MCC’s Spring Celebrity Forum to Welcome Award-winning Music Legend New2/20/20242/20/2024 9:36 AM
The Middlesex Community College Foundation is proud to announce the Spring 2024 Celebrity Forum, featuring six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning music legend Dionne Warwick. The event will take place on Thursday, April 25 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

“This is exciting news for Greater Lowell – Middlesex is honored to help bring another legend of music to the Auditorium stage,” said MCC President Phil Sisson. “These events don’t happen without the MCC Foundation and our sponsors who have generously been providing scholarship support to our students for more than two decades through this Celebrity Forum series. I’m looking forward to a fabulous evening with a packed house celebrating and listening to music royalty Dionne Warwick!”

“We are thrilled and honored to welcome the iconic international superstar Dionne Warwick to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium,” said Judy Burke, MCC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement & Workforce Development. “Our Celebrity Forum events are an opportunity to celebrate the impact of our college and the Foundation with an evening of music and dance while raising important funds to assist Middlesex students with the costs of attending school. The MCC Foundation is grateful to Ms. Warwick for performing and to Spectacle Live and our community partners and sponsors for making these incredible events possible each year.”

Warwick earned more than 75 charted hit songs and sold over 100 million records in her 50+ year career. Discovered by Burt Bacharach and Hal David in 1961, she recorded 18 consecutive Top 100 singles, including “Don’t Make Me Over,” Walk on By,” “Say a Little Prayer,” “A House is Not a Home,” “Alfie,” “Heartbreaker,” and “Déjà Vu,” among others.

Known as the artist who “bridged the gap” with her soulful blend of pop, gospel and R&B music that transcended race, culture and musical boundaries, Warwick became first African American solo female artist of her generation to win the prestigious award for Best Contemporary Female Vocalist Performance. She is also the recipient of several coveted and prestigious awards, including the 2017 Marian Anderson Award, the 2019 GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2023 Kennedy Center Honor in 2023.

She participated in recording the hits “That’s What Friends Are For” and “We Are the World,” and performed at “Live Aid.” Author of the best-selling “My Life As I see It,” Warwick was honored in a 2018 PBS Television Special “Then Came You” and was named a 2019 Ambassador to the Smithsonian Institute’s Year in Music.

A donor reception for sponsors will start off the event at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the 8 p.m. performance. Proceeds from the event provide support for scholarships for MCC students. The annual fundraiser is one of the best ways to support MCC students while having a great night out.

For over 20 years, Middlesex has brought well-known personalities to Greater Lowell for the educational and cultural enrichment of area residents, including the 2023 event with the Temptations and the Four Tops. The TJX Companies, Inc., proud Presenting Sponsor of MCC’s spring fundraisers since 1999, has returned to support this year’s Celebrity Forum.

Visit https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/celebrityforum/2024.aspx for more information about sponsorship opportunities or contact Sherri McCormack, MCC’s Dean of Advancement at mccormacks@middlesex.mass.edu or 978-656-3034. To purchase tickets, contact the Lowell Memorial Auditorium Box Office at 800-657-8774.
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MCC Hires New Director of Student Engagement for Equity2/15/20242/20/2024 9:31 AM
​Middlesex Community College is excited to announce Maria McDuffie Clark as the new Director for Student Engagement for Equity. Most recently the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML), McDuffie Clark has a long history with Middlesex. Thrilled to return to MCC in their new role, McDuffie Clark’s main goal is to help all students feel a strong sense of belonging at the college.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with our students on a different level and getting them to where they want to be,” McDuffie Clark said. “Student engagement is as critical as academics. We want students to be able to practice a skillset, articulate what they’ve learned in the classroom, and share with others. It helps them be competitive in the workforce and makes their investment in education worth it.”

McDuffie Clark is interested in supporting students on an individual level. In their work at UML, they dove deeper into building communities for students within the Black, LatinX and LGBTQ+ populations, including looking at the types of services that are offered. With the Rising 360 program – which they are looking to bring to MCC – they focused on well-being across all interactions with students, such as one-to-one coaching, peer-led events and bonding opportunities, as well as orientation, cultural events and heritage months.

The Rising 360 program addresses students’ needs on a holistic level, ensuring they are healthy in their body, emotions and mental health, as well as in their academics, financials and career path. At MCC, McDuffie Clark will work with students on creating a well-rounded college experience related to their identity in multiple ways. “We want students to know they belong here and deserve to be here,” they said.

“How we work with faculty is important, as is Service-Learning and civic engagement,” McDuffie Clark said. “Every piece appeals to someone’s identity that they want to explore. We’re looking at what their passion is, what they value, and then are connecting them to people to get on the trajectory of where they want to be and how they want to contribute to their community. I see it as equity, getting to know people and addressing each of their needs starting where they’re at. Though we don’t all start at the same place, we show patience and intentionality.”

McDuffie Clark earned bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Psychology from North Carolina State University. They moved to Lowell to pursue a master’s in Community Psychology at UML before starting their career at MCC working in Multicultural Affairs. After two years in the Americorp Vista program, McDuffie Clark made an initial return to Middlesex as the International Student Coordinator, helping students navigate complicated government systems while studying, having fun, and growing comfortable in a new culture.

As many MCC students transfer to UML, McDuffie Clark always felt connected to the community college, often helping transfer students adjust to the change, just as they had. When the new position opened up, a second return to MCC felt natural. Calling their experience within Lowell and higher education “magic,” McDuffie Clark looks forward to helping MCC in its mission of providing equity and access to education for all students.

“Education opens doors and moves mountains,” they said. “Knowing more about each other makes for a better world. I’m grateful to be part of the MCC community on a day-to-day basis again. I did a lot of growing up here.”
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MCC Business Entrepreneurship Student Receives Cummings Scholarship2/8/20242/20/2024 9:31 AM
​Growing up in a small town in Cambodia, Diamond Tin was inspired to become a business owner by his parents and grandparents, who he calls his role models and motivation. After moving to Lowell, he started at Middlesex Community College to pursue a business entrepreneurship associate degree. Recently, he was awarded a scholarship from the Cummings Foundation to help him launch his business idea.

“Receiving the Cummings Scholarship means so much, not just for myself, but also for my family, as it helps lower the cost of school tuition, as well as my living expenses,” Tin said. “My business pitch for this scholarship was about an Escape Room project that I'm currently working on with my cousin to be open in Cambodia.”

The scholarship is part of a $100,000 grant the Foundation gave to Middlesex in Spring 2021. Grant funding supports students, such as Tin, who are completing MCC’s entrepreneurship certificate or associate degree and have a business idea they want to launch in the future.

“We look for students that are eager to complete their academic studies while exploring and oftentimes starting their entrepreneurial journey,” said Stacie Hargis, MCC’s Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. “We are very fortunate for the funding from the Cummings Foundation which allows us to support budding entrepreneurs in such a significant way."

Tin is grateful to Hargis for her support in his entrepreneurship classes. In pushing him to work outside of his comfort zone, Hargis motivates Tin by reminding him of his passion for business and pursuing a career he loves. Now in his second semester at MCC, Tin feels excited about going to class every day, engaging in discussions, and helping his classmates.

MCC has been a “welcoming space” for Tin since he started, leading him to be less nervous about exploring his new area and happy to try different experiences. This includes participating in activities and events around the college community. A peer mentor for MCC’s Success Scholars Program, Tin is the Vice President for the International Student Club and a member of the Asian Students in Alliance (A.S.I.A.) Club.

“I strive for the best, not just academically, but also to be involved in school activities as much as possible where I can gain a lot of experience along the way that is good for my resume as well,” Tin said. “I define myself as an outgoing person, but also diverse, which leads me to participate in so many clubs to get to know a variety of new things and make so many friends throughout my life.”

Tin is already looking ahead to after he graduates from Middlesex. While he has many different business ideas for the future – including opening a restaurant – he is focused on his education. Planning to transfer to a four-year school to earn his bachelor’s degree, he hopes to one day earn a master’s in business from Harvard Business school and “achieve this wonderful dream of mine.”

“I’ve always been brainstorming about my business ideas and opening them in the United States,” he said. “As I’m very young, I would like to work in a company to strengthen my ability as an entrepreneur and gather experience as I go onward in life.”
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MCC to Host College Fairs to Highlight Benefits of MassTransfer & Mass. State Universities2/6/20242/20/2024 9:31 AM
​Whether planning to transfer to a four-year institution or directly enter the workforce, Middlesex Community College is prepared to help students take their next steps after graduation. For students interested in transferring, Middlesex will host two college fairs this Spring to introduce them to the nine Massachusetts state colleges and the five University of Massachusetts campuses.

“Middlesex helps students transfer to four-year colleges and universities across New England and nationwide each year, and over 50 percent of our transfer students take advantage of MassTransfer,” said Nick Cloutier, MCC’s Coordinator of Transfer. “With so many options available to students, we want them to explore their opportunities and connect with college representatives to find the school that is the best fit for them after graduating from MCC. We have ways to connect with schools throughout the year, but we focus on our MassTransfer partners at our Spring college fairs.”

With MassTransfer, students only need to complete a form in their final semester and have a minimum GPA of 2.5 for guaranteed admission. Those who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher may be eligible for a 33 percent tuition waiver on their instate tuition costs.

Students can save thousands on tuition costs and complete general education requirements by starting at MCC. This includes MassReconnect, a state-funded program for individuals 25+ who do not have a prior degree who can earn a free associate degree or certificate before transferring to their next school. At MCC, students also get early exposure to their field of interest, with courses, hands-on experiences, and networking opportunities in just the first two years of their academic journey.

“There are many benefits of MassTransfer for students who earn an associate degree from MCC to transfer seamlessly to Mass. state universities and UMass campuses,” Cloutier said. “MassTransfer makes it easier to stay on track and minimize the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree. Some will see an additional financial benefit also. With MassReconnect, MCC makes it easier for students who always wanted to continue their education, but didn’t have the time or financial situation to make it a reality. This combination is a game changer for many students, and it can make a difference in their lives through education.”

During the fairs, students will have the opportunity to meet with admissions representatives from each of the state four-year institutions. They can learn about the varying school’s offerings and requirements, as well as the process for transferring after they graduate from MCC.

Admissions representatives are experts on their school’s information and a resource to MCC students as they explore their options, according to Cloutier. Meeting with the representatives helps students get a better sense of how selective and competitive institutions are, as well as know important deadlines and scholarship information.

“Even if it is their first semester at MCC, we want students to attend the college fairs and explore what is out there,” Cloutier said. “We can help students ask the right questions and they may even find a great school that they didn’t know was an option.”

MCC’s Bedford Campus College Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21. The Lowell Campus fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 22. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/transfer/ for more information.
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Dedicated to Supporting the “Whole” Student, MCC Hires New Wellness Counselor 2/1/20242/20/2024 9:31 AM
​Dedicated to supporting students’ mental health and wellness, Middlesex Community College is excited to announce the hiring of Amy Mahoney as the college’s new Wellness Counselor. Most recently a program director, Mahoney looks forward to bringing her experience in group and individual therapy, adult community mental health, and clinical supervision to assist students in MCC’s Wellness Resource Center.

“I really thrive when I am part of something bigger,” Mahoney said. “A community college is a unique place with students of many different backgrounds, employees who are passionate, and a strong connection to the broader community beyond the college walls. I think that my values as a social worker align nicely with the values and mission of MCC.”

Working through some challenging circumstances during her childhood helped Mahoney become a natural advocate and optimist who always finds the good in others. This led to her interest in pursuing a career in social work. In New York, she earned a bachelor’s from Marist College and a master’s in social work at CUNY (City University of New York) Lehman.

New to working in higher education, Mahoney thought about her own college years and the importance of being part of a community when beginning her time at MCC. With her background, she always enjoyed connecting with young adult clients and helping them to make changes in their lives. Mahoney hopes to become a “go-to resource” at MCC working directly with students and supporting faculty and staff in their efforts to assist students in need.

“Whether I am the person who makes the most sense to help them or I connect them with someone else, I would like for students to feel comfortable reaching out to me,” she said. “I look forward to helping students have their ‘aha!’ moments where they discover something new about themselves. I hope to provide faculty and staff with tools and skills that help them feel more confident in assisting students in distress.”

As she dives into her new role, Mahoney is learning about MCC, connecting with different departments, and understanding the mental health matters that come up the most for each group. Hoping to develop trainings for faculty and staff, she is interested in discussing her passion for Trauma Informed Practices and helping to implement the skills at the college.

An important part of Mahoney’s job includes one-on-one counseling sessions to support students’ mental and physical wellness to help them achieve their academic and personal goals. She will also assist students in need in finding specialized treatment or long-term therapy options with community providers using their insurance.

“I am able to provide short-term mental health counseling to students,” she said. “Through the intake and assessment process, together we will identify a counseling goal.”

Considering herself a team member for both the Wellness Resource Center and the college, Mahoney’s main focus is on assisting MCC students to make positive changes in their lives. In addition to counseling, the center provides wellness events, information about community resources, time-management coaching, and assistance with basic needs including food and housing.

“Myself and the Wellness Resource Center team strive to support the whole student,” Mahoney said. “We recognize that all aspects of a student’s life can impact their academic success, including their mental health.”
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MCC’s Mini-mester II Saves Students Time and Money1/29/20242/20/2024 9:31 AM
Flexibility matters at Middlesex Community College. Middlesex offers a second start to the Spring 2024 semester with the accelerated, eight-week Mini-mester II beginning on Monday, March 25.

“For students who are ready to jumpstart their education but just missed the January start, MCC’s Mini-mester II allows them to begin taking classes now, rather than having to wait for the summer or fall,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “MCC helps students figure out what they want to do without making a huge time or financial commitment. Our over 80 associate degree and certificate programs offer students the opportunity to complete transferable college credit, explore subjects, and dive more deeply into their field in the first two years of college.”

In just eight weeks, MCC’s Mini-mesters offer the same content, academic standards, and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled during the traditional 15-week semester. This allows students to fit more classes into their schedule overall.

Mini-mester course options include a variety of subjects, such as the arts and humanities, business, social science, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Classes may be offered on-campus, online, hybrid or hyflex.

Students taking Mini-mester II classes can also qualify for financial aid. MCC encourages students to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to find out their eligibility.

All eligible Middlesex students can also take advantage of MassReconnect, including for Spring Mini-mester II. The state-funded program assists Massachusetts residents 25+ who do not have a degree in earning an associate degree or certificate from MCC for free.

“MCC offers a variety of ways to save students time and money on their education,” O’Neil said. “Take advantage of this mid-semester start and get on your path to success.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ for more information and to register for classes.
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Teens Get an Early Start to College & Career Exploration at MCC1/24/20242/15/2024 10:19 AM
During the Spring 2024 semester, Middlesex Community College has a variety of options to helps teens get early exposure to college and career paths. Through MCC’s Community Education & Training division, the College for Teens program allows young students to explore the health and business pathways, as well as sharpen their math and communication skills.

“MCC’s College for Teens programs provide a unique experience for young students to learn early on about what to expect in college and the career paths available to them,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Education. “Before starting college, they are freshening up valuable skills, gaining confidence, and developing helpful habits they can use as they continue their education and beyond.”

Taught by Professor & Program Coordinator Suzanne McHale, MCC’s Medical Lab Tech Career Exploration introduces students to the field, the college’s Medical Lab Tech program, clinical and laboratory experiences, and career directions. The class will take place 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, March 25 to April 17 on the Lowell campus. For the last class, students will attend a field trip to a local hospital laboratory to meet and hear from employees.

In MCC’s Business Career Exploration class, high school students will gain an introduction to business skills and concepts, including an opportunity to do career mapping, writing and research to develop a real-world understanding of jobs in the business and accounting fields, as well as how to get them. Full-time MCC accounting and business professor Vikram Sharma will teach the online course that will run 3:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays, from April 10 to May 15.

MCC will offer two Algebra Review courses for students in middle school through high school to strengthen skills, review concepts, go over problems, and ask questions. Taught by an MCC math professor, both sections will be offered from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Bedford Campus with Algebra I running from February 6 to March 5, and Algebra II going from March 19 to April 23.

To help students improve public speaking skills, College for Teens will offer the Art of Presentation: Speaking with Confidence. The class will take place online from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. March 26 to April 9. Teens will learn to use their voice, build confidence, practice speaking in a supportive environment, and use verbal and non-verbal tools to increase their self-esteem.

MCC will also run a Makeup Application for Beginners session online from 10 a.m. to noon on the Friday of the February and April school breaks, February 23 and April 19. Students 12 and older can learn the basic principles of good skincare and applying makeup, choose correct colors for skin tone, and appropriate looks for different settings.

“Starting the college process can feel overwhelming for both students and their families,” Nahabedian said. “MCC offers a cost-effective and low-risk way for students to explore interests, learn about careers, and jumpstart their futures in a friendly and welcoming environment.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/ for more information and to register.
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With MassReconnect, Eligible Students Can Attend MCC for FREE2/14/20242/14/2024 10:41 AM
After dropping out in his senior year, Zachary Fumia, of Chelmsford, promised to return to school one day if it was free. Middlesex Community College and MassReconnect helped make that possible for him.

“MCC basically has done everything for me on their end, so I barely had to worry at all aside from applying for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid),” Fumia said. “My experience has been great so far and my classes have been covered financially.”

MassReconnect assists Massachusetts residents 25+ who do not have a degree in earning an associate degree or certificate from the college at no cost to them. The state-funded program provides access to higher education for many individuals who always wanted to pursue higher education, but did not have the money, time or resources to attend college, among other reasons.

An Information Technology (IT) Networking and User Support major, Fumia learned about MassReconnect from a friend. He was directed to MCC because he was familiar with the college through its proximity to home and his mother previously graduating with an associate degree.

By offering flexible options, MCC also helps students make the time to fit education in their lives. This includes the ability to choose between taking on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex formats, as well as accelerated courses.

Fumia has taken advantage of MCC’s three-week, Spring semester WinterSession in order to complete classes while most other schools are on break. Eligible MassReconnect students can also register for accelerated classes as part of MCC’s Spring 2024 Mini-mester II.

Starting mid-way through the semester, MCC’s Spring Mini-mester II provides students with a second chance to start or continue taking classes.In just eight weeks, MCC’s Mini-mesters offer the same content, academic standards, and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled during the traditional 15-week semester.

Mini-mesters allow students to complete general education requirements and earn credits in a shorter amount of time. They also are an opportunity to explore a variety of subjects, including arts and humanities, business, education, health, social science, public service and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

As he completes his degree for free at Middlesex, Fumia is looking ahead to his next steps.

“I would like to continue my education at UMass Lowell and maybe even get a job there someday,” Fumia said. “I currently have a 4.0 overall and I'm proud of my work and excited for the future once I can earn my degree.”

MCC’s Spring 2024 Mini-mester II begins Monday, March 25. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC to Host Award-winning Poet as Part of Visiting Writers Series2/12/20242/14/2024 10:39 AM
​Middlesex Community College will host award-winning poet Joan Houlihan as part of the college’s Visiting Writers Series at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, February 27 in the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center Recital Hall in Lowell.

“The shape of words, the sound of words, the meanings and connotations of words; how words connect with each other to communicate to the reader, reaching both intellect and heart – this is the focus of the writer,” Houlihan said. “In writing, we engage in our highest human accomplishment ­­– communication – and, with study and practice, may advance it even further toward force, grace, honesty and beauty.”

A professor at Clark University and in Lesley University’s MFA Program, Houlihan was the founding director of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript and Conference and the former Editor-in-Chief of Perihelion magazine. She has published six books of poetry, including It Isn’t a Ghost if it Lives in Your Chest (Four Way Books, 2021), winner of the Julia Ward Howe Award from the Boston Author’s Club.

Houlihan’s previous collections include “Shadow-feat” (Four Way, 2018) and “The Us” (Tupelo Press, 2009), which were both named “must-reads” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. She also wrote “Ay” (Tupelo Press, 2014); “The Mending Worm” (New Issues, 2006), winner of the New Issues Green Rose Award; and “Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays” (Del Sol Press, 2003).

Her poems appeared in many literary journals and been anthologized in The Iowa Anthony of New American Poetries; The Book of Irish American Poetry, 18th Century to Present, The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins, and The Eloquent Poem: 128 Contemporary Poems and Their Making.

MCC Visiting Writers Series is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Office of Student Engagement. For more information, contact StudentEngagement@middlesex.mass.edu or call 978-656-3363.
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MCC Welcomes Early College Lowell Students2/7/20242/14/2024 10:39 AM
Through its partnership with Middlesex Community College, Lowell High School (LHS) students understand the value of starting college early. On Thursday, February 1, concurrently enrolled Lowell High School juniors and seniors in MCC’s Early College Lowell program visited MCC’s Lowell Campus.

“This was a unique opportunity to welcome amazing students from Lowell High School,” said Russell Olwell, Dean of Education & K-16 Partnerships. “These students are talented, and many have already earned college credits through the Early College Lowell program. We were also able to talk to them about what MCC has to offer, including our Early College Promise program that provides up to 50 Early College Lowell alumni with a full year of free coursework at MCC, as well as academic and other support.”

As part of the Early College Program, the LHS students have the opportunity to take psychology, sociology and education classes through MCC. Since they attend classes in their high school, the purpose of the visit helped connect students with the college so they can gain familiarity with its environment. This opportunity came with a campus tour of areas including the bookstore and library where students gain access to supplies or materials needed for their classes.

The students also learned about MCC’s various resources and opportunities such as tutoring, advising and the SUCCESS Scholars Program through group sessions. Each session also allowed students to obtain some information and guidance from MCC staff and students about the college experience.

“I love to see the looks on the students’ faces when they walk into some of our spaces like the library or tutoring center, and learn that they could be using those resources right now,” said Kristie Faletra, Assistant Director of Admissions. “I want them to understand that, as part of the MCC family, it will be a seamless transition if they decide to continue with us after graduation and complete their associate’s degree.”

Students got the chance to take a break on campus to have lunch and reflect on the experience. “After high school if you are unsure about what you want to do, you can come to Middlesex, get your associate and transfer, with the help of the counselors, to a four-year college,” said Erin, a student taking MCC sociology and English composition courses.

“There are a lot of programs for students that they can work in and also earn money from while also helping other students at the college and I thought that was a really good opportunity,” said Diana, a student taking MCC public speaking and sociology courses.

“I knew that MCC was a smaller and more affordable school, but I didn’t know that they had a second campus,” said Kendrick, a student taking an MCC psychology course. “They are a good option coming out of high school, and after today I am definitely thinking about at least looking at the associate’s degree programs and transferring here.”

As the students finished their lunch, they all gathered once more to review the day’s activities and were greeted by Phil Sisson, MCC’s President, before they left.

“It was a great opportunity today to welcome our Lowell High School students who are a part of Early College Lowell,” Sisson said. “At this event, there was lots of energy and opportunity for them to get to know the college, its support services and meet the team so as the students make a decision about what their next step is, they know there is a home for them at MCC. We appreciate them for coming by and spending time to know MCC better.”
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MCC to Kick Off “World of Music” with Lowell Chamber Orchestra2/5/20242/14/2024 10:39 AM
​Middlesex Community College is excited to kick off the Spring 2024 “A World of Music” concert series with a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO). Conducted by MCC Music faculty member Orlando Cela, the concert will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 18 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“We are excited to open our Spring concert series with the Lowell Chamber Orchestra performing such an exciting program,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “The wonderful marimba player Nikki Huang – who was the winner of the 2023 LCO Concerto Competition – will be the featured soloist in the Concerto for Marimba and Strings by Emmanuel Séjourné.”

The program will also feature Autumn Vistas by Martin Max Schreiner, winner of the LCO’s Call for Scores; Symphony for Violas and Basses by Julia Perry; and the atmospheric, energetic, and at times chilling Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta by Béla Bartók, which was used in the movie “The Shining.”

The LCO will perform a second time at the Academic Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. “A World of Music” will also hold performances at MCC’s Concert Hall on the Bedford Campus, including A Chopin Celebration at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 3; Duos and Trios for Oboe, Flute and Piano at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 5; an MCC Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, April 22; and Duo du Sud at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 2.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

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.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/
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Middlesex CC Presents RENEW Graduation Ceremony1/31/20242/14/2024 10:39 AM
On Thursday, December 14, Middlesex Community College hosted a graduation ceremony for students who completed the RENEW Equipment Technician with Robotics course, in partnership with Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC). After completing the program, participants can be screened for open position at Insulet. The Acton-based medical device company creates delivery systems to treat people with diabetes and other conditions, according to their website.

“The program made a huge impact in enhancing my knowledge, expanding my horizons and providing better opportunities in the manufacturing industry,” said Sarah Kandula, a RENEW program graduate who spoke during the ceremony. “It is a great program that teaches solid fundamentals combined with great practical experience and would prepare anyone to take on future jobs in the Robotics industry.”

The nine program completers include Kandula, Saret Chem, Brendan Chesebro, Benita Nassali, Jonathan Roark, Dimitry Thevenin, Vandy Tray, Gian Varela and Calvin Whitaker. They are now sitting for the Tooling U certification exam.

“Congratulations to the graduates on their fantastic achievement,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “MCC is proud to partner with our sister institution and local businesses to offer students the opportunity to enhance their professional and personal lives. The graduation was a celebration of their grand efforts and strength, and the significance of this partnership.”

The Commonwealth Corporation with EOLWD and the Workforce Skills Cabinet awarded Mount Wachusett Community College the RENEW grant through funding by the American Rescue Plan Act. MCC, Mass Life Sciences, Insulet and MassHire coordinated to run the program.

"When Insulet was considering locations for its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, the ability to partner with an established educational infrastructure in order to meet the need for skilled labor was a major consideration,” said Mark Longa, Insulet’s Group Vice President of Global Operations. “Our collaboration with MCC, Mass Life Sciences and MWCC’s RENEW program and the jointly developed curriculum has provided the framework by which Insulet will be able to have access to individuals that have the specific technical skills necessary to meet our continued growth needs."

The program ran from October 23 to December 14 on MCC’s Bedford campus. MWCC provided the robotics equipment and trainer, while MCC supported with instructors, curriculum, and collaboration with MassHire Lowell.

“People looking for an opportunity to add new skills or a new career direction should consider enrolling in the RENEW program,” said Jennifer Stephens, a RENEW program instructor. “The course is taught by a number of instructors with expertise in many technical areas relevant to advance manufacturing. Classroom activities include lecture, hands-on activities, self-paced online learning and conversation.”

