talbot building mural was by Quest Nine. From Detroit and now living in New England, Quest Nine has murals in California, the Pacific Northwest, Flint and Detroit, Mich., Boston and Montreal. She is also known locally for her work on the concrete street barriers around Lowell.

Andrew Tricoche is a Puerto Rican artist from Lowell who created the mural on the retaining wall on the back side of Derby Park. A graphic designer and illustrator, Tricoche feels inspired by music, art, fashion and culture.

The fifth mural on MCC’s Facilities building on Howe Street was completed by Golden, an artist based in Miami. One of the most well-known street artists in Florida, he has created large-scale murals worldwide.

“The installation of the murals across Lowell was a true partnership between several institutions in the city that share missions centered on access and equity,” said Patrick Cook, MCC’s Vice President of Administration. “Middlesex is grateful for the work our partners did to connect us with these globally celebrated artists, magnify our buildings’ walls with imaginative and picturesque art, and brighten the landscape of Lowell.”
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MCC to Host Faculty & Student Art Show at LexArt in September9/13/20229/26/2022 2:41 PM
Middlesex Community College provides students with hands-on opportunities to practice their craft – from clinicals and labs, internships and Service-Learning experiences, to performances and art showcases. The works of faculty and students of MCC’s Communication, Art & Design programs will be featured in an art show hosted by Lexington Arts & Crafts Society (LexArt), starting on Thursday, September 22.

“I think the show benefits the students in finding their true passion in art and motivates them to continue to pursue their purpose,” said Erick Maldonado, MCC Professor of Art. “The show is great start for those who are interested in art to visually connect with their teachers.”

MCC’s Art Show will run for a week through Thursday, September 29. A kickoff fundraising event – hosted by the Middlesex Community College Foundation – will take place at LexArt from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 22.

“The Middlesex Community College Foundation is grateful to all of our donors for their generous and continuous support of MCC students and the college’s mission,” said Sherri McCormack, MCC’s Dean of Advancement. “We look forward to a wonderful evening celebrating the life and legacy of Robert Cataldo – an MCC advocate for many years – enjoying art and culture, and celebrating the many successes of our students and faculty, hosted by our community partner, LexArt.”

Donations will benefit the Robert Cataldo Scholarship Fund in support of Lexington students attending Middlesex. The award was established by Cataldo’s family, friends and colleagues to honor his commitment to the community and to Middlesex.

“My father’s mission was to provide everyone the opportunity to have access to a good education,” said Jacqueline Fallon, Robert Cataldo’s daughter. “My mother loved art and had a hidden talent. I thought this would be a good collaboration to honor both my parents and the college. I also thought it would be a different kind of event for the college.”
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Miss the Start of the Semester? MCC’s Mini-mester II Kicks Off on Halloween!9/6/20229/23/2022 12:56 PM
Middlesex Community College’s Fall 2022 semester has begun! At Middlesex – where flexibility matters – students choose from a variety of course formats and programs to fit into their schedules and match their needs. For those not quite ready for the September start, MCC is offering a second session of eight-week courses to get students on their paths, on their timeframes – starting on Halloween, Monday, October 31!

“We strive to tailor the educational experience to the individual needs of each and every one of our students,” said Arlene Rodríguez, MCC’s Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “In a condensed period of time, Mini-mesters provide students with the knowledge and training they need to earn credits toward a degree, update skills for their career, and take classes when their schedule allows. Mini-mesters are a perfect example of how MCC makes education equitable and accessible for all students.”

The mid-semester start of Mini-mester classes allows students to begin their studies when they are ready. This ensures that students can get on their way to reaching their goals and finishing their education without having to wait until the next semester.

The accelerated courses offer the same content, academic standards and instructional hours as the 15-week semester. Mini-mesters also provide an opportunity for students to learn a new skill without having to make a long-term commitment.

For students who are still thinking about what to pursue, they can enroll in Mini-mesters to complete general education requirements and explore different subjects and majors of interest. In just eight weeks, a student can go back to school, try something new, and be set up with a solid foundation for the remainder of their education.

Jeanne Cronin, MCC Professor of Graphic Design, offers her Introduction to Web Design as a Mini-mester class. Students learn everything they need in just eight weeks, allowing them to add a new skill to their resume in a shorter amount of time.

“A lot of students want to learn about the subject and a Mini-mester allows them to focus on this one course and explore a possible interest,” Cronin said. “Mini-mesters are great for students with busy lives. They try something new and get it done sooner than taking it over the 15-week semester.”

While starting at a community college already saves students money on tuition costs, students can also earn more credits per semester by enrolling in the eight-week sessions. This often leads to them finishing their education and reaching their goals faster.

“MCC’s Mini-mester sessions are a low-risk, high-reward option,” Rodríguez said. “Take advantage and jumpstart a path to a degree or new career.”
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Middlesex CC: Leading Together for Racial Equity and Justice 9/7/20229/22/2022 11:07 AM
Over the course of three days – Monday, August 29 to Wednesday, August 31 – Middlesex Community College’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (CTRHT) hosted a series of events to offer MCC and Greater Lowell community members opportunities to learn about leadership for racial equity and racial healing circles.

“At Middlesex, we are committed to the necessary collaborative and intentional work it takes to build meaningful relationships and partnerships, and to create a racially equitable community,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “We have the capacity to be a source of knowledge and training for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) that promotes anti-racist and anti-biased practices within our communities. Our collaboration with the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) allowed us to create our Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation in order to learn and lead together with our community, offer space to engage in forward-thinking conversations that lead to long-lasting and relevant action, and cultivate an environment on our campuses that fosters the success of every student who attends the college.”

The featured guest speaker for the August 31 event was Dr. Gail C. Christopher, an award-winning change agent and Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE). Speaking on innovative, transformative leadership development, she weaved together the importance and intersection of community, education, race equity and racial healing. The day started with racial healing circles led by national trainer and facilitator Mee Moua.

“I value MCC’s role in facilitating conversations that foster exactly what Dr. Christopher spoke about today, and that is ‘to create a counterforce to our current societal conditions that separate us, by choosing to come together with empathetic understanding to tell new stories that honor our humanity and make change happen,’” said Susan Levine, Chief Executive Officer of Lowell Community Health Center. “MCC and the CTHRT are doing just that.”

“I was excited to hear Dr. Gail C. Christopher speak on the intersection of community, education and race,” said Mira Bookman, Program Director for Project LEARN. “The first time I ever had a teacher who looked like me was as a junior in college. Now, as a teacher, I realize how important it is to listen more than you speak and reflect intentionally. I am happy to have learned more about ways to promote racial equity in our schools and what it means to lead with empathy.”

"Mill City Grows has a strong interest and desire to emphasize discussions on racial equity and inclusion in our communities,” said Suzzanne Cromwell, Mill City Grows team member. “But we can't have these conversations in a vacuum. The power of exchanging shared experiences and ideas in a group setting is critical as we explore practical applications for change. MCC's powerful discussion with Dr. Gail Christopher and The Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation creates a safe, dynamic space to discuss and address equity and identity on a local, national, and global scale."

MCC’s CTRHT strives to develop a process of reaffirming common humanity and fostering relationships that will bring about positive change for racially equitable and just communities.

On Monday, August 29, community members went on the Lowell Black History Walking Trail and visited the Lowell National Historical Park’s Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit. Events on Tuesday, August 30 included workshops on the value and designing process of racial healing circles.

“The racial healing circle methodology offers a way for us to shift our understanding of human value and reimagine a world without the false belief in the hierarchy of human value,” said Darcy Orellana, MCC’s Executive Director of DEI. “Having the opportunity to bring together MCC students, faculty and staff, and community partners has been a gift. The CTRHT provides the space for all of us to both learn and lead together for truth, racial healing and transformation.”
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Alumna Got Her Start in “Very Unique Career” at Middlesex CC9/1/20229/21/2022 10:39 AM
During her time at Middlesex Community College, Shanon Rogers, of Arlington, learned about Dental Laboratory Technology. In less than a year, MCC’s program gave her the knowledge and skills she needed to work in this “very unique career.” Her internship at a local practice also helped her land a job before she even graduated.

“I was interested in dentistry and looked into the different programs, and saw there was a lab program offered,” Rogers said. “The description matched my interests and what I felt like I was good at – things like being artistic and equally scientific, and being able to create with your hands. I got a job during my time at MCC as an in-house lab technician.”

In every class, Rogers had the opportunity to fabricate prosthetics step-by-step. This helped her experience all of the equipment and materials she would be using once working in the field. Rogers believes that people who do not go through an academic program to receive their training miss out on many of these steps – an opportunity that she now considers as “the most valuable post-graduation.”

“The knowledge of a formal dental laboratory program has allowed me to advance in my career much faster than if I was on-the-job trained,” she said. “I have a complete knowledge of all lab processes, which has set me apart and allowed me to have job positions in offices that require complete knowledge of processes start to finish.

Middlesex is one of a few accredited lab programs in the country, according to Rogers. She was grateful to have found the program at a college close to home where she already felt comfortable after taking a few classes. During her time at the Middlesex, she was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honors society for two-year colleges.

This year, Rogers and her husband opened their own lab in New Hampshire. The Lab Dental Studio specializes in removable prosthetics and implant dentures. Not only was Middlesex her introduction into the Dental Lab Tech field, MCC provided her with the practical and hands-on experiences to “prepare for the real world.”

“I would not be where I am today without the education I received at MCC,” Rogers said. “The career path has allowed me to work alongside skilled prosthodontists as a valuable team member. In-office technicians is becoming more desirable for doctors and is a great opportunity for career advancement.”

In addition to Dental Lab Tech, MCC offers two other health programs that can be completed in less than a year. While Dental Lab Tech and Dental Assisting begin on Tuesday, September 6, students can register for Medical Assisting for a Monday, October 3 start!

“The demand for skilled lab technicians is very high,” Rogers said. “Doctors are looking for the support from an educated lab tech. Many are retiring and there are not enough new skilled technicians to replace them.”
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MCC Kicks Off “World of Music” with Lowell Chamber Orchestra9/6/20229/20/2022 3:18 PM
Middlesex Community College will kick off the college’s Fall 2022 “A World of Music” concert series with a live performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 24 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“We are delighted to be offering a variety of live concerts this Fall, including standard and new orchestral and chamber music, Scottish folk music, and a silent film with music,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC Chair of Music. “Everything is free and open to the public.”

MCC Music faculty member Orlando Cela will conduct the LCO through “Unexpected Designs,” a varied program of works from the Classical Era and today. The concert starts with “Paikuna Saqinku” – Quechua for “they are displaced,” according to Cela. Winner of the first ever LCO concerto competition Roy Karni will perform before the LCO’s “Cyprian’s Dance” performance by Eve De Castro-Robinson. The concert will end with Symphony No. 45 by Franz Joseph Hayden.

“The LCO presents a concert comprised of works that – in one way or another – offer something unusual,” Cela said. “‘Paikuna Saqinku’ is a work that uses Latin rhythms to tell the struggle of Columbian rural communities as they fight for the right of clean water. Karni will perform the famous Mozart clarinet concerto on the bassett clarinet, a rare instrument for which the concerto was originally written. ‘Cyprian’s Dance’ is a piece dedicated to Castro-Robinson’s son Cyprian and inspired by his love of grindcore punk music – unusual for an orchestra! The theatrical Symphony No. 45 is unusual in form and in the way it ends, a true lesson on political messaging.”

Other performances at MCC’s Academic Arts Center this semester include North Sea Gas at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5; Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Nosferatu at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 20; and Island of Peoples at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17.

“A World of Music” will also feature performances at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall – A Peruvian Sojourn at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 8; Raley Beggs, Guitarist at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 20; and an MCC Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 20.

MCC’s Academic Arts Center is located at 240 Central Street in Lowell. With parking not available on site, the nearest public parking facility is the Early Garage on 135 Middlesex St.
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MCC Student Participates in Station1 Frontiers Fellowship8/31/20229/19/2022 12:06 PM
Jodi Zangari, of Chelmsford, returned to school in the hopes of pursuing a career in something that could leave an impact. Middlesex Community College helped her rediscover a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which led to her acceptance into the 2022 Station1 Frontiers Fellowship.

“I always wanted to be able to contribute meaningfully to the world, but I wasn’t quite sure which way to do that,” Zangari said. “I love working hands-on, being in a lab, problem-solving, and being challenged by things."

Founded by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Station1 provides innovative and inclusive opportunities for students studying STEM. Zangari – who is studying Mechanical Engineering – learned about the fellowship from MCC faculty member Dr. Madhu Dhar. Selected from hundreds of applicants worldwide, Zangari enjoyed learning about STEM from a humanistic and social science approach.

“The connections you make, the people you are interacting with on a daily basis, it’s incredible,” she said. “You’re put into the real world of work and given the opportunity to learn in that environment. The fellowship is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”

In addition to completing coursework and research, students participated in an internship component with a partner company. Zangari worked with Bloomer Tech, a start-up that is working toward improving cardiovascular health for women. She was part of a team that performed research and data analysis that included a research summary, poster and presentation.

“It was fascinating,” Zangari said. “I learned more than I ever thought I could have. The work forces you to change your view on things. It expands your perception of the world and all the components that bring everything together.”

Coming to Middlesex was a second chance at higher education for Zangari. After previously attending a four-year school, she took a break to give birth to her son, travel and pursue dance. She started at MCC in January 2020 – just before the pandemic – choosing to study education.

The pull toward STEM remained strong, especially after taking a course on how the brain works. Enrolling in more STEM courses introduced Zangari to Professor Dhar and a passion for physics, which led her to pursuing a new major and ultimately, to her acceptance into the fellowship.

Dhar is one of a few professors who has made a positive impact on Zangari’s time at MCC. Having a connection with professors who go above and beyond for their students motivates Zangari as she moves forward and “makes all the difference” on her path.

After she graduates from Middlesex, Zangari plans to transfer to UMass Lowell to continue studying Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Physics. Looking ahead to her career, Zangari has a number of options to consider – from designing technologies used in discovery, working in astronomy and space exploration, to finding a way to improve the environment.

The options are available to her, Zangari believes, because of her time in the Station1 Fellowship, as well as her education from MCC.

“Middlesex has become my foundation,” she said. “It has opened up so many doors for me in such a short amount of time and has shown me that the sky is the limit.”
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Metallica Scholars Initiative Enters Fourth Year, Expanding Reach Across the U.S.8/30/20229/15/2022 11:50 AM
Washington, D.C. (July 12, 2022) – Middlesex Community College was selected from a competitive field of community colleges across the country to receive $100,000 to transform the future of students in the community.

Since establishing the Metallica Scholars Initiative in 2019, All Within My Hands (AWMH) has been working with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to provide direct support for career and technical education programs across the U.S. Having grown from a concept to a thriving educational strategy that focuses on enhancing skills while providing services to students looking to enter a traditional trade or other applied learning program, the Metallica Scholars Initiative has generated a proven and measurable impact. AWMH will replicate the program further by adding 10 more schools to the roster, investing $1.8 million to expand in year four.

“Our goal for the Metallica Scholars Initiative is to shine a light on workforce education and support the next generation of tradespeople,” said Pete Delgrosso, Executive Director, All Within My Hands. “With the addition of the 2022-2023 Metallica Scholars program, our grants will reach over 2,000 men and women in 32 community colleges across 27 states. We are honored to support these students of all ages and backgrounds and look forward to growing the program even farther in the future.”

Direct impact on job and wage growth drives the Metallica Scholars Initiative. On average, students who complete the program see new job opportunities and increased salary potential up to three times higher than pre-program. Middlesex will focus its efforts on the need for employees trained in Electronic Technology – one of the region’s most high-demand industries. The college’s goal is to elevate students’ skill sets by meeting industry standards, and raising the level of academic programs offered.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the Metallica Scholars Initiative – and grateful to the historic band Metallica – for the opportunity to join a respected cohort of community colleges across the country who hold this honor,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “Middlesex is a leader of educating the workforce, equipping employees with necessary training and skills to fill much needed employment gaps within the Commonwealth. With a focus on hands-on learning inside and outside of the classroom, an education from MCC helps our students go on to start careers that are more stable and better paying. This funding will enable us to better reach a population who will thrive from these opportunities the most, ultimately transforming their futures in innumerable ways.”

Funded by Metallica’s All Within My Hands (AWMH) and led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Metallica Scholars Initiative is designed to directly support students while elevating the importance of career and technical education. Metallica continues to use its global platform to speak out on the dignity of professional trades and community colleges that prepare students.

“It is critical to partner with innovative programs like the MCC, who provide the means and resources for upskilling employees,” said Marg Drouin of Aved Electronics. “The Manufacturing Industry has lagged other industries in diversity and inclusion, but with the resources provided MCC, we are able to change this narrative. Through ESA and print reading course as well as basic electrical classes and BMS design we are provided with the opportunity to increase our engineer pool, close skill gaps, and provide employees with more opportunities, and increase employee retention.”

Working closely with the AACC, a Washington D.C.-based advocate for not-for-profit, public-serving institutions, AWMH has selected ten schools to receive $100,000 each to transform the future of students in their communities. The extensive proposal process received an incredible amount of interest, and the applications were of the highest quality. Each of the ten institutions chosen intends to prioritize students interested in the skilled trades as a pathway to economic development.

“The Metallica Scholars program has proven to provide significant resources for community college students looking to learn the skills needed for today’s workforce,” said Walter G. Bumphus, AACC’s president and CEO. “We are honored to partner with the All Within My Hands Foundation to continue to expand this opportunity for community colleges and their students.”

The ten schools are:
  • Clark State Community College - Springfield, Ohio
  • East Central College - Union, Missouri
  • Guilford Technical Community College – Jamestown, North Carolina
  • Hudson County Community College - Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Middlesex Community College -Lowell, Massachusetts
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Perkinston, Mississippi
  • Rockland Community College – Suffern, New York
  • Salt Lake Community College – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Juan College – Farmington, New Mexico
The newly added community colleges are joining an already established core of 22 schools that have been invited to continue as a Metallica Scholars school. Each year the returning colleges play an integral role in onboarding, to help the new schools hit the ground running.

The returning schools are:
  • Central Community College - Grand Island, Nebraska
  • Central Piedmont Community College - Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, Oregon
  • Clinton Community College - Clinton, Iowa
  • College of Lake County - Grayslake, Illinois
  • Columbia Gorge Community College - The Dalles, Oregon
  • Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, Maryland
  • Elizabethtown Community and Technical College - Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  • Gateway Technical College - Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Grand Rapids Community College - Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Lone Star College - Houston, Texas
  • North Idaho College - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
  • Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, Virginia
  • Northwest-Shoals Community College - Muscle Shoals, Alabama
  • Pima County Community College - Tucson, Arizona
  • Polk State College – Winter Haven, Florida
  • Spokane Community College, Spokane, Washington
  • Valencia College – Orlando, Florida
  • Victor Valley College - Victorville, California
  • West Virginia University Parkersburg - Parkersburg, West Virginia
  • Westchester Community College – Westchester, New York
  • WSU Tech – Wichita, Kansas
The 32 colleges across the country are encouraged to use the AWMH grant as the local industry dictates in terms of program and training. To provide skilled and educated tradespeople ready for the local workforce, Metallica Scholars programs include:
  • Automation and Robotics
  • Automotive Technology
  • Aviation
  • Computer-Aided Drafting & Design
  • Computerized Manufacturing (CNC)
  • Construction Technology & Carpentry
  • Diesel Technology
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Heating & Ventilation (HVAC)
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Hospitality
  • Industrial Maintenance Technology
  • Manufacturing & Machining
  • Mechanical Design
  • Mechatronics Engineering
  • Process Technology
  • Trucking
  • Welding
To learn more about the Metallica Scholars Initiative, please visit AllWithinMyHands.org/Metallica-Scholars.

About All Within My Hands (AWMH) Established by the members and management of Metallica in 2017 as a means to invest in the people and places that have supported the band, the Foundation is focused on supporting sustainable communities through workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services. All expenses of the Foundation are covered by the band, the board, and a few special friends so that 100% of donations go to the organizations it supports. AWMH is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

About American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the AACC delivers educational and economic opportunity for more than 10 million diverse students searching for the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,100 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.
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New Student Orientation Prepares Students for MCC’s Fall Semester8/23/20229/14/2022 10:40 AM
Starting college can feel overwhelming, but Middlesex Community College’s New Student Orientation provides the support and skills students need to prepare for the Fall 2022 semester. During Orientation, current Middlesex students and alumni work as Orientation Leaders (OL) to help students learn more about the programs and services offered by the college.

“An OL assists with all orientation on-campus and online events and plays a vital role in facilitating the adjustment of new students to the MCC campus community and finding their sense of belonging,” said Steven Rossi, MCC’s Director of Student Engagement & Retention. “Being an OL is an outstanding opportunity for any student interested in gaining leadership skills and helping new students make a positive transition to the college.”

Ethan Muriuki, an Electrical Engineering from Lowell, credits MCC for helping him make a smooth transition to college. As he enjoys connecting with classmates from different cultures, becoming an OL was a chance to meet new people and help them as they adjust to college life. “I wanted to assist both new and current students to learn more about the many resources MCC has, as well as to learn the college process and interact with people at school.”

Having enjoyed experiences in her classes and activities around MCC, Maddy Fadden, an MCC Human Services student from Dracut, wanted to support new students by becoming an OL. It was also important to her to provide representation to the incoming class of students.

“I wanted to be an OL to show other students that it's okay to be your authentic self,” she said. “It’s a chance to show transgender representation and make connections with new students.”

The First Year Experience (FYE) is an important part of the MCC’s orientation. Over two days, students can take a class on the Bedford or Lowell campus and earn one credit.

“Students who participate in FYE courses have a solid understanding of what it takes to succeed in their courses,” said Faithe MacElliott, MCC’s Learning Specialist for TRIO Program for Student Achievement. “They are well prepared to navigate their college to career pathway.”

During an FYE course, students learn more about what it means to be a college student. They also have a chance to make friends and ask questions before the semester starts, according to Heloisa DaCunha, MCC Chair of Criminal and Social Justice.

“With an FYE course, students have an opportunity to learn about skills to succeed in college by navigating resources and technology from the library, student engagement, tutoring center, clubs and other services,” DaCunha said. “Along with their peers and faculty, students can start planning their academic path at MCC and in the future by reflecting on future goals and begin creating action plans to achieve their goals and how MCC play a role in their life goals.”

“Orientation provides knowledge both in theory and practice about the resources, facilities and people who work at MCC, laying the foundation for a successful first semester,” Muriuki said.
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Get into Workforce In Less Than a Year with MCC’s Health Programs 8/30/20229/13/2022 2:59 PM
programs that can be completed in less than 12 months. Theoretical knowledge combined with hands-on experiences provide the skills and training students need to succeed in an in-demand industry, such as Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting and Dental Laboratory Technology.

“Middlesex is a leader of providing our local health care industries with highly-skilled and trained graduates,” said Karen Townsend, MCC’s Dean of Health. “In a short period of time, students are equipped with the training and certifications they need to directly enter the workforce and be on their path to long-lasting careers with job and income stability.”

With MCC’s Medical Assisting program, students can work in hospital clinics, physician practices and specialty offices. The program teaches students to work with patients and medical records, communicate verbally and in writing, and assist the medical team among other valuable skills. MCC’s nine-month program requires basic computer skills in order to start.

“Becoming a medical assistant is a good career choice because it is an in-demand career with many opportunities,” said Claudia Guillen, MCC’s Program Coordinator of Medical Assisting. “The demand for medical assistants is expected to increase by 18.9 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average compared to other occupations.”

For those interested in working in a dental field in less than a year’s time, Middlesex offers the Dental Assisting and Dental Lab Tech programs.

In MCC’s Dental Assisting certificate and associate degree programs, students learn the knowledge and skills they need to assist at chairside in a dental office. Students benefit from hands-on experience working in the newly renovated, state-of-the-art clinic, as well as at externships at local practices. Graduates are well-prepared to pass their exams and start work.

“Dental Assistants are always in-demand, even during an economic recession as dentists cannot work without their assistants,” Mary Jenny said. “We work closely with the dental community. That is how every year almost all of our students each get three to four job offers even before they graduate as we have over 60 affiliated dental clinics for externships.”

Dental Lab Techs work in dental laboratories, schools, offices and in their own businesses to fabricate dental prosthetics for patients to improve functions such as chewing and speaking. In hands-on labs, students practice general skills they will be performing in the workforce. Students also learn the anatomy and function of a cavity, as well as the use and properties of materials used in labs.

“Dental laboratory technicians have an important role as members of the dental team,” said Apollon Bouzerdan, MCC’s Program Coordinator of Dental Lab Tech. “This is a rewarding career in terms of providing a valuable service, as well as earning potential, and the career paths are numerous in this field.”

In less than a year, MCC’s health programs get students working in in-demand fields. There is still time to register for the Fall 2022 semester. While the Dental Assisting and Dental Lab Tech programs start on Tuesday, September 6, MCC's Medical Assisting program will begin on Monday, October 3. Enrollment specialists are available now to help get students on their paths to meaningful, stable and well-paying jobs!
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MCC’s Student Support Services Make Difference on Student’s Path8/25/20229/8/2022 11:04 AM
After giving birth to her daughter at 17, Leticia Torres, of Methuen, was unsure of where life would take her. Growing up, she watched her single immigrant mother struggle to work multiple minimum wage jobs. With Middlesex Community College, Torres found a way to balance spending time with her family with working and continuing her education to provide for them.

“I am proud to say that MCC has prepared me for greatness,” Torres said. “So far, my greatest achievement has been having the strength to continue to attend MCC and maintain good grades while at it.”

MCC’s TRIO Program for Student Achievement – funded by the U.S. Department of Education – made Torres’s college experience easier. To help her do well in classes, the program taught her study strategies and academic skills through tutoring. Staff in the program also offered guidance to keep her mentally well when she struggled with depression and anxiety.

“They truly care about their students’ well-being,” she said. “They have been there to support me when I feel like giving up. They motivate me to be a better student. They set me up for academic excellence and success. I can say I wouldn’t be where I am without the TRIO program.”

One of the ways TRIO staff “mentor beyond Middlesex” is by inspiring Torres to continue her education. The Business Transfer student plans to take advantage of the MassTransfer process to attend the University of Massachusetts Lowell after she graduates from MCC.

Another influence on Torres’s time at Middlesex is Stacie Hargis, MCC’s Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. Whether teaching her more about business concepts and plans or advising her through her next steps, Hargis has proven to Torres that “she truly cares about her students.”

The staff members of TRIO and professors such as Hargis have shown Torres the ways in which MCC “goes the extra mile for students.” Torres also credits her mother and her resilience in raising Torres and her siblings for shaping her life experiences. Now as a single mother, Torres believes she is showing the community – and herself – what is possible through education.

“I am beating the odds as the first generation to attend college,” Torres said. “I am going to continue with my education and accomplish the dreams and objectives that I have for my future. MCC has given me a chance to hope again.”
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MCC’s Libraries Prepare Students for the Fall 2022 Semester8/29/20229/7/2022 12:58 PM
The start of college can feel overwhelming, but one of the best ways a student can set themselves up for success is by connecting with faculty and staff from a number of areas across the institution. At Middlesex Community College, the Libraries have a variety of support and resources that will get students ready for their classes from day one.

“Librarians – and all of the resources available at the Libraries in-person and online – are here to help you navigate your classes, research, papers and projects,” said Tracy Joyce, MCC’s Coordinator of Library Services in Bedford. “We can guide you through your classes, any coursework you have throughout the semester, and your finals and papers to close out the semester. It is so important to not only know where to go for help, but to take advantage of what is available to you.”

At Middlesex, students can access librarians through a chat system, email, over the phone, and by visiting the Libraries in Bedford or Lowell. Staff can help students get the most from the resources available to them, including course guides, eBooks, videos, workshops and research guides by subjects.

MCC librarians recommend that students find out their library login before their first day. Knowing this information will give them 24/7 off-campus access to library resources – a student’s A number combined with their birthday.

In addition to resources to help students succeed in their classes, the Libraries also create a selection of books and resources centered around important monthly themes. These includes guides on Black History, Women’s History and LGBTQ+ Pride.

Ahead of the Fall 2022 semester, MCC librarians suggest that students find a study space that works best for them – especially at one of the Libraries where quiet spaces are available.

“The Libraries are an excellent free resource that can make a big impact on a student’s overall success in college,” Joyce said.
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Middlesex CC Alum Finds Triumphs Through Hardships8/17/20229/6/2022 1:44 PM
School was never an easy thing for David Rosario. He was quiet and shy, which made it difficult for him to connect with people. For a period, he did not take his education seriously and almost dropped out of high school. Rosario often chose to stay at home and avoided responsibility.

Along his journey, he learned about Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School (LMACS). Rosario was born and raised in Lowell, yet he was unfamiliar with the school. He was encouraged to attend LMACS because of its small setting and ability to provide a comfortable and safe space for him to learn and grow.

“My experience at LMACS was life-changing,” Rosario said. “I was depressed and unproductive. LMACS gave me an avenue to explore who I was and eventually find myself. The educational aspect was essential, but I would say LMACS saved my life. Without them, I would not be here.”

Rosario started to develop an interest in writing. The faculty at LMACS saw his potential and pushed him to try Dual Enrollment at MCC. Rosario’s online English course experience ended up being a success.

To continue his momentum, Rosario decided that he would attend MCC once he graduated from LMACS. His major was in liberal arts. “I was nervous at first because I did not know if college was the right route,” he said. “Pushing myself to pursue an education instead of being stagnant or not giving the experience a try was worth it.”

Although Rosario was still a bit reserved, he enjoyed and embraced MCC’s environment. “I appreciated my community more and developed better social skills,” he said. “My engagements with other students and professors introduced me to a different world.”

A manageable workload and professors like Joseph Nardoni and Nicholas Papas helped Rosario generate a more sophisticated way of approaching his writing. They both gave him a better understanding of how to construct formal writing material and grow comfortable with the process.

Once Rosario was close to getting his associate degree at MCC in 2018, he debated transferring to the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML). Even though Rosario was undecided, he ended up pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English with a Creative Writing Concentration. Staff at MCC gave him the guidance and confidence he needed to tackle his next challenge.

“An academic advisor mentioned how an associate degree is a step towards a bachelor’s degree,” Rosario said. “Hearing it from her perspective made sense.”

UML is where Rosario built his internship experience, which helped him diversify his writing skills. A few months after graduating from UML in 2021, Rosario participated in a service internship through Commonwealth Corps, which involved him serving in an afterschool program at Coalition for a Better Acre for close to a year.

When Rosario’s service position ended, he began networking and discovered a position in MCC’s Office of Marketing and Communications. One of his connections introduced the opportunity to him, he applied, and began the position as a Marketing Content Specialist in August of 2022. Rosario is grateful to be given this chance.

Rosario will always have a positive outlook on MCC, especially since it is affiliated with LMACS. He credits MCC for his evolvement and speaks highly of what an education from a community college can do for students. “Community colleges are a key element for people who are not sure about what they want to do with their lives,” Rosario said.

Through his experience at MCC, he found purpose.

“My experience at MCC made me appreciate the value of education,” he said. “MCC gave me a strong foundation and I absorbed its positivity.”
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MCC Launches “One Week to Go” to Get Students Ready for Fall8/24/20229/6/2022 1:36 PM
There is almost “One Week to Go” until the start of Middlesex Community College’s Fall 2022 semester. From Monday, August 29 to Friday, September 2, Middlesex faculty and staff will offer in-person office hours and activities to help students prepare for the new semester.

“Our offices are open and ready for them to come and connect with any of our offices at Middlesex before the start of classes,” said Steven Rossi, MCC’s Director of Student Engagement & Retention. “We hope students will use this time to meet with advisors and financial aid specialists, visit the campus to check out the bookstore and other places they’ll need to know, and enjoy unique experiences MCC is hosting to engage with classmates and staff across the college.”