MCC and MWCC plan for a Spring 2024 session on MCC’s Bedford campus from March 25 to May 16. The trainings will take place 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

Visit https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/grantfundopp.aspx for more information and to register.
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Earn a Certificate in Cannabis – One of the Fastest Growing Industries in Mass. – with MCC1/30/20242/12/2024 10:40 AM
​On the cutting edge of today’s workforce, Middlesex Community College will offer a new Cannabis Retail Certificate as part of its Spring 2024 programming. Run by MCC’s Community Education & Training (CET) division, individuals will be prepared to get hired in this in-demand field. Institutional partner Mass CultivatEd. will sponsor 10 Middlesex students who qualify for their scholarship program.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with Middlesex Community College to provide scholarships for students to take part in the Commonwealth’s newest cannabis certificate program,” said Ryan Dominguez, Founder/Executive Director of Mass CultivatED. “We are excited to provide local students and community members interested in cannabis with educational opportunities that prepare them for careers in this exciting and growing industry. We hope this new partnership will lead to more career options for job seekers and create pathways for us to establish a diverse industry focused on social equity.”

Taught by a state certified Responsible Vendor Trainer, the noncredit program highlights the knowledge and skills individuals need to work in a customer facing position in the field. MCC’s course will also prepare students to sit for the state certified Core Curriculum training and exam, required by the Cannabis Control Commission. Students will sit for the test as their final exam.

“The goal of the CET division is to offer the most up-to-date, comprehensive programs to help individuals advance in their careers and make the most of continuing education,” said Ellen Wright, MCC’s Assistant Director of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development. “Our new Cannabis Retail Certificate is taught and developed by expert professionals who understand the industry and what employers are looking for when making their hiring decisions. Students who complete this course are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to directly enter this workforce, and we are grateful to MassCultivatED for helping to extend this opportunity to an even wider audience.”

The course will include training on Mass. compliance and best safety practices, effectively consulting with a patient or adult-use customers, explaining the difference between cannabis and cannabis products, and understanding the effects of the products on the human body. Students will also learn diversion prevention, seed to sale tracking, and cash handling, as well as the basics of extraction, packing and labeling, and refusing sales.

MCC’s new course will run 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, March 6 through April 10. To be eligible to take the course, students must be 21+. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/ for more information and to link to the Mass CultivatEd application form.
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MCC Celebrates National Day of Racial Healing with Actor, Director & Playwright1/25/20242/8/2024 10:31 AM
On Tuesday, January 16, Middlesex Community College celebrated the eighth annual National Day of Racial Healing. In partnership with Suffolk University, the virtual event was an opportunity to connect, build relationships and bridge divides. The highlight of the special event was a talk by actor, director and playwright Jacqueline Parker.

“I joined the Suffolk University team, which included Felicia Wiltz, around the National Day of Racial Healing to speak with students from Suffolk University and MCC about the importance of keeping BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) stories alive and that there is healing in the truth of our stories,” Parker said. “We discussed many things including how as a child, writing and performing was healing and my lifeline during a very painful time in my life in Boston, particularly during busing. I also shared the need for playwrights to openly share their stories in truth, even when it is uncomfortable, as it is often through that discomfort that we can ignite conversations.”

Taking place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. online, the event was hosted by MCC and Suffolk’s Centers for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (CTRHT). The Center provides an opportunity for the college to bring the community together for programs and conversations to develop a collective capacity to advance racial equity, justice and transformative change, according to Maria Gariepy, MCC’s Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging.

“The National Day of Racial Healing is a special way to acknowledge the values we share, build trust in each other, form genuine connections, and inspire collective actions that further how we heal from the effects of racism,” Gariepy said. “Jacqui was fabulous speaking about her lived experiences and how she started her theater career, as well as growing up during the Boston desegregation busing crisis. The importance of hearing personal stories and reflections from members of our community cannot be understated, and we were thrilled Jacqui took the time to share her story with the college.”

Parker is finishing writing a play around Black Wall Street, as well as continuing to create opportunities for BIPOC playwrights and actors.

Established in 2021, MCC’s CTRHT has hosted a number of Racial Healing Circles at the college and within the communities of Bedford and Lowell. The Center is a hub and resource to learn and envision a community without racial hierarchy that actively challenges racism, is equity-minded, and is responsive to the diverse identities and community experiences.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/trht/ for more information.
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MCC Runs First Staff Pedagogy of Real Talk Cohort1/17/20242/7/2024 1:31 PM
In 2022, Middlesex Community College started its first Pedagogy of Real Talk (PRT) cohort for professional staff to build stronger bonds and connections with students, following the model Paul Hernandez created for faculty members. The purpose of MCC’s staff PRT cohort is to develop a theme based on personal experiences and speak directly to students in order to form meaningful associations with them that go beyond the classroom.

“When I speak to groups, I lean into my journey as a first-generation immigrant living in Lawrence, the things that I went through, and the forks in the road I had to navigate,” said Jeffrey Tejada, MCC’s Interim Assistant Dean of Admissions. “I relate that story back to them, where they are now and what they have to deal with in life, and tell them they can earn their degree, Middlesex is here and works with students similar to them and all of their backgrounds. The purpose of my talk is for students to realize they can be successful and MCC is a conduit for them to keep striving.”

All of the members of the cohort have different platforms to have these talks. While Tejada often meets with a larger group of prospective students, other staff members may have quick, one-on-one sessions with current students when they come to them. Staff in the cohort – including from Admissions, Enrollment and Advising – spent their first year in the program developing and delivering their real talks in order to grow more comfortable.

“My experience in the PRT cohort has enhanced my interactions with students,” said Beth Kelley, MCC’s Coordinator of Academic Success Programs. “Through the use of Real Talk, I am able to connect with students on a deeper level and develop a greater sense of trust and belonging. The cohort has also strengthened my own sense of connection and belonging at the college.”

Now in its second year of the three-year program, the cohort is focused on collecting data. During the Fall 2023 semester, the cohort sent out its first Student Climate Survey in order to have a better understanding of students’ sense of belonging at the college. Reaching out to 6,000 students via text message, email, and the college’s online management system Blackboard, 2,324 students responded for a 44 percent response rate.

To encourage participation, completed surveys were entered into a raffle. Middlesex Liberal Studies student Bryanne Fitzgerald, of Billerica, was the winner.

The cohort is now focused on looking at the data to identify important trends for questions centered around feeling accepted in the community, connecting with a faculty or staff member, participating in campus activities and events, feeling safe as their authentic selves within the community, and being treated with as much respect as other students.

With a second cohort in their first year, the college is also looking at starting another. In one year, the first PRT staff cohort will run the same survey to see if changes have been made across campus based on this collective work. While many of the responses were positive, the cohort is analyzing both the strengths and weaknesses of each question identified in the survey.

“The hypothesis behind this survey is that as this staff cohort activity increases on campus, we would see that these responses would move toward the positive,” said Kayla Caron, MCC’s Registrar. “To make our vetted, peer-review questions, we did research using multiple platforms to pull data sets and look at how other campuses have evaluated this. Incorporating what we’ve learned in PRT – compassion, taking the time to listen, and focusing on making connections with students – we hope it has a grassroots effect across campus.”
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MCC Professor Brings 40 Years of Experience to the Classroom1/11/20242/6/2024 1:20 PM
​With a 40-year career in law enforcement and private security, Kenneth Lavallee, of Chelmsford, is sharing his experiences with the next generation in the field. As an adjunct professor in Middlesex Community College’s Criminal & Social Justice program, he uses case studies, guest speakers and networking opportunities to elevate what his students are learning in the classroom.

“My lived experiences have led me to have a deep understanding of what people in the field go through,” Lavallee said. “When I add a specific story to the content in a lecture, I can see the students perk up and engage with what I’m saying. Something that is realistic and actually occurred makes them understand and appreciate the concept even more.”

At MCC, Lavallee enjoys working with students from various backgrounds, cultures and ages. His goal is to prepare them to work in law enforcement, corrections or the courts, as well as to hone empathy and communication skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving.

Inviting connections he has made throughout his career to speak in his classes, students have heard from a variety of current and former professionals who share their own stories. He has also had individuals come who he knows from working with the Lowell Community Opioid Outreach Program (Co-op) and UTEC, a Lowell-based at-risk youth organization.

“I’m focused on bringing the lessons I’ve learned from what’s happening across the state and country to students and making sure they understand,” Lavallee said. “I try to impress upon them the impact that the opioid epidemic and unrest that has occurred in the last few years will have on them for their entire careers.”

Reading true crime books in high school inspired his interest in the field, leading him to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and a master’s from Boston University. The former Superintendent of the Lowell Police Department, Lavallee worked as a Security Specialist/Assistant Vice President at Enterprise Bank and is now a Senior Associate/Assessor at Parow Consulting & Associates in Chelmsford.

A graduate of several institutes and member of associations across the state, Lavallee emphasizes the value of continuing education and staying up-to-date on trends in the field. He has taught in the Lowell, Medford, Plymouth and Reading Police Academies and is a former professor of UMass Lowell and Nashua Community College. He was drawn to Middlesex because of his connections in the city of Lowell and his wife Susan Lavallee is an MCC Nursing professor.

Lavallee advocates for students to earn their degree to help them get and advance in jobs. By crediting current police officers in the program for their police academy attendance, as well as offering MassReconnect for eligible students 25+ with no prior degree, he believes Middlesex makes getting an education that much more accessible.

“The people who attend MCC are going to find tremendous opportunity in the workforce,” Lavallee said. “There is great availability in the criminal justice system, and having a degree gives someone an edge up. MCC is very helpful to anybody pursuing a career in criminal justice.”
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Advance Your Career with Professional Development Courses at MCC1/22/20242/5/2024 10:26 AM
​Job seekers and current employees looking to advance in or pursue their dream careers can benefit from a variety of professional development offerings at Middlesex Community College. Led by the college’s Community Education & Training (CET) division, these courses and certificates help individuals develop marketable skills relevant to today’s workforce.

“Understanding that our industry partners are seeking to fill in-demand roles with highly skilled employees, we work closely with them to ensure our programs are designed with the most up-to-date curriculum,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “Whether you are seeking professional development or personal enrichment, our Spring 2024 catalog has an assortment of classes providing hands-on and relevant training taught by expert professionals in their fields.”

MCC’s CET Spring 2024 catalog includes courses within the information technology (IT), healthcare, leadership and management, and business and communications fields. Students can learn more about different IT fields to add diverse skills to their resume, from an FAA Remote Pilot Certification to a Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) Webinar.

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. Courses in the Fall semester include Phlebotomy for Healthcare Professionals, Local Anesthesia Certification Training, Dental Office Administration, Medical Office Administration, Medical Surgical Certified Nurse Assistant Expanded Skills, and Pediatrics Expanded Skills among others.

For students looking to grow into a management role, MCC’s courses highlight knowledge of key concepts that are adaptable for students to work in management in a wide range of industries. Spring offerings include the award-winning SHRM Essentials of Human Resources class, as well as a Management Certificate with courses on Workplace Communication, Understanding Motivation, Speaking with Confidence, Performance Management, and Introduction to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

During the Spring, MCC will also offer courses for employees to enter careers in entry-level business and communications fields. Courses include Digital Media Marketing, Storytelling for Career and Business and Spanish for Beginners.

Teachers of all grade levels seeking professional development can benefit from a range of courses. Options include Child Development Birth Through the Early Years or the Middle Years to Becoming an Adult, Fostering Self-Regulation, Responding to the Effects of Trauma in the Classroom, Ever Child: Teaching Through Equity, Introduction to Conscious Discipline and the Power of Play.

“Continuing education helps individuals of all ages and stages to improve their lives and careers,” Nahabedian said. “We have options that will meet your needs, jumpstart your career or new passion, and guide you to success.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/ for more information.
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MCC Alum Earns Prestigious Internship with Industry Partner1/18/20242/1/2024 10:54 AM
​Middlesex Community College alum Kwadwo Bempah, from Ghana and now living in Lowell, was selected for a prized internship with Juniper Networks in their California office. After graduating from MCC in Spring 2022, Bempah transferred to UMass Lowell to continue studying Electrical Engineering. He received the MCC Foundation Juniper Scholars Pilot Scholarship in 2021 and looks forward to continue working with the leader in secure, AI-drive networks as a software engineering intern.

“[The internship] came about from a lot of hard work, perseverance, prayers and patience,” Bempah said. “It will help me build a network of lifelong connections, give me a glimpse of what my career could potentially be, and help me acquire the skills and tools necessary to succeed in the fast-moving technology industry.”

Through the MCC Foundation’s scholarship with Juniper, Bempah received funding to go toward his academic expenses and other costs for three years, including when he transferred to UMass Lowell. The scholarship included a monthly mentorship with a Juniper employee, job-shadow experience after completing 30+ credits, and the opportunity to hone skills that will make him more hirable in the future. He describes this experience as a collaborative scholarship and mentorship program.

“I have been fortunate to experience immense personal and professional growth under the careful guidance of Juniper’s long-tenured, industry mentors,” he said. “Having a connection and mentorship with a professional is crucial for personal and professional development. It means having absolute access to another person who has succeeded in treading a similar path as mine as a personal compass in navigating the space that I’m in right now.”

MCC professor Kathleen Brooks encouraged Bempah to apply for the internship, as well as guided him in his interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field. He also credits MCC’s now Dean of STEM Dr. Marie Tupaj for impacting his time at the college, ensuring he “strive for excellence” throughout his journey.

“The incredible instructors and professors go above and beyond to present material in easily digestible formats,” Bempah said. “The endless number of opportunities to problem solve that it gives and the promise of a high-reward career are some of the top things about MCC.”

He chose to come to Middlesex because the college offered an affordable price and it was close to home. Calling his experience “very worthwhile,” Bempah believes MCC provided him with the right environment to transition from high school to college.

At MCC, Bempah also learned how to translate his interest in computers into a career. Growing up in Ghana, he wanted to be like his grandfather who worked as a geotechnical engineer. Although he was in awe of how computers turned on, he had limited exposure to and experience with computers at the time.

When he moved to the United States, he determined to study Electrical Engineering and “attempt to learn more about computers and understand how they work.”

“My ultimate goal is to someday be able to make computers more accessible to kids in Ghana who hold the same aspirations as I held when I was in their position,” Bempah said. “My hope is that the connections I have made and knowledge I gained through my education at MCC will be a stepping stone to achieving this goal!”
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MCC Highlights Student Accomplishments with Portfolio Showcase1/10/20241/31/2024 3:31 PM
Dedicated to providing students with opportunities to highlight their achievements, Middlesex Community College’s Communication, Art & Design department hosted a student Portfolio Showcase. The event took place at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9 in Bedford.

“Allowing a space for students to present the work that they spend countless hours on is extremely important,” said Henry Pestana, an MCC Graphic Design student from Tewksbury. “We’re all proud of each project and piece that we’ve created, and being able to share that work with others feels very gratifying.”

Wrapping up his time at the college, Pestana is thankful for the support he has received at MCC. By helping him develop his skills and creativity, MCC’s program is allowing him to pursue a career for which he feels passionate. While students complete many of the same assignments, Pestana is also appreciative that students are encouraged to create designs in their own style.

Having previously graduated from a four-year school, MCC Graphic Design student Meaghan Cavanagh, of Billerica, has also benefitted from the support of professors and classmates in MCC’s smaller class sizes. In addition to the showcase celebrating the hard work she and her classmates completed in their classes, the experience offered opportunities for practice networking and sharing her designs.

“It’s important for artists and designers to show off and talk about their work, especially before interviewing with a potential employer,” Cavanagh said. “I want to use this experience as an exercise in getting comfortable speaking to others about the work I’ve done.”

Thomas Nicol is an MCC Visual Design student and peer-tutor from Acton. Excited to showcase his best work, he offered a collection of projects he has created since starting at Middlesex in 2021. In the program, he has enjoyed having the chance to collaborate with other students and professors rather than just go to class without meeting outside of the classroom.

“Events like the Portfolio Showcase are important because they help build a sense of connection at the college,” Nicol said. “I love the creative projects we work on and how the professors, students and tutors all give feedback to make each other’s designs better and better each week.”

From Pepperell, Graphic Design student Isabella Angelucci talked about the details of the works that make up her portfolio, including inspiration, concept, color and typography. Calling her experience at MCC “very enjoyable and rewarding,” she was glad to have the opportunity to present her work from projects at MCC, her internship and personal pieces.

“There are many pros to showcase events, but three that stand out to me are the feelings of accomplishment and validation of having work being appreciated and enjoyed by others, the ability to be an inspiration for newer designers, and the ability to have opportunities open up,” Angelucci said. “Being able to take a moment to relax and celebrate our accomplishments together is something that will be a core memory in my mind.”
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Ready to Jumpstart Your Education? Do the Math!1/16/20241/30/2024 11:21 AM
​At Middlesex Community College, expert professionals work with students on-on-one to set them up for success from their first days at the college. MCC’s Advising team created the Do the Math! campaign to encourage students to complete their math requirements in their first few semesters.

“Students who take math requirements early on are proven to perform better in their math courses and stay on track to graduate on time,” said Bryan Wint, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Pathway & Academic Advising. “While some students are hesitant to take math, MCC has a plan in place to help them succeed. We have dedicated faculty who teach to all students of varying math backgrounds, as well as in-person and online tutoring to assist with every step of the way.”

Math courses are required for all degree programs at Middlesex. They are also an admissions requirement for many four-year colleges and universities. By completing math early on, students are more likely to graduate on time and successfully complete their degree requirements.

To help them succeed, academic advisors are available to meet with students ahead of the Spring 2024 semester on-campus in Bedford and Lowell, as well as online. Students can also take advantage of MCC’s small class sizes and student support services, including tutoring in most subjects at the college’s Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE).

Beginning on Monday, January 22, MCC’s Spring 2024 semester will offer a traditional 15-week semester and two accelerated eight-week Mini-mesters. Mini-mester courses include the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as classes during the traditional 15-week semester. While Mini-mester I starts on January 22, MCC’s Mini-mester II allows for a delayed start midway through the semester on Monday, March 25.

All eligible students can also take advantage of MassReconnect for Massachusetts residents 25+ who do not have a degree to earn an associate degree or certificate from MCC for free.

Running now through the first week of classes, MCC will host Drop-in Registration hours 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. MCC staff will be on-campus in both Bedford and Lowell to assist students with submitting an application, completing course placement, registering for classes, answering questions about financial aid, and more.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/advising to schedule an appointment with an advisor and learn more about how MCC sets students up for success, including the Do the Math! campaign.

“Taking math in the first semester is a clear pathway to success,” Wint said. “Our academic advising team is committed to helping you succeed. Set up an appointment to meet with them as soon as possible to get off to a strong start!”
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MCC Offers Tips for Success Ahead of Spring 2024 Semester1/8/20241/29/2024 2:01 PM
Middlesex Community College’s Spring 2024 semester starts on Monday, January 22. Ahead of the semester, professionals from across the college are offering strategies to help new and current students set themselves up for success.

“A large barrier that many students face is financial, but MCC has a variety of ways to support students in paying for college and alleviating that stress,” says Serrahtani Parrish, MCC’s Success Scholars Program Financial Wellness Coach. “Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the easiest way students can get money toward their education. Many students often qualify for more assistance than they think, and the FAFSA is a great way to save time and money in the college process.”

Students who fill out their FAFSA may qualify for state or federal grants, work-study funds, or federal student loans. All eligible Middlesex students can also take advantage of MassReconnect. The state-funded program assists Massachusetts residents 25+ who do not have a degree in earning an associate degree or certificate from MCC for free.

In order to go through all of the steps of the college process, MCC’s Office of Advising encourages students to register for classes as early as possible. While allowing students time to access resources they need to make the start of the semester as smooth as possible, they will also learn the tools and support that are available to them throughout their time at MCC.

“One of the best ways for students to prepare for a new semester is to update their academic plan,” said Bryan Wint, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Pathway & Academic Advising. “We have a diverse and welcoming advising team to help guide students through that process, which can make all the difference in a student’s ability to finish their education. With a few small changes, a student may be able to complete their degree faster, set achievable short- and long-term goals, stay organized, be better equipped to manage coursework, and connect with all of the resources available they need in order to be successful.”

With a strong focus on supporting the whole student, MCC also believes it is important to support students in their emotional, mental and physical well-being. The college’s Wellness Resource Center is available to guide students through the beginning of the semester to the end. This includes helping them better manage emotions, deal with stress, access healthy foods, and connect with a professional counselor.

“Taking care of our students beyond their studies matters so much to their overall success, and MCC has a plan in place to provide this support,” said Jonathan Crockett, MCC’s Coordinator of Essential Needs and Community Resources. “Whether it’s offering counseling services or fresh, healthy and grabbable food on-site at both campuses, we understand that these services can make the difference in a student’s academic and personal life. Positive mental and physical health leads to more long-term happiness and success for them.”

Running now through the first week of classes, MCC will host Drop-in Registration hours 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. MCC staff will be on-campus in both Bedford and Lowell to assist students with submitting an application, completing course placement, registering for classes, answering questions about financial aid, and more.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ for more information and to register for classes.
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Become a Certified EMT with Help from MCC’s Hands-on Program1/9/20241/25/2024 10:48 AM
Middlesex Community College provides one of the fastest, easiest and most comprehensive paths to advancing in or starting a new career. As part of the Spring 2024 semester, MCC’s Business and Corporate & Community Education & Training divisions have teamed up to offer two Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) sections in partnership with Pridestar Trinity EMS.

“At MCC, we believe that one of the most effective ways to learn is by practicing hands-on in relevant, real-world environments,” said Lisa Tuzzolo, MCC’s Senior Director of Corporate Education & Training. “We are thrilled to continue to collaborate with Pridestar and offer our students the opportunity to not only prepare for their certification exams, but get a strong understanding of what they will be doing upon entering their new profession.”

Taught by instructor David Green, MCC’s nine-credit EMT program prepares students with the theoretical and practical training needed to qualify for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) cognitive exam and the Massachusetts Practical Skills exam.

“Due to our partnerships with local businesses and organizations, our students are exposed to what it is like to work in an industry early on, as well as to network with professionals in those fields,” said Judith Hogan, MCC’s Dean of Business, Legal Studies & Public Service. “This gives our students an advantage when they are searching for jobs, as MCC has a reputation with many of these employers for equipping our graduates with transferable knowledge and skills that translate well to their in-demand positions.”

One section runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the other from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., both on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Both sections will also be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on select Saturdays throughout the duration of the programs.

Held on-site at Pridestar, the programs will take place in Lowell at 229 Steadman Street. Students must hold a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification at the healthcare provider level in order to be eligible.

Students registered for MCC’s Spring 2024 semester may be eligible for MassReconnect, including for the EMT program. With MassReconnect, Massachusetts residents who are 25+ and do not have a degree can earn an associate degree or certificate from MCC for free.

MCC’s Spring 2024 semester kicks off on Monday, January 22. For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ and register today.
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MCC Lays Foundation for Alum to Pursue Dream Career1/4/20241/24/2024 10:06 AM
Wanting to start a new hobby during the pandemic, James Yu bought himself a cello. From Taiwan and now living in Cambridge, Yu spent a few years working in finance, but fell in love with the instrument. After a year and a half of studying the cello, he left his finance job to attend Middlesex Community College and pursue his newfound passion as a career.

“Being able to study with incredible musicians such as Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta and Orlando Cela allowed me to learn new ways to interact with music,” Yu said. “Their insights and years of experience helped me continue to experiment and challenge myself in my day-to-day music practice.”

Now a graduate of MCC’s Performing Arts Music program, Yu chose MCC on recommendation from his cello teacher Johnny Mok, an adjunct professor at Middlesex. In his classes, Yu enjoyed combining his own creative instincts with the instruction and resources he gained from his professors.

“Professor Rodríguez-Peralta can pinpoint and clearly explain the issues and alleviate tension while playing,” he said. “I have noticed improvements I have made on the piano and pieces that were previously too difficult, now I can play with ease.”

In addition to helping him improve his craft from the technical side, his classes at MCC taught Yu how to be more effective in auditions and performances in front of a crowd. During his time at MCC, he participated in MCC’s “A World of Music” student recitals and performed at the college’s Professional Day for employees.

In the Spring 2023 semester, Yu was also one of four cellists who received a public lesson from noted Peruvian cellist Jesús Castro-Balbi, who performed during one of MCC’s “World of Music” concerts. While this experience was “nerve-wracking and challenging,” Yu was grateful for this experience to improve his abilities.

“It is important to have performance opportunities because it allows musicians – at any level – to experiment and find their voice,” he said. “It also helps to learn to cope with any anxieties that go along with performing and most importantly, to be able to express themselves unapologetically though music.”

Yu graduated from Middlesex in Spring 2023, receiving the Music Award for Outstanding Performance and an associate degree in the performing arts. Now auditioning for undergraduate music programs around Boston, he credits MCC for providing him with the foundation to focus on the performance side of music.

“My overall time at MCC has been enriching and yielding,” Yu said. “The classroom and online experiences have been inclusive and engaging.”
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UMass Offering $5,000 Annual Scholarships for Mass. Community College Graduates Finishing in Top 10 Percent of Their Class1/2/20241/22/2024 10:55 AM
The University of Massachusetts announced on Wednesday, December 20 that the top 10 percent of the Commonwealth’s future community college graduates will receive a minimum of $5,000 per year above federal and private financial aid if they enroll at one of the four nationally ranked UMass campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell.

The Community College Advantage Scholarship (CCAS) is designed to incentivize highly talented community college students to finish their associate degree at one of the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges, and then complete their bachelor’s degree at UMass.

The CCAS also seeks to address two challenges facing public higher education in Massachusetts:
  • Providing equitable access to historically underrepresented groups of students in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on race-based admissions, and
  • Strengthening the Commonwealth’s talent pipeline as the number of high school graduates in Massachusetts is projected to decline in the coming years, the existing population is aging out of the workforce, and more young people are leaving the state.
“We want to send a clear message that UMass welcomes highly talented community college graduates to continue their pursuit of a college degree on our nationally ranked Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “We believe this initiative will lead to more community college graduates choosing to finish their four-year degree at UMass, which will accelerate their upward economic trajectory and strengthen the Commonwealth’s workforce.”

“At Middlesex Community College, our mission is centered on making access to education as equitable as possible for our diverse and tremendous student population,” MCC President Phil Sisson said. “The Community College Advantage Scholarship heightens the potential for many of our students to transfer and continue their education without having to worry about the financial burden of paying for college. We are so grateful to our continued partnership with the UMass system and the Commonwealth for emphasizing the value of starting at a community college.”