MCC’s Office of Advising will be available to meet with students to register for more classes or change their schedules. Students can also take time throughout the week to visit the Offices of Financial Aid or Student Accounts to ask questions or settle remaining balances.

To get familiarized with the MCC community, the week offers a chance for students to tour the campuses in Bedford or Lowell, as well as to buy books and supplies for their classes.

MCC’s “One Week to Go” engagement week is also the perfect time for students to learn about the resources and organizations available to meet their individual needs. This includes representatives from the Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE), Success Scholars Programs, and MCC’s two TRIO programs for Student Achievement and Program for Student Success.

Tara Barlett, of Woburn, is a 2022 Middlesex alumna of the Business Administration-Transfer program. An Orientation Leader (OL) and Success Scholars Alumni Mentor, Barlett emphasizes the value of learning what the college and community can bring to students.

“I am constantly reminded of all the wonderful programs and services that MCC provides,” Barlett said. “These students get a head start on classes, gain knowledge about the campuses and make connections. I’m grateful for the opportunities and experiences that were provided by MCC during my time here. I believe in giving back and I feel like being an OL and Success Mentor is the perfect way to do that.”

Middlesex believes that building relationships with peers and having fun is also an important part of the full college experience. To foster a supportive environment from the start, the One Week to Go Event will provide students with activities such as listening to music, getting a caricature drawing done, and putting together a bamboo plant. Food and ice cream trucks will also be available for students who visit at least one of MCC’s offices.

“These ‘One Week to Go’ events are a great introduction to all the resources, enrichment and fun MCC gives to students,” Rossi said. “We look forward to meeting you!”
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MCC’s Certificate Program Put Graduate on Fast Track to New Career8/18/20229/1/2022 11:24 AM
Witnessing the work of nurses and nurse assistants amid the COVID-19 pandemic inspired Andover-native John Spagnuolo to pursue a career in the field. Despite his initial uncertainty about returning to school, Middlesex Community College’s Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Home Health Aid certificate program made the process easier and possible.

“I always thought about going into healthcare, but was afraid of going back to school,” Spagnuolo said. “MCC helped me realize that I can overcome a fear of going back to school and actually do well.”

The adult learner – who graduated from high school in 1994 – spent a large portion of his career as a hair stylist. He enjoyed his work, but felt pulled toward working in healthcare. Spagnuolo chose to attend Middlesex in his return to school because he had heard positive things and the college offered what he was looking for in terms of training and community.

Part of MCC’s Community Education and Training (CET) division, the CNA certificate program combines theoretical knowledge and skills with extensive, hands-on clinical experiences. During Spagnuolo’s two clinicals, he worked at a school and a nursing home.

The clinical experiences offered Spagnuolo and his classmates a chance to “work together and help each other” as they applied the knowledge they learned in their classes to real-life situations. Working as part of a team during these experiences taught him a lot about the industry and how to be successful.

“The value of the theoretical knowledge is so important, learning something new every day,” he said. “The clinical portion is great because I am a hands-on learner and learn fast that way.”

Most of Spagnuolo’s coursework was completed online over Zoom. In addition to collaborating with classmates, he learned a lot from his instructors who showed a passion and love for their craft. The program covered everything he needed to pass the Massachusetts CNA certification exam and enter the workforce in his new field.

After completing MCC’s program, Spagnuolo started working at Spaulding Rehab Hospital in Charlestown where he “learned so much.” He will next be moving into a position as a medical assistant at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear outpatient clinic.

With MCC, Spagnuolo got on his path to pursuing a new career and passion in just a few months’ time. Whether in class or at his clinicals, he “loved the overall experience” Middlesex provided and learned all of the information and training he needed to make this transition successful.

“If you put the time into anything of importance, you really do see positive results,” he said. “I am a product of that.”
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MCC Gives Strategies to Stay Mentally Healthy Ahead of Fall Semester8/22/20228/31/2022 10:54 AM
As the Fall semester approaches, Middlesex Community College wants to make sure students have access to the tools, resources and strategies they need to get off to a strong start. MCC’s Office of Wellness and Essential Needs believes that one of the best ways a student can prepare for a new semester is to focus on their emotional, mental and physical well-being.

“Mental and physical health matters so much,” said Jonathan Crockett, MCC’s Coordinator of Essential Needs & Community Resources. “Taking care of yourself can help you feel better, be a better student, and increase your quality of life. Positive mental and physical health makes all the difference to long-term success and happiness – don’t neglect it!”

In order to stay healthy, Crockett and Lynn Gregory, MCC’s Wellness Counselor, emphasize that there are a variety of simple but positive, effective and beneficial approaches.

For mental health, this includes learning strategies to manage emotions, explore spirituality, practice meditation and relaxation, and deal with stress. To help students take care of their physical body, they suggest eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, avoiding harmful chemicals and exercising.

Another way to prepare for the semester is to learn how to build and maintain healthy relationships, whether with advisors and faculty, classmates, or in personal and professional settings. Crockett and Gregory believe there is value in students making time to engage in conversations with the people who can help and guide them.

“Being able to ask someone else for help is one of the greatest gifts to both sides,” Gregory said. “It’s an invitation to engage, connect, share the load, learn from each other, and feel supported. The world is full of people eager to help and asking is not a sign of weakness, but an act of humanity, necessity and grace.”

Crockett and Gregory also stress the value of maintaining a healthy relationship to technology. While technology is used in a number of ways during school, work and personal time, it can be distracting. Finding a balance will help students avoid overuse and stress.

“Responsible use of technology requires awareness, effort and consistency,” Crockett and Gregory said. “It can prevent you from sliding down the slippery slopes of technology overload and procrastination.”
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MCC Lists Tips on Financial Wellness Ahead of Fall 2022 Semester8/15/20228/30/2022 3:14 PM
As the start of the Fall 2022 semester approaches, Middlesex Community College’s Success Scholars Program wants to help students stay financially well. One of the main tips the program suggests is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

“Completing the FAFSA is the easiest way to get money for college,” said Serrahtani Parrish, MCC’s Success Scholars Program Financial Wellness Coach. “Many students and their families fail to complete the FAFSA because they think they don’t qualify for assistance, but that is a big mistake. They may be eligible for state or federal grants, work-study funds, or federal student loans. Completing a FAFSA can save you money and time.”

Parrish emphasizes that the number one rule for taking out a student loan is borrowing only what is needed. Students have to pay back their loans, so it is important to keep track of education-related finances. Starting at MCC helps to lower the costs of college overall, whether a student plans to transfer to a four-year school or jump into the workforce.

College scholarships are another way to help students pay for college, according to Parrish. The benefit to earning a scholarship is not having to pay back the awarded funds. While Middlesex offers many student scholarships in partnership with the Middlesex Community College Foundation, there are also many external scholarships available for which students can submit applications.

To stay ahead of finances, Parrish recommends students learn budgeting basics. This includes creating a budget and continuing to follow it. Another important basic to staying financially well is understanding how credit cards work. While using a credit card helps to build good credit, it can also lead individuals to spend too much money too quickly.

Meeting with an MCC financial wellness coach or using online resources such as iGrad, will provide students with a plan to set themselves up for success during their time at Middlesex and beyond. This keeps students financially healthy, while avoiding racking up debt.

MCC will host two in-person FAFSA Assistance Drop-in Days on the Lowell campus from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, August 15 and Monday, August 22. Financial aid specialists will be on hand to help students and their families fill out the free and easy application.

“We’re here to help,” Parrish said. “It’s always a good idea to make a financial wellness plan, especially at the start of a new semester.”
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MCC’s Corporate & Community Ed. Programs “Skill Up” Employees8/16/20228/30/2022 11:13 AM
Continuing education is the gateway to new and exciting opportunities. Whether just starting out or hoping to advance in a career, students of all ages, backgrounds and experiences can come to Middlesex Community College to engage in professional and personal development to enhance their lives, including MCC’s Corporate and Community Education and Training (CET) programs.

“MCC’s Corporate and Community Education and Training division is a leader of educating the workforce, meeting the demands of today while keeping a pulse on the future of employment in the Commonwealth,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development and Innovation. “Our courses are designed to train employees for high-demand industries that will satisfy the needs of local employers while skilling up employees seeking better opportunities.”

This Fall 2022 semester, Middlesex will feature a variety of programs – on-campus and online – to provide knowledge and skill training for high-demand industries, including health and medical, computer and Information Technology (IT), communications, management and more!

In MCC’s health and medical courses, students are prepared to sit for certification exams and enter the workforce in entry level roles with hands-on practice and training. Options include Medical Interpreting, Pharmacy Technician, and Dental Hygienist Webinars on Local Anesthesia Outcomes and Dental Radiography.

Students looking to update their computer skills can engage in a suite of computer application courses that includes Microsoft Excel, Google IT, Business Applications and Practical Computers. Upon completion of these courses, students earn a certificate that will prepare them to enter the workforce and build up their resumes.

For students looking to grow into a management role, Middlesex offers the Nonprofit Management Certificate and the SHRM Essentials for Human Resources and Certification Exam Prep courses. The certificate programs provide knowledge of key concepts that are adaptable for students to work in management in a wide range of industries.

To prepare students to improve their communications skills, MCC’s CET offers Better Workplace Communications, Effective Project Management, and Grant Writing. Students can also enroll in courses to add diverse skills to their resume, from an FAA Remote Pilot Certification to an Interior Design Certificate.

“Education is a lifelong endeavor,” Nahabedian said. “For professional or personal purposes, an education from MCC is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to improve your life.”
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MCC’s New TRIO Directors Are Preparing for the Fall Semester8/11/20228/29/2022 11:41 AM
One of the things Middlesex Community College does best is offer students personalized support. Two of MCC’s newest hires – Jennifer Stach and Joanne Jaber Gauvin – and their teams provide services for students to improve their grades, stay in school, graduate and transfer to four-year schools through TRIO Programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Stach is MCC’s Director of the TRIO Program for Student Achievement for students who have a documented disability. Working in collaboration with the Office of Disability Support Services, the program assists students in applying for scholarships and financial aid, literacy education workshops, tutoring, executive functioning support, and academic and transfer advising.

“TRIO students go everywhere and do amazing things,” Stach said. “We work hard to know what our students’ individual needs are and to help our students get all the support we can provide.”

As the Director of the Student Success Program, Gauvin is returning to Middlesex and the TRIO Program where she once worked as the lead advisor. The program supports eligible students who meet low-income requirements or are first generation in their family to go to college. Services include academic, career and transfer advising and tutoring in math, writing and reading.

“Our goals are to help our students complete their education at Middlesex and transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree, and we will work as hard as they do to help them meet their goals,” Gauvin said. “We have great advisors who are knowledgeable in so many area and students can expect a warm environment in which they can come for assistance in almost anything.”

Both programs are planning visits to four-year colleges around Greater Boston as well as cultural events at museums and libraries during the Fall 2022 semester. Workshops will help students build skills to help them with time management, test prep, financial literacy and study habits.

Having worked in higher education for her entire career – including in Admissions at Middlesex – Stach understands the college experience at several levels. She holds a master’s in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University and is earning a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Organizational Studies.

“My most recent position was as an Academic Coach helping students who had not had great outcomes in high school find success in college,” Stach said. “I really fell in love with that work, so when the opportunity to return to MCC arose, I jumped at it. I really appreciate the work that MCC does in making education accessible for so many people.”

Gauvin has also spent her career working in the student affairs side of higher education. Throughout all of her positions, the part she enjoyed most is building connections. This includes collaborating with colleagues and helping students “from all walks of life.”

“MCC is a very special place,” Gauvin said. “Community here is very special and their focus is clear – student success! Coming back to work here is such a privilege.”
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MCC Hosting Drop-In Hours to Help Students Apply for Financial Aid8/10/20228/25/2022 11:42 AM
Middlesex Community College strives to provide students with an equitable, accessible and affordable college education. Ahead of the Fall 2022 semester, MCC’s Office of Financial Aid is encouraging students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by hosting two FAFSA Assistance Drop-in Days on the college’s campus in Lowell.

“Completing a FAFSA is one of the best ways a student can set themselves up for financial success while attending college,” said Gina Pearce, MCC’s Financial Aid Coordinator. “These events are an opportunity for students and their families to meet with us in-person, ask any questions they might have, and go step-by-step through what can often seem like an overwhelming process. We’re here to help make affording college easier!”

Financial aid specialists from the college will be available in Lowell from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, August 15 and Monday, August 22. Students and their families can drop-in anytime during these hours to meet specialists in Computer Room 201 of the Cowan Center.

During these events, specialists will be on hand to talk to students and their families about what financial aid is and how it can help them afford the costs of education. This includes helping to pay for tuition, fees, books, living expenses, transportation, and personal expenses.

The events also present an opportunity for students to better understand the different types of financial aid available to them and the expectations that go along with accepting assistance. With guidance from staff, students can learn how to access MCC’s Financial Aid website and understand their financial aid options.

Whether a student is taking classes full- or part-time, they can complete their FAFSA each year while attending college. Applications are available every year on October 1, and while there is a priority deadline of August 1, students can apply for financial aid throughout the year.

“The FAFSA is free and easy to fill out,” Pearce said. “It’s worth it because students often qualify for more than they think!”
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Students Invest in Lifelong Learning at Middlesex CC8/9/20228/24/2022 1:28 PM
With Middlesex Community College’s Community Education and Training (CET) programs, students have the opportunity to explore new careers, update skills, and engage in personal enrichment experiences that can change their lives.

“Lifelong learning allows an individual to expand their horizons, from enhancing skills to advance in a career to finding a new hobby or passion to enjoy,” said Lauren Ellis, MCC’s Director of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning. “MCC’s Community Education and Training division offers a wide variety of courses all year round, but Fall is the perfect time to sign up and try something new!”

For those who want to add photography as a hobby or their career, Middlesex offers two levels of Digital Photography, which can be completed as part of a certificate program. Whether a student is interested in the artistic or technical side of photography, in the courses, they learn to shoot and edit using relevant technology.

“In Digital Photo 1, you learn how to shoot in manual mode and how to use your camera to create the images you want,” said Amanda Correia, MCC Instructor. “Digital Photo 2 is where we dive more into the fun and creative side of photography, practicing shooting in manual mode but also considering composition and lighting. In both, I teach how to edit images using the industry standard software for hobbyists and professional photographers.”

Individuals who want to improve their customer service and hospitality skills – or gain more experience in a particular side of customer service – can complete MCC’s online Customer Service certificate. Class subjects include hotel management, event management and design, and food and customer service skills training.

MCC’s Culinary Adventures courses provide an opportunity for individuals to learn new cooking skills. Students can participate in Trick or Treat Cake Decorating, Coolest Holiday Cookies, and Introduction to Cake Decorating to improve their baking habits.

“Whether you are seeking professional development or personal enrichment, MCC’s courses provide a fun, hands-on and immersive experience for students of all ages,” Ellis said.
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MCC’s Best Ways to “ACE” Classes This Fall Semester8/8/20228/23/2022 11:30 AM
Ahead of the Fall 2022 semester, Middlesex Community College’s Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE) are providing a variety of resources to help students “ace” their classes. One resource is the ACE Google Classroom that debuted on Monday, August 1.

“The ACE Google Classroom has tips and strategies on how to be a successful college student,” said Christine Bell, MCC’s Director of Academic Support Programs. “Students who take advantage of the resources will learn how to better prepare for classes, navigate the online learning system Blackboard and other technology tools, and learn organization skills such as how to manage their time and study smarter.”

The resource guide was created to help students transition to online learning when the pandemic started, according to Katelyn Stewart, an MCC ACE Student Leader. The newest version includes strategies and tips provided by students because they know best about what needs to be done in order to be successful in classes.

“We’re reworking the ACE Google Classroom so it’s more for everyone,” Stewart said. “It has tips on how to prepare for class, take notes, how many hours you should expect to work on a class – the different things that a new student needs to know, but may not know. It has a wide variety of information in general for helping students out.”

In addition to tutoring in education, reading and writing, Stewart helps train other tutors. Hoping one day to work as a special education teacher, the work she is doing as a tutor is preparing her for her future career.

“I really love the ability to teach and help people progress,” she said. “When they walk out of a session clearly feeling good about their paper, I really love that. I’m here to become a teacher, it’s my passion.”

Stewart also collaborated with Bell to come up with a list of what students should do before starting the semester. This includes staying organized with a weekly schedule to block out time for school, work and personal time. Students should also make sure they have the appropriate materials for classes – and know where to find them – before the semester starts.

One of the best ways students can familiarize themselves with the resources and tools Middlesex offers is finding out their student A number and downloading the MCC mobile app, according to Stewart and Bell. This helps students connect with classmates and stay updated on what is happening around the community, including class offerings, activities, clubs and events.

As Stewart lives within five minutes from MCC, she also wants to emphasize the value of staying close to home and starting at a community college. “I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, and the financials to get yourself started was nice,” she said. “It’s really conveniently located.”
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There’s Still Time to Register for MCC’s College for Kids and Teens 8/3/20228/22/2022 10:18 AM
Students ages 8 to 17 are making the most of their summers with Middlesex Community College’s College for Kids and Teens summer programs. Running weekly through August 18, courses help young students explore future career options while having fun!

“There’s still time to sign up for classes this summer,” said Lauren Ellis, MCC Director of Workforce Development & Life Long Learning. “College for Kids and Teens is a great way to ease back into school as fall approaches, while still enjoying summer!”

Hands-on, interactive lessons are taught be expert professionals in their fields, covering subjects not traditionally taught in school. This summer’s MCC’s College for Teens Career Exploration courses include Engineering and CAD, 20th and 21st Century Music, Business, and Medical Laboratory Technician. MCC Professor Katie Durant also taught a Creative Writing program.

“It is important to introduce career exploration to students early on so they can start working toward a career they love and find rewarding,” Durant said. “We need our arts, we need our writers. Beyond our necessary novels, memoirs and poetry, writers are behind our blogs, speeches, manuals, news articles, marketing campaigns, and so much more. Writing skills are valuable in almost any career, and if you love writing, a writing degree can be the most practical one you can get.”

Featuring both half- and full-day programs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, MCC’s College for Kids programs will run through August 18. Students can choose courses on subjects such as the creative arts, sports, cooking and baking, fashion design, film production and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
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Middlesex CC Helped Alum Find New Direction and Pursue Passion8/4/20228/18/2022 11:05 AM
After Chelmsford-native Davis Laich realized studying Business at a school in Ohio was not right for him, he returned home to Massachusetts to figure out his next steps. A visit to Middlesex Community College’s campus in Bedford made him consider the college as his start in a new direction. The decision, he said, “changed my life.”

“I went into Middlesex as a slow start back into things, but immediately, the professors were engaging,” Laich said. “They made you engage with the world around you and see it from a critical lens. Talk about going from being apathetic about education to really passionate about something. The passion that was instilled in me was essential.”

Laich’s time in MCC’s Commonwealth Honors program in particular left a lasting impression, helping him find a passion for understanding information in new and exciting ways. A U.S. History Through Film honors course taught him skills he could carry onto his next steps. These included researching, navigating databases, using various sources, and presenting his research project on the Black Male Experience Throughout History.

“Middlesex doesn’t shy away from holding you accountable,” Laich said. “The research project changed the way I look at schoolwork. It was a good opportunity of preparation. You have a deadline, you have to read, analyze, submit papers. It trained you to dive into the work.”

While he started off taking a few credits a semester as he got more comfortable at Middlesex, Laich enrolled in MCC’s eight-week Mini-mesters to catch up on credits in order to graduate in two years. He also took classes over the summer and winter breaks.

“They allowed me to graduate from Middlesex on time and fit more credits into those semesters where I had taken less credits initially,” he said. “They’re useful in getting you where you need to go on the timeframe you want.”

Working while taking classes also taught Laich a few important lessons, including holding himself accountable and managing his time and energy. MCC made this process easier by being close to his home, offering affordable tuition, and running many classes online. Having one-on-one access to advisors was another benefit, a factor that made his transition to the larger UMass Lowell “a fluid experience.”

Taking advantage of the MassTransfer system, Laich went right into his Journalism and Professional Writing program at UMass Lowell after graduating from Middlesex in 2021. He is currently working in an internship at the Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs and Special Events where his main tasks are to write a weekly newsletter and facilitate daily operations. He finds it exciting to be pursuing a profession that inspires him and he credits Middlesex for affording him the opportunity to make this professional switch.

“Middlesex taught me so many things in life,” he said. “It was such a welcoming environment that propelled me forward in the way I wanted to go. I will always be indebted to MCC.”
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MCC’s Advising Team Lists Keys to Success Ahead of Fall Semester8/1/20228/17/2022 1:34 PM
One of the top things Middlesex Community College’s Office of Advising wants students to know ahead of the Fall 2022 semester is to register early for classes. Doing so makes sure that students have time to access the resources available at the college to make the start of the semester as smooth as possible.

“The best thing a student can do to prepare for a new semester is continue adjusting their academic plan,” said Bryan Wint, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Pathway & Academic Advising. “Our diverse Advising team is here to help guide students through that process. A few small changes could lead to earlier degree completion. We can help you set achievable short- and long-term goals, stay organized, manage all of your coursework, and connect with available resources that will lead you to success.”

MCC’s team of Academic Counselors – Yohanka Tejada, Helen Vargas and Josselyn Porter – came together to list a number of other ways students can get off to a strong start.

Calling academic advising the “hub to success at MCC,” Tejada believes students should get to know their advisor as soon as possible. This is because advisors are one of the best resources to planning out the semester, as well as a student’s time at MCC.

For Vargas, finding strategies to stay mentally healthy before the semester starts helps students avoid feeling stressed or overwhelmed later on. Being mindful and focusing on wellness will also aid academic, professional and personal success overall.

Porter suggests students get access to their books and other course materials before day one. Whether through the bookstore, Libraries or online, getting materials early on provides a sense of what the semester will bring. She also recommends becoming familiar with the online tools MCC uses in classes and to keep students informed, including MyMCC, Navigate and Blackboard.

Another important tip Porter emphasizes is getting and staying organized. Buying a day planner or using the calendar on MCC’s email system are both helpful in terms of staying on top of what needs to be done throughout the semester.

“College is hard, but we have the tools to keep you on track,” Porter said. “The earlier you register for courses, the more successful you will be as a student. Stay connected to the college, your advisor and your professors!”
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MCC’s Accelerated Sessions are Low-Risk, Bring High Rewards7/27/20228/16/2022 12:02 PM
Education is the gateway to opportunities, and Middlesex Community College makes lifelong learning possible. While attending school may feel challenging because of work and personal responsibilities, Middlesex helps students fit education into their busy lives. With MCC’s eight-week accelerated Mini-mesters, it has never been easier or faster to advance in a career.

“One of the things Middlesex does best is provide students with hands-on training inside and outside of the classroom to get them workforce ready,” said Dr. Arlene Rodríguez, MCC’s Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “If you are interested in starting a new career or enhancing the skills of the position you hold now, MCC has a variety of degrees, certificates and single courses that will help you build on your knowledge. An education is truly transformative toward an individual’s life, and Middlesex offers an affordable, accessible and flexible experience to help you reach your goals.”

Enrolling in Mini-mester courses can help students try out a new field without committing too much time or money. A selection of courses from MCC’s 80+ programs allow students to explore subjects and majors of interests while completing general education requirements.

Whether a student is looking to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a four-year institution, or jumpstart a career, MCC’s Mini-mesters are the perfect way to earn professional development in a short period of time. Going this route is a low-risk commitment, but provides a high-quality education, while developing and honing relevant knowledge and skills.

Running twice each in the Fall and Spring semesters, Mini-mesters offer the same content, academic standards and instructional hours as the traditional 15-week semester. To provide students with even more flexible learning, Middlesex offers on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex course formats.

At MCC, students can choose to attend full- or part-time, take advantage of award-winning student support services and resources, and get credit for previous learning or work experience. In addition to helping students transition into continued education or the workforce, starting at Middlesex saves students thousands of dollars on tuition.

“There is no better time than now to register for classes and get a jumpstart on fall plans,” Rodríguez said.
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MCC To Expand Express Registration Ahead of Fall 2022 Semester8/2/20228/15/2022 11:58 AM
A lot goes into starting an education, but Middlesex Community College is prepared to help. Middlesex is expanding the college’s Express Registration hours after a run of successful events to get new and returning students ready for the start of the Fall 2022 semester.

“Our students have proven that they enjoy the opportunity to meet with staff face-to-face as they walk through the enrollment process,” said Jillian Freitas-Haley, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Admissions. “Express Registration – whether in-person or online – is a chance to go through the process step-by-step and get to know all that MCC has to offer. Middlesex prides itself on supporting students on an individual level, and Express Registration allows us to help students tailor their MCC experience to meet their needs!”

Middlesex is adding a virtual option starting on Monday, August 8. During each event, students can meet one-on-one with experts throughout the college. In addition to enrolling in classes, staff can talk with students about paying for college, building a plan for their time at MCC, and taking advantage of all of the award-winning student support services and resources the college offers.

On Wednesday, August 3, students can go to the Bedford and Lowell campus from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. to participate in Express Registration. Starting the week of August 8, Express Registration will be offered 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. virtually on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in person on Wednesdays. The in-person options are available on both the Bedford and Lowell campuses.

“We’re excited to get students ready for the semester,” Freitas-Haley said.
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MCC Helped Graduate Find Work in Field While Continuing Studies7/28/20228/11/2022 2:50 PM
As she looked ahead to life after high school, Lucera Story, of Chelmsford, was unsure of what to study in college or pursue for a career. Middlesex Community College helped her find her passion and develop a clearer plan for the future.

“I’m responsible for financing my college,” Story said. “I didn’t want to end up in debt when I didn’t have a solid plan. It ended up being a really good choice because I graduated high school in 2020 and wanted to stay close to home.”

An introductory Criminal Justice elective course renewed Story’s interest in the law and how everything works within the system. Deciding to major in Paralegal Studies, her favorite part of her classes was learning the language used in court, researching cases, and understanding how cases are written.

The knowledge learned in MCC’s program, along with an internship with Boston Law Collaborative helped her turn an interest into a career path. During her internship, she worked in family law both remotely and in-person when completing administrative tasks. Story gained a lot of experience working on divorce cases and the paperwork that was involved, including financial statements, complaints and interrogatories.

“I loved my experience working with them,” she said. “They just hired me as a paralegal.”

Story completed all of her program at MCC online. She preferred this format as it lessened the anxiety she might feel being in a classroom. To do well in her classes, she worked on finding a space within her home that would be the best environment in which to focus.

Guidance from Halye Sugarman, MCC’s Paralegal Studies Program Coordinator & Professor, also helped keep her on track and answered her questions. Although Story praised all of her professors for their support, Sugarman is someone who “always goes above and beyond.”

“I could tell that she genuinely cared about whether we understood what was being taught, and I loved being in her class,” Story said. “I would look forward to her class every week and wish that I could keep taking classes from her.”

Graduating from Middlesex made Story’s transfer process easier. She chose to move to a state school to take advantage of the MassTransfer program so that all of her credits would carry over. MCC helped her plan out her classes by semester, ensuring a smooth transition to her new school.

In the future, Story looks forward to completing her bachelor’s degree and attending law school. Thanks to her associate degree from Middlesex, she can gain a lot of experience in the field while continuing her studies.

“I now have a steady job that can support me while I finish my schooling,” Story said. “I couldn’t have done that without the program at MCC.”
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MCC Hires Alumna as Newest Criminal and Social Justice Professor7/26/20228/10/2022 1:15 PM
Middlesex Community College welcomed a new faculty member to the college’s Criminal and Social Justice program. Amairanys Rodriguez is a Lowell-native and alumna of Middlesex who found a “truly diverse and cozy” space at MCC to pursue her passion. Now as a faculty member, she wants to provide a similar experience for her students.

“I felt so comfortable at MCC and wanted to give back to the college that helped me when I needed them most,” Rodriguez said. “I am hoping to bring hope, excitement and lots of knowledge from my experiences. I want to be a role model for my students, make sure all their questions get answered, and help them choose the path they want to succeed in.”

Two experiences inspired Rodriguez to work in the criminal justice field. One was participating in the Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) during high school. She found an appreciation for leadership and being a role model “in and out of my uniform.” The second experience that influenced her decision was seeing someone close to her get arrested.

“I learned a lot more about the system and the injustices, and I knew I needed to get involved because it became my passion,” Rodriguez said. “I have worked in many different entities within the criminal justice system and the mental health field and collaborated with many different people, which helped me become well-rounded in my education.”

After Rodriguez graduated from high school, she was determined to study criminal justice, but did not know how to start. She chose Middlesex because of the college’s campus location in her hometown, which allowed her to stay close to her family. As a student at MCC, she flourished from completing her general education courses in small classes, taking interesting electives that broadened her knowledge, and engaging in the campus community with her classmates.

“MCC is a fantastic way to start because even if someone is a little indecisive, it can help fill in that gap and help students remember why they chose this program in the first place,” she said. “MCC got me started and boosted my confidence in what I wanted to achieve in life.”

Rodriguez continued her education by transferring to UMass Lowell. Although she had originally considered becoming a police officer, she said “life had a different plan for me.” Instead, she went on to earn a master’s degree with the intention of teaching at the community college level.

As a faculty member at MCC, she hopes to show her students all of the different options that are available to them from studying this field. The most important thing Rodriguez wants her students to understand is that education – at MCC in particular – is a great way to get their start in the academic and professional world. This is especially true because “all the staff and faculty here want to see students grow.”

“The world’s criminal justice system needs fresh faces, new people to save lives, and new people we can trust,” Rodriguez said. “We need a new generation of criminal justice-seeking students to help save the world.”
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MCC’s Law Center Continues to Assist Greater Lowell Community7/21/20228/9/2022 1:03 PM
In the face of ongoing and ever-changing challenges, the Middlesex Community College Law Center provides mediation services, consumer information, school-based violence prevention programs, and international conflict resolution training to the Greater Lowell community. MCC’s Law Center was one of the Consumer Mediation Programs awarded as part of a $2 million funding initiative by Attorney General Maura Healey.

“The Law Center has administered the Local Consumer Program (LCP) since 1990, opening approximately 27,000 cases and saving consumers over $7 million,” said Ursula Furi-Perry, J.D., MCC’s Executive Director, Law Center. “We are thrilled to continue working with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to provide assistance to consumers and are grateful for the opportunity and funding to support our work.”

Through the LCP, MCC’s Law Center helps community members handle issues they have with businesses, including those related to used cars, lemon laws, and airline ticket refunds. The Center assists consumers from the beginning of the process to the end, filing claims on their behalf and negotiating with businesses to reach a resolution.

Through mediation services, ¬the Law Center helps all sides come to an agreement on their own terms. Working in partnership with local schools, Keilah Paquette, MCC Law Center Site Coordinator at Lowell’s Sullivan Middle School, has found that students, staff and teachers are better able to communicate with each other in a confidential, non-judgmental space.

“Communication, active listening, empathy and the ability to be non-biased go into being a mediator,” Paquette said. “All of those roles helped me to have successful mediations. I got to really see the effect that peer mediation has on students, and it made me feel good about being able to help them through their conflicts and become someone in the school that they trust.”

The program has received positive feedback from both students and staff. Everyone is able to speak and be heard about the issues that they have going on in their lives. The value of peer mediation in schools has increased because many conflicts are now starting over social media and text messaging, according to Yvette Cheeks, MCC Law Center Mediation Coordinator.

“This allows for a lot of misunderstandings and misinterpretations,” Cheeks said. “With the assistance of trained student mediators, interpersonal conversations can take place and students can share their emotions, feelings, wants and needs in an effort to resolve their conflicts. This is a social and emotional skill that is imperative and needs to be cultivated as youth move into adulthood.”