Starting in Fall 2024, the CCAS will help develop and retain diverse talent in Massachusetts by:
  • Guaranteeing students in the top 10 percent of their community college graduating class automatic admission to a University of Massachusetts campus and a minimum of $2,500 per semester ($5,000 annually) for a total of at least $10,000 for the students’ final two years of college.
  • Students remain eligible for additional aid based on individual circumstances.
  • The CCAS will supplement federal and private grants awarded to the student.
To be eligible for the Fall 2024 CCAS, students must:
  • Complete their degree in the top 10 percent of their graduating class at their college. This will be calculated as of the end of the semester prior to the UMass financial aid priority deadline (Students applying for fall admission must have been in the top 10 percent of their class as of the end of the Fall 2023 semester).
  • Complete the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or equivalent state financial aid application.
  • Be eligible for in-state tuition.
  • Have earned 45+ credits that are transferable to UMass.
  • Be on track to complete their associate degree prior to the Fall 2024 semester.
The CCAS is the latest in a series of state and UMass initiatives aimed at expanding access to a four-year college degree, which data shows significantly enhances a person’s lifetime income.

The University has increased annual institutional financial aid by 67 percent to $395 million since 2015 and has launched an early college program that allows high school students in urban centers to earn UMass course credit while still in high school, thereby saving them tuition costs once they get to college.

The state has recently made community college tuition free for students 25 years or age and older and has expanded the MassGrant+ program by $62 million to close make public higher education more affordable for lower- and middle-income students.
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MCC to Host First Responder Conference with Pridestar Trinity EMS12/19/20231/18/2024 12:23 PM
A leader of workforce development, Middlesex Community College is excited to host the First Responder Continuing Education Units (CEU) Conference. Run by MCC’s Corporate & Community Education & Training division in partnership with Pridestar Trinity EMS, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, 2024 in the Lowell Campus Cowan Center Cafeteria.

“We are proud to partner with Pridestar Trinity EMS on the First Responder Conference to offer a line-up of informative and engaging sessions for health professionals,” said Judy Burke, MCC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Workforce Development. “As continuing education is one of the best ways a professional can stay up-to-date and advance in their careers, MCC offers a variety of options for employees of all levels to get ahead. We design our trainings closely with local organizational partners, guaranteeing high-quality curriculum taught by expert professionals.”

The conference will feature a variety of sessions designed to equip job seekers and current employees with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in health-related fields.

“We have assembled a group of experts on topics essential to EMT and paramedic practice,” said Terrence B. Downes, Esq. “This will be both professionally interesting and a convenient way for EMTs and paramedics to earn five continuing education units toward their Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services recertification requirements.”

Options include ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, Rapid Trauma Assessment, Scene Safety for Construction and Demolition Projects, and Critical Incident Stress Management taught by Susan Lavallee, MCC Professor of Nursing.

“As an emergency nurse, I’ve provided stress management services for EMS professionals in the Greater Lowell area since 1996,” Lavallee said. “Now as a nurse educator, I’m passionate about not only managing stress following a critical incident, but about the importance of managing stress before an incident occurs, so that the impact is somewhat mitigated.”

MCC’s Cowan Center Cafeteria is located at 33 Kearney Square. Validated parking for the conference is available at the Lowell Lower Locks Garage and the Davidson Street Lot.

For more information, contact Teresa Medina at MedinaT@middlesex.mass.edu or call 978-656-3009. Please register in advance: https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/bus_ind/eventrsvp.aspx
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MCC’s Partnership with Local Company Helps Advance Employees 1/3/20241/17/2024 2:40 PM
A trusted community partner, Middlesex Community College is collaborating with Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions in Wilmington on a Workforce Training Fund Program. Run through MCC’s Corporate & Community Education & Training division, the college worked with Watson-Marlow to write and submit the grant, as well as to offer employee trainings.

“The Workforce Training Fund Program provides resources to Mass. businesses to fund training for current and newly hired employees,” said Katy Gentile, MCC’s Director of Corporate & Community Education & Training. “Watson-Marlow will run 14 classes over the grant period delivered by MCC instructors. We’re excited to continue our partnership to equip their employees with industry-relevant knowledge and skills that will help them advance in their careers.”

Founded in 1959, Watson-Marlow supplies fluid management systems, such as pumps, tubing, hoses, fittings and connectors, according to Larry Gaskell, Quality & Regulatory Manager at Watson-Marlow. MCC offers the company classes focused on topics that include customer service, communications, computer skills, team building, time management and leadership.

“One stop shopping, MCC has all of the courses that you need,” Gaskell said. “They will tailor them to your business and work with you to see to it that the training is effective. It is very affordable and MCC does online trainings if you need it. That allows all of the sales and field employees to participate.”

Mark Stevens, Manager of Customer Service Manager, took the Exceptional Customer Service, Email Etiquette, Effective Communication, and Excel III courses. While many of the skills covered in the classes are “practical and timeless,” Stevens believes the reminders are helpful.

“Having the focus on bringing yourself back into alignment and ensuring you follow techniques is important,” Stevens said. “Namely, in this age of social media and texting, generating effective emails and ensuring you direct the attention to specifics is essential and brief as possible.”

Also a Customer Service Manager at Watson-Marlow, Holly Friend participated in MCC’s Excel training courses. Wanting to take the classes to get a refresher on skills, Friend found the instructor to be patient and engaging.

“I thought the experience was beneficial,” Friend said. “Excel is a very powerful tool, and if you know how to use it correctly, it can help make your life easier.

A manager at Watson-Marlow’s Pennsylvania site, Richard Gastner took Excel II, Email Etiquette, and Effective Communications. Wanting to take advantage of the professional development opportunities, Gastner enjoyed learning new skills.

“As we grow in the business and move up the ranks, we need to be more polished and professional in all aspects of our dealings with company people as well as clients,” Gastner said. “Barb is an asset to the college and is doing a great job – I look forward to our next class!”
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MCC Early College Students Awarded with Fellowships12/14/20231/16/2024 11:50 AM
Two Middlesex Community College students were named to the 2023-2024 Early College Policy Fellowship by the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College (MA4EC). Nnadubem Ganobi and Ivan Kim both graduated from Lowell High School (LHS) in 2023 and took classes with MCC as part of the Early College program.

“I am thrilled for Nnadubem and Ivan on their accomplishment and wish them both great luck on their fellowships,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “MCC shares a strong relationship with Lowell High School and the Early College program helps us better prepare students for the next steps of their college journey.

“This fellowship will provide an excellent stepping stone for Nnadubem and Ivan to gain valuable skills that will serve them well as they continue through college and beyond. Their lived experiences in MCC’s Early College are important for their advocacy and will help them relay the benefits of the program to other students. We are proud to play a role in their successes.”

When Ganobi first learned about Early College, he did not think he had the confidence or skills to successfully complete college-level courses. Wanting to make his college applications more competitive, he started by registering for MCC’s Dual Enrollment classes offered at LHS for free and joined the Early College Promise program. This semester, he is continuing at MCC.

As part of the fellowship, Ganobi will create an advocacy campaign to inform the community about the benefits of Early College. He will work with leaders of the program and within the community to engage with state legislators and policymakers on legislation and funding.

“I thought this was a great opportunity to gain advocating experience and have an internship at the start of college,” Ganobi said. “Through the program, I learned the importance of taking risks and reaching out for opportunities. If I didn’t take advantage of Early College, I wouldn’t be as eager to pursue higher education due to how expensive college is.”

For Kim, Early College was an opportunity to challenge himself. He took six MCC college-level courses, earning 15 credits he transferred to UMass Lowell. In each of his classes, Kim learned skills that improved his communication, prioritization and time management, as well as helped him learn more responsibility.

With the fellowship, Kim was able to maintain a relationship with MCC and Early College. He is interested in helping the community understand the value of the program and its impact on students. Calling his own experience “life-changing,” Kim’s goal is to help remove barriers other students face in getting an education.

“My experience in MCC’s Early College helped me reach my goals because I am an entire year ahead and I entered college prepared,” Kim said. “By taking MCC’s Early College classes, I was able to save money and time that I can use for my future education. I found my experience with MCC to be unique and worth sharing.”
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Student Benefits From “Sense of Belonging” at MCC12/21/20231/11/2024 1:56 PM
From the first moment Alex Ostrowski stepped on campus for a tour, she felt a sense of belonging at Middlesex Community College. From Carlisle, Ostrowski gets support from professors and classmates as she pursues her passion for art by studying graphic design at MCC.

“My experience at MCC has been amazing,” Ostrowski said. “I’ve met so many nice and accepting people on both campuses. I love all the professors I’ve had while studying at MCC. They show that they care about their students and give help when they need it.”

Graphic Design Professor Jeanne Cronin stands out to Ostrowski the most as having made an impact on her experience at Middlesex. In addition to being a supportive professor, Cronin has advised Ostrowski by helping her create a plan for her class schedule and answering questions outside of class.

“Professor Cronin puts so much of her time and effort toward teaching and helping her students, and I really appreciate that about her,” Ostrowski said. “She is truly a gift to MCC.”

Ostrowski has had a passion for art since she was a child. Creating a self-portrait for an art project in middle school inspired her love for her craft, particularly for drawing human anatomy. From working hands-on on projects for class to interacting with professors and classmates at MCC, Ostrowski enjoys exploring the different aspects of her major.

“Ever since I finished my graphic design class in high school, I knew I wanted to continue studying art and design, so that’s how I knew instantly what I wanted my major to be at MCC,” she said. “I also enjoy that there are many different types of art, from painting on a canvas to drawing digitally on a computer. I love all that art has to offer.”

Ostrowski chose to start at MCC to save money, get more experience in her major, and make sure she could succeed at the college-level. So far, she feels she has benefitted from the affordable options and small class sizes. After graduating from MCC, she plans to transfer to a four-year college and has a number of options available to her, including through the MassTransfer system.

At the Fall 2023 Scholarship Ceremony in November, Ostrowski’s hard work was rewarded. She received the New England Woodcarvers Scholarship in support of students pursuing a degree in the arts. In helping her pay for classes and the cost of textbooks, Ostrowski said the award “means the world to me.”

This support is making the difference in helping Ostrowski reach her ultimate goal of staying on track to get a job working as a graphic designer.

“I love that the New England Woodcarvers support the arts in such a way and believe that I can succeed in whatever I put my heart and mind to,” she said. “Art has always held a huge place in my life, and I am so grateful to both the New England Woodcarvers and the MCC Foundation for supporting my dream as an artist.”
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Accelerated Options Help Students Finish Their Degree Faster at MCC12/18/20231/10/2024 10:44 AM
To help students complete their program faster – and get the most for their time and money – Middlesex Community College offers accelerated options, including Mini-mesters, summer sessions, and a WinterSession starting on Tuesday, January 2, 2024!

“MCC makes education more accessible with customizable and affordable options to complete a degree, certificate or industry credential,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “Whether you are planning to transfer to a four-year school, enter the workforce, or advance in your career, we have options that will help you fit classes into your life. This flexibility often makes the difference in one’s ability to get an education.”

Part of MCC’s Spring 2024 semester, MCC’s three-week WinterSession provides students with an early start. Students can keep up their momentum or jumpstart their education without having to take a long break between semesters. While most other schools are closed, students can complete their general education requirements and earn transferable college credits.

Offered twice each in the fall and spring, MCC’s eight-week Mini-mesters make it easier for students to balance an education with their professional and personal responsibilities. The shorter schedule allows students to take more classes throughout the semester, keeping them on track to reach their goals faster.

All WinterSession and Mini-mester courses offer the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as classes during the traditional 15-week semester. Combined with a choice of on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex course formats, MCC’s accelerated sessions make getting an education easier.

Eligible MassReconnect students can also register for MCC’s accelerated classes. MassReconnect allows Massachusetts residents who are 25+ and do not have a degree to earn an associate degree or certificate from MCC for free.

“Our Spring 2024 semester has the classes, support services, and resources to help you reach your individual goals,” O’Neil said. “Get ahead by registering now!”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ or call 1-800-818-3434 for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC’s Executive Director of Diversity, Equity & Belonging Awarded12/7/20231/9/2024 10:39 AM
Middlesex Community College’s new Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging Maria Isabel Gariepy was chosen by Amplify Latinx as a top 100 Latinx Leader in Massachusetts, championing and uplifting the Latino community.

“Ensuring that everyone feels like they belong at our institution and that they can be the best version of themselves is what I strive for in my personal and professional life, and what I want employees and students like to remember,” Gariepy said. “Now is an exciting and very important time to continue to be committed to and elevate equity work further and to weave it into all actions, planning, strategies and programming.”

Most recently, Gariepy was the Chief Diversity and Equity Office/Executive Director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity at Worcester State University. At MCC, she looks forward to returning to a community college setting and focusing on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) work.

Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Gariepy received a bachelor’s degree in Finance and International Relations from San Martin University in Colombia and earned an MBA in Human Resource Management at Fitchburg State University.

She started her career in finance, working in private industry before transitioning to human resources (HR) and higher education. For six years, she worked in HR, diversity, inclusion, compliance, investigations, training and reporting at Mount Wachusett Community College before moving to Worcester State.

Gariepy recently completed an Executive Leadership Institute program, as well as the Latino Board Fellowship with Latinos for Education. A certified Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) trainer, she serves as the Chair of the ACE Women’s Network Massachusetts chapter, and previously served as Vice President for the New England Association for Colombian Children (NEACOL).

At MCC, Gariepy will help ensure the principles and framework of racial equity are embedded into the work happening at the college and community. A resource to MCC employees, students and community members, she will also help lead the college’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (CTRHT).

In her role, Gariepy hopes to provide candid conversation and conscious engagement throughout all departments, programs and initiatives at MCC. Maintaining an open-door policy for the community, she strives to be a resource and help deliver tools, research and best practices with a racial equity lens and framework.

“Having a position that centers racial healing, inclusion, belonging and the experiences of those historically marginalized in higher education is a significant institutional commitment that highlights the impact and outcomes we would like to continue seeing around retention, enrollment, hiring, and sense of belonging,” Gariepy said. “Together, we can explore how we can continue to center equity and belonging within the work happening in all departments and levels of the institution.”
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MCC’s Spring Semester Offers Four Chances to Jumpstart Education12/12/20231/8/2024 10:46 AM
As the holiday season approaches, now is the perfect time to get organized and register for classes at Middlesex Community College. With four opportunities to start or continue an education, MCC’s Spring 2024 semester starts as early as Tuesday, January 2 with the accelerated WinterSession!

“Knowing that our students are busy balancing their coursework with work and personal responsibilities, we design our schedules to be as flexible as possible at MCC,” said Jeffrey Tejada, MCC’s Interim Assistant Dean of Admissions. “From accelerated sessions to a combination of in-person and online offerings, our students choose which options best fit their schedules and timeframes.”

In addition to the three-week WinterSession, the traditional 15-week semester and eight-week Mini-mester I start on Monday, January 22. Students can also register for an additional eight-week Mini-mester II that begins Monday, March 25.

A selection of on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex classes offer students the choice of which modality works best for them. Students can pick and choose course formats based on availability. For each format, they are able to connect with professors, classmates and campus resources.

With over 80 programs to choose from, access to one-on-one advising sessions help students make important decisions about their academic and professional lives. MCC advisors are available to connect students with job and internship opportunities, transfer to a four-year college or university, and learn more about financial aid and wellness.

MCC’s Spring 2024 semester also provides students with flexible course formats, award-winning student support services, and affordable prices.

Starting at a community college saves students thousands of dollars on tuition costs. While tuition already costs less at Middlesex than most four-year schools, students can also earn transferable credits that allow them to take fewer classes at their transfer institution.

Eligible MassReconnect students can also register for classes as part of MCC’s Mini-mester II. MassReconnect allows Massachusetts residents who are 25+ and do not have a degree to earn an associate degree or certificate from MCC for free.

“MCC is a great starting place for students of all ages, backgrounds and goals who are seeking customizable options,” Tejada said. “Get an early start and register now for MCC’s Spring 2024 semester!”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ or call 1-800-818-3434 for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC's Prepare to Attend College Celebrates Student Achievement12/13/20231/4/2024 10:05 AM
On Friday, December 8, Middlesex Community College’s Prepare to Attend College (PAC) graduation ceremony recognized students and their accomplishments. MCC hosted an awards ceremony where students gathered to hear their peers reflect on their experiences in the PAC program and receive certificates.

“The students are not only learning English skills, but are hearing about opportunities for next steps, whether that means another English class, enrolling as a part-time or full-time student at MCC or using their newly gained English skills to get a new job,” said Katy Gentile, MCC’s Assistant Director of Corporate Education and Training. “Our hope is that our PAC graduates know they have our full support for their next steps and have connections here at MCC for the future.”

MCC’s English Learner Institute (ELI) offers non-native English speakers the chance to expand their English skills. Through this initiative, the PAC program runs three times a year and takes learners eight-weeks to fulfill. It is free, flexible and broken into two levels.

Two student speakers spoke about how the PAC program influenced their outlook on English. They discussed their goals and how positive the experience was. After the student speakers shared their insights, class instructor Faithe MacElliott handed PAC graduates their certificates.

“Our classroom is often the first opportunity students have to make friends in a new country,” MacElliott said. “These connections can help them better understand cultural differences through shared experiences in a new environment. The atmosphere is supportive and intentionally easy going, so no one feels intimidated. We often break into smaller groups, which gives them an opportunity to discuss any topic while practicing their pronunciation and language structures.”

Valery Ehouman, from the Ivory Coast, graduated from MCC’s PAC One course. Ehouman enjoyed the PAC program and hopes to continue her education.

“I have been in the United States for five months,” Ehouman said. “After learning English, I want to study and become a medical assistant. I learned a lot from my teacher and there was a very good atmosphere in class.”

Valentina Garzon Martinez, from Columbia, graduated from MCC’s PAC Two course. Although Martinez found learning English to be challenging, she also thought the experience was rewarding in the end.

“Everyone wants us to feel part of this community and even more importantly, they want to help us follow our next step after this program and for me that’s very valuable,” Martinez said. “I came here to follow my goals and to have a better English level because I want to keep adding knowledge to the career I have back in Colombia, and I am very motivated.”
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An MCC Alum Story in His Own Words11/30/20231/3/2024 10:27 AM
Farrorza Lim, from Cambodia and now living in Lowell, graduated from Middlesex Community College in 2020 as a History, Global Studies and Political Science major. He returned to MCC to work for the Success Scholars Program where he helps students access resources and support services in order to be successful. The following is his MCC story in his own words.

My journey at MCC began in 2017 when I arrived in the United States as an eager immigrant. The decision to pursue higher education was a pivotal one, and choosing MCC was a natural step. Its welcoming atmosphere, combined with its close proximity, transformed it into a haven of diversity and inclusivity. What drew me most, however, was MCC's commitment to affordability and its unwavering promise to guide students toward success.

From a young age, I harbored a deep-seated fascination with politics and international relations. The complexities of human interactions, the dynamics of communities, and the underlying forces shaping our societies intrigued me. It was only fitting that I chose to pursue a social science degree at MCC.

This field offered a unique lens to delve into these interests. Through disciplines like sociology, psychology and anthropology, I saw an opportunity not only to observe, but also to actively engage with the intricate tapestry of humanity.

MCC was a treasure trove for my academic pursuits. It not only met, but exceeded my expectations, preparing me for the rigors of higher education. The institution became my guiding light, steering me toward honors classes and offering an array of enriching courses. Each classroom became a sanctuary where my curiosity flourished and my understanding of human behavior deepened.

One course that stands out in my memory is the Asian Studies Ethics class. It was here that my comprehension of human interactions took a quantum leap forward. The course delved into the nuances of cultural ethics and human behavior, providing me with a comprehensive understanding of the diverse perspectives that shape our world. This knowledge continues to serve me well in my current role as a Success Scholars Coach.

In this capacity, I have the privilege of supporting students of color, including Black, Hispanic, Asian and LGBTQ+ individuals. The experiences I gained as a work study student and an active member of various departments and clubs at MCC prepared me immensely for this role.

Working in the Asian American Connection Center was particularly impactful, allowing me to connect deeply with my roots and understand the unique challenges faced by Asian American students. This experience not only influenced my decision to return to MCC as an employee, but also sharpened my resolve to be an advocate for underserved students.

After graduating from MCC, I continued my educational journey at UMass Lowell. The transition from MCC to a four-year institution presented its own set of challenges, particularly the shift from in-person classes to an online format. With the support and encouragement of friends and staff at both institutions, I navigated this new terrain. In 2021, I graduated with high honors, a testament to the resilience and determination that had been nurtured at MCC.

My return to MCC as an Alumni Mentor for the Success Scholars Program was a full-circle moment for me. The program's mission, focused on providing essential guidance and resources for students of diverse backgrounds, resonated deeply with my own experiences. It was a role I embraced wholeheartedly, relishing the opportunity to give back to a community that had supported me so profoundly.

Last year, I transitioned to a part-time position as a Program Specialist for the Asian American Connection Center. In this role, my mission is to support students who have gone through similar experiences to mine. The center serves as a hub of support, understanding, and celebration of Asian American heritage. It's a privilege to be part of a team that empowers students to embrace their identities and excel academically.

In my role as a Success Scholars Coach, I host numerous academic workshops throughout the year. These workshops equip students with the skills they need to plan effectively, focus on their studies, retain crucial information, juggle multiple tasks, and navigate college life with confidence. It's immensely rewarding to witness students grow and thrive, knowing that I've played a part in their success.

Today, I proudly call Lowell my home. Since my arrival in the U.S., this city has been a backdrop to my growth and evolution. Its vibrant community and rich cultural tapestry mirror the values I hold dear.

My journey at MCC has been transformative, shaping me into the dedicated advocate and mentor I am today. The lessons learned, the connections forged, and the experiences gained have all contributed to my personal and professional growth. I remain committed to paying it forward, empowering students to overcome obstacles, embrace their identities, and excel in their academic journeys.

MCC is an institution that not only prepared me for success, but also instilled in me the belief that through education, we can build a brighter, more inclusive future for all.
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MCC Offers FREE, Grant-Funded Career Training Opportunities12/4/20231/2/2024 2:01 PM
For individuals who are low-income, unemployed or underemployed, Middlesex Community College offers free, non-credit training programs in the health and information technology (IT) fields. The short-term, hands-on programs equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to enter or re-enter the workforce at no cost to them.

“Run by the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges and Executive Office of Education, the ETF Program provides funding to help individuals get into high-demand industries,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “Our students gain valuable and meaningful insight into these leading industries in the state, and are well-prepared to get hired into stable, fulfilling positions.”

MCC’s Community Education and Training (CET) division works with industry partners to design their professional development, noncredit programs. Students are prepared to successfully sit for certification exams and directly enter the workforce.

Eligible grant funded programs include the Certified Nurse Assistant, Certified Addiction Recovery Coach, Pharmacy Technician Certificate, Phlebotomy for Healthcare Professionals, Medical Surgical Advanced CNA, Medical Office Administration, Comp TIA Fundamentals (ITF+) Certification Training, Google IT Comp TIA A+, MS Excel Certificate, Business Computer Applications Certificate, and Equipment Technician with Robotics.

IT expert Nate Bowen teaches MCC’s Google IT certificate. The course uses a combination of drills, videos and lectures to help students pass their exams. In addition to providing the necessary theoretical knowledge to complete their certifications, programs include hands-on experiences and relevant practice in a real-world work environment.

“We accompany our instruction with resume and interview training and development of 21st century skills, helping with job placement as well as mentorship that continues outside of the classroom,” Bowen said. “We provide a tailored approach to student learning, meeting the students where they are in life with real-world guidance and education to help them succeed within weeks of starting our program.”

For more information on eligibility, contact career_training@middlesex.mass.edu.
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MCC Concludes “World of Music” with Lowell Chamber Orchestra12/5/202312/21/2023 10:41 AM
Middlesex Community College will end the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series the same way it began – with a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO). The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 15 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“Performing in the Lowell Chamber Orchestra gives the musicians an opportunity to work with world-class musicians and composers, creating new and fresh interpretations of both old and new small-scale orchestral works,” said Dorothy Baker, principal cello of LCO. “The programming is fresh and exciting, and the group has created a sound that is all their own.”

The LCO will perform a variety of works from the late 19th century until the present century, including Verklärte Nacht by Arnold Schoenberg, Symphony No. 3 by American composer Charles Ives, Mayibuyé by South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen, and Aria Antigua by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo.

“We are so fortunate to have the Lowell Chamber Orchestra in residence at MCC,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “The LCO is a professional orchestra directed by my colleague Orlando Cela.”

Previous performances of the semester included the LCO, Guitar Music from South Africa, Literature through Music by MCC faculty members at the Lowell City of Learning Festival, Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band, an Online Saturday Arts Concert with MCC faculty and an alum, and an MCC Student Recital.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

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.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/
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MCC Highlights Student Singers & Instrumentalists in Recital11/29/202312/19/2023 12:37 PM
At Middlesex Community College, students gain hands-on experiences inside and outside of the classroom early on in their college journey. Middlesex will hold a Student Recital as part of the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 4 at MCC’s Concert Hall in Bedford.

“I am excited to be able to perform for the upcoming student recital and share with the community the music that I love,” said James Yu, an MCC Performing Arts in Music major from Taiwan and now living in Carlisle. “I am most excited to be able to listen to and celebrate the talent and hard work of my fellow students.”

MCC student Lucas Vaudo, of Burlington, will sing as part of the recital. Having these types of opportunities to perform helps him prepare for upcoming auditions.

“As a Music Performance major, it is very important to have these opportunities to get used to performing in front of large crowds,” said Lucas Vaudo, an MCC student from Burlington. “I will be performing Frülingstraum by Franz Schubert and Poor Wayfaring Stranger as arranged by Victor C. Johnson.”

Yu and Vaudo will join a line-up of MCC student singers and instrumentalists showcasing their talents in a live performance. A few electronic works by Music Technology students will also be featured.

“We are so looking forward to our upcoming student recital, which will feature a variety of music, ranging from J.S Bach to blues improvisations,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “The students are very excited about performing!”

The final performance of the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series is a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on a new date – Friday, December 15.

Previous performances of the semester included the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, Guitar Music from South Africa, Literature through Music by MCC faculty members at the Lowell City of Learning Festival, Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band, and an Online Saturday Arts Concert with MCC faculty and an alum.

MCC’s Concert Hall is located in Henderson Hall at 591 Springs Road in Bedford. Parking is available on-campus.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/
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Start Early This Spring with MCC’s Accelerated WinterSession11/28/202312/18/2023 11:09 AM
As part of the Spring 2024 semester, Middlesex Community College will run a three-week WinterSession starting on Tuesday, January 2. Registration is now open for accelerated courses that offer the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as classes during the traditional 15-week semester.