MCC’s Law Center strives to find ways to reach out to the community and work with the college. Many Middlesex Paralegal Studies students intern, mediate, and go on to work at the Law Center.

“It’s been a wonderful partnership with MCC’s Paralegal Studies department,” Furi-Perry said. “Almost everyone working in the Law Center is an MCC alumni.”
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Middlesex CC Continues to Have Lasting Impact on Alum’s Career7/28/20228/8/2022 10:44 AM
As a full-time police officer for his hometown of Maynard, Christopher Sweeney was looking to enhance his career by getting a college degree. At Middlesex Community College, being able to take the majority of his classes online made all the difference.

“I was looking to get a leg up on my ‘competition’ and knew a degree in criminal justice would help me in that endeavor,” Sweeney said. “MCC has a great reputation in the area and the online program allowed me to still work full-time and enjoy my family life without having to worry about the times I had to be on campus.”

Flexibility was the number one thing Sweeney was looking for when researching programs. When he arrived at Middlesex, he also found supportive professors who cared about how their students did in their classes and in their futures. Although he graduated from MCC over a decade ago, he still keeps in touch with his professors Ronald Brevard and Heloisa DaCunha.

“Professor Brevard made such an impact on me during my time at MCC, that I am hoping to become a part-time professor so that I can have the same impact on others that he had on me,” Sweeney said.

One way Sweeney keeps in touch with his Middlesex roots is by talking about his experience and bringing in other presenters to speak to members of MCC’s Criminal Justice Club. As a student, he also helped plan trips to tour police stations, including the State Police Fusion Center.

Calling his time at MCC “fantastic,” Sweeney believes the program gave him a strong foundation of knowledge to progress in the industry. While his courses provided an understanding of what to expect from working in the Criminal and Social Justice fields, his Middlesex degree is “highly recognized within the profession” and has helped him move into higher positions.

Graduating from Middlesex in 2011 opened the door for Sweeney to continue his education even further. He transferred to UMass Lowell to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Now working for the Massachusetts Environmental Police, he is about to start a second master’s degree in Wildlife Forensics at the University of Florida.

Sweeney believes Middlesex provided the “leg up” he needed to make the career move.

“MCC is where it all started for me,” he said. “If I hadn’t started at MCC, I’m not sure I would have continued on through my master’s degrees. In my professional goals, I know that it played a role in my hiring at MA Environmental Police, putting me in a better position.”
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Changes Strengthen MCC’s Criminal & Social Justice Program7/19/20228/4/2022 11:53 AM
One of Heloisa DaCunha’s favorite parts about teaching at Middlesex Community College is witnessing her students cross the stage at graduation. From seeing them arrive at Middlesex on their first day to watching them develop their knowledge, skills and sense of self, she feels proud of playing a role in her students’ successes.

“I really believe in the community college mission,” DaCunha said. “We’re providing this excellent education to students at an affordable cost. We’re serving a population that resonates with me and I can identify with them. So many are just like me – they’re the first in their families to go to college, English is not their first language, and they are not the typical college student who has the luxury of attending without other responsibilities.”

Born in Brazil, DaCunha came to the U.S. at 11-years-old, not knowing how to speak English. She was the first person in her family to go to college, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Criminal Justice from UMass Lowell. After 12 years as a professor at Middlesex, DaCunha was named the Department Chair of MCC’s Criminal and Social Justice program.

Before coming to MCC, DaCunha worked in Lowell for several years with survivors of rape and sexual violence. Her expertise then – and now at MCC – was counter-terrorism and criminology. Each faculty member at MCC offers a different focus to provide students with a full-range of what to expect in the workforce – whether their chosen career path is in policing at any level, the court system, corrections, social work, human services or at nonprofit or state agencies.

To incorporate more social justice topics into the curriculum, MCC professors ask students what they know about the changes that have been made and why it has happened. Students get a deeper understanding by engaging in conversations and conducting hands-on research projects. One of the projects involves looking into whether or not the criminal justice system is diverse and representative of the population it serves, and how that affects the relationship.

“Students focus on a major city in Massachusetts that is diverse and research the diversity in the department,” DaCunha said. “How many officers speak a second language, how many are female, how many are a person of color? Then, they make a decision – is the police department representative of the city they serve? Every time, they find that there is tension and that the department does not represent the community.”

Starting in the Fall 2022 semester, MCC will give officers who have gone through the Police Academy nine credits toward their degree. In addition to providing online, hybrid and accelerated options, as well as three degree options depending on their goals, this allows students to fit an education more easily into their lives while enhancing their careers.

“One thing that we do at the college-level that is not done anywhere else in training is teach them interpersonal skills,” DaCunha said. “Our program teaches them how to talk well, to present themselves, treat everybody the same, not use implicit bias, not profile, not stereotype. People really get that through a college education they can apply in the field.”
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Middlesex CC Awarded $735,000 Workforce Training Grant7/13/20228/3/2022 10:47 AM
Middlesex Community College received $735,000 as part of the Baker-Polito Administration $15 Million Workforce Training Grant awarded to the 15 Massachusetts community colleges.

The funding supports “the creation and expansion of training programs in high-demand industries, such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, information technology and cybersecurity,” according to a press release from the Baker-Polito Administration.

“These funds will support what community colleges do best – providing education and training for eligible individuals ready to enter the workforce,” said Dr. Arlene Rodríguez, MCC’s Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “Middlesex will focus on both credit and noncredit programming that can be completed in a year for positions in high-demand and much needed fields, such as healthcare and IT.”

MCC plans to focus on the nurse assistant, cybersecurity and medical lab technician, Google IT and pharmacy technician education and training programs. As part of the training, individuals will receive help in transitioning into the workforce with their knowledge and skills.

“We feel so fortunate to receive this funding,” said Judy Burke, MCC’s Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. “This resource will be a game changer for unemployed and underemployed workers, as well as our employer partners across the state, who are struggling to build a strong workforce. MCC has a rich and robust history of educating and training our regions’ workforce. This funding will help those who may be interested in getting back in the workforce but need to sharpen their skills have the ability to take that next step toward advancing their career.”

Across the state, approximately 1,500 people will participate in the trainings at no cost, according to the governor’s release. Each community college will be provided funding to serve 75 individuals. Individuals who are unemployed or underemployed will have prioritization. More funding will be provided based on enrollment needs.

“These grants complement our administration’s ongoing work to address the skills gap by building additional training capacity at all the Commonwealth’s community colleges so people have opportunities to gain hands-on skills and knowledge in growing industries,” Governor Baker said. “It is crucial that we provide more residents with quality training options and eliminate the gaps between what skills the Massachusetts workforce has, and what skills employers need.”

Bunker Hill Community College and the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges will jointly administer the grant program with the Executive Office of Education and in consultation with the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the regional Workforce Investment Boards.
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MCC Awarded Federal Grant to Support Upward Bound Program7/20/20228/2/2022 3:35 PM
Middlesex Community College partners with local high schools to make a college education more accessible and possible for students. A recent five-year $1.488 million TRiO Upward Bound grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow Middlesex to continue strengthening the academic skills of eligible Lowell High School (LHS) students.

“The goal of the program is to help students recognize and develop their potential to excel in high school and to encourage them to pursue postsecondary education,” said Dr. Colleen Winn, MCC’s Director of TRiO and Gear Up. “We are thrilled to continue fostering the partnership between Middlesex and Lowell High School, as well as to provide these students with a comprehensive and coordinated array of academic instruction, support and advising services.”

MCC’s Upward Bound program will help 55 eligible LHS students graduate from high school, apply to college, and build upon their knowledge and skills in their next steps. This program is just one of the ways in which Middlesex helps students attend and graduate from college through targeted student support services and programs that meet each individual student where they are.

The most recent batch of funding is in direct response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Lowell community, including an increase in housing, food and job insecurity. Often, these stressors prevent individuals from being able to successfully complete their education from high school and through college.

Having served LHS students since 2000, MCC’s Upward Bound has reached a three-year 94 percent postsecondary enrollment compared to the national average of 40 percent for students in similar demographics, according to Winn.

Students in the program meet in a cohort at LHS and receive academic instruction and support, counseling, tutoring, access to cultural activities, and exposure to college campuses. Other services include individualized case management, dual enrollment courses, college application advising, workshops on academic skills, test preparation, financial literacy and assistance with applying for financial aid.

Over the summer, students engage in a six-week program with a one-week overnight experience. This opportunity includes helping students who are attending college in the fall prepare to transition into higher education.

“Attending college opens up a variety of exciting and life-changing opportunities and possibilities for students,” Winn said. “MCC’s Upward Bound program ensures that these students can access the resources, support and skills they need to succeed at the next level of education and in life.”
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MCC Dual Enrollment Prepared High School Graduate for Next Steps7/7/20228/1/2022 1:10 PM
Middlesex Community College gave recent high school graduate Leah Thomson, of Reading, a huge advantage as she started considering her options for college. Through MCC’s Dual Enrollment Academy, she got a head start on earning college credit and was rewarded with a number of choices for a four-year institution.

“Thanks to the help of MCC, I was able to be accepted into Bentley, Salve Regina and UMass Lowell,” Thomson said. “MCC has greatly prepared me for college courses and I feel extremely confident in my abilities now that I have attended MCC.”

Thomson learned about Dual Enrollment from a guidance counselor at her high school when she started her senior year. She chose Middlesex because the courses were affordable and flexible. In particular, she enjoyed being able to take online courses she could complete on her own time.

“I love online courses, especially self-paced ones,” Thomson said. “They allow me to learn in any form I’d like to. I can take my time with my material or spend all day on my work. Online courses give me the flexibility to use my hours as I please.”

At Middlesex, Thomson also had the opportunity to dive deeper into subjects that are not traditionally taught in high school. Her goal in the future is to earn a bachelor’s degree in business before pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA).

Taking MCC’s Introduction to Business, Social Media, Business Communications and Statistics gave her early exposure in her field of study. Completing the courses also helped her finish general education requirements that will transfer to a four-year institution. This will allow Thomson to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in less time.

Another one of the main benefits of Dual Enrollment for Thomson was being able to take one class to earn both high school and college credit. Classes such as English 101 taught her how to perform well at a higher level.

“English 101 was most beneficial to me in learning what is expected of me in college courses,” she said. “There was a lot of new learning I had to do from my professor on the differences of high school papers and college papers.”

As she prepares to start at UMass Lowell in the Fall, Thomson is grateful for getting her start at Middlesex and for all the ways the college set her up for success.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent here at MCC,” she said. “I am extremely grateful for every opportunity they have made possible for me.”
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MCC Kicks Off College for Kids and Teens Summer Programs7/18/20227/28/2022 12:48 PM
Middlesex Community College’s College for Kids and Teens summer programs are off to a strong start! Taught by experts in the field, courses are designed to help young students explore future career options. Most courses run for one week to allow students to pick and choose from a variety of options they can fit into their busy summer plans.

“MCC’s College for Kids and Teens courses engage young students in exciting and fun ways while providing early exposure to subjects, majors and careers,” said Lauren Ellis, MCC’s Director of Workforce Development & Life Long Learning. “Signing up for classes over the summer keeps students’ minds fresh throughout the summer months, while they learn more about what they will and won’t want to pursue later in life.”

MCC’s College for Teens this summer include Engineering and CAD, 20th and 21st Century Music, Business and Creative Writing. Christine Laviolette, MCC Medical Laboratory Technology professor, taught a College for Teens Medical Laboratory Technician Career Exploration course earlier in the summer to introduce students to the field.

“Students in my Medical Laboratory Technician program were engaged and very curious about the role of the medical laboratory technician as it applies to the overall healthcare team,” Laviolette said. “They got to perform some basic hands-on testing and really seemed to enjoy it. They asked some excellent questions. Dare I say, we may have planted a seed in a couple of students – I know one said that his participation in our class solidified his decision to attend MCC after high school graduation.”

Featuring both half- and full-day programs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, MCC’s College for Kids programs will run through August 18. Kids ages 8 to 17 can choose courses on subjects such as the creative arts, sports, cooking and baking, fashion design, film production and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Featuring hands-on, interactive lessons, one of the major benefits of taking MCC’s College for Kids summer programs is that the courses cover subjects that are not traditionally taught in school. In MCC’s Graphic Design and Web Design for beginners courses, students learn skills and software that are used in a variety of careers.

In the graphic design course, students create their own board game using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to make artwork, rules, themes and setups of the games from beginning to end. The web design course helps student design their own website using Adobe XD on a theme of their choosing, which could include an art portfolio, a fan page, video game forum, or more.

“It’s never too early for students to start thinking about their futures,” Ellis said. “MCC makes sure to encourage doing so in fun and hands-on ways!”
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Two Recent Grads Fulfill Dreams of Working in Law at MCC7/14/20227/28/2022 10:38 AM
Middlesex Community College’s Paralegal Studies program helped two graduates fulfill lifelong dreams of working in law. Both Kristen Wolf, of Haverhill, and Hannah Moudree, from Montana, chose MCC’s American Bar Association (ABA) approved program because it was affordable and provided the knowledge, skills and experiences they needed to jump into the workforce.

“This was a way for me to incorporate my interest into a career,” Wolf said. “MCC helped me reach my goals by making the transition back to school truly seamless. If I had a question, it was quickly answered and I was able to concentrate on my studies.”

Moudree – who relocated to the area for the military – enjoyed working with faculty member Halye Sugarman, MCC’s Paralegal Studies Program Coordinator & Professor, as well as staff in the college’s Veterans Resource Center (VRC). Whether she was asking a question related to her classes or GI Bill, everyone was “responsive and willing to help.”

“MCC opened the door for me and gave me confidence to secure a job in the legal field,” Moudree said. “There are supportive staff and the campus is beautiful.”

As the only Paralegal Studies advisor for the program, Sugarman works with each student as they go through their courses, internship experiences, and take their next steps. Students can choose from a Paralegal Studies certificate or one of two associate degree options to transfer to a four-year college or enter the workforce in a variety of fields of law and other industries.

Middlesex also offers a fully online option for students who would not otherwise be able to fit education into their schedules. While Wolf said, “This worked for me as I am a later in life learner and I still needed to work to provide for my family,” Moudree said, “the professors made [online courses] worthwhile and engaging.”

“This has been life-changing for our students as so many of them have full-time jobs and families,” Sugarman said. “Being able to take classes online frees up their time and people from different areas can take courses without worrying about traveling.”

To enhance classroom learning, many students take on internships. Moudree completed hers online at a court service center in Lowell working with family law. The combination of her education from MCC and her internship is helping her in her position at a real estate firm in Waltham.

“I aided two supervising attorneys with client intake from the MA area,” Moudree said. “We would help clients fill out affidavits, complaint forms, and guide them through the steps of filing legal paperwork.”

Wolf’s experience at a small law office in Groveland allowed her to apply her skills to real-life situations. She continues to work there after she was hired as an official employee a few months into her position. Wolf is now at Merrimack College and hopes to start in law school in Fall 2023.

“Attending MCC was truly a turning point in my life,” Wolf said. “It invigorated my love of learning and it gave me an incredible base for my future in law. I could not be happier about the choice I made with MCC.”
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MCC’s Express Registration Makes Attending College Easier7/11/20227/27/2022 11:03 AM
From meeting early on with advisors and staff members to making an informed financial choice, developing and following a plan to having a better choice of classes, there are a number of benefits to registering for Middlesex Community College’s Fall 2022 semester early. With MCC’s Express Registration, the college admissions process has never been easier.

“One of the best parts about being a community college is having the opportunity to make personal connections with students and their families from the first day they arrive at MCC to well beyond their time here,” said Jillian Freitas-Haley, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Admissions. “Our Express Registration Wednesdays allow prospective students to come to campus, meet with enrollment specialists, ask questions, and walk step-by-step through the admissions process.”

Starting on July 13, at 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, prospective students and their families can walk in to either the Bedford or Lowell campus to register for the Fall semester, learn about student support services, and tour the campuses.

Experts from the Office of Financial Aid will also be available to talk to students about their options. This includes going over how to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), decide on payment plans, and get a sense of how they can afford a college education.

Middlesex hosted its first Express Registration event on Wednesday, June 15 on both campuses. Over 100 students registered for classes and had the chance to meet with staff across the college to get them on track to start in Fall.

Learning early on about programs, support services and resources – and who can help them – provides time for students to develop a plan. Following a plan guides students through their time at Middlesex to their transfer institution or into the workforce.

Registering early for the Fall 2022 semester also allows students to decide which types of classes best fit into their schedules without worrying about classes filling up. MCC offers a range of on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex courses for students to choose what works best for their time and learning styles.

Registering early also gives students the opportunity to register for one of MCC’s First Year Experience (FYE) courses. In addition to giving students a college credit, these courses introduce them to the campuses, transitions them from high school to college-level courses, and encourages them to engage in the community.

“The earlier on in the summer students are able to get set up with classes,” Freitas-Haley said, “the better prepared they will be come Fall!”
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MCC’s Prepare to Attend College Sets Up Students for Success7/12/20227/26/2022 10:53 AM
At Middlesex Community College’s most recent Prepare to Attend College (PAC) graduation ceremony, one of the most common themes in students’ speeches was the positive impact the program has made – and will continue to make – on their lives.

Part of the English Learner Institute (ELI), PAC is a free program that allows non-native English speakers to develop their skills. They are then able to go on to take college-level courses at Middlesex and beyond, as well as enter the workforce. Offered three times during the year, students can participate at the time that works best for them.

“PAC is an opportunity for students who come from countries across the world to learn to speak and write in English,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “Enrolling in these free courses provides them with the knowledge and skills they need to attend college in the U.S. or receive high-quality opportunities for their careers and futures. It’s a win-win for the students and the institution as these courses familiarize students with MCC, leading to many of our graduates registering at the college to enroll in for credit courses.”

At the Wednesday, June 29 ceremony, MCC President Phil Sisson, Provost Arlene Rodríguez, and other members of senior college leadership were on hand to congratulate students from PAC’s two courses. Students received a certificate and read from a script they had written for the ceremony. The moment of recognition for each student also presented an opportunity for them to practice the skills they learned in their classes from instructor Charles Zhang.

“PAC classes are fun and useful,” Zhang said. “The courses attract a rich pool of people from around the world. Evidence shows that students who put in a good effort and complete our PAC program become happier and more confident. They also understand this country a bit better and have bigger visions for their lives.”

Yanxia Gou, from China, graduated from MCC’s PAC One course. In her speech, she thanked Zhang for his commitment to students.

“Charles understands well his students and is very nice and caring to everyone,” Gou said. “He can use simple ways to explain many hard concepts and help me build more confidence and interest. Because of his passion and great teaching ways, we learn how to talk with each other in English, we get to know each other, and become good friends.”

For Karla Zepeda, from Mexico, MCC’s PAC Two course was a chance to practice the English skills she learned in college.

“My PAC Two class is full of people from different parts of the world ¬– Latin America, China, Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia,” she said. “We are here for different reasons, fulfilling a dream. A dream that seems impossible when there is a language barrier. However, this course has helped us to gradually take down that barrier to come across endless better opportunities for us, and the best of all, for free.”
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At Middlesex CC, Student Learns and Earns to Jumpstart Career6/30/20227/21/2022 12:48 PM
Coming from Gujarat, India and now living in Billerica, Jeel Patel was looking to attend a college that would help her adjust to education in the United States and get her on track to a career. With affordable options that provide hands-on experiences, her aunt recommended that Middlesex Community College “is the best to start your education.”

“I am grateful to be a student at MCC,” Patel said. “I have learned a lot of new things that will help me a lot for my future career. I was able to study without worrying about my tuition fees.”

Having completed part of a bachelor’s degree in India, Patel came to Middlesex knowing what she wanted to pursue for a major. She has been interested in biology since high school, which led to her interest in biotechnology. “I want to help discover cures for dangerous diseases,” she said.

In her classes, Patel learned more about the biotech field and the options available to her as a career path. Her internship at Takeda Pharmaceuticals allowed her to work and gain experience while actively studying the subject.

Patel considers “the best experience at MCC” to be working in MCC’s biotech lab. The experiences provided her with the opportunity to practice her skills in a safe space before performing the work at her internship.

“I gained a lot of knowledge from being a part of the Learn and Earn Experience in terms of knowledge and training,” she said. “Working at Takeda has been a great experience for me. I get the opportunity to learn new things every day and it excites me every time.”

Both MCC’s Director of Biotechnology Dr. Mariluci Bladon and MCC’s Director of the Biotechnology Learn and Earn Experience Stefana Soitos offered Patel the support and encouragement she needed to get through the program. While Bladon taught her the theoretical knowledge and skills of the industry in classes and labs, Soitos guided her through the application process for the Learn and Earn Experience.

“I did not have to worry so much about entering the Learn and Earn Experience,” she said. “The whole process was very simple. I am so grateful I pursued my associate degree from MCC.”

Patel graduated from Middlesex in the Spring of 2022 with her associate degree in biotechnology. A member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honors society for two-year colleges, she completed her degree with honors. For her next steps, she hopes to transfer to Northeastern University.

Soitos said Patel is also one of several MCC students to have been offered a full-time job from Takeda after completing the internship. The internship – and Middlesex – “is my first step to enter biotechnology,” she said.

“I have learned a lot from MCC,” Patel said. “I am sure that those things are going to help me for the rest of my career.”
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Middlesex CC Embraces the Future of Learning with Hyflex Options7/6/20227/20/2022 2:38 PM
Middlesex Community College makes the learning experience – and getting an education – easier for students. For the Fall 2022 semester, in addition to offering on-campus, online and hybrid course formats, Middlesex will offer a variety of hyflex learning options for credit and noncredit courses. In this modality, professors teach from the classroom to a mix of students who are at home and on campus.

“Middlesex wants students to have flexibility in their learning, and hyflex options are the next step,” said Dr. Arlene Rodríguez, MCC’s Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “As the future of learning, this combination of modalities will allow students to balance their education with other personal and life responsibilities on a weekly basis, rather than having to decide at the beginning of the semester. This will help to prevent students from falling behind in their work or having to drop out of classes.”

Each week, students can decide whether they want to learn from home or in the classroom, based on their needs and what works best for their schedules. To help make the transition between online and face-to-face learning easier, the course will use digital engagement tools – such as Zoom, Collaborate and Blackboard – as a space for discussions and materials.

“I am happy to teach using hyflex technology as it provides more flexibility for student learning,” said Dr. Marie Tupaj, MCC Associate Professor of CAD & Engineering, who will be teaching her first hyflex course in the Fall. “In hyflex courses, students listen to lectures remotely in real time or attend class in person. Students easily change their lecture location for each class depending on what fits their schedule and needs.”

MCC’s hyflex classrooms are set up with technology that allows faculty members to teach to students who are learning on campus and at home at the same time. Technology includes control panels, computers, monitors, cameras, microphones and speakers.

Whether at home or in class, all students in hyflex courses will have the opportunity to engage with each other in full-class discussions, group work, breakout rooms, Google documents, and other tools for interactive learning.

Beth Noël, MCC’s Director of Marketing Communications is teaching the noncredit Digital Media Marketing course in the Fall. While Noël will be teaching on the Lowell campus, students can opt to take the course at home or in person.

“MCC strives to make getting an education accessible and easy for all students,” Noël said. “My noncredit course meets in the evening and with family commitments, it is not always feasible for students to get to campus. MCC’s new hyflex course options make it possible for students to fit education and professional development into their busy lives.”
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Earn a Certificate and Enter the Workforce in Nine Months with MCC6/29/20227/19/2022 10:34 AM
With Middlesex Community College’s nine-month Medical Assisting program, students learn the knowledge and skills they need to enter the healthcare workforce immediately. The full-time program is completed over two semesters with an externship in the spring. One hundred percent of the students who go through MCC’s program and pass their certification exam are hired into jobs, according to Claudia Guillen, MCC’s Director of Medical Assisting.

“The demand for medical assistants in jobs is very high right now,” Guillen said. “This program is wonderful for anyone starting in the medical field. As a medical assistant, there are a lot of opportunities. They are making good pay and they’re really needed.”

Jeff Belanger, of Chelmsford, turned to MassHire to help him get into the healthcare field after acting as his mother’s primary caregiver for five years. The organization led him to Middlesex where he started taking courses and practicing clinical procedures in the basic skills lab. While he learned from knowledgeable and passionate professors – including Guillen – his externship experience helped Belanger “put the knowledge I am learning to use.”

“My experience here at MCC and what I am learning is priceless,” Belanger said. “I feel that the knowledge I am learning is truly preparing me for my future in the medical field.”

From Cambodia, Middlesex is Phanou Khiev’s first educational experience in the United States. Her decision to come to the college – after 19 years away from school – was due to MCC’s diverse student body and reputation for having an “advanced” medical assisting program. From clinicals to labs, practicing skills and learning how to be a professional in the field, “my overall experience here at MCC has been great,” Khiev said.

“Professors are helpful, understanding and try their best to make the program learnable and as flexible as possible,” Khiev said. “The students help each other with group study and try to understand each other, sharing their experiences. The program makes me feel that I am ready to start my practice anytime.”

At MCC’s Spring 2022 Health commencement ceremony, both Belanger and Khiev received the Medical Assisting Awards for Academic Excellence and graduated with certificates in Medical Assisting. Each is looking forward to starting their new careers.

To help students fit the program into their schedules, MCC’s program offers hybrid options with online classes and face-to-face labs. With a background of working in the Medical Assisting industry and other healthcare fields, Guillen chose to bring her knowledge and experience to Middlesex because of the emphasis community colleges put on teaching and preparing students for the workforce. From jumpstarting educational pursuits to finding them jobs, community colleges “provide a lot of help to students,” according to Guillen.

“Medical assisting is a wonderful start,” Guillen said. “You get to know your patients, you do a lot of teaching. There’s a lot of opportunities for growth.”
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MCC Adds Accelerated Option for Medical Laboratory Technology 6/30/20227/18/2022 10:44 AM
The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on a team of healthcare workers often referred to as being in “the hidden profession,” according to Suzanne McHale, MCC’s Professor & Program Coordinator of Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT).

Medical Laboratory Technicians are members of the clinical laboratory who perform tests to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders. With jobs across Massachusetts in high demand, Middlesex Community College is expanding its MLT program to pilot an 11-month accelerated associate degree program for prospective students with previous degrees and experience in areas such as biology, chemistry, microbiology and biochemistry.

“The MLT field offers many employment opportunities and job security, and MCC has hospital and clinical affiliations all over Merrimack Valley, Worcester, Boston and southern New Hampshire who are eager to hire our graduates,” McHale said. “Our program prepares MLT students with a wide range of skills and experience in all areas of the laboratory. The accelerated offering is a flexible and quick option for students to complete their degree, enhance their job prospects, and work while attending school.”

“This accelerated program will help me become a Medical Technician while solidifying my knowledge of a medical lab,” said MCC student Linedlay Alcide. “I think this is a great program to use my previous classes and background to help me qualify for more jobs.”

MCC’s program will be piloted in the Fall 2022 semester, in addition to the traditional MLT associate degree program. Throughout the 11-month program, students will take online classes as part of the eight-week Mini-mesters in the Fall and Spring semesters, as well as one class during the WinterSession. In-person lab experiences will be scheduled on evenings and on Saturdays. Over the summer, students will complete their seminar courses and external practicums. Students in the pilot year of the program will graduate in Summer 2023 with their associate degrees.

Upon completion, graduates will be eligible to take the national Board of Certification Exam with the American Society for Clinical Pathology for Medical Laboratory Technician. With this certification and one more year of work in the clinical laboratory, individuals may then apply to take the Medical Laboratory Scientist exam.

“After working alongside such brilliant medical technologists, I quickly realized that I wanted to learn more, and I wanted to contribute more,” said MCC student Stephanie Cofske. “I wanted to fully understand the capacity at which they work, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. The accelerated program here at MCC is the perfect opportunity to achieve my goals, as I already have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.”

For students new to the field, Middlesex offers a traditional two-year MLT program, which has a long history of success. With a near 100 percent pass rate on the certification exam, the program was also recently reaccredited for 10 years through the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS).

“While searching for my dream career, I finally found it in MCC,” said MCC student Nene Mariama D. Bah. “As a Medical Lab Technician student in the accelerated program, I will learn all the professional courses and training related to the MLT program and get my diploma in less than one year. Because of saving both time and money while studying in the accelerated MLT program at MCC, this is far more convenient for me.”
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Top Five Reasons to Register Early for Middlesex CC’s Fall Semester6/21/20227/14/2022 1:41 PM
Students who are registering early for Middlesex Community College’s Fall 2022 semester are setting themselves up for success. Middlesex has created a list of top five reasons why students who register now will have positioned themselves for a strong start.

“We understand that while unexpected circumstances may arise, prospective and current students who register early on often feel more comfortable going into the start of a new semester,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “Summer offers a perfect opportunity for students to figure out their next academic steps, gain a sense of all that the college offers, and know from day one what they need to do to be successful in both the short- and long-term.”
  1. MCC students who register early have a better choice of classes. One of the most convenient things about taking courses at Middlesex includes the flexibility of creating a schedule to match individual needs. Classes are offered in a traditional 15-week semester or during two eight-week accelerated Mini-mesters. Four class formats – in-person, online, hybrid and hyflex – allow students to decide what works best for them without worrying about classes filling up.
  2. Meeting early on with advisors and staff members provides an idea of who is available at MCC to help. In knowing how to get assistance, students have a better idea of what they need to do from their time at MCC to get to their transfer institution or into the workforce. Connecting with people at the college also allows them to figure out which classes they need to take to fulfill general requirements, explore majors, and plan for what comes next.
  3. Students who develop and follow a plan now will avoid any confusion and feelings of being rushed at the end of the summer and beginning of the Fall semester. Students also have a chance to learn more about the programs and student support services and resources that will help them be successful, before having to balance everything with the start of classes and coursework.
  4. One of the major benefits of taking courses at a community college is saving thousands on tuition costs. By registering early, students will have more time to complete their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). MCC students also have access to financial aid and financial wellness advisors who can help them decide on payment plans and the best ways to save money now and in the future.
  5. Students who register ahead of the Fall semester can sign up for one of MCC’s First Year Experience (FYE) courses. In addition to earning a college credit and exploring a field of interest, this allows students to get to know the college, campus and community. Students meet with classmates, faculty and staff members before their first official day.
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Middlesex CC Student Thrives Off of Receiving and Giving Support6/23/20227/13/2022 2:51 PM
From Kenya and now living in Lowell, Ruth Wango is passionate about helping others. Both as a nursing student and an employee in several positions across the college, Wango is a fixture in the community of Middlesex Community College. Inside and outside of the classroom, all of these opportunities are helping her build a foundation for her future.

“My experience at Middlesex has been amazing,” she said. “It has taught me a lot and I learned a lot of new things about life and school. I made new friends and met different amazing professors and students.”

Wango enjoys keeping busy at Middlesex. A member of the African Cultural Club, she works as a Career Ambassador and Diversity Peer Educator. She has also recently taken on a Peer Mentor role for the college’s Success Scholars program. “Working in MCC has brought a huge difference in my life, whereby I learned new skills and gained knowledge,” she said.

Designed to ensure students have the support they need to earn their degrees, the Success Scholars program is focused on the academic, financial, career and personal wellness of Asian American, Black, African American, Latinx and LGBTQ+ students. Wango helps students build their profiles on MCC’s internship and job boards, as well as goes over their resumes and cover letters with them.

“MCC has helped me reach my goals by providing me with resources, tutoring and advisors who have helped me in my studies,” she said. “I wanted to get involved with the Success Scholars Program to exchange ideas with people, meet different people from diverse backgrounds, and help students reach their goals and encourage them in their education.”