“Whether you’re enrolled as a full- or part-time student – or just looking to take a class or two – MCC’s WinterSession is an affordable and flexible option,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “By starting our Spring semester classes early on, students can keep up their momentum or get a head start, providing a perfect opportunity to reach their goals. Many WinterSession classes are also offered online for convenience.”

While most schools are on break, MCC’s WinterSession allows students to earn college credit and complete their degree requirements faster. This keeps students on track to graduate – and may help them finish early – as well as helps them fit more classes overall into their schedules.

Class options include English, Business, Marketing, History, Health and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). For students new to MCC and college, there is also a chance to register for First Year Experience seminars, which introduce new students to MCC and better prepares them for college-level courses and expectations.

MCC will offer two additional accelerated sessions in the Spring 2024 semester. Mini-mester I starts on the same date as the Spring 2024 15-week traditional semester on Monday, January 22. Mid-way through the semester, Mini-mester II will begin on Monday, March 25.

“MCC provides a variety of options to help you fit education into your busy life,” O’Neil said. “WinterSession is another example of how MCC can make getting a degree, certificate or industry credential possible.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ or call 1-800-818-3434 for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC’s Entrepreneurship Program to Host Marketing Panel12/6/202312/14/2023 11:35 AM
As part of the Visiting Entrepreneur Speaker Series, Middlesex Community College will host a marketing panel in partnership with the Lowell Chamber of Commerce. John Chemaly, a founder and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trinity Ambulance, will co-host with Danielle McFadden, President and CEO of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, December 12 in MCC’s Lowell Campus Federal Building Assembly Room or on Zoom.

“This event is a business development and marketing panel regarding how to foster, formulate and maintain business relationships, as well as how to develop a strategic plan and grow a business,” Chemaly said. “We have three prominent guest panelists who are going to be answering questions and talking about all things marketing. All five of us have some knowledge to impart to these students.”

During the event, Chemaly and McFadden will lead a panel featuring Rajia Abdelaziz, CEO and co-founder of invisaWear; Teddy Panos, founder of InsideLowell; and Timna Nwokeji, CEO and founder of Life as a Maven, LLC. The group will discuss what it means to connect with customers in today’s world of digital content.

Abdelaziz created invisaWear to hide safety technology inside smart jewelry and accessories. She took the company from launch to over 100,000 customers and recently was recognized as part of FORBES’ 30 Under 30 and the Boston Globe’s Tech Power Players List.

Panos developed InsideLowell as a 21st century multi-media company. He was host of the Morning Drive Show on 980WCAP-AM for 15 years and has over 30 years of experience in television, radio, newspaper, digital and social media.

Nwokeji started the Latina owned digital content creation business focused on helping small businesses create engaging content. An HR professional, she holds a master’s degree from Northeastern University and shares her travels around the world with her followers.

“John, Danielle and our panelists bring great insight about the importance of communication, especially face-to-face relationship building, something that often is overlooked in our digital society,” said Stacie Hargis, MCC’s Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. “This event is open to the broader community, so we are looking forward to students having an opportunity to engage on several levels."

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/entrepreneurship/ for more information and to register for the event in advance.
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MCC Theatre Department to Present Shakespeare Play11/22/202312/13/2023 2:13 PM
The Middlesex Community College theatre department is proud to present “As You Like It” as their Fall 2023 production. Written by William Shakespeare, the play will run for four performances from Thursday, November 30 to Sunday, December 3 at the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“Theatre is an incredibly healing art,” said Gabriella Navarrete, an MCC Performing Arts Theatre major from Tewksbury. “Having the space to perform and build my confidence and skills has helped me through many dark times in my life.”

Playing the character of Celia in MCC’s production, Navarrete enjoys the experience of learning and performing Shakespeare. In addition to having the chance to perform on stage with her friends, she appreciates playing a “rich and complex” character.

“It has been such a joy making discoveries and relating to characters that are hundreds of years old,” Navarrete said. “Shakespeare shows have a very unique process compared to more contemporary plays and there aren’t as many chances to do his work as there are to do contemporary plays.”

“As You Like It” centers on the heroine Rosalind who runs away with her cousin Celia and meets a variety of characters in the Forest of Arden. The Shakespeare comedy has had many adaptations, including for film, theatre and radio.

Curtain times for MCC’s production are 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, as well as 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 for MCC students, $10 for MCC employees, and $18 for general admission.

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.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/performingarts/ for more information and to purchase tickets.
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Once Nervous About Attending College, Student Thrives at MCC11/20/202312/12/2023 9:37 AM
Nervous about the cost of tuition and if she could keep up with her coursework, Molly Anderson, of Derry, N.H., was hesitant about going to college. Her mother recommended she apply to Middlesex Community College where she has become a successful double major, student employee, and active member of the community, including as the Student Representative for MCC’s Commonwealth Honors Program (CHP).

“The Commonwealth Honors Program has advanced my education and awarded me excellent opportunities,” Anderson said. “My biggest goal as the honors program Student Representative is to foster a strong community among the honors students and be a bridge between students, faculty and honors staff to improve the program for everyone.”

In her new role, Anderson spotlights the student perspective in the honors program. She attends meetings with CHP faculty and staff to provide feedback from classmates and promotes the program by visiting classrooms and attending events, such as Fall Fest and Open Houses. She is also working on creating a CHP club and will assist the program on Assessment Day.

“Molly brings enthusiasm and dedication to her role and will be an advocate for the program and a mentor for students taking honors classes,” said Binnur Ercem, MCC’s Professor of Sociology & Cultural Anthropology & Director of the CHP. “We are very excited to have her on our team.”

A History, Politics and Global Studies and English Literature major, Anderson learned about the benefits of the CHP from professors Deborah Botker and Kathleen Baker. Through the program, she has worked on projects on topics she is passionate about, dove deeper into research, and presented her research at the annual honors conference.

In addition to professors Botker and Baker, Anderson credits English faculty member Nicholas Papas for providing valuable guidance and insight toward her majors. Their advice has also assisted her in exploring what is available to her in terms of her future career options.

Through her classes, Anderson built the confidence she needed to become a tutor for MCC’s Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE). As a Peer and Embedded Writing and Reading Tutor, she works as part of a diverse and supportive team helping other students.

“I’ve learned things I would never learn if I wasn’t a tutor, including how to approach writing and reading from different angles,” she said. “This job has also reiterated how important having support is.”

Anderson appreciates all of the opportunities and support she received in her classes and jobs at MCC. This includes being awarded the Debra Chemelli Evans Scholarship at the Fall 2023 Scholarship Ceremony.

Planning to transfer to a four-year school after graduating from MCC, she feels well-equipped to reach her dream of completing a college degree – one she once was not sure was possible.

“My main goal in life is to help wherever and whenever I can,” Anderson said. “MCC provides me with the education and the hands-on experience needed to do that.”
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MCC OER Student Ambassador Helps Make Education Accessible11/16/202312/7/2023 11:10 AM
Middlesex Community College uses Open Educational Resources (OER) that are in the public domain for many classes. To help students better understand the benefits of OER, Middlesex has hired Medical Laboratory Technician student Siya Bhagat, from India and now living in Tyngsborough, as MCC’s OER Student Ambassador for the 2023-2024 academic year.

“The essential duty of an OER Student Ambassador is to explain to others why these free and low-cost resources are excellent for education and money-saving,” Bhagat said. “I can collaborate with organizations that promote these items and educate people about them. My job is to improve and lower the cost of education for everyone.”

Tracy Joyce, MCC’s Coordinator of Library Services, is leading MCC’s OER team. One initiative includes the college’s participation in the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)’s 2022-2023 Institute on Open Educational Resources. Through the institute, Middlesex team members are matched with a representative from another college to work toward increasing MCC’s OER awareness and outreach on campus.

Joyce will also work with Bhagat to understand her role as MCC’s OER Student Ambassador. This includes guiding Bhagat in becoming familiar with OER offerings, learning how to navigate the available resources, and providing opportunities to connect with other students.

“MCC’s OER Student Ambassador position is important because it promotes the student voice and perspective,” Joyce said. “Siya will help us to connect with students and get a sense of their understanding of OER, their needs, and how the cost of course materials impact them.”

Faculty and students use OER to learn, edit and cite sources of information that may include digital textbooks, videos, activities, audios, images and assignments. OER materials often replace expensive textbooks and provide a hands-on learning experience for students to gain a deeper understanding of materials, hone research skills, and find the most up-to-date information.

“OER can make excellent educational resources more accessible to a larger group of students, including those who might not have access to traditional textbooks,” Bhagat said. “It may also present chances for cooperation with institutions and instructors who share similar goals, exchanging resources and best practices.”

Crediting her parents and family for inspiring her to always do her best and help those in need, Bhagat felt drawn to working in a medical field. While she is on her way to becoming a Medical Laboratory Technician, in her role as MCC’s OER Student Ambassador, she feels she can also help make getting an education more accessible to her classmates.

“By making educational resources publicly available and levelling the playing field for all students, OER can assist in addressing equity concerns,” Bhagat said. “Enhancing education access is the learning outcome I’m looking forward to in this position. I can do my part to educate people and it is an honor for me to spread the word about this opportunity."
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MCC & EOC Team Up for Free, Virtual FAFSA Workshops11/13/202312/6/2023 10:56 AM
Middlesex Community College has partnered with the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) to help students fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Through the EOC, students can meet with an assistant for a free, one-on-one virtual FAFSA completion workshop.

“Filling out a FAFSA is one of the best ways students can set themselves up for financial success,” said Kimberly Tibbetts, MCC’s Director of Financial Aid. “EOC assistants are on-hand to guide students through the application process and help them access all of the financial aid they qualify for. The sessions are fast, easy, and can be done from the comfort of home!”

During the session, students will be matched with a financial aid expert to go step-by-step through the entire FAFSA process. Students will be able to ask questions, avoid common mistakes, and see what financial aid they are eligible to receive.

Financial aid awards are based on financial need, enrollment status in an eligible program, and availability of funding. Additional forms of financial aid, including student employment, federal work study programs or scholarship opportunities, may be available for those who qualify.

Students can also meet in-person with MCC’s Financial Aid Counselors on the Bedford and Lowell Campuses from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays. The sessions are 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.

During these sessions, counselors will be available 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.

“Whether students prefer meeting with someone online or in-person, MCC offers multiple options to assist in filling out the FAFSA and accessing cost-saving opportunities to pay for college and save for the future,” Tibbetts said. “Many often qualify for more aid than they think!”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/financialaid/ for more information and to register for a one-on-one financial aid session.
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Registration is Now Open for MCC’s Spring 2024 Semester11/9/202312/5/2023 10:58 AM
At Middlesex Community College, students of all ages and stages in their lives can discover their paths, transform their lives, and succeed in reaching their goals. Registration is now open for MCC’s Spring 2024 semester starting Monday, January 22, 2024, including a three-week WinterSession, which kicks off Tuesday, January 2, 2024.

“Our academic schedule is designed to help students 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. “At MCC, getting a degree, certificate or industry credential is made easier, whether a student is looking to get ahead, explore their options, or start on a journey to a new career path.”

MCC offers flexible schedules and class formats to meet students where they are, including accelerated sessions that offer the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled in the traditional 15-week semester. MCC’s WinterSession and two eight-week Mini-mesters provide the perfect opportunity for students to complete general education requirements and earn transferable college credits.

During WinterSession in particular, students can take classes while most other 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. The shorter sessions are also an excellent way for students to finish more classes in less amount of time, helping them transfer or enter the workforce faster.

While Mini-mester I starts on Monday, January 22 – the same day as the traditional 15-week semester – Mini-mester II will begin on Monday, March 26.

During the Spring 2024 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.

Massachusetts residents who are 25 years or older and have no prior degree can complete a degree or certificate at MCC for free through MassReconnect.

“MassReconnect is a game changer for so many individuals who always wanted to pursue higher education, but didn’t have the time, money or resources to complete a program,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment. “Through MassReconnect, qualifying students can take advantage of MCC’s flexible courses, student support services and resources to enroll in the Spring 2024 semester at no cost to them.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ or call 1-800-818-3434 for more information or to register for MCC’s Spring 2024 semester and WinterSession.
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MCC’s New Culinary Lab Enhances Student Experience11/15/202312/4/2023 10:50 AM
Ahead of the Fall 2023 semester, Middlesex Community College transformed the Lowell Cowan Center Cafeteria into a training kitchen for students to provide relevant, hands-on experience with new and state-of-the-art equipment. In honor of the new Culinary Lab, MCC’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, November 7.

“The culinary lab is off to a great start,” said Kimberly Morrissey, MCC’s Hospitality & Culinary Arts Program Coordinator. “Students have benefitted from having a dedicated teaching and learning space that is integrated, allowing them to flow between the front and back kitchen spaces, work in teams, and learn as a group. It has really been terrific, and we are able to accomplish much more during each class time than in the past!”

MCC purchased the equipment for the training kitchen with funding from State Senator Ed Kennedy. Students begin the class with a lecture in the front before moving onto hands-on learning with mixers, cutting boards, stove top burners, and dual range ovens.

Rakshika Chelly Muthuraman, from India and now living in Lowell, is an MCC Culinary Arts & Business Administration student. With this combination of theoretical and hands-on learning, she can practice her craft under supervision from instructor Chef Jim Giordano to learn different skills and better understand techniques that will set her up for success when working in the field.

“The education I am receiving now will help my career, and I feel confident and prepared,” she said. “We gain practical experience by preparing food, working in a professional kitchen, learning cooking skills and proper sanitation methods which are important for maintaining hygiene and safety in both food preparation and the surrounding environment of the kitchen.”

Although he planned to take a break between high school and college, Khaled Halabi, of Dracut, realized MCC’s Culinary Arts degree offered an opportunity to continue his education without taking on debt. Having gained a passion for cooking while watching shows and videos when he was younger, Halabi started working in a food service job after graduating from high school.

“A culinary class isn't one that can be taught fully on a whiteboard,” Halabi, of Dracut. “We need the space to apply techniques and make dishes so that we train our muscle and sensory memory, as that is arguably one of the most important aspects of cooking in my opinion. I feel like a solid foundation is being built from attending here. The knowledge I've gained paired with the connections I've made will have their benefits in the future.”

For Zarina Noorani, MCC’s program was a beneficial way for her to find a job in the culinary industry. She found a passion for cooking while working with her late mother and has enjoyed learning more about the field in her classes at Middlesex.

“Chef Giordano takes us beyond the textbook and shares all of his experiences,” Noorani said. “He corrects us a s he sees fit on all matters in the kitchen right away. It is a pleasure to learn from him. I see his years of experience in the field as a treasure box at MCC.”
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MCC Students & Professor Visit State House for Korea Day Event11/7/202311/30/2023 12:32 PM
On Friday, October 6, Middlesex Community College students taking a Korean and Culture class visited the Boston State House as part of a Korea Day Celebration. Led by instructor Ashli Ree, MCC Professor & Program Coordinator of Fashion Merchandising, students saw Governor Maura Healey and learned more about Korean language, food, fashion and culture.

“The learning often becomes more meaningful when students participate in hands-on activities,” Ree said. “There were cultural booths where students were able to participate in jong i jeobgi (traditional paper folding), try on hanbok (traditional clothing, and eat Korean food. There were taekwondo (martial arts) and gugak (traditional music) performances as well, and students were able to tie the experience to their prior knowledge from the course while visiting the hangul (Korean alphabet) booth.”

During the event, MCC student Natalie Ray, of Tyngsborough, enjoyed practicing speaking Korean, eating the various food offerings, and visiting the booths where she got a keychain, made origami, and created a nametag with her name in Korean.

An MCC Chemistry Transfer student, Ray plans to transfer to UMass Amherst and one day become a neurosurgeon for a Boston hospital. Attending the “friendly and welcoming” event was a chance to network with law makers and community members, while also providing an opportunity to connect with classmates.

“When you build strong bonds like this in the beginning, it can be more helpful down the line,” Ray said. “Now that I know them, I feel like it is easier to ask for help. I look forward to going to class and I put in extra effort on my homework. This experience has helped increase my achievement and motivation in the class.

MCC student Antony Tep, of Lowell, values the social aspect of attending in-person experiences. Some of his favorite parts of the event was getting a keychain for a Korean energy brand and watching his classmates try on traditional Korean clothing. The event was helpful in forming new friendships and introducing him more to the culture.

“Doing things in-person allows for connections to be made that can evolve one’s interest in a certain subject,” Tep said. “For example, I wanted to study Korean, so I ended up taking a class for it. Going to this event allowed me to meet people with common interest and we could have ended up talking for hours.”

Believing that learning a language is made easier through understanding the culture, Ree is always looking to create hands-on opportunities for her students. She appreciates how MCC helps make these experiences possible.

“MCC has always provided us with what we need,” Ree said. “The train fare may not be much, but it makes a difference on whether students can attend or not. They truly appreciated the school for paying the train fare.”
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MCC’s Award-winning Veteran Services Guides Students to Success11/8/202311/29/2023 12:54 PM
Middlesex Community College offers veteran and military-affiliated students award-winning support services and resources to guide them on their academic and professional paths. Through the Veterans Resource Center (VRC), a Veterans Advisory Board, and other special services, Middlesex assists this population of students in transitioning to college.

“MCC’s Veteran Resource Center has been nothing but helpful throughout my time here,” said Adam Stevens, an MCC Aviation Maintenance Technology student. “They made the application process seamless and using my benefits has never been easier. I was able to tailor my schedule to fit my lifestyle and will graduate with my associate degree in just two semesters.”

One of the biggest benefits for Stevens, of Hudson, N.H., is that MCC makes it easier for those with busy schedules to be successful. Stevens came to MCC to open up future opportunities and plans to transfer to Southern New Hampshire University to earn a bachelor’s in Business Administration, Aviation Management.

For Zavier Williams, of Nashua, MCC was a convenient option both for location and finances, helping with how to use the post 9/11 G.I. Bill. With plans to transfer to UMass Lowell to earn a bachelor’s degree, Williams is studying Business Administration.

“My experience with MCC’s VRC has been phenomenal,” Williams said. “They ensured that I clearly understood the steps on how to apply to Middlesex as a veteran and have made sure that I have had a smooth transition back to civilian life.”

MCC’s VRC helps veteran and military-affiliated students find answers to their questions, advocate for themselves, connect to resources, and have a sense of community at the college. The center also assists in completing the application process, using educational benefits, getting college credit for military service, and providing information on career and internships and scholarships.

For services such as the VRC, Middlesex received the Military Times 2022-2023 Best for Vets Colleges and Military Friendly® Survey: Schools Gold designations in Spring 2023.

“I am honored to work every day with our veteran and military-connected student population,” said Jessica Frost, MCC’s Director of the VRC. “These designations are reflective of the hard work and dedication of faculty and staff that educate, support and care for our students and I am so grateful for this.”
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Students Awarded at MCC’s Fall 2023 Scholarship Ceremony11/2/202311/28/2023 10:51 AM
During the Fall 2023 Scholarship Ceremony, Middlesex Community College students received financial awards to help them afford the costs of attending college. A total of $162,328 was awarded to 86 students at the event held on MCC’s Bedford Campus on Tuesday, October 24.

“This scholarship will really help with my finances for studying cybersecurity,” said Sokden Tan, an MCC Information Technology (IT) Cybersecurity student. “It means I can focus more on my studies and learning important skills. It’s a big step toward my dream job in cybersecurity. I’m determined to make the most out of this chance and give back to my community.”

From Phnom Penh, Cambodia and now living in Lowell, Tan is the recipient of the Jacobs Scholars Program Scholarship. Grateful to the MCC Foundation and scholarship donor, Tan believes the award enables and encourages him to continue his education.

Jenifer Alcaraz is an MCC International Student from Mexico who now lives in Winchester. After graduating from Middlesex, she plans to transfer to a four-year school to become a Spanish teacher. In addition to helping her financially, receiving the MCC Foundation Kathy Reticker Scholarship has made her even more determined to pursue her dream.

“I feel seen and my hard work feels appreciated after having the honor of receiving the scholarship,” Alcaraz said. “I usually have a lot of trouble finding scholarships I am eligible for. In most, no matter how high my grades are I cannot apply because I am not a U.S. citizen. This scholarship makes me feel recognized and valued as a student, no matter where I am from.”

Established to honor Kathy Reticker – former Executive Director of Acre Family Child Care in Lowell and beloved leader in the nonprofit community – the Kathy Reticker Scholarship supports MCC Early Childhood Education students who are committed to working in the field.

“These inspiring students juggle work, school and family obligations in order to become the outstanding early childhood educators our community and world so desperately need,” said Carolyn Stein, representative of the Kathy Reticker Scholarship. “We are honored to support them on their journeys.”

Led by the Middlesex Community College Foundation, scholarships are funded by generous donors, including memorial donations, local businesses, private foundations and private donors. The 96 different scholarships ranged from $500 to $7,500 and were handed out to students from 41 different cities and towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“We were thrilled to come together to celebrate our Fall scholarship recipients and show our appreciation to all of the generous donors who make MCC Foundation scholarships possible,” said Barbara Maglio, MCC’s Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving. “The award ceremony allows us to spotlight everyone in the MCC community who is dedicated to ensuring that our students get the best possible education. The financial support is often the difference that helps our students pursue their dreams.”

The 2023-2024 scholarship recipients include:
  • Aleen Aghabi – Trooper Tamar Bucci Criminal Justice Scholarship
  • Sandra Alcaraz Sepulveda – Kathy Reticker Scholarship
  • Sarah Alzate-Pérez – Presidential Equity Promise Scholarship
  • Molly Anderson – Debra Chemelli Evans Scholarship
  • Marlenne Astacio – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Natasha Barahona – Verena Stair Memorial Scholarship
  • Toby Barnett – Trooper Tamar Bucci Criminal Justice Scholarship
  • Sarah Benfallah – Support Staff Scholarship
  • Brianna Bennett-Karshbaum – Robert Cataldo Scholarship
  • Samantha Blaney – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Krysten Bunting – Shirley W. Thidemann Memorial Scholarship
  • Bailey Cabrera – Kim M. Forte Memorial Scholarship & Nathaniel Fabian Dental Assisting Scholarship
  • Brianna Caccamesi – Thomas O'Mahony "Spirit of Excellence" Award
  • Frantzcesca Charles – Unitas Scholarship
  • Pauline Chege – Howard Legacy of Hope Scholarship
  • Lily Chhun – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Joshua Cohen – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Jennifer Connolly – John Keough Award
  • Jessica Damico – Werfen Scholarship
  • Kyle De Castro – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Huyen Doan – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Celeste Dolcine – Kathy Reticker Scholarship
  • Anthony Dubey – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Duran Elad – Mashu and Abu Alam Scholarship
  • Mirellalys Encarnacion – Alumni Association Scholarship & Presidential Equity Promise Scholarship
  • Kole Ferreira – MCC Performing Arts Scholarship
  • Livia Ferreira – Dr. Michael R. Tramonte Scholarship
  • Jessie Filiatrault-Brown – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Nikki Fisk – Leah N. Knowlton Memorial Scholarship
  • Pramila Gautam Luitel – Audrey A. Cogliano Memorial Scholarship & Catherine L. Goodwin Memorial Scholarship
  • Iva Gavassi Jorge Fernandes – Robert Cataldo Scholarship
  • Savanna Gavin – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Megan Guros – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Sok Han Hok – Patricia R. Cahalane Memorial Scholarship
  • Elijah Harrell – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship in Honor of Claire Goulet
  • Victoria Jensen – Werfen Scholarship
  • Nick Johnstone – John Keough Award & Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Medgine Joseph – Werfen Scholarship
  • Enisa Kadric – Maureen Silveria Strauss Dental Hygiene Scholarship
  • Esther Kahare – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Isa Kamulegeya – Caryl Dundorf Scholarship
  • Neale Kelley – Muriel G. Hervey Memorial Scholarship
  • Stephanie Kem – James C. & Judith G. Mabry Completion Scholarship
  • Tiffanie Kem – Sarem Neou Cambodian American Scholarship
  • Junhee Kim – Delta Dental of Massachusetts Scholarship in honor of Dennis J. Leonard
  • Ibrahim Konteh – Aldersgate UMC, Chelmsford, Scholarship
  • Moussa Kouakou – Howard Legacy of Hope Scholarship & Lura Smith Scholarship
  • Ritta Kuong – James and Dorothy Sullivan Scholarship & Markowicz-Dundorf Scholarship
  • Jennifer Laing – Carol A. Cowan Scholarship
  • Lihong Li – Keri-Lyn (Gleason) Farley Scholarship
  • Scarlett Ly – Maryanne M. Mungovan Memorial Scholarship & Middlesex Community College Foundation Scholarship for Full-Time Students
  • Zhouzhou Ma – Lowell Five Scholarship
  • Gordana Marchio – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students in Honor of Amy Cahill Lee
  • Darie Martinez – Presidential Equity Promise Scholarship
  • Kai Martinez – Muriel G. Hervey Memorial Scholarship
  • Merilyn Mbombo – Prudence Drake Health Programs Scholarship
  • Kelsea McAllister – Geraldine B. Deragon Scholarship
  • Maria Mejia – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Jen Meyer – Paul Sheehy Memorial Scholarship
  • Malayah Montgomery – Aradhya-Beauchemin Arts Scholarship & Bruce J. Corcoran Memorial Scholarship
  • Ethan Muriuki – Howard Legacy of Hope Scholarship
  • Asha Nagudi – Robert Luddy Scholarship
  • Ronah Nangonzi – Presidential Equity Promise Scholarship
  • Joyce Ngigi – Living the Dream Partners Scholarship
  • Muy Ngy Lov – Collegiate TRIO Programs Scholarship
  • Mary Norris – Emily Boudrot Memorial Scholarship & Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Makayla Oeung – Charles and Olga Malvers Memorial Scholarship
  • Jennifer Orozco-Molineros – Werfen Scholarship
  • Alexandra Ostrowski – New England Woodcarvers (NEWC) Scholarship
  • Jessica Pace – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Mu Paw – Warren-Wharton-Sullivan Scholarship
  • Ngoc Pham – Deolinda Mello Memorial Scholarship & Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Danisha Ramirez – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Alex Risman – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Full-Time Students
  • Guzel Saitova – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Cori Spagna – Muriel G. Hervey Memorial Scholarship
  • Elizabeth Stephens – Sandra Martines Memorial Scholarship
  • Shyquanda Sterling – Lura Smith Scholarship
  • Sokden Tan – Jacobs Scholars Program Scholarship
  • Sovia Ti – Paul Sullivan Scholarship
  • Eden Vachtel – Lexington-Concord Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) Scholarship
  • Saryna Vith – Northeast Association of Realtors (NEAR) Scholarship
  • Halle Warnock – Middlesex Community College Foundation Merit Award for Part-Time Students
  • Hyejin Yoo – Delta Dental of Massachusetts Scholarship in honor of Dennis J. Leonard
  • Saimah Yousuf – Tom McKay Memorial Scholarship
  • Madison Zolkos – Ralph and Loretta Steeves Memorial Scholarship
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MCC to Host Alumni Writers as Part of Visiting Writers Series11/6/202311/22/2023 9:13 AM
Middlesex Community College will host alumni writers as part of the Visiting Writers Series. The event will take place at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15 in the Bedford Campus Cafeteria with alumni Robert Castagna, Mathew H. Jones, Nora McClellan, and Lexi Halaby.

Castagna, of Medford, transferred to UMass to study English in 2022. A full-time photographer, he was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Photograph Fellowship and an Artist Resource Trust Grant. His book of photographs and poems that came out of multiple trips to the U.S./Mexico border was published in 2022. His photography and poetry have been published in literary magazines, such as Diagram, Dead River Review, Writ Large and The Watermark.

“I loved my experience at MCC,” Castagna said. “I find that MCC is a very supportive environment and I appreciate the support and opportunity to share some of my ongoing work.”

Jones, of Lowell, has written five novels and two collections of short stories available on Amazon, including “Rules Don’t Apply,” “In the Hotel Zion,” “Somebody’s Monster,” “No Magic for Luke Peters,” “Kid Silver: Alone,” “Such Terrible Things,” and “Wish I Could Love You: A Collection of Failed Love Stories.” After graduating from MCC in 2013, he transferred to UMass Lowell to study African American Literature and Stories from the American South. He declared himself “the best blind, Black horror writer in the Merrimack Valley area.”

“Although there were some stops and starts, I cherish my time at Middlesex,” Jones said. “My primary community at MCC was through the TRiO Program, but I participated in the theatre, the anime club, internships, and a short-lived writing group.”

After transferring to UMass Amherst in 2022, McClellan works as a Writing Center Tutor and nonfiction/criticism editor for Jabberwocky. At MCC, she was an editor for Dead River Review, as well as had her poetry and creative nonfiction published. She was also the president of MCC’s Mad Queens Creative Writing Club.

“The MCC creative writing community means a lot to me, so it's an honor to continue supporting it,” McClellan said. “I had an amazing experience at MCC. MCC is a fantastic option for students at all different points in their educational journey.”

At MCC, Halaby was a teaching assistant, co-president and copy editor of MCC’s zine Middleground, and an editor and contributor to the college’s online literary magazine the Dead River Review. She transferred to UMass Amherst to study linguistics and became the head poetry editor of Jabberwocky, the undergraduate literary journal. Published by UMass Amherst in 2018, her “My Arab World & other Poems” won the Jubilat Chapbook Competition.

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

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/english/creative for more information.
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MCC Faculty Part of “Life-changing” Fulbright Trip to Cambodia11/1/202311/20/2023 11:26 AM
In the Summer of 2023, Middlesex Community College and Lowell Public Schools (LPS) sent 10 educators to Cambodia for MCC’s fourth Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad. The mission of the trip was to amplify Cambodian American voices, histories and cultures within classes at MCC and LPS, while promoting enhanced cultural awareness, mutual understanding and connections, and empathy and shared healing in the community.

“The trip fits perfectly with MCC’s mission of serving the community, which is quite diverse,” said Dr. Lara Kradinova, MCC English Faculty Member and Grant Director. “It provided more exposure to traveling and different viewpoints, and was an opportunity to interact with people from a different country, as well as different socioeconomic and linguistic backgrounds.”

During the trip, members visited educational and health nonprofits in Cambodia with a focus on access to education, health, arts and culture within varying communities. In addition to meeting the U.S. Ambassador in Phnom Penh, members went to organizations concerned with LGBTQ+ rights and human rights, cultural places to see shadow puppets and Buddhist temples, and public and private schools from primary age to universities in metropolitan and rural areas.

Post-trip, members are now looking to create curriculum units to help students better understand Cambodian culture, arts and well-being. MCC Nursing faculty member Debra Bradley is starting to introduce more culture into healthcare practices. In one instance, she is having students complete a pre-simulation document during their lab time to look up medical care and issues. The goal is to include practices in regards to Khmer culture.

“We incorporate culture in every single lecture we do, but I want to talk more about that and use examples from Cambodia,” Bradley said. “We also want to see a diverse population of people in nursing and want them to be successful. The trip made me reassess how I approach a student who has been educated from any other country than the U.S. and focus on learning about their education, culture and learning needs in addition to our patients’.”

MCC Nursing faculty member Sarah Pedone is also looking to have her students think more about the immigrant experience in the U.S. In one unit, she is building on the idea of the art of nursing. Pedone plans to have her students interview an immigrant and ask them questions based on what she saw during the trip. Questions include access to clean water, food and healthcare, and how it impacts their health and habits now and in the past.

“I want to bring a lot of cultural aspects to taking care of patients,” Pedone said. “Having better insight into what the patients may have experienced gives students more cultural perspective and helps them approach care with an open mind.”

Kradinova and many other members who attended the trip found the experience “life-changing.”

“We were exposed to so many new ways of thinking and doing, and we’re still practicing it in our classes,” she said. “It was amazing seeing and experiencing a new culture for the whole month.”
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MCC’s ‘World of Music’ to Host Faculty & Alum Online Concert10/31/202311/16/2023 2:22 PM
In collaboration with Dracut Arts, Middlesex Community College will host a faculty and alum performance as part of the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series. The concert will be held online at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, featuring MCC music faculty members and alum Nathaniel Abreu, cellist.

“Everyone I’ve worked with at MCC has been nothing but supportive and the community has provided me so many outlets to share my playing, as well as meet truly enthusiastic people from all over,” Abreu said. “I always hope to aid the Music department in continuing the great work they’ve been doing, bringing a variety of music to a larger audience.”

Along with Abreu, MCC’s Chair of Music Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, pianist, and music faculty members Orlando Cela, flutist, and Raley Beggs, guitarist, will perform a colorful program of music from Europe, the United States, Latin America and South Africa.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Dracut Arts for their November Arts Saturday for an exciting and varied program,” Rodríguez-Peralta said. “This performance was recorded in the Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell. We had such fun putting this together!”

Works by Cecil Chaminade, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Vincent Perischetti, Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philippe Emanuel Bach, David Popper, Astor Piazzolla, and Samuel Coleridge Taylor will be featured.

“Dracut Arts looks forward to featuring ‘A World of Music’ concert at our November Arts Saturday,” said Diane McGary, President, Board of Directors for Dracut Arts. “It is always a joy to find phenomenal artists in the Greater Dracut Area. This concert truly features world music, showcasing both very well-known and lesser-known compositions, some older pieces and some new 20th & 21st century works. What a pleasure to listen to and see these musicians perform!”

Visit www.dracutarts.com/arts-saturdays/ to register for the event and watch the concert on its premiere date.

Other performances for “A World of Music” this semester include a Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 4 at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall and a concert by the LCO at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9 at MCC’s Academic Arts Center.

Previous performances this season included the Lowell Chamber Orchestra, Guitar Music from South Africa, Literature through Music by MCC faculty members at the Lowell City of Learning Festival, and Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band.

All concerts are free and open to the public. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/ for more information.
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MCC to Welcome Esteemed Speaker for Annual Veterans Day Event10/30/202311/15/2023 12:37 PM
In honor of Veterans Day, Middlesex Community College will welcome Dr. William Meadows for a presentation on Native American Code Talkers of World War I and II. Sponsored by MCC’s Veterans Resource Center (VRC), the event will take place in the Bedford Campus Café East or online from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8.

“Our Veterans Day programming shares the incredible stories of veterans throughout history,” said Jessica Frost, MCC’s Director of the VRC. “The annual event is a valuable educational opportunity for our students, college employees and the community to share the ways in which military service members faced adversity and sacrificed their own safety and well-being for our country. Hidden stories are uncovered and brought to light for participants to see.”

Meadows is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Missouri State University. During the event, he will discuss the origins and evolution of Native American Code Talking – the use of Native American languages in the U.S. military – through both World Wars to contemporary recognition.

Meadows will also cover the development of this tactic, different types of Native coded communications, code and alphabet formation, the over 30 groups that participated, their post-war recognition, and popular myths about code talking. His presentation is based on his over 30 years of fieldwork and archival research, including his contributions to the Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008.

Dedicated to student success, MCC assists veteran and military-affiliated students in transitioning to college. Through the VRC, a Veterans Advisory Board, and other special services, students can have their questions answered, learn how to advocate for themselves, access support resources, and find a sense of community at MCC.

“We provide programming throughout the academic year, including assistance with educational benefits, connections to resources, and academic and career advising,” Frost said. “Regardless of whether or not a student is using Veterans Affairs (VA) or Department of Defense (DoD) educational benefits, all veterans and military-affiliated students are welcome in our centers in Bedford and Lowell where they can meet other students, access computers and printers, and enjoy free refreshments.”

MCC’s Bedford VRC is located in the Campus Center, Room 206. The Lowell VRC can be found in Cowan Center, Room G05. Students can also access virtual services by appointment.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/veteransresources/ for more information and to register for the Veterans Day event in advance.
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MCC to Host Fall Open House on College’s Bedford Campus10/23/202311/13/2023 10:56 AM
From a variety of course options and formats to student support services and expert professionals, Middlesex Community College has the resources available to guide students to success. On Thursday, November 2, Middlesex will host a Fall Open House in Bedford for prospective students and their families to learn all about what the college has to offer.

“Attending an Open House is one of the best ways to discover all that MCC provides to students from day one of their time with us,” said Jeffrey Tejada, MCC’s Interim Assistant Dean of Admissions. “We understand that the process for applying and going to college can feel overwhelming for many. Our Open House is a chance to feel more comfortable, get your questions answered, connect with all of the resources we have available to set you up for success, and find the help you need to prepare for your next steps.”

MCC’s Fall Open House will take place at 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 2 in the Bedford Campus Center. Prospective students and their families will have a chance to meet with faculty and speak to staff from all of MCC’s student service areas.

The event will cover experiences, such as academic and career counseling, dual enrollment, financial aid, tutoring, student access and support services, the Commonwealth Honors Program and more. There will also be a chance to take a campus tour of the Bedford facilities and apply to the college.

“We’re excited to meet with you in-person and show you one of our beautiful campuses,” Tejada said. “More than 300 people attended MCC’s Bedford Open House in the Spring of 2023 and found it to be the perfect start to their journey here.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/admissions/ for more information and to RSVP for the event.
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Award-winning Entrepreneur to Talk to MCC Students 10/25/202311/9/2023 10:56 AM
As part of the Visiting Entrepreneur Speaker Series, Middlesex Community College will welcome MassChallenge winner Alex Hardy at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 2. A seasoned entrepreneur, Hardy will offer a lot of insight to help students find their entrepreneurial path.

“I am most excited to hear the students’ questions and talk to them,” Hardy said. “When I studied entrepreneurship I had questions – am I cut out for this, will I be successful, where do I start? I would like to run through some of my experiences, what the key issues were that determined my success or failure, and fully disclose that I have failed more often than not. I would also make sure to communicate the entrepreneurial principles I learned were valuable in many aspects of business and not just new venture creation.”

Founder of Nix86, Hardy is C-Suite Officer at a variety of cannabis industry startups, and President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Fire & Ice Restaurants for 11 years. Hardy is also co-author of “Casebook for Young Entrepreneurs,” and was owner of Bass River Baking Company, General Manager of GHH Select Coffee, Regional President of Ethos Cannabis, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Temescal Wellness Cannabis.

"When successful entrepreneurs visit our students to share stories and challenges, our students take away an even better understanding of how the practices we learn about in class apply in the real world,” said Stacie Hargis, MCC’s Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. “I am grateful for the time Mr. Hardy has provided us."

MCC’s IDEA Center assists students and faculty in learning about idea generation, innovation and entrepreneurship. The virtual center connects the community with resources and professional expertise to advance in entrepreneurial pursuits. Faculty leaders inspire and mentor students in for-profit, nonprofit and social ventures with collaborative, hands-on, and results-drive activities, including presentations, conferences, competitions and funding opportunities.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to noon in the Bedford Campus Henderson Hall, Room 116 or on Zoom. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/entrepreneurship/ for more information and to register for the event in advance.
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MCC’s Certified Nurse Assistant Program Helps Graduates Find Jobs10/26/202311/8/2023 10:45 AM
From Uganda and now living in Acton, Yudaya Nanziri has always had a passion for healthcare. While studying Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, she was interested in earning money and getting experience in the field. In Middlesex Community College’s Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) program, she gained the theoretical knowledge, hands-on training, and workforce skills to get hired as a Patient Care Technician while she finishes her degree.

“I wanted to take a peek at what the healthcare system is like and how I can work in that setting,” Nanziri said. “My aunt worked for a non-government organization for refugees at the border of Uganda. I used to go over there with her and see how she worked. Nobody thinks of that as part of healthcare per se, so I was interested in that kind of setting and it’s what led me to this.”

As she was paying out of pocket for her college expenses, at first Nanziri was going to hold off on enrolling at Middlesex in order to save money. MCC’s Corporate & Community Education & Training division directed her to the ETF Program run by the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges. Eligible for the grant funding from the state, Nanziri realized “it was such a good opportunity for me.”

As part of clinicals in MCC’s program, Nanziri and her classmates helped patients at a nursing home in Lowell with taking showers, eating, walking, and other tasks. In her lab experiences, she practiced taking blood pressure, working with bed pans, moving patients, changing linens with patients in and out of bed, and completing restorations.

“When you learn all about the field in the classroom, you don’t know how it will feel on a real person,” Nanziri said. “Having that clinical experience with real people took away that fear. It boosted my confidence in what I was learning to get a sense of what was going on.”

In order to balance her busy schedule, Nanziri took MCC’s classes online in the evening. She was grateful to her instructor for taking the time to ensure everyone understood the material and could fit classes and the weekend lab and clinical work into their schedules. While her instructor’s patience helped her complete the program, the hands-on experiences enhanced her learning.

MCC’s CNA program also connected students with representatives and recruiters from local hospitals and organizations. This helped Nanziri know where to apply for work and what employers were looking for in the hiring process.

Nanziri found a job right after completing MCC’s three-month program. Now working in a related field, she finds that she better understands healthcare and how to engage with her classes at UMass Lowell. Middlesex and the CNA program “was a stepping stone for me and couldn’t have been any better,” Nanziri said.

“If MCC didn’t give me that opportunity, I don’t know where I would be or if I would have this much insight into what’s going on with my degree,” Nanziri said. “I’m grateful I had the opportunity to take the program.”
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MCC to Host Engineering Panel as Part of Mass. STEM Week10/18/202311/7/2023 1:12 PM
A leader of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, Middlesex Community College is hosting the annual Engineering Panel Night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 18 in the Bedford Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

“This event promotes student success and motivates students to continue their education, even when it feels difficult to do so,” said Cris Algarra, MCC’s Chair of Engineering. “Our population of students work, study, they’re parents, they have different struggles. When they hear people on a panel sharing that they also had these challenges but were able to overcome them and become an engineer, they will see themselves reflected in those people.”

MCC’s Engineering department will welcome six professionals in the field to share their personal stories, including three MCC alumni panelists. They will discuss how they decided on working in engineering, where they went to school, their career paths, and the challenges they faced.

An MCC graduate, Taylor Fossey now works at Petersen Engineering. Having once attended the panel as a student, Fossey appreciates being able to return to the college and speak to the audience in this different role.

“My presence shows students their preferred career isn’t out of reach,” Fossey said. “It’s important to me to share how recently I was in the very same position asking the very same questions. Now I work daily with my team to consult on and design sustainable MEP/FP building systems, making a positive impact to the environment across New England.”

As an Assistant Professor of Practice for Merrimack College’s Civil Engineering Department, Jared Peterson teaches a variety of engineering courses and labs. At the panel, Peterson hopes to show students how they are responsible for finding opportunities for their career paths.

“Do not wait for things to change if you are unhappy or are looking for something different, be the driving force,” Peterson said. “Stay/get involved in professional organizations and causes you care about – this will compliment your day-to-day work and be terrific networking opportunities. Most importantly, it will make you a more wholesome engineer and provide you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.”

Douglas Marquis is a senior staff member in the space systems analysis and test group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Having worked in many parts of engineering, Marquis looks forward to sharing his four decades of experience working as an engineer with MCC students.

“I hope that students can – either by listening to a short overview or asking direct questions – understand things they can do now to increase their chances of success,” Marquis said. “I certainly attribute things I did as an undergraduate to whatever success I’ve achieved since.”

“Hearing from people who started at the same school gives more value and meaning to a community college education,” Algarra said. “Students listen to people who were once in their position now currently working in the industry and see where MCC’s programs can lead them.”
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MCC Offers Second Chance to Start Classes During Fall Semester10/24/202311/6/2023 10:30 AM
Middlesex Community College’s Fall 2023 Mini-mester II will kick off on Monday, October 30. A popular and convenient option, the accelerated, eight-week semester allows students to start their education sooner, fit more classes into their schedules, and finish their program faster.

“Understanding that our students’ time is valuable, MCC strives to offer students as much flexibility as possible,” said Dr. Rossanna Contreras-Godfrey, MCC’s Assistant Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs. “The upcoming Mini-mester II will provide the knowledge, skills and training students need to earn credits they can transfer to four-year schools, advance in their careers, and be set-up for long-term success – at times that work best for their schedules.”

MCC’s Mini-mesters provide the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled in the traditional 15-week semester. With the mid-semester start, students do not need to wait until the next semester to begin their studies.

Through a mix of on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex classes, students can complete general education requirements and explore a variety of subjects. This includes over 80 degree, certificate and industry credential programs in the arts and humanities, business, education, health, social science, public service and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

All MCC students gain access to award-winning student support services and resources to help them succeed from day one, including tutoring, advising and financial aid assistance. Students enrolled in Mini-mester II may also qualify for financial aid.

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 in less time.

Eligible MassReconnect students can also register for classes as part of MCC’s Mini-mester II. MassReconnect allows Massachusetts residents who are 25+ and do not have a degree to earn an associate degree or certificate from MCC for free.

“MCC’s Mini-mester II is a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for students of all ages and backgrounds looking for a new beginning,” Contreras-Godfrey said. “Take advantage and jumpstart your path to your new degree and career now.”

MCC’s Fall 2023 Mini-mester II starts Monday, October 30. For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/minimesters/ and register for classes.
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MCC Science Students Participate in National Citizen Project in Lowell10/16/202311/2/2023 9:15 AM
On Wednesday, October 4, Middlesex Community College students in an Environmental Science course participated in the Dragonfly Mercury Project National Citizen Project. Along with MCC Associate Professor of Science Lisa Lobel, students acted as citizen scientists to visit a wetland in Lowell to sample dragonfly larvae.

“This was a nationwide event that happened at all the National Parks to assess current mercury contamination in the environment,” Lobel said. “We had a super successful trip learning about the sources of mercury in our environment, how it accumulates in aquatic food webs, and how it is harmful to both aquatic organisms and humans.”

During the trip, students worked with Park Rangers from the Lowell National Historical Park to collect and identify dragonflies. Peyton Ballam, an MCC Biology Transfer student from Billerica, volunteered to collect larvae out of the wetlands with a net and a spoon. The samples were put into ice cube trays and passed over to the scribes, who then chose which samples to use as data.

Data was sent to a facility to be added to an interactive map that will give scientists a stronger understanding of mercury contamination and how to combat it. The hands-on experience was valuable to Ballam in figuring out which part of STEM to pursue in the future.

“I have always been interested in researching and field work, but have never gotten to be a part of something that was as impactful and important as this,” Ballam said. “It has been able to guide me through to realize I would like to do more fieldwork and research to truly understand more!”

An MCC Business student from Lowell, Elisha Estrada took the Environmental Science course as part of her major. Having grown up in the city, Estrada was surprised to learn there was a state park in which to complete the project.

“I was excited to help with the research and I’m so happy I chose [the class],” Estrada said. “Professor Lobel is passionate about environmental science and that paired with her bubbly personality really makes it fun to learn. It was really cool to be part of such a big study.”
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Middlesex CC Announces New Dean of STEM10/19/202311/1/2023 10:42 AM
Middlesex Community College is excited to announce Dr. Marie Hronik-Tupaj as the new Dean of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). As a professor of engineering, Hronik-Tupaj has been at Middlesex for five years and strives to offer a student-centered, inclusive environment for all of her students.

“I like to provide a positive learning experience starting where students are at and supporting everyone in class,” Hronik-Tupaj said. “In the STEM division, our values are on teaching and working with students directly from their first class to next steps after graduation. We’re focused on helping students succeed and because of this, it’s so important to offer opportunities for them to connect with us, their classmates, and the community.”

In her new role, Hronik-Tupaj wants to build upon the educational workforce opportunities within MCC’s STEM division. This includes enhancing STEM-based Learn and Earn experiences and collaborating with industry partners on internship opportunities and curriculum development. With an interest in learning new technologies, she also hopes to create programs at MCC that support emerging trends, including robotics, artificial intelligence and environmental biology.

As the college received a grant to support women of color studying Information Technology (IT), Hronik-Tupaj is looking to increase enrollment, retention and high-paying job opportunities for this population. One way Hronik-Tupaj believes students who are interested in STEM – particularly women – can succeed is by finding a topic they enjoy, sticking with the program, and building connections with classmates and someone who has followed that path before them.

“There are a lot more women in engineering and science than there were 30 to 40 years ago, which is encouraging,” she said. “The challenge still today is moving women into management and leadership roles in those fields, but we’re making progress.”

Hronik-Tupaj’s own journey into STEM was influenced by her father who was an electrical engineer. She found a passion for the subject in high school because she liked listening to inspiring science lectures and working on challenging problems. In college, she pursued engineering because she knew there were many high-paying jobs available in the Boston area.

After graduating from Tufts University with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, Hronik-Tupaj proceeded to work in high-tech. At the time, the biotechnology field was growing, so she returned to Tufts to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. She then decided to stay in higher education.

While in college, Hronik-Tupaj benefitted from following the degree sheet and working with career services. Participating in internships helped build her resume, which helped her receive strong job offers after graduating. Now working at MCC, she believes in providing students with as much real-life application as possible, including in labs and activities outside of the classroom.

“In the STEM division, our focus will continue to be on creating a positive learning experience supporting students to reach their goals,” Hronik-Tupaj said.
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Student Finds Success with Career Path & Passion at MCC10/12/202310/31/2023 1:54 PM
With an interest in health and creative writing, MacKenzie Taylor, of Milford, is pursuing both at Middlesex Community College. In addition to taking writing courses, she is combining her passion for helping others with a long-term fascination of anatomy and medicine to jumpstart a career in Radiologic Technology.

“My mom was really sick while I was growing up, so I grew very comfortable with the concept of taking care of people regardless of what health scare it was,” Taylor said. “My baby sister has had five open heart surgeries as well, and I think having people on her team who really love what they do made it so much less terrifying. I want to be the person people encounter during these vulnerable moments and feel like they truly are in good hands.”

MCC’s Rad Tech program was an affordable option for Taylor, as well as helped many students successfully enter the field. She started the program in Fall 2023 nervous, excited and curious for the upcoming semester. So far, she has found supportive and knowledgeable professors and classmates, and she is looking forward to seeing all of the different opportunities available to her.

Viewing her experience in the Rad Tech program as learning a new language, she has covered a lot of material and started her clinicals in just a few weeks. Though the program is pushing her on a physical, mental and academic level, she feels the work will be worth it in the end.

“Radiology is such an amazing field and I am really just focused on learning and using what I learn to help people,” she said. “There is something really great about how much I feel I am being challenged. We started clinicals the second week – and as intimidating as it has been – I love connecting with patients and being the face of someone who is really trying to help them.”

Taylor started at Middlesex by completing prerequisite courses to prepare her to enter the health program. One of the classes was Creative Writing and Publishing, taught by Tom Laughlin, MCC’s Creative Writing Program Coordinator and Professor. After being encouraged to submit her work, Taylor’s poem “failing at forgiveness smells like cigarettes” was published in the Lyrical Somerville column of The Somerville Times.

In addition to 10 previous poems published, Taylor’s work can also be found in MCC’s online literary magazine The Dead River Review, for which she was a member of the Spring 2023 editorial board. She credits her two MCC writing professors – Laughlin and Joseph Nardoni – for helping to influence her approach to her craft, as well as increase her confidence.

In her classes and activities at MCC, Taylor has shown how much she enjoys helping others, including as a writing tutor for the Academic Centers for Enrichment. Even in sharing her writing, Taylor is looking to connect with others, although it feels difficult at times.

“I think it is important to write about the things that I do regardless of how raw and heavy they can be,” she said. “I write a lot about things that are very personal to me, but that vulnerability is what I adore about poetry.”
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MCC Students Tour Manufacturing Company During STEM Week10/17/202310/30/2023 10:47 AM
On Thursday, October 19, Middlesex Community College is bringing a number of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students to tour Cirtronics Corporation, an advanced manufacturing company for medical, robotics and defense applications in Milford, N.H. One of the activities offered during Massachusetts STEM Week, MCC’s goal is to show students the process to manufacture and assemble a Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

“I’m hoping to see what it’s like working at a manufacturing facility that’s related to my major because as of right now, I don’t have a lot of knowledge or experience when it comes to engineering in the real world,” said Jessica Pace, an MCC Electrical Engineering major from Fitchburg. “I believe it’ll help me understand the reason why learning the principles of electric circuits are so important. When there’s meaning behind a reason why you learn something, it makes it a lot easier to study toward it.”

Through MCC, Pace is hoping to gain a clear idea of her pathway before transferring to a four-year institution. In addition to providing early exposure to the field, Pace believes attending opportunities such as the PCB tour helps build confidence in making future career choices.

“There are so many things that I want to learn, but I never had the right background knowledge to even know where to begin,” Pace said. “I’m glad to have the opportunities to be able to know where to begin when it comes to learning more interesting topics on my own. I think research is really fun and it’s even better being able to make sense of the real meaning behind it all.”

During the trip to Cirtronics, students will see the equipment and processes used to make PCBs, starting from computer-based models and ending with final boards that students create in class, but on a larger scale. The goal is to provide students an additional perspective as they think about projects in the future.

Esny Fevrier, an MCC student from Haiti, is looking forward to seeing how designs are created and presented in real situations.