In addition to her job and club responsibilities, Wango is a serious student working toward her dream career as a travel nurse. Wanting to pursue a job in the healthcare field since childhood, Wango has now realized that the nursing profession also provides stable employment, pays well, and offers a flexible schedule.

“In MCC’s program, you get to learn new skills that you’re taught to apply in the field, and one is able to understand what is being taught in class.” she said. “I am a person who loves to help people and see them in a good state.”

When she arrived at Middlesex in 2019, Wango first started by taking general education requirements. The first professor she met was Cathleen Twomey who taught her Reading, Writing and Reasoning course. Calling Twomey a “happy, kind and understanding professor,” having someone offer support from day one of her time at the college made a huge difference. Wango is now giving back that guidance to new students in all of her roles throughout Middlesex.

“I love MCC because it has shaped my education and I learned a lot of different things that I did not know,” she said. “Apart from getting a job through my education, MCC will help me gain additional skills which will help me in my academic and professional goals.”
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MCC to Offer Remote Pilot Certification Course This Summer6/27/20227/12/2022 11:58 AM
Learning how to fly a drone can enhance a career or provide a fun, new hobby. This summer, Middlesex Community College’s Community Education and Training (CET) division is offering an FAA Remote Pilot Certification course on the college’s Bedford campus for those who want to add a useful skill to their resume.

“The certification benefits a variety of industries, from allowing real estate agents to take aerial photos to helping engineers better envision their ideas,” said Lauren Ellis, MCC’s Program Manager for CET. “MCC’s program is for anyone who wants to earn the certification but has not had any previous aviation experience. It really serves to make businesses more legitimate in the services they offer.”

Over three days, participants will learn about FAA requirements for drone operations, regulations and safety practices. In 21 hours, participants will also learn about the National Airspace System, Weather, Aircraft Loading and Performance. Upon completing the course, participants will be prepared to take the written exam.

The course will be taught by David Price, who was a pilot before getting into aviation safety education. MCC’s CET courses and programs provide employees with the training and skills they need to advance in their careers.
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MCC’s Sustainability Club Leads the Way in Ramping Up Efforts6/15/20227/11/2022 11:24 AM
Middlesex Community College is doing its part to build and maintain sustainability efforts in the community. Led by Middlesex science faculty member Lisa Lobel, the main purpose of MCC’s Sustainability Club is to create engagement and awareness around learning about sustainability.

“Sustainability is for everybody,” Lobel said. “It’s important to consider, regardless of your chosen profession or path. Our planet is our life support system. For us to live on it, we have to take care of it.”

Lobel wants club and community members to think more about how they can support sustainability in their own lives and on campus. This includes growing food, learning about resources found in the forest, and understanding what conservation is.

One of the major projects the club worked on in the winter was tapping trees on MCC’s Bedford campus for maple syrup. “We learned about which trees to tap, tapped them, collected the sap, boiled it down, and then had a pancake dinner,” Lobel said. “That was really fun and the students were into it.”

This spring and summer, the club has been working in the Community Garden. Club members meet to do some wedding and “keep the momentum of the club going,” according to Lobel. There are also two student workers who will be leading the way in maintaining the garden, including Mike Frye, a Biology Transfer student from Tyngsborough.

“Working in a community garden is a new experience for me, so I am excited to learn about all the parts that make the garden run successfully,” Frye said. “The Sustainability Club is an important place for members to access information from each other on issues and potential solutions to issues in their own communities as well as on each of the campuses. It is one way to show our interconnectedness as we deal with various problems under the umbrella of sustainability. By sharing our concerns and strategies, we are able to share the weight of these larger issues, hopefully making them lighter and more actionable.”

In the Fall, Lobel plans for the club to work with agencies in Lowell on a habitat restoration project for the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. MCC students will help with clean-up, removing invasive species, park visioning, planting and maintaining native species, and social media.

While the club is full of students from her science classes, Lobel wants other majors to get engaged too. Not only is it important on a personal level, but many industries and companies are also looking to be more sustainable, Lobel believes. MCC’s club is helping to provide the knowledge and experience students need to gain a competitive edge upon entering the workforce.

“Businesses are really thinking about how they can promote sustainability,” Lobel said. “If Middlesex students go into the corporate world, they’ll learn it’s an important tenet that businesses want people to think about. Whatever major you are, I want to try to include everybody in the club.”
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Award-Winning Singer Darlene Love Performs for MCC Fundraiser6/16/20227/7/2022 11:43 AM
Oscar and Grammy award-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer, actress and author Darlene Love dazzled audience members of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in a performance for Middlesex Community College’s Celebrity Forum on Monday, June 6, 2022.

Named “one of the greatest singers of all time” by Rolling Stone Magazine, throughout the years, Love has been associated with performers such as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. Before sitting down to talk to Love about her historic career, MCC President Phil Sisson spoke of the difference that the annual event has on the lives of Middlesex students.

“Celebrity Forum is a critical source of support for our mission of providing affordable access to a high-quality education for our diverse community of learners that we serve,” President Phil Sisson said. “We cannot build a successful open access institution without the help of our donors and we greatly appreciate those committed sponsors who have supported us for so many years.”

Hosted by the Middlesex Community College Foundation, the event was MCC’s 21st Celebrity Forum to raise funds in support of student scholarships. TJX Companies, Inc. has been a proud Presenting Sponsor of MCC’s spring fundraisers since 1999.

“Devoted donors, community partners and local businesses and organizations make the College’s and Foundation’s support of students possible,” said Judy Burke, MCC’s Executive Director of Advancement. “We are endlessly grateful for their continuous generosity and to have shared an evening of music, celebration and partnership in the name of transforming the lives of students. Thank you to all who helped bring back this tremendous event, in particular to Ms. Love who offered an astounding performance!”

Long-time Middlesex partner and supporter Enterprise Bank was a sponsor of this year’s Celebrity Forum. “Enterprise Bank is delighted to continue our support of MCCs Celebrity Forum,” said Chester J. Szablak, Executive Vice President, Chief Sales, Community & Customer Relationship Officer at Enterprise Bank. “These community partnerships are essential for the economic and social viability of our communities. The support that our sponsorship provides to MCC students in the form of scholarships makes this so rewarding.”

In a video highlighting the work of the MCC Foundation, Computer Science student Kwadwo Bempah, of Lowell, spoke on how receiving a scholarship helped him go to MCC without worrying about having to pay for college. “Words cannot describe how grateful I am and I know this opportunity, this chance you have given me, is going to be life changing,” he said.

“The MCC Foundation Celebrity Forum is a wonderful annual community event held to raise awareness and much needed scholarship dollars for our MCC students,” said Sherri McCormack, MCC’s Dean of Advancement. “Our sponsors, donors and friends come together to meet and engage with our students and alumni to learn of the opportunities created by their MCC experiences and how they utilized those experiences to build their careers and better lives for themselves and their families.”
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MCC Provides Kids & Teens a Safe, Fun & Interactive Place to Learn 6/13/20227/6/2022 2:49 PM
With Middlesex Community College’s College for Kids and Teens programming, students can get an early start on exploring possible academic and career options. This summer, Middlesex will feature a variety of courses for kids and teens ages 8 to 17 to stay productive, have fun and jumpstart their futures.

“MCC’s College for Kids and Teens has been an inclusive, diverse, fun and safe space for our son,” said Melissa McCarthy, of Concord. “The program has provided a robust program that allows him his moment in the spotlight, builds confidence, and creates connections we know will last a lifetime!”

MCC’s College for Teens program has added a Medical Laboratory Technician Career Exploration course for the summer. Students can learn more about the college’s Medical Laboratory Technology associate degree program, clinical and laboratory experiences, and all of the career directions the industry offers. MCC’s program runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 28 to June 30.

In MCC’s College for Kids courses, students have the opportunity to try out courses centered on creativity, sports and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). For those interested in art, Middlesex will offer Cartooning, Painting on the Surreal Side, Creative Drawing, Film Production & Editing, and Fashion Design.

Sports-related offerings include Sports and Recreation and Fun with Games, while students interested in STEM can sign up for Coding for Kids, Minecraft, Graphic Design for Beginners, All About Science, and Case Studies in Veterinary Medicine.

“My twin daughters have been participating in College for Kids for the past few years, including Cake Decorating, Creative Drawing, Cartooning, Web Design, Engineering and Fashion Design,” said Kimberly Tambo, of Chelmsford. “We really do enjoy the camps. They improve each year, learn new things, and love to apply their learning throughout the year. It’s great to have a fun and safe space for them to be creative and gain lifelong skills.”

College for Kids courses will run in-person from July 11 to August 18. There are both half and full day programs offered, starting at 9 a.m. and going until 4 p.m.
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Middlesex CC Gives Student Second Chance at Continuing Education6/8/20226/30/2022 2:06 PM
Being rejected, called names and punished for not meeting expectations left Donnah Mukanziza feeling “fragile” about continuing her education. Although she was nervous because of her previous negative experience elsewhere, Mukanziza got a second chance at completing her education with Middlesex Community College.

“MCC did not only help me get over all my fears, but also gave me faith, patience, confidence and courage to believe in myself, to stop doubting myself, to know myself through guidance on how to be better,” Mukanziza said.

From Uganda and now living in Acton, Mukanziza started at Middlesex at the Adult Learning Center. In the program, she developed her reading, writing and mathematics skills with a small cohort of classmates. The goal of the program is to prepare students to sit for a high school equivalency exam.

After earning her GED (General Education Development), she transitioned into the college’s Links program to gain the skills she needed to succeed in college-level courses. Both programs offered small class sizes and individualized academic and career advising to guide her through her next educational and professional steps.

“The special thing about the programs was the way students are grouped according to their needs,” she said. “The teachers’ involvement with the students made it easier to learn. They give enormous guidance on what to do next.”

As the Links program is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mukanziza was also able to go through the program for free. “The endless financial support from the Links Program pushed me to keep myself in school,” she said.

Many professors and staff members helped her to develop into “the strong woman I am becoming,” Mukanziza said. This includes MCC’s Director of the Adult Learning Center and Links Program Katherine Innis, MCC’s Program Coordinator for the Links program Karen Spengler, and her computer tutor Evans Milt.

Mukanziza is also grateful to Dr. Mariluci Bladon, MCC’s Director of Biotechnology, for teaching her more about the industry, as well as Middlesex’s biotech offerings. It is Bladon’s passion for students and her ability to “always look out for students beyond the class” that helped Mukanziza decide she wanted to pursue a career in biotechnology.

With guidance from Bladon and her advisors, Mukanziza got accepted into MCC’s Biotechnology Learn and Earn Experience. She is excited to start her coursework and internship at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in the Fall 2022 semester.

“I cannot express enough how MCC has transformed me,” she said. “I am very proud to be one of MCC’s students.”
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Middlesex CC Launch Your Business Now Students Awarded $19,000 6/9/20226/30/2022 11:40 AM
At the end of the Spring 2022 semester, students enrolled in Middlesex Community College’s Launch Your Business Now (LYBN) program were awarded $19,000 by the Everyday Entrepreneurs Venture Fund (EEVF). Five Middlesex students received non-equity seed grant funding to help grow or launch their small businesses.

The program is a perfect fit for students who are not ready for debt funding but need assistance, according to Stacie Hargis, MCC’s Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. In receiving the grant funds, students can also use the award to leverage more traditional lending. Hargis believes the funding opportunity is more accessible because it is “friends and family” based.

“This grant approach is filling a market need for everyday entrepreneurs within our ecosystem,” Hargis said. “We believe this is a unique value proposition to MCC’s program and makes us a natural partner to the rest of the funding ecosystem. Local small business growth means jobs for local people – our friends, family and neighbors – and our community college.”

During the event, students had 20 minutes to present their business plans and answer questions from the EEVF committee. The committee included MCC administrators and local entrepreneurs and bankers, such as Patrick Martin of Martin Insurance in Lowell, Germaine Vigeant-Trudel of the Lowell Development and Finance Corporation, and Reagan Mahoney of People’s United.

The students’ businesses and funding include:
  • $5,000 to Squared Away – house clean outs and estate sale company
  • $5,000 to Divine Beauty – an esthetician and permanent makeup professional
  • $3,000 to Devine Design Clothing – and up-and-coming Lowell-based designer
  • $3,000 to Thy Craft Panda – a graphics and printing shop
  • $3,000 to Swangel’s bakery – an allergy-free small-batch bakery
Students will use the seed funding for operations as they continue to grow their businesses throughout the year. The funding was made possible by a generous grant from the Cummings Foundation.

MCC’s 16-credit Launch Your Business Now certificate program was developed for entrepreneurs who have an idea for a business they want to launch – or scale up – within four to 12 months.

“Receiving this EEVF seed money grant allows me to establish and grow my business without a start-up debt burden and will lessen the financial risk inherent in a small business start-up,” said Sue Boswell, MCC LYBN student and owner of Squared Away. “I am so grateful that this opportunity exists to support area entrepreneurs. These funds will allow Squared Away to lean into the excitement we have for our business and let us focus on hitting the ground running to build our business. We will purchase tool bags, yard signs and other marketing materials as well as two tablets to help centralize and simplify photos and inventories at each client's home. It is great the funding committee got to know us, like us and trust us with these funds.”
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Oral Health Partnership between Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Middlesex Community College and Lowell Public Schools Provides Dental Services to 70 Youth6/14/20226/29/2022 12:45 PM
LOWELL - Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, Middlesex Community College, and Lowell Public Schools hosted a dental hygiene clinic for fifth and sixth grade students attending Bartlett Community Partnership and Butler Middle School on Wednesday, June 8.

The clinic is part of a partnership to provide students with preventative oral hygiene care with the goal of improving the health and wellness of children. In total about 70 schoolchildren received free dental exams and sealants from Middlesex Community College dental hygiene students during the “Give Kids a Smile” event.

“One of the biggest benefits of MCC’s dental hygiene clinic is being able to offer low-cost or free services to the community,” said Karen Townsend, MCC’s Dean of Health. “While our students gain hands-on clinical experience, people who would not otherwise have access to dental health care improve their overall health. Our faculty member Maureen Strauss worked to put the Give Kids a Smile partnership together with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and Lowell Public Schools to serve local children. The goal is to provide students with necessary dental care that will help them perform at a higher level in school. It’s a win-win all around.”

The Oral Health Initiative is inspired by research that shows that poor oral health due to lack of dental care adversely affects students’ performance in school. To address this issue, MCC dental students create lesson plans to integrate dental health into the school curriculum by teaching students to brush, floss, and eat healthy food. They also perform dental exams and cleanings for students. The goal is to keep students in school and focused on academics and to not have them distracted by pain, lack of eating or sleeping.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Therapy Dog In-Training, Bear, also attended the event to visit with students while they awaited treatment.

So far, the Oral Health Initiative, which also includes Regis College, has provided classroom dental education for 790 second and fifth grade children, distributed 2,545 toothbrushes and oral health aids, conducted 500 oral screenings for second and fifth grade children and provided other dental services, including fluoride varnishes, sealants and x-rays.
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Alumna Benefits from Partnership Between MCC & William James6/1/20226/27/2022 11:06 AM
Growing up in Wareham, Dr. Jennifer Burns moved to West Springfield when she was young and attended boarding school in Lenox until the age of 12. A victim of sexual violations, she ran away from school and experienced homelessness for a number of years. At Middlesex Community College, she started her journey to studying and working in the field of psychology.

“My overall experience was amazing,” Burns said. “The faculty and staff are invested in students’ successes. MCC faculty and staff supported my educational needs, especially the TRIO program. This resource was instrumental in helping me to succeed as an older student.”

At Middlesex, Burns also benefitted from dedicated professors such as Robert Fera and engaging in Service-Learning Experiences. In one instance, Burns was part of a cohort who went to Boston Commons to engage in service with the homeless population. “This experience ignited a passion within and I wanted to continue my education beyond MCC,” she said.

Burns continued on to UMass Lowell to earn a bachelor’s in Psychology and Legal Studies and a master’s in Community Social Psychology. She completed her doctorate from William James College (WJC) in Organizational Leadership Psychology AoE Neuropsychology. At a recent event marking the colleges’ new articulation agreement, Burns spoke of her journey from starting at MCC to graduating from WJC.