“As a student learning how to present a design you’ve never experimented with before made me intrigued,” Fevrier said. That will be a new way or perception of what students will do after getting their degrees.”

This type of experience allows students to get a better sense of what type of work they can do in the future with their degrees, according to Angel Escalona, MCC Engineering and Engineering Technology Professor.

“The tour serves as a complementary component to theoretical lectures and hands-on experience with PCB design software,” Escalona said. “While teaching students the initial stages of PCB design, this trip will offer them a practical understanding of what occurs once the PCB schematic and layout have been finalized. This knowledge is particularly valuable for students with an interest in electronics, engineering, or any other field reliant on electronic devices.”
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Internationally Acclaimed Band Performs for MCC’s ‘World of Music’10/10/202310/26/2023 10:48 AM
Middlesex Community College is excited to welcome the internationally acclaimed Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band as part of the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series. The performance will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 22 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“Get ready for an incredible afternoon of lively music as Ezekiel's Wheels Klezmer Band takes the stage at Middlesex Community College,” said a spokesperson for the band. “This concert promises an unforgettable experience filled with klezmer music, Yiddish song and dance. Don't miss out on the chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of klezmer music with this award-winning band.”

Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band brings passion, virtuosity and contagious energy to every performance. The Wheels improvise with the intimacy of chamber music and the intensity of a rowdy dance band. Their engaging contemporary interpretation of Jewish music is irresistible to audiences.

“We are looking forward to presenting Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “They are an exciting group that audiences love!”

In partnership with the Lowell City of Learning Festival, MCC’s “World of Music” will also host Literature through Music by MCC faculty members at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 14 at the Academic Arts Center.

Other performances for “A World of Music” this semester include an Online Saturday Arts Concert featuring MCC faculty and alumni at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 11; a Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 4 at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall; and a concert by the LCO at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9 at MCC’s Academic Arts Center.

Previous performances this season included the Lowell Chamber Orchestra and Guitar Music from South Africa.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

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.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/
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MCC to Host Transfer Fairs to Help Students Explore Next Steps10/11/202310/25/2023 11:00 AM
Whether transferring to a four-year institution or entering the workforce, Middlesex Community College offers a strong starting point for individuals of all ages and stages in their lives. To introduce students to different four-year colleges and universities, Middlesex is hosting transfer fairs on both the Lowell and Bedford campuses in October.

“Every Fall and Spring semester, we host transfer events to help MCC students understand the options available to them for their next steps,” said Jane Fain, MCC’s Coordinator of Transfer Affairs. “Transfer Fairs are terrific opportunities to collect admissions information on potential schools and start developing a plan. Beginning these conversations early is so helpful and important in avoiding unwanted surprises once students are ready to transfer.”

During each fair, students have the opportunity to meet with admissions representatives from a number of institutions. They can learn about varying four-year school’s offerings and requirements for transferring after they graduate from MCC. This year’s fairs will welcome more than 40 colleges and universities.

Admissions representatives are experts on their school’s information and a resource to MCC students as they explore their options, according to Fain. Meeting with the representatives helps students get a better sense of how selective and competitive institutions are, as well as know important deadlines and scholarship information.

MCC helps students transfer to four-year colleges and universities across New England and nationwide each year. With a number of articulation agreements and MassTransfer, MCC makes the transfer process as easy as possible.

“There are many benefits of MassTransfer and the Commonwealth Commitment,” Fain said. “Students who earn an associate degree from MCC can transfer seamlessly to Massachusetts state universities, including throughout the UMass system to stay on track and minimize the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree.”

By starting at Middlesex, students can save thousands on tuition costs and complete their general education requirements before attending a four-year school. At MCC, students get early exposure to their field of interest, with courses, hands-on experiences, and networking opportunities in just the first two years of their academic journey.

The Lowell Transfer Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Cowan Center Cafeteria on Wednesday, October 25. Students can attend the Bedford Transfer Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Campus Center on Thursday, October 26. For more information, contact Fain at FainJ@middlesex.mass.edu.

“At MCC, our students are set up for success from day one, including creating a pathway to transfer,” Fain said. “We look forward to this year’s transfer fairs and helping our students meet with different colleges and explore their options.”
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MCC Hires Assistant Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs10/5/202310/24/2023 10:37 AM
Middlesex Community College is excited to announce Dr. Rossanna Contreras-Godfrey as the new Assistant Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. As she has spent much of her career guiding students who have been underserved to success, she believes her role with MCC is the perfect next step for her.

“I hope that my impact is in the most positive way possible,” Contreras-Godfrey said. “As this role is newly created, my focus is on being a thought partner for supporting the goals and vision of the college and figuring out where my skill set best meets the tasks at hand. I’m a good listener and a good person to bounce ideas around, and I look forward to soaking up as much as I can and meeting the members of the community.”

At MCC, Contreras-Godfrey will work closely with MCC’s Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Arlene Rodríguez and MCC President Phil Sisson to promote MCC’s mission of providing an equitable education for all students. This ties into her almost 20 years at BC where she helped students pursue paths they never thought possible. In particular, she enjoyed providing students with high-quality opportunities inside and outside of the classroom.

“It gives me a lot of purpose to be able to think about engaging people in ways we can bring students to this table of higher education, how they access us, and more importantly, how they succeed,” she said. “The students I have worked with have done amazing work in all kinds of fields and about 60 percent have gone on to earn graduate degrees.”

In her most recent role with Boston College (BC), Contreras-Godfrey was the Director of Learning to Learn & First Generation Initiatives. She directed two TRiO programs and led a series of programs to support students who were the first in their families to attend college as they transitioned to and graduated from BC.

Contreras-Godfrey earned a bachelor’s and doctorate from BC and a master’s degree from Boston University. While her first job out of college was working at State Street Bank, she went on to accept a job with the TRiO Upward Bound program at North Shore Community College to work as the Assistant Director. From then on, she continued working in education.

“I never turned back from working for educational access and success programs,” she said. “The Upward Bound program provided me with professional development and it impacted me strongly in terms of mentoring students who looked like me and lived in the same area as I did.”

Born in the Dominican Republic, Contreras-Godfrey emigrated to Lynn with her parents and sister when she was 8-years-old. Her father in particular inspired her drive to pursue higher education and he himself graduated from a community college. In high school, she was a TRiO Upward Bound student at North Shore Community College and got comfortable visiting the campus for tutoring and meeting friends.

From the students to the mission, Contreras-Godfrey is excited to come to MCC.

“I feel like I’m coming home to where I started,” she said. “The community college environment is a very important population for me.”
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MCC’s NEW Wellness Resource Center Supports Student Success10/4/202310/23/2023 11:06 AM
Middlesex Community College opened the new Wellness Resource Center (WRC) to help meet students’ personal wellness and basic needs to set them up for long-term success. On Wednesday, September 20, MCC held a ribbon cutting event to invite the community to view the center’s space, eat lunch, meet staff, and learn about the wellness resources the college provides.

“The purpose of the Wellness Resource Center is to provide essential services to our student body that will assist them as they matriculate through the institution,” said Leonard Russ, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Student Support. “Through the WRC, students can accomplish personal and academic success in a safe and welcoming environment and find people who are willing to listen and help. We aim to make sure everyone feels like they have someone on their side to support, advocate and celebrate them.”

Students face many challenges in and outside of college, such as financial issues, food insecurity or lack of housing. Having a variety of mental wellness resources available gives students a greater chance of getting their basic needs met. The WRC strives to educate the community through programming, tabling and collaboration with community partners.

“We understand how difficult it can be to focus on one’s academics when there are stressors impacting the student,” Russ said. “We want to increase our students’ understanding of how their personal wellness can impact their day-to-day lives and connect them with any community resource in and outside of MCC to ensure they are taken care of.”

The WRC provides mental health assessments, referrals and one-on-one counseling, as well as wellness coaching, and connection to community resources. Through food pantries and grab-and-go options on each campus, students can access food support, as well as get help with emergency financial and housing situations. On-campus events assist students with stress reduction, wellness education, work life balance and essential needs support, among other topics.

“The WRC helps students feel empowered and brings wellness to the forefront,” said Mei-Lein Swanson, MCC Mental Health Counseling Intern. “We want to help students succeed academically and personally by supporting them in their overall wellness and we work closely with other departments of the college to help students get in contact with the right people.”

Focusing on supporting the whole student, MCC’s WRC will continue to add new supports and expand services, including increasing capacity for mental health counseling.

“We are working to hire a full-time professional level counselor, as well to offer partnerships with a local agency called Vinfen, and provide more online support platforms for students to use when they are not on campus,” Russ said.

MCC students can access mental health services on both campuses, including the Cowan Center in Lowell in Room 407 and the Enrollment Center in Bedford. For more information on MCC’s Wellness Resource Center, visit https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/wellnessandessentialneeds/
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MCC and LHS Partner on Early College to Jumpstart Student Success9/27/202310/19/2023 11:04 AM
A proud community partner, Middlesex Community College collaborates with Lowell High School (LHS) on the Early College Promise program. Open to LHS graduates who took Early College courses during high school, participants attend Middlesex for one year for free, getting tuition, fees, course materials, and a laptop covered.

From Honduras, Luis Raul Raudales was able to be a full-time college student in the U.S. because of Early College Promise. He went on to earn an associate degree from MCC in one year with no debt before transferring to UMass Lowell and reaching his goal of graduating from college.

“I will be forever grateful for such a great advisor who provided great counsel and company during my time in the program,” Raudales said. “I just hope not only that this program continues to exist and help students, but that it is expanded so that more people will be able to benefit.”

One of the biggest benefits of Early College for Nisa Rivera was the number of resources available to her. She continued on at MCC to study Criminal Justice before transferring to Suffolk University and found her entire experience to be “amazing.”

“The program created a safe environment for me to focus and do my best without making the financial portion of higher education the main stressor,” Rivera said. “I enjoyed my time at Middlesex and I think it was the best choice for me when starting my college career.”

The Early College Promise program allows students to jumpstart their college career in the summer after graduating from high school. They earn college credit that is transferable to four-year institutions and receive advice and mentoring from MCC support professionals who guide them through the entirety of their experience.

“The year they spend with us provides a supported transition into life as a full-time college student that has enormous benefits,” said Brandon Woodcroft, MCC’s Early College Promise Coordinator. “Students access and take advantage of resources and tools available to all students, as well as our program-specific supports to set them up for success at MCC and beyond.”

The program helped push Kiara Ramos past her comfort zone and be more social, leading her to resources that furthered her success. After completing Early College, she continued at MCC to study Psychology and is now a tutor for the Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE).

“This program helps individuals take that leap into seeing what is best for them,” Ramos said. “It helped me reach my goals and explore a little more about what I want to do after college. Many doors have been opened for me so that I could work closely with others in my community.”

Rhondyna Reth, from Cambodia, signed up for the program after hearing about all of the benefits. An Art major, staff were able to get her supplies for her classes that were outside of the school store, including a forensics kit for a science class. “The amazing thing about the program is that the staff are wonderful and knowledgeable about what they are doing,” Reth said.
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MCC to Host Second Annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival10/2/202310/18/2023 11:11 AM
Middlesex Community College is proud to present the second annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival (LAAFF), starting on Friday, October 20. Over three days, Middlesex will screen seven Asian American-directed films from across the country in celebration of art, culture and diversity. Held at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center, the entirety of the festival will be free.

“MCC is thrilled to once again sponsor and host the second annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival at our Academic Arts Center,” said Virak Uy, MCC’s Director of Asian American Student Achievement Program. “The festival has a mission of empowering Asian Americans through film and bringing Asian American films to the public with the hope of inspiring future generations of filmmakers. The weekend will provide an opportunity to bring the community together and celebrate diverse voices, experiences and entertainment that represent one of the college’s largest population of students.”

The 2023 LAAFF is sponsored by MCC and funded by an ARPA grant from the City of Lowell. An Opening Reception will kick off the event on Friday, October 20 with an opening reception, followed by a 7 p.m. screening of “Elvis of Cambodia” with a Q&A with director Chris Parkhurst.

Events on Saturday, October 21 will start at 12:30 p.m. with a screening of “Sunday” and a Q&A with the MCC student directors. At 1:30 p.m., there will be a screening of “One O’Clock” with a Q&A by director Vibol S. Sungkriem. Following a 2:30 p.m. screening of “Skin Can Breathe,” there will be a screening of “Dealing with Dad” at 4 p.m. and a Q&A with the director Tom Huang.

After a Closing Reception at noon on Sunday, October 22, there will be a 1:30 p.m. screening of “The Next Generation of Asian American Art.” At 2 p.m., there will be a screening of “Chinatown Rising” with a Zoom Q&A by directors Harry and Josh Chuck. The final screening of the weekend will be “Vincent Who?” at 5 p.m., followed by a Zoom Q&A.

For more information, email laaff@middlesex.mass.edu.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/laaff/ to reserve a free seat or email laaff@middlesex.mass.edu for more information.

“MCC has extensive connections with many Asian American community organizations and cultural institutions in Lowell,” Uy said. “In continuing to build stronger and deeper connections, LAAFF is an excellent example of MCC’s commitment to the communities and people it serves.”
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MCC’s Holistic Support Services Guide AANHPI Students to Success9/28/202310/17/2023 3:11 PM
Funded by an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) grant by the U.S. Department of Education, Middlesex Community College provides access to resources and support through a holistic approach to increase the retention and graduation rate for Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students. This includes programming and activities offered through the Program for Asian American Student Advancement (PAASA) and the Asian American Connections Center.

There are many barriers preventing Asian American students from succeeding at the higher education level, according to Virak Uy, MCC’s Director of Asian American Student Advancement Program. With the AANAPISI funding, MCC is working to expand its services to address the needs of Asian American students and their families.

“There is a stereotype that falsely assumes that all Asian Americans are academically high-achieving and successful, including those of Southeast Asian descent, which oversimplifies these diverse experiences,” Uy said. “This myth often results in overlooking the unique challenges and systemic disparities faced by Southeast Asian students, such as language barriers, limited access to educational resources, and socioeconomic inequality. Addressing these issues requires a nuanced understanding of the individual cultural background and community-specific obstacles that hinder educational attainment and a commitment to dismantling the harmful stereotypes that perpetuate these barriers.”

Located on the Lowell campus, MCC’s Asian American Connections Center provides advising, mentorship, financial literacy workshops, and leadership development opportunities for students. An MCC International student from Cambodia studying Business Administration, Scarlett Ly enjoys visiting the safe and welcoming environment to get together with classmates and study.

“Being part of the AANAPISI program has been an immensely rewarding experience for me because I was able to get the support I need from staff,” Ly said. “It also helped me develop my communications and leadership skills, professionally and academically. I was impacted positively as a student and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

PAASA will host a variety of activities throughout the Fall 2023 semester, including dance and art-based therapy workshops and the second annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival. The college’s Asian Students In Alliance (A.S.I.A.) Club also celebrated National AANAPISI Week with a Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional celebration in Chinese culture.

Through AANAPISI programming, Adam Tuy, an MCC Liberal Arts & Sciences major from Lowell, found academic advising and mental health support that improved his leadership skills. This also led him to be more active on campus, including as the new Vice President of A.S.I.A.

“The AANAPISI Grant is instrumental for students to support their mental and academic well-being, especially after the pandemic,” Tuy said. “There are a lot of students still trying to heal and get back into their pace for academics. For me, AANAPISI has helped me get through hardships.”
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MCC Faculty to Perform Concert for Lowell City of Learning Festival10/3/202310/16/2023 10:59 AM
The Middlesex Community College Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series will hold a performance as part of the Lowell City of Learning Festival. MCC faculty members will collaborate on Literature through Music at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 14 at the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“The concert is a fantastic exploration of the interweaving of music and poetry,” said Daniel Fridley, MCC Music faculty member. “Drawing repertoire from over four centuries, it reaches back to the poets and musicians of the French Renaissance, German Romantics, and even includes poetry and music by modern authors and composers. It should be fascinating to see how the words and music relate to each other differently and in some of the same ways throughout that much time.”

Fridley, singer, will be joined by fellow MCC faculty members Orlando Cela, flutist; Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, pianist; Raley Beggs, guitarist; and Todd Brunel, bass clarinetist, will present a lecture concert featuring musical works inspired by poetry. English faculty member Tom Laughlin will also read his poem “Jazz” while Brunel improvises.

“I’m honored to be invited to participate in the concert,” Laughlin said. “I’m also excited to be working with jazz clarinetist Todd Brunel who will perform while I recite my poem.”

Other performances at MCC’s Academic Arts Center this semester include Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 22; and another by the LCO at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9.

“A World of Music” will also feature an Online Saturday Arts Concert featuring MCC faculty and alumni at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 11 and a Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 4 at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall.

Previous performances this season included the Lowell Chamber Orchestra and Guitar Music from South Africa. All concerts are free and open to the public.

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.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/

"I am very grateful to my colleagues from various departments who will either be performing or reading poetry for our Literature through Music concert,” Rodríguez-Peralta said. “We are all looking forward to participating in this event!"
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MCC Student Pursues Dream of Earning a Degree with MassReconnect9/26/202310/12/2023 2:35 PM
From the moment Governor Maura Healey introduced MassReconnect, Tracy Mendes, of Lowell, had been waiting to enroll. Through the initiative, Middlesex Community College offers a free associate degree, certificate or industry credential to Massachusetts residents 25 years and older who do not have a degree. MassReconnect provided Mendes with the opportunity to start in MCC’s Fashion Merchandising program this Fall semester.

“The fact that I never graduated and received my degree when I was younger has been hanging over my head for the past 45 years,” Mendes said. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity to return to school and get a second chance. I could not have done it financially without the program, but the very best part is finding out that I’m not the only one that needed this chance!”

To help eligible students get started, MCC reached out to current, former and prospective students to make sure they were aware of the benefits of MassReconnect. Mendes is appreciative of the support she received from the college, including talking to a staff member on Zoom to go through each step of the process.

“It is very hard once you’ve started your life and career to go back to school after being out of for a period of time,” Mendes said. “It’s hard to find the time and the money to devote to your education once you have started working and it’s truly a miracle for anyone that couldn’t earn their degree before because of money constraints.”

Launching in time for the start of MCC’s Fall 2023 semester, MassReconnect allows eligible students to register now, including for classes as part of MCC’s Mini-mester II. Starting on Monday, October 30, Mini-mester II offers a selection of accelerated, eight-week classes for students to jumpstart their education.

Mini-mesters provide the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled in the traditional 15-week semester. This allows students to complete general education requirements and earn credits and explore a variety of subjects, including arts and humanities, business, education, health, social science, public service and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Having worked for a number of years in merchandising, Mendes chose to come to Middlesex because the college was highly rated and offered a program in her field. Although the prospect of returning to school felt difficult in the beginning, MCC and MassReconnect helped make her dream of earning a degree possible.

“It really could not have been easier,” she said. “Since I’m in my mid-sixties and I have already had a career in merchandising, I think I’ll proudly accept my diploma and retire happily knowing that I finally finished my degree.”

MCC’s Fall 2023 Mini-mester II offers students a second chance to start, beginning on Monday, October 30. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/minimesters/ for more information and to register.
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Take Charge of Your Finances with MCC’s Financial Wellness Series9/25/202310/11/2023 11:07 AM
Whether saving money, earning a degree, or planning for the future, Middlesex Community College is here to help students set themselves up for success. As part of the Success Scholars Program, 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 Tuesday, 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 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in-person at MCC’s Lowell campus Multicultural Center or online.
  • Tuesday, October 3 – Better Budget Basics: Financial Freedom Starts Here
  • Tuesday, October 10 – Scholarship Blueprint: Navigating Your Success to Funding
  • Tuesday, October 17 – The 4S Approach: Savvy Savings, Sagacious Spending
  • Tuesday, October 24 – Set Your Path: Starting Your Debt Reduction Journey
  • Tuesday, October 31 – UMC: Understanding and Managing Credit
  • Tuesday, November 7 – Financially Ever After: Financial Wellness Beyond College
MCC’s Success Scholars Program supports Asian American, Black, African American, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ students with academic advising, career preparedness, accessing resources and student support services throughout the college, and learning how to be a successful college student.

All MCC students are invited to attend the Financial Wellness Workshop Series. Lunch will be provided for students participating in person.

Participants are encouraged to register in advance: https://forms.gle/8yUFxQxwiQ5N3njG9
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MCC Names New Dean of Education & K-16 Partnerships9/21/202310/10/2023 11:11 AM
Middlesex Community College has named Russell Olwell as the new Dean of Education and K-16 Partnerships. Throughout his career, he has taught at the middle school, high school and college levels and helped create two early college programs in Massachusetts. Most recently, he was Associate Dean of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College where he also ran the Early College Program.

“I love helping people get started in their careers as educators,” Olwell said. “I have been fortunate to see my students become leaders in the field, including one superintendent and a few principals.”

Coming to work at Middlesex feels like a familiar environment for Olwell. His mother was an alumna of a community college as both a student and employee, and he spent a lot of time at the campus library as a child with her.

“I have long been impressed with MCC’s programs and have had some alumni of MCC in my classes over the years,” he said. “MCC has some wonderful education programs that are leading the state in their K-16 efforts.”

In his role, Olwell will lead a number of MCC’s education programs. These include the college’s education department, early childhood education grant program, early college, dual enrollment, GEAR UP, Upward Bound and Talent Search efforts. He looks forward to supporting students and faculty in his department at MCC.

“I think the most important part of the role is highlighting the amazing work our faculty and staff do in the community,” Olwell said. “These reach thousands of students each week in Lowell and throughout the state.”

For the Fall 2023 semester, MCC’s Early College Promise program is welcoming a new cohort of 37 students who are on track to earn 30 or more credits this academic year. The education department is also offering coursework in education in Spanish for the first time to help students move forward in their educational journey, according to Olwell. This includes early childhood and elementary education students who decide to transfer on to four-year institutions.

Having earned a teaching certificate from Wellesley College, Olwell holds a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As Dean of Education and K-16 Partnerships, he looks forward to showing the community how MCC can help individuals launch their careers in education.

“I love getting to meet our students and their families,” he said. “MCC has so many great programs to support students in education, including a great early childhood education scholarship program that enables students to enter a vital field for our community.”
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MCC Faculty Member to Perform As Part of College Concert Series9/20/202310/5/2023 10:48 AM
As part of the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series, Middlesex Community College will welcome faculty member and noted guitarist Raley Beggs for a lecture recital. The performance will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 3 at the MCC Bedford Campus Concert Hall.

Beggs will feature the music of South African guitarist and composer David Hewitt, whose compositions blend his European roots with native/Indigenous music from South Africa. Several of his works for his solo guitar will be performed.

“David Hewitt (1947-2001) left the guitar repertoire a collection of works that reflect his experiences and inspirations from western traditions of guitar along with his fascinations with Zulu maskanda music,” Beggs said. “The resulting compositions constitute a body of work that is utterly unique and dramatically underrepresented today. This concert will offer a hearty introduction to the world of South African music through the life of composer David Hewitt and his innovative exploration of Southern African guitar styles."

The concert is co-sponsored by the MCC Commonwealth Honors Program (CHP). MCC’s CHP provides equitable and inclusive opportunities for intellectually curious and motivated students to develop their fullest potential and enrich their college experience. Binnur Ercem, MCC’s Professor of Sociology & Cultural Anthropology and Director of the CHP, believes the “A World of Music” concert series matches the values of the CHP.

"The partnership between the honors program and concert series is an enriching academic experience, as well as a celebration of cultural diversity and artistic talent,” Ercem said. “This lecture recital will take attendees on an academic journey into the history and culture of South Africa through the universal language of music, offering a platform for students to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of world cultures and musical expressions.”

“A World of Music” will also include an Online Saturday Arts Concert featuring MCC faculty and alumni at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, as well as a Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 4 at MCC’s Bedford Concert Hall.

Performances throughout the semester will also take place at the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center, including Literature through Music at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 14; Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 22; and a second performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9.

The Fall 2023 season kicked off on September 16 with a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra at the Academic Arts Center. All 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. For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/
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MCC Hires New Intern as Counselor for Wellness Resource Center9/14/202310/4/2023 2:02 PM
With a goal of improving the quality of mental health and wellness services offered to students, Middlesex Community College has hired Mei-Lien Swanson, of Norwood, as an intern in the Wellness Resource Center (WRC). A second-year graduate student at William James College (WJC), Swanson will act as a counselor to support students’ mental and physical wellness and help them achieve their academic and personal goals.

“I have a strong passion for mental health, specifically within a college setting and am so excited to be part of the community,” Swanson said. “I believe this internship will support me in strengthening my skills to become a more experienced mental health counselor.”

The internship is part of a partnership with WJC to help increase MCC’s awareness of students’ essential needs and provide them with more visibility and access to college and community resources, according to Leonard Russ, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Student Support Services. In her role, Swanson will use a person-centered approach to support students struggling with circumstances such as anxiety, depression and life skills.

“MCC believed a partnership with WJC would be a key supporter in achieving our goal because their clinical mental health counseling is rooted in social justice and respect for diversity and multicultural perspective with professionals who are committed to delivering culturally responsive care,” Russ said. “Students who seek services from Mei-Lien will be able to work with her to establish and work toward achieving goals that address social emotional barriers that may hinder their ability to matriculate.”

Originally from Maryland, Swanson moved to Massachusetts to earn a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts of Lowell. During her first semester, she found it difficult to be far from home and turned to the university’s counseling center for help.

Seeing firsthand the difference that support services can make on a student’s experience led to her pursuing a career in the mental health field. She also met many MCC alumni who sparked her interest in working in a community college environment.

“I was excited to find that MCC was offering an internship position because I was very familiar with the Lowell community and wanted to support MCC due to the positive experiences that I heard of from students,” Swanson said. “I hope to bring additional support to the students and add to the collaborative process among the department.”

Swanson’s internship at MCC will run through May. After graduating from WJC, her goal is to earn licensure hours to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. In the future, she strives to own a private practice.

“I believe that MCC will help me significantly in reaching my goal in having my own private practice because I am able to work with many students of a wide age range and different stages,” Swanson said.

The MCC community can meet with Swanson and other members of the WRC at the open house and ribbon cutting at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about MCC’s variety of services, supports and resources for mental health, food, housing and financial needs.
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MCC to Host Award-winning Writer as Part of Visiting Writers Series9/19/202310/3/2023 11:40 AM
Middlesex Community College will host award-winning writer John Fulton as part of the college’s Visiting Writers Series at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3 in the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center Recital Hall in Lowell.

“The teaching of reading and writing fiction is more essential than ever in this divisive and divided moment since this discipline teaches us not only the skills and techniques for understanding our world but also how to imagine and empathize with those who may be different from us,” Fulton said. “As a teacher and writer, I value helping students learn how to find their own voices. Just as importantly, I encourage them to imagine the world as seen through perspectives not their own.”

A professor and director of the MFA program at UMass Boston, Fulton has published four books of fiction, including the newly released “The Flounder and other stories” (Blackwater Press, 2023) – a Poets & Writers Page One New and Noteworthy Book selection.

He has also written “The Animal Girl” (LSU Press, 2007), a Story Prize Notable Book; “Retribution” (Picador USA, 2001), which won the Southern Review Short Fiction Prize; and the novel “More Than Enough” (Picador USA, 2022), a Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers selection and the Salt Lake City Tribune Best Adult Novel for the West for 2002.

Fulton’s short fiction has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and has been published in many literary magazines and journals, including Missouri Review, The Sun, Zoetrope, and Ploughshares. He has received grants and fellowships from the New York Writers Institute, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.

MCC Visiting Writers Series is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Office of Student Engagement.
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Three MCC Faculty Members Awarded for Courses of Distinction9/12/202310/2/2023 11:12 AM
A leader of award-winning online education for over 25 years, Middlesex Community College offers immersive and interactive courses via online, on-campus, hybrid and hyflex formats. Middlesex faculty members Kate Baker, Madhu Dhar and Leah MacPherson received 2023 Courses of Distinction (COD) Awards from Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) for building a sense of community and excellence within their online classes.

An English faculty member for 12 years, Baker builds community within her virtual classroom through personal messages, google slides, and weekly video guides. She uses hands-on exercises and assignments where classmates engage with each other throughout the semester. Her goal is to build empathy and respect for her students’ varied perspectives and lived experiences by providing the space for them to share their ideas and opinions.

“I really appreciate the recognition, and I think the award is a testament to the collegiality and collaboration among faculty at MCC,” Baker said. “My online teaching has improved because I work with amazing people who are willing to share ideas, and we have a common goal to become better educators and do our best to support students. There are so many people going above and beyond to help improve our students’ lives and our MCC community.”

Dhar, a Science faculty member, has been at MCC for seven years. One way in which she brings her online students together is collaborating with the UMass Lowell Observatory to offer a virtual viewing session. The opportunity provides her students with the chance to engage in deeper discussions and feel unity with their classmates.

“[Receiving the award] is an acknowledgement of a job well-done and is justification for the agony, self-doubt and hard work that went into the class,” Dhar said. “In a classroom, creating a space of equity and belonging, students who come together with the common goal of learning feel more invested and connected to their classroom community.”

Dental Hygiene faculty member MacPherson has worked at MCC for 23 years. At the start of her class, she asks her students to complete a survey about their previous learning experiences to learn about what does and does not work for them, their backgrounds, previous jobs, interests, and any concerns. This helps her to show her students that she cares and is interested in them as people. She also uses group activities throughout the semester to “foster and promote teamwork.”

“At MCC, teaching and learning is valued and is at the heart of what we do,” MacPherson said. “Here I can focus on what I love, which is teaching and I’m able to keep working on improving my classes. I was very surprised to receive this award. I do think it takes a village to teach and I am grateful for all the support I have received from the college.”
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MCC Alum Pursues Passion with Life-changing Opportunity9/7/20239/28/2023 10:44 AM
In high school, Irfan Margoob, of Burlington, was more interested in working on his art than his classes. With his friends’ influence and family’s support, he graduated. Margoob’s family continued to encourage him, leading him to attend Middlesex Community College and major in Graphic Design. At MCC as a student, his outlook, hobbies and habits changed. He now works at the college as a Graphic Designer for MCC’s Office of Marketing Communications.

“Middlesex is where I broke out of my shell and started to talk to and hang out with people outside of school,” Margoob said. “I found Middlesex to be one of the best environments I have ever been in. The willingness to all learn together was incredible and everybody was super friendly.”

MCC’s Graphic Design program helped Margoob better understand different creative software and how to use them more efficiently. Beyond learning the fundamentals of the career path, he developed his own style and approach. Margoob credits his growth to professors like Joe Eiler and Jeanne Cronin. Through their guidance, he expanded his knowledge in and outside of the classroom.

“Eiler genuinely tried to teach me lessons to make sure that I could succeed,” Margoob said. “He wanted me to know that I can get the education I need to be a graphic designer and that I do have the skills and talent. The same goes for all the professors at Middlesex, they are all very encouraging. I never really asked for help in high school but coming into Middlesex, I started becoming more open to asking questions.”

Margoob made friends in his classes as well as by joining an unofficial Dungeons & Dragons club at the college. He found working with his fellow designers and peers to be beneficial and motivating. “We had friendly competition with each other which I thought was healthy,” he said. “It helped me want to achieve more.”

After Margoob received his associate degree at MCC in 2018, he wanted to continue to push himself. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design at Lesley University in 2022. This experience reconnected him with his friends from MCC and improved the way he viewed design as an art form and career. While attending Lesley, he also interned at Lowell Telecommunications Center as a graphic designer.

Upon completing his education, Margoob worked at Essex Media Group as a Page Layout Designer. The opportunity to work at MCC appeared in a Facebook group post that Cronin shared with alumni of MCC’s Graphic Design program. Returning to MCC as an employee was an exciting prospect for Margoob.

“Middlesex holds a very special place in my heart,” he said. “It is the place where I really found most of my personality to have developed and met all of my long-term close friends. The college set forth who I am and what I am doing right now with my career.”
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MCC to Host Constitution Day Event on Free Speech & Racial Justice9/13/20239/27/2023 11:14 AM
Led by the Office of Civic & Service-Learning, Middlesex Community College helps spark students’ interest in their constitutional rights, voting and other issues. Middlesex will host a Constitution Day event on Tuesday, September 19 with a presentation from Traci Griffith, Racial Justice Program Coordinator at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

MCC Paralegal Studies student Oriana Lara, of Lawrence, is looking forward to attending this year’s Constitution Day event to learn more about how others interpret what constitution means to them. In going to these events, Lara can combine classroom learning with real-life issues.

“As I continue to navigate the legal system, I want to participate in more events that will educate me and provide me with the knowledge to help others who are in the shadows,” Lara said. “It is easy to govern a country with people who are ignored in the decisions being made on ‘their behalf.’”

During the event, Griffith will discuss first amendment rights and the impact recent SCOTUS decisions will have on the future. Bringing Griffith to campus is the result of previous successful panels enjoyed by the community, according Kelly Bowes, MCC’s Coordinator of Civic & Service-Learning.

“As a community, MCC has been grappling with a number of discussion topics, including free speech, racial justice and the recent SCOTUS decisions, and Traci’s expertise and experience will be welcomed by our campus community as we learn from her and from each other,” Bowes said. “It’s the perfect event to kick off our year of civic learning and engagement, that will culminate in a historic presidential election next fall.”

A lawyer, journalist, academic and advocate, Griffith most recently served as an Associate Professor in the Communications Department at Simmons University and previously was Chair of Media Studies at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Her areas of research focus have included First Amendment law and ethics, as well as Race and Gender representation in media.

Griffith is a former correspondent and national editor for the Associated Press and holds a JD from Notre Dame, M.S. in Journalism from Florida A&M, and BA in Political Science from DePaul. Her most recent work includes a well-received four-part series with New England News Collaborative on racism in New England.

During the past eight years, Griffith served on the Executive Committee of the National ACLU Board of Directors, and served as the National Board Secretary. Before joining the National ACLU Board as the Vermont representative in 2014, she served the Vermont board as its Vice-President and as a member of the Executive and Nominating Committees.

The presentation and Q&A will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in-person in the Lowell Cowan Center Cafeteria or on Zoom. Email Bowes at bowesk@middlesex.mass.edu for more information and to RSVP.
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MCC’s Grab n’ Go Initiative Offers Free, Healthy Food to Community9/6/20239/26/2023 9:51 AM
Since 2016, Middlesex Community College has run food pantries on the college’s Bedford and Lowell campuses. With grant funding from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and support from the Merrimack Valley Food Bank (MVFB) and Mill City Grows, Middlesex has launched the Healthy Foods Grab n’ Go Initiative. Through the initiative, MCC students and employees can grab healthy food options for free from convenient and busy spots around campus.

“We’re expanding on the traditional pantry model in both quantity and quality of items that we provide,” said Jonathan Crockett, MCC’s Coordinator of Essential Needs & Community Resources. “We’re able to be more thoughtful about offering healthy options, such as fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and pre-packaged meals that are nutritionally sound and easy to grab. In doing so, there’s been increased an awareness and appreciation of community engagement with it.”

With the grant funding, MCC also hired Bob Bruder to work as the college’s Coordinator of Access to Healthy Foods. Working with local organizations – such as MVFB and Mill City Grows – Bruder picks up donations of hundreds of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to put out on a table in MCC’s Lowell Cowan Center Lobby weekly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“With a focus on health, wellness and accessibility, grab and go allows us to set up in more public spaces where students and employees see it front and center,” Crockett said. “Grabbing food items on the way reduces the stigma of participating and accepting free food. People often don’t realize in the moment that it’s part of the pantry supplies.”

Middlesex received another grant from MVFB to purchase a full-size refrigerator, two chest freezers, and food handling and storage equipment in direct support of the Grab n’ Go initiative. The equipment has been placed in common areas easy for people to take as needed. The college also received a grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation to increase the amount of culturally relevant food options available.

In partnership with Lex Eat Together, a volunteer-run organization in Lexington that provides free and nutritious meals to the community, MCC handed out free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and juice to students and employees starting in Spring 2023. The partnership will continue throughout the Fall on Wednesdays as part of Grab n’ Go with options to expand.

Bruder is also asking MCC community members to bring in extra produce from their gardens to donate to the Grab n’ Go initiative. Entitled “Harvest Fest,” the goal is to “build a healthy culture of sharing with everyone getting involved,” as it makes a difference in students’ lives.

“In order to enrich the mind, you need to enrich the body,” Bruder said. “One student I talked to this summer is a single mom taking classes and working at night. She told me she used to be in class not knowing how she would feed her kids. When she became aware of the food pantry, she could study and focus because she knew she had two days’ worth of meals she didn’t need to worry about for her children. Without this, she might have had to make a decision to not finish her education. She wants a better life for her and her children, and this helps that goal.”

For more information or to make a donation, contact Bruder at bruderb@middlesex.mass.edu.
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Start College on Your Timeframe with MCC’s Fall Mini-mester II9/11/20239/25/2023 2:25 PM
From high school-aged students gaining college credit to professionals advancing in their careers – and individuals of all ages and stages in-between – Middlesex Community College guides students on their paths to a degree, certificate or industry credential. For those not ready for the September start, MCC’s accelerated, eight-week Mini-mester II offers a second chance to begin classes on Monday, October 30.

“MCC’s flexible Mini-mesters allow students to make attending college a priority and possibility,” said Jeffrey Tejada, MCC’s Director of International Admissions & Compliance. “With the second Mini-mester starting mid-way through the semester, students can begin their education when they want, fully commit to the subjects that meet their needs, and be set up on a fast track to success as they continue onto four-year institutions or into the workforce.”

Offered twice each in the Fall and Spring semesters, Mini-mesters provide the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled in the traditional 15-week semester. The accelerated sessions are a popular and convenient option for many students, allowing many to fit more classes into their schedule throughout the semester and finish their program faster.

All MCC students gain access to award-winning student support services and resources to help them succeed from day one, including tutoring, advising and financial aid assistance. Students enrolled in Mini-mester II may also qualify for financial aid.

MCC encourages students to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to find out their eligibility. From 8:3 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays throughout September, students can meet one-on-one with financial aid counselors in Bedford and Lowell to get their questions answered and go through the application process.

Students taking classes as part of MCC’s Mini-mester II may also be eligible for MassReconnect. For Massachusetts residents who are 25+ and do not have a degree, MassReconnect allows Middlesex students to earn a free associate degree, certificate or industry credential.

There is still time to register for MCC’s Fall 2023 semester, including Mini-mesters I and II. For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ or call 1-800-818-3434.
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MCC Kicks Off “World of Music” with Lowell Chamber Orchestra9/5/20239/21/2023 11:00 AM
Middlesex Community College will kick off the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series with a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“We are delighted to be opening the fall season with the Lowell Chamber Orchestra,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “Our Fall ‘World of Music’ concert series will feature a wonderful variety of music, including orchestral music, faculty performances, lecture recitals, an exciting Klezmer Band, and an online concert in collaboration with Dracut Arts. There’s something for everyone!

The LCO, conducted by MCC faculty member Orlando Cela, will present a concert featuring miniature symphonies. Works by Yoko Nakatani, Brittney Benton, Vincent Persichetti, and Arnold Schoenberg will be performed.

Other performances at the Academic Arts Center this semester include Literature through Music at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 14; Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 22; and a second performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9.

“A World of Music” will also hold performances at MCC’s Concert Hall on the Bedford Campus, including Guitar Music of South African Composer David Hewitt at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 3 and a Student Recital at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 4.

There will also be an Online Saturday Arts Concert featuring MCC faculty and an alum at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 11.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

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.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/
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MCC Hires New Executive Director of Diversity, Equity & Belonging8/31/20239/20/2023 10:57 AM
Middlesex Community College is excited to announce Maria Isabel Gariepy as the new Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging. Most recently, Gariepy was the Chief Diversity and Equity Office/Executive Director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity at Worcester State University. At Middlesex, she looks forward to returning to a community college setting and focusing on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) work.

“Ensuring that everyone feels like they belong at our institution and that they can be the best version of themselves is what I strive for in my personal and professional life, and what I want employees and students like to remember,” Gariepy said. “I was attracted to this position as I am familiar with the work that President Sisson, Provost Rodríguez and my predecessor, as well as the rest of the leadership team, have spearheaded over the last several years. Now is an exciting and very important time to continue to be committed to and elevate equity work further and to weave it into all actions, planning, strategies and programming.”

Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Gariepy received a bachelor’s degree in Finance and International Relations from San Martin University in Colombia and earned an MBA in Human Resource Management at Fitchburg State University.

She started her career in finance, working in private industry before transitioning to human resources (HR) and higher education. For six years, she worked in HR, diversity, inclusion, compliance, investigations, training and reporting at Mount Wachusett Community College before moving to Worcester State.

Gariepy recently completed an Executive Leadership Institute program, as well as the Latino Board Fellowship with Latinos for Education. A certified Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) trainer, she serves as the Chair of the ACE Women’s Network Massachusetts chapter, and previously served as Vice President for the New England Association for Colombian Children (NEACOL).

“Maria brings extensive certifications and a wealth of experience in DEIB programming,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “We are ecstatic to welcome her to the college and continue the crucial work MCC does for the college and wider communities to provide equitable and accessible experiences for all.”

At MCC, Gariepy will help ensure the principles and framework of racial equity are embedded into the work happening at the college and community. A resource to MCC employees, students and community members, she will also help lead the college’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (CTRHT).

In her role, Gariepy hopes to provide candid conversation and conscious engagement throughout all departments, programs and initiatives at MCC. Maintaining an open-door policy for the community, she strives to be a resource and help deliver tools, research and best practices with a racial equity lens and framework.

“Having a position that centers racial healing, inclusion, belonging and the experiences of those historically marginalized in higher education is a significant institutional commitment that highlights the impact and outcomes we would like to continue seeing around retention, enrollment, hiring, and sense of belonging,” Gariepy said. “Together, we can explore how we can continue to center equity and belonging within the work happening in all departments and levels of the institution.”
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MCC’s Links Program Gives Students Extra Boost of Support8/30/20239/19/2023 12:57 PM
Middlesex Community College provides students of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to pursue higher education. Students who have a high school diploma or equivalency credential can take advantage of MCC’s Links program. The tuition-free program is designed to provide extra support for students starting college.

“Links students benefit from extra support while taking classes toward their chosen associate degree major or certificate program,” said Karen Spengler, MCC’s Links Program Coordinator/Advisor. “Links offers cohort classes along with individualized academic and career guidance. The program is a unique opportunity for students to acclimate to college in a supportive setting while earning free college credits.”

MCC’s 2023-2024 Student Trustee Sarah Alzate-Pérez is a Fine and Performing Arts Theatre major from Colombia who now lives in Lowell. She credits Spengler and the Links program for impacting her experience at Middlesex most.

“The Links program gave me the opportunity to get involved in college as a way to start pursuing my dreams,” Alzate-Pérez said.

The Links program is supported by a grant from the Massaschusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Students attend at no cost to them while earning an associate degree, certificate or industry credential.

The program collaborates with MCC’s Adult Learning Center (ALC), as well as other centers throughout Massachusetts. While students who come from the ALC are given priority, other students are encouraged to apply.

In small class sizes, students gain skills needed to succeed in college-level courses. The program also provides guidance on their next academic and professional steps.

From Uganda and now Acton, Donnah Mukanziza is part of MCC’s Biotechnology Learn & Earn Experience. She appreciates how the Links program focuses on students’ individual needs.

“The teachers’ involvement with the students made it easier to learn,” Mukanziza said. “They give enormous guidance on what to do next.”
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MCC Offers Grant Funding Toward Health Programs Starting in Fall8/29/20239/14/2023 1:06 PM
In the Fall 2023 semester, students who are low-income, unemployed or underemployed can receive free funding toward qualifying health programs at Middlesex Community College. Both the accelerated Medical Laboratory Technology associate degree and Medical Assisting certificate programs can be completed within two years.

“We are able to offer supplemental funding up to $6,000 for qualifying students in these programs,” said Karen Townsend, MCC’s Dean of Health. “Our accelerated health programs prepare students to sit for certification exams and directly enter fields that are actively seeking employees in under one year. Through a combination of specially designed curriculum and clinicals led by professionals who have experience in their fields, our students gain the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in their roles.”

Middlesex received over $1 million through the ETF Program run by the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges and Executive Office of Education toward noncredit and credit programs. The funding supports students pursuing in-demand fields in health and information technology (IT).

Adela Peci, of Beverly, chose to come to MCC because it was one of the only colleges offering the Medical Laboratory Technology program near her. She had worked as a lab assistant and was looking to advance in her career. She is looking forward to sitting for the certification exam and starting to work as a med lab tech.

“[MCC’s Medical Laboratory Technology program] was collaborative and there was always help and support when needed,” Peci said. “The program helps you meet a lot of people that will help in school and future career opportunities. It opens up a lot of options for your future and what you want to do.”

While working as a certified nurse assistant at a nursing home, Timothy McCarthy, of Lowell, was inspired to expand his career in healthcare. In MCC’s Medical Assisting certificate program, he was able to learn from instructors, classmates and coworkers in his clinical experience who kept him motivated. He is now working at Lowell Community Health Center and planning to become an LPN.

“When the opportunity to go to MCC and become a medical assistant for free came my way, I knew I had to take that opportunity,” McCarthy said. “It’s important to keep learning, keeping knowledge fresh and caring for those who need it.”

For more information on eligibility, contact Suzanne McHale, MCC’s Professor & Program Coordinator of Medical Laboratory Technology at mchales@middlesex.mass.edu or 978-322-8412 or Claudia Guillen, MCC’s Program Coordinator of Medical Assisting, at guillenc@middlesex.mass.edu or 978-656-324.
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MCC President Phil Sisson Joins Governor Healey to Launch Free Community College for Massachusetts Residents 25+, Celebrates $100,000 to Each Community College for Implementation8/28/20239/13/2023 10:45 AM
Middlesex Community College President Phil Sisson joined Governor Maura T. Healey to launch MassReconnect, her administration’s new program establishing free community college for Massachusetts residents aged 25 and older, and awarded $100,000 to each of Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges to support the quick implementation of the program this fall. Governor Healey and President Sisson were joined by Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll, Senate President Karen Spilka, Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega, and other community college presidents today at MassBay Community College’s Wellesley Campus. During the event, the Healey-Driscoll Administration highlighted the first MassReconnect students at MassBay, celebrating the impact the program is expected to have for students across the state.

“MassReconnect will be transformative for thousands of students, for our amazing community colleges, and for our economy,” said Governor Healey. “It will bolster the role of community colleges as economic drivers in our state and help us better meet the needs of businesses to find qualified, well-trained workers. We can also make progress in breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty by helping residents complete their higher education credentials so they can attain good jobs and build a career path. Our administration is grateful for the partnership of the Legislature to move forward on this critical program that will make our state more affordable, competitive and equitable.”

“Our administration and our community college partners are ready to hit the ground running with MassReconnect this fall semester. We encourage any eligible students who might have been holding off on taking that final step to enroll to do so now to begin this next stage of their education and career,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “We are also proud to be setting our community colleges up for success by providing them each with $100,000 for implementation of this lifechanging program.”

“In Massachusetts, we know that getting an education is a key to the middle class, supporting a family, building a life, and pursuing a brighter future. In this year's state budget, we thrust open the doors to those opportunities and countless others, by making community college free for people 25 and over, making nursing programs at community colleges free for all individuals, and setting our state on a path to universal free community college in 2024,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “These proposals are a major step towards the Senate's Student Opportunity Plan and are crucial to ensuring residents have the tools to build the futures they dream of—right here in Massachusetts. I am deeply grateful to Governor Healey, Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, Secretary Tutwiler, Commissioner Ortega, Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, Senate Higher Education Committee Co-chair Jo Comerford, and Speaker Mariano, for making education a priority in Massachusetts.”

“MassReconnect will create life-changing educational and career opportunities through free community college for qualifying residents at institutions such as Quincy College and at other community colleges across the Commonwealth, including for many residents from historically underserved communities. This program will also help to address key labor shortages, while ensuring that Massachusetts possesses a highly trained workforce that is prepared for the industries of the future,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “I want to thank the Healey Administration, Chairman Michlewitz and my colleagues in the House, as well as Senate President Spilka and our partners in the Senate, for working to include this transformative program in the Commonwealth’s FY24 budget.”

Governor Healey invested $20 million in MassReconnect for the first year of implementation in her first budget that she signed earlier this month. This funding covers the full cost of tuition and fees and includes an allowance for books and supplies at each of Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges. Additionally, each community college will also receive $100,000 from this funding to support student and community program awareness, staffing, and program administration. Quincy College also received $1.5 million in the FY24 budget to operate a similar program.

There is still time to enroll in MassReconnect for this fall. The only steps necessary to sign up are to enroll in at least six credits per semester in an approved program of study leading to an associate degree or certificate at one of the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges and complete the 2023-2024 FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid). There is no deadline to sign up. The majority of community college programs begin the first week of September, but there are scattered start dates throughout the semester, so students can enroll at any time.

In order to qualify for MassReconnect, students must be 25 or older on the first day of their classes and be a permanent Massachusetts resident for at least one year at the start of the enrolled term. The program is limited to residents who have not previously earned a college degree (associates or bachelor’s) who enroll in at least six credits per semester in an approved program of study leading to an associate degree or certificate at a community college.

“There’s no doubt that with MassReconnect we will be able to change the lives of each of the students who take advantage of this historic opportunity to achieve their degree,” said Secretary of Education Tutwiler. “But beyond our students, this program will also strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy and our public higher education system, By investing in our community college students, the Healey-Driscoll Administration is investing in the future of the Commonwealth.”

MassReconnect will likely support up to 6,500-8,000 community college students in the first year, which could grow to closer to 10,000 students by FY25, depending on how many students take advantage of the new opportunity. They could include current students, new students, or returning students who did not complete their degree. There are approximately 700,000 Massachusetts residents who have some college credit but no degree. MassReconnect will help bring back these students to finish their degrees, with the additional funding and support they may have been lacking the first time.

“With the Healey-Driscoll Administration's record-breaking investment in higher education, including the highest levels of support for financial aid and scholarships the Commonwealth has ever seen, we will be able to expand access to higher learning more than ever before. MassReconnect is the centerpiece of that effort,” said Commissioner of the Department of Higher Education Ortega. “For all the Massachusetts adults out there who had to put their education on hold or didn’t have the opportunity to pursue it in the first place, now is your chance to pursue a degree or certificate to advance your career and transform your life and that of your family.”

The Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges are a ticket to economic mobility for many Massachusetts residents, and thus are key drivers of our business and our economic success. Nationally, employees who have earned their associate degree are paid 18 percent more than workers with only a high school diploma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And these well-paying jobs are just waiting to be filled—in July 2023 there were more than 26,000 unique job postings in the Commonwealth that specifically required an associate degree. MassReconnect will harness the power of our community colleges by allowing workers to earn the training and education necessary for their career growth and reinforcing our pipeline of skilled industry professionals entering the workforce.

"For adults coming to one of the fifteen community colleges across the Commonwealth, MassReconnect removes one of the biggest barriers to attendance: cost," said Jim Vander Hooven, president of Mount Wachusett Community College and chair of the Community College Council of Presidents. "By making community college completely free for any adult over 25 in Massachusetts without a degree, the Healey-Driscoll Administration is making an historic investment in our state's workforce and providing hundreds of thousands of adults with a clear pathway to a career."

“At Middlesex Community College, we know there are many adults 25 and over who attempted higher education and were initially unsuccessful or had to stop out for a myriad of reasons. MCC is ready to meet each learner where they are and guide them to reach their individual goals,” said President Sisson. “MassReconnect enables us to reach a larger, more diverse population of students whose lives will be transformed with an education – be it a degree, certificate or industry credential. We are excited to partner on this initiative and help adults 25+ advance in their careers with our industry-guided curriculum and hands-on experiences.”
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In His Return to MCC, Professor Vows to Guide Students to Success8/24/20239/12/2023 3:20 PM
Angel Escalona, of Beverly, developed a passion for mathematics and science growing up in a small village in Venezuela. He was the first in his family to go to college, earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering from an important institution in his country. Now, he is an Engineering and Engineering Technology professor at Middlesex Community College.

“The main reason to work at MCC is to see how we can positively affect and improve students’ lives through education and knowledge,” Escalona said. “I see myself reflected in them because I shared a similar background to that of most of my students.”

After graduating from high school, Escalona moved to the U.S. for a year to study English, a skill he believes is valuable to working in engineering. He returned to Venezuela to work at car companies, including PSA Group and Ford Motors. These opportunities helped him gain relevant, hands-on experiences in the field, including working on processes and design equipment on the assembly floor.

Deciding to further his education, Escalona attended Merrimack College in North Andover where he studied and worked as a Teacher Assistant (TA). As a TA, he found helping struggling students to be a fulfilling experience, leading to his interest in teaching.

“When I came to teach here for the first time, it was just a job, but I quickly fell in love with the community, the students and my coworkers,” he said. “After one semester teaching, I decided to start my own business with my family and leave the position. Four years later, I decided to come back to teaching and MCC was my first option.”