“Speaking from the heart and being vulnerable in front of my colleagues was uncomfortable at first,” Burns said. “However, being authentic is part of my core and I would not be the woman I am today if I did not embrace my shadow side and persevere through life lessons.”

Now an external consultant with the Lawrence Police Department, Burns runs trainings for the Recovery Coach Academy and Trauma and is an adjunct faculty member at both MCC and WJC. Her goal is to “teach and empower others to become their best versions of self” – something she has learned from her experiences at both colleges.

“MCC embodies a sense of community and encouraged me to value the importance of higher education,” she said. “WJC embodies the values that I believe in: social responsibility, experiential learning, personal growth and development, and fosters sense of belonging for all students.”

The articulation agreement between Middlesex and WJC is meant to provide a stronger bridge for students completing their psychology, human services and liberal arts and sciences requirements at Middlesex. Students can then transfer their credits to William James to earn a bachelor’s and advanced degrees through a cohort model, peer mentoring and professional development.

“This partnership between Middlesex and WJC will help to provide easier access points and a trajectory for students in a variety of disciplines,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “Our missions are completely aligned to make a difference for today’s students, Leading to a highly prepared and more diverse mental health workforce.”

“The work that we do as educators is not to ‘provide to’ or to ‘impose upon,’ but it is to bring out the greatness that exists in a person,” said Nicholas Covino, WJC President. “You form community, you find the brilliance that exists in that student, even in the students who may doubt themselves, and you help it to emerge. We’re eager to welcome more dedicated, talented students from MCC into the WJC community, and to provide the training and support they need to advance their education and to launch an important career at a time when behavioral health professionals are needed more than ever.”

Founded in 1974, William James College is an independent, non-profit institution and a leader in educating the next generation of mental health professionals to support the growing and diverse needs of the mental health workforce. Integrating field work with academics, the College prepares students for careers as organizational leaders and behavioral health professionals who are committed to helping the underserved, multicultural populations, children and families, and veterans. William James College alumni can be found making an impact in a variety of settings, including schools, the courts, clinical care facilities, hospitals, the community, and the workplace. To learn more about the College, please visit williamjames.edu.

With MCC, students of all experiences, backgrounds and needs can access options, resources and support that set them up for success from day one. By starting at MCC, students save thousands on tuition costs, complete general requirements that transfer to four-year schools, and learn skills that make them competitive in the job market. Offering an immersive community experience on-campus, online and in a hybrid format – and 70+ degree and certificate options – MCC provides flexible and accelerated courses that fit into students’ busy lives. In removing barriers that often prevent students from pursuing higher education, MCC makes attending college more affordable and equitable. With MCC, education is possible!
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MCC’s Intensive English Institute Earns Four-Year Accreditation6/7/20226/23/2022 12:48 PM
Middlesex Community College’s Intensive English Institute was accredited for four years with the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). Middlesex is the second community college in Massachusetts, fourth in the U.S., and fifth globally to earn the distinction, according to Marilyn Glazer MCC’s Director of IEI & World Language Institute.

“MCC’s Intensive English Institute makes a remarkable difference in the lives of the students we serve, and we are ecstatic to have earned the distinction of accreditation with CEA for another four years until April 2026,” Glazer said. “We are constantly and consistently researching ways to improve the institute as we continue to provide the knowledge, skills and support to help students succeed in their U.S. higher education journeys. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity.”

MCC’s 18 hours a week, 16-week program uses high-quality research and evidence-based curriculum to provide students with comprehensive knowledge and skills; academic, career and transfer advising; tutoring; and learning and social opportunities. The college has a long history of serving international students from all over the world – including Asia, Latin America and the Middle East – helping them build a foundation to be successful at the U.S. higher education level.

Speaking Creole and French, Sabine Metellus came to Lowell from Haiti two years ago. When her supervisor for her cashier job at Home Depot approached her for a promotion, Metellus wanted to improve her English language skills. While she chose MCC because the program was affordable, she gained a lot from a supportive learning environment. She is now enrolled in MCC’s Fall 2022 semester to start an associate degree.

“MCC’s IEI helped me a lot,” Metellus said. “It was the best decision I ever made since I came to this country. The teachers are great. They make us feel at home. They go above and beyond to support students in their personal challenges by being there to listen and give advice and show us the way to achieve our personal goals.”

From Japan and now living in Lexington, Hiroko Nakano is learning to speak and read in English. She started at Middlesex in the college’s Adult Learning Center and transitioned to the IEI. One of the biggest lessons Nakano has learned in her work with the IEI is to remove the letter “s” at the end of certain words when she speaks and writes. Through repetition, she is learning to develop habits and better understanding of English grammar.

“After taking classes, I feel better than before in any situation in English,” Nakano said. “I may still struggle, but I believe it could be better day by day. I realized how to develop my English effectively at IEI and I’ll continue to study English.”

The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education for the accreditation of English language programs in accredited universities and colleges and of independent English language schools. CEA’s recognition allows accredited English language organizations to use their CEA accreditation for certification by SEVP (Department of Homeland Security) to admit international students.

The Middlesex Community College Intensive English Institute is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation for the period April 2022 through April 2026 and agrees to uphold the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions. CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the U.S. For further information about this accreditation, please contact CEA, 1001 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 630, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 665-3400, www.cea-accredit.org.
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MCC Celebrates Third and Final Commencement for Class of 20225/26/20226/22/2022 1:23 PM
Middlesex Community College recognized State Representative Vanna Howard as the Distinguished Alum of its third and final 2022 graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 26 for the college’s Education and Liberal Studies programs. As Representative of the 17th Middlesex District in Lowell, Rep. Howard works to be informative, accessible and responsive for the people in her district. Her goal is to grow the economy, improve schools, and move toward equitable outcomes for all.

“Some of you will continue your studies,” Rep. Howard said. “Some of you will join the workforce. And some of you may take the time to figure out your next journey. That's exactly what I did. I took my time finishing higher ed. The best thing I did was volunteer in the community and with nonprofits. Along the way I met many people who cared about the health and well-being of their community. I learned where my passion was – public service.”

A year into her work, Rep. Howard is focused on education, public health, environmental justice, social and racial justice, and housing and economic recovery. At MCC, she learned more about adapting and responding in the real-world through effective communication and problem solving.

“Middlesex helped me be a better decision-maker and prepared me with the knowledge and skills to broaden my experience in life,” Representative Howard said. “MCC has graduated many who went on to distinguish themselves in all fields and I’m proud that you would consider me to be one of them.”

Liberal Arts and Sciences student Luis Berrizbeitia was the student speaker for the day. In attending Middlesex, Berrizbeitia made his return to college after attending a school in the Midwest a few years before. MCC provided him with a solid academic foundation, having the opportunity to learn from professors and tutor his classmates in the Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE). He was presented with the 2022 James E. Houlihan Student of the Year award and plans to continue studying at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to earn a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Conservation.

“MCC has truly been life changing for me,” Berritzbeiia said. “I am incredibly humbled to be given such an honor. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be at the speaker podium at a graduation.”

Middlesex kicked off its return to an in-person commencement – the 50th in the college’s history – on Tuesday, May 24 for the graduation and pinning of MCC’s Health programs. On Wednesday, May 25, the college awarded certificates and degrees to students in Business, Legal Studies, Public Service and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

"You are resilient, committed and persistent,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Arlene Rodríguez to the graduating class. “You embody a line by one of my most favorite poets, Pablo Neruda: 'Si no escalas montañas, jamás podrás disfrutar el paisaije.' 'If you don’t climb mountains, you’ll never be able to enjoy the view.'"
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MCC To Hold Three Commencement Ceremonies for Class of 20225/24/20226/16/2022 2:55 PM
For the 50th Commencement in the college’s history, Middlesex Community College is excited to once again return in person. To keep students, employees and guests safe, Middlesex will host three separate ceremonies on Tuesday, May 24 for the Health programs; Wednesday, May 25 for the Business, Legal Studies, Public Service and STEM programs; and Thursday, May 26 for the Education and Liberal Studies programs.

“Commencement is one of the most important days of a person’s college experience and it is a tremendous honor to witness our students walk across the stage,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “These students completed the majority of the work for their degrees or certificates during the COVID-19 pandemic, facing a shift to online and hybrid learning amid a number of personal and professional challenges. We are happy to have found a way to return commencement to an in-person format. We look forward to being together for these special days of celebration of our students accomplishments.”

Middlesex is proud to celebrate the diverse backgrounds, experiences and needs of the graduating class of 2022. The age range is 15 to 77, with the graduates representing 11 states and 65 countries. There are 40 veterans, 17 Dual Enrollment High School graduates, 63 MCC employees and 39 percent of the graduates are first generation students.

“As they celebrate their commencement from MCC, the graduating class of 2022 has shown their resilience in the face of unprecedented obstacles and circumstances brought on by the pandemic,” said Rebecca Newell, MCC’s Dean of Students. “We honor this year’s diverse and impressive graduates who will continue on to four-year schools, enter the workforce, and prove themselves as productive members of the Commonwealth. We are proud to be a part of their journeys.”

The 2022 graduating class have made a number of accomplishments during their time at the college. There were 168 Associate in Arts, 599 Associate in Science and 155 Certificates, as well as 73 students who earned more than one award.

MCC’s Health programs pinned 116 graduates, and 43 students received department awards for their achievements. While 11 students made the Commonwealth Commitment to attend a Mass. state four-year college or university, MCC’s Commonwealth Honors Program graduated 32 scholars, and 128 are members of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the national honor society for two-year colleges.

Yuri Alarcon and Maggie Montoya were named to the 2021-2022 All-Massachusetts Academic Team and MCC Business Administration Transfer student Tara Barlett was named MCC’s “29 Who Shine” by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

“It is an amazing feeling to know that someone can take my words, understand my mission, and choose to support me with a financial contribution,” Barlett said. “My overall MCC experience has been great. I have wanted this experience for so long – and now that I’m in the middle of it – I’m excited to be here.”
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Two Middlesex CC Students Named to PTK All-Massachusetts Team6/2/20226/15/2022 1:48 PM
Middlesex Community College students Yuri Alarcon Diaz and Maggie Jeliane Montoya were named to the 2022 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-Massachusetts Team. The students were recognized at an honors ceremony on April 29, 2022.

“At Middlesex, our students are leaders around campus, local, regional and national communities and organizations,” said Steven Rossi, MCC’s Director of Student Engagement & Retention. “Many of our students participate in PTK – the national honors society for two-year colleges – and receive networking, academic and professional development, and resume-building benefits. Yuri and Maggie are two standout MCC students who are being recognized for their hard work and commitment to their education.”

Diaz is a transfer student from Peru. Arriving at Middlesex in June 2021, he has been majoring in Electrical Engineering. He is happy and grateful to be part of PTK and recognized as a member of the All-Massachusetts team.

“It has been one fantastic experience to be part of this community as a student and as a member of the PTK honor society,” he said. “My dream is to become a Telecommunications Engineer and be able to spread my knowledge and passion in this field throughout the world, and be at the forefront of any technological innovations.”

Born in Puerto Rico, Montoya moved to the United States at 7-years-old. As she grew up, she was taught the value of education and worked hard to learn the English language, do well in school, and make her parents proud. Now 21, her goal is to become a Registered Dietitian “to better serve women of color dealing with eating disorders.”

“I hope to share my knowledge with whomever wants to learn because education is not meant to be bottled up for oneself,” she said. “Education and knowledge are meant to be shared to empower, uplift and liberate.”
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Middlesex CC Reflects on Global Accessibility Awareness Day5/19/20226/14/2022 2:06 PM
Middlesex Community College is dedicated to creating and providing an accessible and equitable education for all students and working experience for employees. Over the past year, Middlesex has made a number of changes college-wide to increase its accessibility efforts.

“As part of MCC’s Digital Accessibility Team (DAT), it is our responsibility to ensure that the college is continually finding solutions to make working, teaching and learning accessible for every employee and student,” said Reginald Nichols, MCC’s Compliance Officer. “Global Accessibility Awareness Day reminds us why we must foster an inclusive on-campus and online environment that removes barriers and sets up our community members for success.”

Some of the highlights of the DAT team’s accessibility efforts from the past year involves creating an on-demand best practices search committee training video which include closed captioning. They are also putting all software through a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) review and approval process, and making sure accessibility review software and tools are available for faculty and staff to verify their content is accessible.The DAT team – along with MCC’s Academic Technology & Distance Learning division have hosted professional development workshops to cover accessibility topics and train attendees in best practices when creating digital documents and communications.

With the pandemic and the shift to more remote learning and working, MCC evaluated existing digital communications to make sure they meet International Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards and are accessible to students and staff with a wide range of abilities. This includes the website, videos, PDF files and social media posts, according to Beth Noël, MCC’s Director of Marketing Communications.

“From ensuring that users with mobility issues are able to navigate our website and that screen readers can easily translate words into audio descriptions, to adjusting colors and contrast for people with low vision, this work involved a cross section of employees from around the institution,” Noël said. “We worked to develop policies, procedures and training opportunities so that as a college, we can be proactive in our commitment to making digital content accessible. Technology is continually changing and MCC will continue make adjustments and improvements that enhance learning and working for the entire MCC community.”

In order to make the physical campuses more accessible, Middlesex has made a number of cosmetic changes that address previous ADA issues, according to Patrick Cook, MCC’s Executive Director of Public Relations. This includes restriping spaces for accessible parking, repaving parking lots and pathways, and regrading areas around campus. The college has also purchased six accessible transportation vans.

“This work has been in motion for the past four years in both Bedford and Lowell,” Cook said. “We wanted to make it easier for our students, employees and community members to get around campus, park in closer and better spots, and have an accessible option to get from one campus to another using the vans. Middlesex is committed to providing an accessible and equitable educational experience for all, and that includes maintaining our physical environments.”
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MCC & the Lowell Chamber Orchestra to Host Pride Month Concert5/31/20226/13/2022 1:54 PM
Middlesex Community College and the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO) will celebrate Pride Month with a concert entitled “A Rainbow of Repertoire” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 5 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell as part of the college’s “A World of Music” concert series. Holding a pride concert with the LCO is a dream come true for Em Russell, Executive Director of LCO and an MCC music alum.

“I’m so grateful to the rest of the amazing LCO team for helping make my dream come true,” Russell said. “While the LCO features many LGBTQ+ composers throughout our seasons already, it is so wonderful to have the opportunity to showcase even more, especially living composers. We are so honored to share this amazing program with the community!”

The concert will include music by Hannah Rice, Steven Sérpa, Ethan Soledad, Kevin Lubin, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Benjamin Britten, and a specially commissioned piece by Julia Moss.

“This concert will feature a variety of ensemble sizes, varying from string quartets all the way up to large ensemble works conducted by LCO’s music director and MCC faculty member Orlando Cela,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “The event will showcase LGBTQ+ composers from the Lowell area and around the world.”

Rice has written a Heavy Metal string quartet called “SQ666,” which has been composed using techniques from heavy metal rock music Sérpa’s “An Invocation,” for solo oboe and strings, is a tone poem inspired by his long-time collaborator, queer poet Jeffery Beam, about the small beauties of nature. Soledad’s “Why Wait,” for a 9-person ensemble, is about his own journey of self-discovery and defeating self-doubt, while Lubin’s string quartet “The Flower Shop” includes a spoken narration with words by Virginia Woolf.

The largest work of the afternoon will be a World Premiere by Moss, “The World is Too Much for Us.” Written for mezzo-soprano soloist Julianna Smith and a 10-person chamber ensemble, the work is based on conversations between the composer-performer pair about the feeling of being overwhelmed by the ever-growing clutter of life. Inspired by these ideas, she chose to set the piece to a poem by William Wordsworth about how people have become so obsessed with possessing material items and controlling nature. There will also be short works by Baroque composer Lully and 20th century British composer Britten.

All “World of Music” concerts are free and open to the public.
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