In his return to teaching at MCC, Escalona is hoping to inspire his students with the combination of his experience, background and passion for science and knowledge. To the department, he wants to bring new ideas that will help continue to move the program forward. Escalona and the department’s focus remains on guiding students to success.

One project Escalona is working on is developing the Computer Aided Design (CAD) Learn and Earn Experience debuting in January 2024. The career integrated learning opportunity will allow students to work in a paid, full-time position in the field at a partner company while completing their associate degree at the same time. The curriculum and practical experience at Middlesex are developed to meet the needs of the company in which students are completing their internships.

Escalona believes students should come to MCC because of the “passionate, well-prepared” faculty and staff available to offer support. Because of the experiences he had during his own time in college, his goal is to “do everything possible to help you achieve your academic goals.”

“I feel very fortunate to have the privilege to teach at MCC,” he said. “My professors always made sure we had the opportunity to get the best possible education regardless of our background or our economic situation. For that reason, I like to work hard and be able to offer my students the tools they need to succeed regardless of their situation.”
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MCC Offers Teens an Early Start to College & Career Exploration8/22/20239/11/2023 10:57 AM
This Fall, teens can get early exposure to possible careers and earn a college credit with Middlesex Community College’s College for Teens program. Through MCC’s Community Education and Training (CET) division, young students can explore business and health pathways to learn new skills and help prepare them for college.

“MCC’s College for Teens programs help jumpstart college and professional experiences for high school-aged students,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Education. “Before they have even started college, these students are learning valuable knowledge and skills and developing helpful habits students can use in college and in their future careers.”

In MCC’s Business Career Exploration class, high school students will gain an introduction to business skills and concepts. Topics include different organizations, financial accounting, and understanding simplified financial statements. The course will also provide an opportunity to do career mapping, writing and research to develop a real-world understanding of jobs in the business and accounting fields, as well as how to get them.

Full-time MCC accounting and business professor Vikram Sharma will teach the online course that will run 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, running September 20 to October 25.

MCC’s Medical Lab Tech Career Exploration introduces students to medical laboratory science. 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.

The course will be taught by Suzanne McHale, MCC’s Professor and Program Coordinator of Medical Laboratory Technology. Running 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, September 27 to October 23, the class will take place on MCC’s Lowell campus. For the last class, students will attend a field trip to a local hospital laboratory to meet and hear from employees.

“It’s never too early to start the college process and part of that is trying to figure out what you want to study,” Nahabedian said. “MCC offers a cost-effective, low-risk way for students to explore their interests, learn about career paths, and jumpstart their futures.”
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MCC and LYLP Partner to Expose Campers to College Experience8/23/20239/7/2023 10:58 AM
After connecting with the leaders of the Lowell Youth Leadership Program (LYLP) at an event in Lowell, Middlesex Community College President Phil Sisson was interested in building a partnership between the two organizations. Founded by MCC alum Andres Lopez, LYLP’s mission aligns with MCC’s to offer an accessible and equitable experience to all students.

“We were thrilled to be able to support this amazing free program to help kids who might never be able to afford to attend a summer camp get that experience,” President Sisson said. “They wanted to expose their older campers to the concept of going to college, so we invited them to visit our Lowell campus and learn more about what the college experience at MCC provides. I also had a wonderful time meeting with the campers and talking to them about leadership during a recent visit to their location at the Greater Lowell Technical High School.”

LYLP is a leadership camp serving campers ages 10 to 16, junior counselors ages 16 to 20, and counselors ages 21 to 25. Lopez graduated from MCC in 2006 as a Liberal Arts and Sciences major and was excited to reconnect with the college. He believes MCC “provides what we search for in our instructors – ‘high quality service at no cost.’”

“One reason why LYLP felt to partner with MCC is it really mirrors the community we serve – diversity in socioeconomic status and culture,” Lopez said. “They are in the center of Lowell and they are a resource that some of our campers and counselors could benefit from. We want to assure we can provide services that could help in their journey to becoming community leaders.”

In addition to meeting with President Sisson, the campers took a tour of the Lowell campus and met with members of MCC’s Wellness Resource Center and Success Scholars Program teams. They enjoyed a demonstration from MCC’s Dental Assisting program in the college’s recently renovated lab and a guitar performance from MCC Music faculty member Raley Beggs. To end the day, they enjoyed a pizza lunch in MCC’s cafeteria.

“We designed a series of workshops for the campers to learn about some of the opportunities and benefits MCC offers to students,” said Jeffrey Tejada, MCC’s Director of International Admissions & Compliance. “The campers were engaged, curious and excited to be on campus.”

Lopez also enjoyed returning to MCC’s campus during LYLP’s visit. From stepping into the cafeteria where he would spend time with his classmates to standing in front of a classroom as a presenter rather than a student, he felt a rewarding sense of nostalgia.

“I always felt a connection to MCC,” Lopez said. “It’s where I learned the habits that propelled me in my journey to pursuing higher education. Thank you for welcoming our future community leaders to something more than they are accustomed to.”
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Middlesex CC Alum Named New Watertown Fire Chief8/17/20239/6/2023 12:48 PM
Ryan Nicholson still remembers helping wash the trucks at the Watertown Fire Department where his uncle worked as a firefighter when he was younger. His own career as a firefighter was helped in part by starting his education at Middlesex Community College where he earned an associate degree in Fire Science. Recently, he was named the new Watertown Fire Chief.

“As Chief, I plan to continue the strong work of my predecessors, especially in the area of firefighter health and wellness,” Nicholson said. “Additionally, I will focus on better utilizing technology to improve on the department’s effectiveness and efficiency when responding to various types of emergencies within the city. The ultimate goal is to provide a top-notch fire service for the citizens and visitors of Watertown, while fostering a work environment that empowers, develops and ensures opportunities to succeed to all employees.”

Having already earned a bachelor’s degree, Nicholson chose to go to Middlesex because it offered a convenient, flexible and cost-effective option to start his new career. During the application process, advisors helped him transfer his previous college credits to Middlesex, providing an “easy and painless” experience.

While working full-time, Nicholson was able to take advantage of online classes and learn from professors who had knowledge of working in the field. Although he had not previously taken online classes, his professors helped him navigate the experience and be successful. He also appreciated that courses in the program applied to topics that were relevant to working in the industry.

“As part of my career path and aspirations, I recognized that furthering my education within the field was necessary to accomplish my goals,” Nicholson said. “My experience at MCC was excellent. I knew right from the start that I had made the right decision.”

In 2006, Nicholson started working as a firefighter in Watertown. While continuing to gain work experience, he was promoted several times and went on to earn his master’s degree in Public Administration.

Nicholson believes starting his education early on in his career made a positive difference in his career path. Not only did he learn valuable information toward his field, he also developed strong study habits that helped him prepare for his promotions.

“Much of what I learned through my time at MCC kept reappearing through the promotion processes, which I feel helped give me an academic advantage,” Nicholson said. “I also think of how I am still able to apply many concepts and materials that were covered when responding to in real world scenarios and emergencies over the last 17 years.”
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MCC Helps International Student “Thrive” in New Environment8/10/20239/5/2023 2:02 PM
Attending Middlesex Community College has helped Notfaza Karim adjust to life in the United States. Through Middlesex, Karim has had the opportunity to explore different cultures and activities after moving to Lowell from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. From taking English language classes to improve her communication skills to gaining a support network with other students, MCC has enabled her to “thrive in this new environment.”

“As an international student, it is important for me to find a good environment for starters and MCC was the perfect fit for me,” Karim said. “I have been able to meet new people, learn new things, and have a great overall experience at MCC.”

From day one, the Biomedical Engineering major found a welcoming and supportive community at Middlesex. Going to campus activities and being a member of various clubs helped Karim adjust to college life, including the A.S.I.A. Club and International Student Club.

Karim also works as a Coordinator for the Bedford Community Garden, tutor for the Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE), and an Orientation Leader. All of these experiences have helped her hone her leadership skills and build connections with her fellow students.

“During my time at the college, I have had the opportunity to learn a great detail from my own Orientation Leader and I want to be able to share some of these experiences with others,” she said. “I believe that I have a lot to offer new students and I will be able to help them navigate some of the challenges that come with starting college.”

In her classes, Karim enjoys interacting with professors and classmates. Her professors are passionate and have real-life experience in their subjects, and share practical advice and guidance with Karim. Working hands-on in her labs has also made a positive impact on her academic and professional journey, showing her that she is pursuing the right field.

“The hands-on experiences with lab work and research have been a great opportunity for me to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom,” Karim said. “Additionally, the supportive and knowledgeable professors in the program have helped me to succeed in my coursework and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Since childhood, Karim has had an interest in science and learning how the body functions. She chose to study Biomedical Engineering because the industry combines biology, medicine and math. In the future, she hopes to improve healthcare and save lives through her work.

After graduating, Karim is deciding between immediately transferring to a four-year institution or taking on an internship. Whichever direction she chooses, she believes her education from MCC “has given me a strong foundation to build upon as I work toward achieving my goals.”

“MCC has been a great blend of both academic and social communication,” she said. “I’m grateful for the opportunities and experiences that this college has provided me with.”
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MCC Adds More Micro-credential Options for the Fall 2023 Semester8/15/20238/31/2023 1:45 PM
For the Fall 2023 semester, Middlesex Community College will offer micro-credentials in four pathways, including Business, Communications, Public Service and Health. Micro-credentials teach specific knowledge for students to earn focused, in-demand career qualifications in some of the fastest growing industries.

“We are excited to once again offer these accelerated, stackable multi-course bundles for students to learn and build upon their skills,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “Micro-credentials are cost-effective, quick, flexible and are designed in consultation with the local workforce and industry partners to ensure that the skills taught are what employers are seeking. This leads to quicker job placement and advancement for many students in fields that are actively hiring.”

Each course as part of MCC’s micro-credentials run for eight weeks. All classes can be completed over the course of one semester. Taught by college professors and industry experts, the focus of each course is on professional and personal development.

Middlesex will offer three Business micro-credentials in the Fall. Two Business options – Culinary Skills and Restaurant Supervisor – will prepare students with the skills to get hired in restaurant positions. The Entrepreneurship Launch @ MCC micro-credential will help students start a small business.

The three Communications micro-credentials include Media Writing, Media Studies, and Communication Skills. Each bundle teaches students effective communication skills to succeed in a variety of jobs within the industry.

MCC’s Criminal and Social Justice program will debut three Public Service micro-credentials this Fall, including Law Enforcement, Private Security, and Social Justice Advocacy. Each course is designed to help students gain the knowledge they need to get hired in these fields.

The new Public Health Informatics & Technology micro-credential debuting this Fall is grant-funded and free for qualifying students interested in working in the highly-skilled public health technology fields. Curriculum was developed by MCC, the Department of Public Health, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology.

Upon successful completion of a micro-credential, students will earn a digital badge to promote their new skillset on LinkedIn and advance in their careers. As each micro-credential course is college-level, students can earn transferable college credit to apply it toward an MCC certificate, associate degree, and to most colleges and universities in Massachusetts and nationwide.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ or call 1-800-818-3434.
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MCC Offers FREE, Grant-Funded Career Training Opportunities8/8/20238/30/2023 10:49 AM
Rachel Furman, of MetroWest Boston, came to Middlesex Community College to jumpstart a new career in Information Technology (IT). As she was unemployed at the time, she was eligible to receive grant funding through the college that paid for the cost of her course.

“After revising my resume to showcase the Google IT certificate and CompTIA A+ training, I landed several IT interviews, ultimately resulting in a job offer working on an IT project for a Mass. state agency,” Furman said. “The skills acquired during the Google IT course played a pivotal role in opening doors for me.”

MCC’s Community Education and Training (CET) division works with industry partners to design their professional development programs. Students gain the knowledge and skills they need to successfully sit for certification exams and directly enter the workforce.

“MCC received $735,000 with supplemental funding that brought it over a million from the ETF Program run by the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges and Executive Office of Education,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “Our noncredit course offerings are focused on information technology (IT) and healthcare because those are the industries that are in high-demand by the local workforce. Our certifications better prepare individuals to enter these industries and set themselves up for long-lasting success.”

Furman attributes her success to the instructor of the course Nate Bowen, who is an IT expert. Although she started in the class with limited knowledge of the material, Bowen kept her motivated to continue when she struggled. Through a combination of drills, videos and lectures, she was able to pass her exam and is planning to take the second one this fall.

“I wanted to learn IT skills to improve my career potential and boost my attractiveness to potential employers,” Furman said. “I liked the class schedule and central location. I had no idea I would end up in Nate’s class. I owe my career change and success to him!”

MCC’s noncredit IT and cybersecurity programs offer a combination of in-class instruction, self-paced study, hands-on labs, and testimonials from working professionals. Options include Google IT Professional Support Certificate/Comp TIA A+ Prep, Cloud Associates/AWS/Azure, and Comp TIA A+ IT Fundamentals.

“We accompany our instruction with resume and interview training and development of 21st century skills, helping with job placement as well as mentorship that continues outside of the classroom,” Bowen said. “We provide a tailored approach to student learning, meeting the students where they are in life with real-world guidance and education to help them succeed within weeks of starting our program.”

MCC’s other qualifying grant-funded programs include Nurse Assistant, Addiction Recovery Coach, Pharmacy Technician, and Technical Writing. All programs include hands-on experiences and relevant practice in a real-world work environment.

For more information on eligibility, contact career_training@middlesex.mass.edu.
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MCC Excited to Offer Free College for 25+ with MassReconnect8/14/20238/29/2023 12:09 PM
As part of Governor Maura Healey’s MassReconnect, Middlesex Community College will offer a free associate degree, certificate or industry credential to Massachusetts residents 25 years and older who do not have a degree, starting in the Fall 2023 semester. Eligible students can register ahead of the semester, which begins on Tuesday, September 5.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Governor Healey and our sister community colleges on MassReconnect, a program that shares our mission for an equitable and accessible education for all,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “We know there are many adults 25 and over who attempted higher education and were initially unsuccessful or had to stop out for a myriad of reasons. MassReconnect is the opportunity for those adults 25+ with credits and no credential to reconnect with us and complete that credential that can offer a pathway to economic mobility.”

MCC is in a unique position to help this population of students receive an education and enter the workforce, according to President Sisson. Adults can take advantage of MassReconnect at MCC, whether they started at Middlesex or at a different school. Students who meet this criteria and have already registered for the semester will also qualify for the free funding.

Middlesex collaborates with local businesses to design the curriculum of its 80+ programs to fill in-demand industries in the state. In many programs, the college includes hands-on, career integrated learning – such as labs, clinicals, internships and more – to provide students with relevant experiences that employers are seeking when hiring.

To help fit education into students’ lives, Middlesex provides flexible and accelerated course options, including on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex formats. This Fall, MCC will offer two eight-week Mini-mesters with the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled in the traditional 15-week semester.

With Mini-mesters, students can complete general education requirements, earn credits, and explore a variety of subjects in a shorter period of time. While Mini-mester I begins on September 5, MCC’s Mini-mester II offers students a second chance to take classes in the semester with a Monday, October 30 start date.

MassReconnect funding allows MCC students to choose between completing an associate degree, certificate or industry credential based on their needs. MCC’s Micro-credentials teach specific knowledge for students to earn focused, in-demand career qualifications in some of the fastest growing industries. Fall 2023 offerings include micro-credentials in Business, Communications, Public Service and Health.

“MCC has flexible options that, working in conjunction with MassReconnect, provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to transfer to four-year institutions or directly enter the workforce,” President Sisson said. “By helping to eliminate the financial barrier that prevents many from pursuing higher education, MassReconnect works in partnership with MCC to make getting an education even more accessible.”

Visit https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/admissions/massreconnect/freecollege.aspx for more information on MassReconnect at MCC.
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Advance Your Career with Professional Development Courses at MCC8/2/20238/28/2023 11:22 AM
At Middlesex Community College, professional development courses and certificates prepare employees to advance in or jumpstart their dream careers. Through the college’s Community Education and Training (CET) division, these offerings help develop marketable skills that are relevant to today’s workforce.

“MCC’s Community Education and Training division works with local industry partners to create and implement courses that meet the workforce’s needs,” said Caitlin Campopiano, MCC’s Director of Workforce Programs and Professional Education. “Employees advance in their careers, start on new paths, and enrich their lives with new experiences. Employers are set-up with knowledgeable and highly skilled employees who fill in-demand roles. It’s a win-win opportunity for all involved.”

MCC’s CET division works with industries to design programs with the most up-to-date knowledge and skills. Subjects include Information Technology (IT), computer applications, healthcare, management, business and communications.

Students looking to update their IT and computer application skills can engage in a suite of classes to be prepared to start entry level jobs in these fields. MCC’s Fall classes include Google IT Support Professional Certificate/Comp TIA A+ Exam, Comp TIA Fundamentals (ITF+) Certification Training, Microsoft Excel Certificate, and the Business Computer Applications Certificate.

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. Courses in the Fall semester include Phlebotomy for Healthcare Professionals, Dental Office Administration, Medical Terminology for Everyone, and Local Anesthesia courses among others.

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. MCC’s Fall 2023 offerings include the award-winning SHRM Essentials of Human Resources class, as well as a Management Certificate with courses on Workplace Communication, Understanding Motivation, Speaking with Confidence, Performance Management, and Introduction to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

During the Fall, Middlesex will also offer courses for employees to enter careers in entry-level business and communications fields. Courses include Accounting/Bookkeeping Fundamentals, Technical Writing, and Nonprofit Management and Grant Writing.

“One of the best ways to start or proceed in your career is by taking continuing education courses,” Campopiano said. “At Middlesex, we have professional development and personal enrichment classes that are flexible, affordable and relevant to a variety of needs.”
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MCC’s Lowell Asian American Film Festival Receives Grant Funding8/16/20238/24/2023 11:41 AM
This October, Middlesex Community College will host its second annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival (LAAFF) at the college’s Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center. Middlesex received a grant from the City of Lowell American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support this year’s festival.

"The Cultural Festivals and Events Grant program was designed to invest in Lowell's Cultural Sector and build it back stronger and more diverse post-pandemic,” said Peter Crewe, Director of Cultural Affairs & Special Events for the City of Lowell. “The City and City Council are thrilled to see the Lowell Asian American Film Festival continue to grow in scope, offer new narratives to bridge cultures, and uplift the voices of Lowell's Asian American community."

The 2023 LAAFF will take place from Friday, October 20 through Sunday, October 23. Over the three days, Middlesex will screen Asian American-directed films from across the country in celebration of art, culture and diversity.

“After the success of the first ever Lowell Asian American Film Festival, we are excited to host for the second time and are grateful to the City of Lowell for this grant funding,” said Virak Uy, MCC’s Director of Asian American Student Achievement Program. “LAAFF’s mission is to empower Asian Americans through art and bring these films to the public. The hope is to inspire future generations of filmmakers, providing access and opportunities for underrepresented community members who are interested in pursuing a career in the film industry.”

MCC has connections with many Asian American community organizations and cultural institutions across Greater Lowell, according to Uy. Hosting the film festival is a way for the college to deepen these relationships and strengthen its commitment to the communities it serves.

“We are looking forward to the upcoming weekend and will provide more information on the films and filmmakers coming this year soon,” Uy said. “Please plan to join us for what is sure to be another wonderful weekend of film and celebration.”
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Middlesex Community College Returns for Year Five of All Within My Hands’ Metallica Scholars Initiative8/9/20238/23/2023 10:59 AM
[Bedford, Mass.] Metallica’s foundation, All Within My Hands, continues its multimillion-dollar investment in critical workforce programs at community colleges nationwide. Among the schools, Middlesex Community College has been invited to return for year five and will continue to receive Metallica Scholars funding to enhance career and technical education programs.

“The Metallica Scholars Initiative is so important to us because we are seeing results,” said Lars Ulrich, Metallica. “Five years in, with the help of community colleges across the country, we are helping people fill these essential jobs which require skills and training. We are so proud and grateful that we can facilitate this program.”

“Middlesex is honored to once again receive funding from the Metallica Scholars Initiative and to be part of a prestigious cohort of community colleges across the country supported by the historic band Metallica,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “In our first year, we developed a training program to provide eligible students with the skills necessary to work in the manufacturing field. Thanks to our Corporate and Community Education and Training division, as well as local community partners, a population of students who needed the support most were able to jumpstart their careers in this in-demand field, gaining hands-on experience and knowledge that will get them hired into stable, well-paying positions.”

With the grant funding, MCC worked with MassHire Lowell Career Center to identify students who were low-income, underemployed or unemployed. Students received a holistic training, working hands-on with software and materials they will use in the field. They also gained access to career advising, professional development, and student support services, including tutoring.

The Metallica Scholars Initiative (MSI) was launched in 2019 by Metallica’s foundation, All Within My Hands (AWMH), in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The workforce initiative marks its fifth year with an ambitious expansion into new curricula. MSI now directly supports 42 community colleges across 33 states, and by the end of this year, it will have helped over 6,000 students pursuing careers in the trades. To date, Metallica and AWMH have invested over $6MM in the American workforce.

Reaffirming a commitment to career and technical education at the local level, each new school brings incredible opportunities to a thriving and growing community.

“The Metallica Scholars Initiative is a strong and cooperative assemblage of the nation’s best community colleges, creating a supportive climate for participants to communicate directly and share best practices,” said Peter Delgrosso, AWMH Executive Director. “As a result, our Metallica Scholars leave the program well-trained and confident. Ultimately, the impact is felt locally and nationally as Metallica Scholars enter the workforce and fill in-demand technical positions.”

The 11 schools joining MSI this year include:
  • Aiken Technical College - Aiken, South Carolina
  • Central Wyoming College – Riverton, Wyoming
  • Columbia State Community College – Columbia, Tennessee
  • Front Range Community College – Westminster, Colorado
  • Itawamba Community College – Fulton, Mississippi
  • Northeast Wisconsin Technical College - Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Oxnard College (Ventura County Community College District) – Oxnard, California
  • South Central College - North Mankato, Minnesota
  • South Louisiana Community College – Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Texas State Technical College – Waco, Texas
  • Western Dakota Technical College - Rapid City, South Dakota
These newly added colleges are joining a roster of veteran schools invited to continue in the program. Each year, the returning colleges play an integral part in helping guide the success of the new schools.

The 31 returning schools include:
  • Clark State Community College - Springfield, Ohio
  • 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
  • East Central College - Union, Missouri
  • Elizabethtown Community & Technical College - Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  • Gateway Technical College - Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Grand Rapids Community College - Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Guilford Technical Community College - Jamestown, North Carolina
  • Hudson County Community College - Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Lone Star College - The Woodlands, Texas
  • Middlesex Community College - Lowell, Massachusetts
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Perkinston, Mississippi
  • Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, Virginia
  • Northwest-Shoals Community College - Muscle Shoals, Alabama
  • Pima Community College - Tucson, Arizona
  • Polk State College - Winter Haven, Florida
  • Rockland Community College - Suffern, New York
  • Salt Lake Community College - Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Juan College – Farmington, New Mexico
  • Spokane Community College - Spokane, Washington
  • Valencia College - Orlando, Florida
  • Victor Valley College - Victorville, California
  • West Virginia University Parkersburg - Parkersburg, Wes Virginia
  • Westchester Community College - Valhalla, New York
  • WSU-Tech - Wichita, Kansas
What began with ten colleges and mostly manufacturing programs has developed into a diverse offering of workforce opportunities for students interested in gaining the skills and training necessary to find meaningful and well-paying careers in fields and positions including:

  • Agriculture
  • Automation and Robotics
  • Automotive Technology
  • Aviation, Computer-Aided Drafting & Design
  • Carpentry
  • Computerized Manufacturing (CNC)
  • Construction Technology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culinary Arts
  • Cybersecurity
  • Diesel Technology
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Electrical Engineering
  • EMT
  • Fire Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Heating & Ventilation (HVAC)
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Hospitality
  • Industrial Maintenance Technology
  • Lineworker
  • Manufacturing & Machining
  • Mechanical Design
  • Mechatronics Engineering
  • Process Technology
  • Trucking (CDL)
  • Welding
  • Wind Energy


  • ABOUT AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES (AACC) As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges leads, advocates, and advances the nation’s community colleges. Uniquely American, community colleges deliver educational and economic opportunities for more than 10 million diverse students annually. Dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers, and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, DC, AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support to increase economic mobility for all.

    ABOUT ALL WITHIN MY HANDS (AWMH) All Within My Hands was established in 2017 by Metallica to invest in the people and places that have supported the band. It also allows Metallica’s fans to engage in philanthropy and volunteerism. The Foundation is dedicated to creating 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.

    Discover your path at Middlesex Community College. As one of the largest, most comprehensive community colleges in Massachusetts, MCC has been a proven leader in education for more than 50 years. Middlesex puts the student first. Meeting each learner where they are, MCC provides them with a safe, welcoming and engaging place to learn. Offering more than 80 degree and certificate programs – plus hundreds of noncredit courses – Middlesex features flexible course formats and a variety of award-winning student support services and resources. Student success starts at MCC!
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    Brew’d Awakening Owner to Teach Café Course at MCC This Fall!7/19/20238/22/2023 11:22 AM
    In the Spring 2024 semester, Middlesex Community College’s Lowell Campus will debut a new café cart open to the public. The café will be run by students taking MCC’s Café Management class in the Fall 2023 semester, taught by Andy Jacobson, owner of Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus in Lowell.

    “I opened Brew’d 18 years ago and it takes time and a lot of work to operate,” Jacobson said. “I have seen many businesses open and close in the city and always hear people wanting to start a coffeeshop, so this is a good opportunity for anyone who is thinking of it or even another business to really understand the ins and outs and what to expect from your own small business. That, coupled with the idea that MCC wants to start a cart to provide work study opportunities for the students, made it very interesting.”

    Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to put together a business plan for a hypothetical or real-life business, according to Jacobson. His class in the Fall 2023 semester will include different sections developing the knowledge and skills students need to open and run a café style business, which could be a shop, cart or truck.

    After receiving training from Jacobson, the Spring 2024 semester will provide opportunities for hands-on practice. MCC will own and operate the cart, led by MCC students and Stacie Hargis, MCC’s Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator.

    “We are excited to offer this unique class to our students to learn everything they need about running a business,” said Kim Morrissey, MCC’s Hospitality & Culinary Arts Program Coordinator. “It is open to all majors and is a cross collaboration between the hospitality, culinary, entrepreneurship and business programs. Students will get firsthand experience with food and beverage preparation, food safety, accounting and marketing, and more!”

    Hearing firsthand from Jacobson will better prepare students for how to successfully run the cart when it opens at Middlesex. He is excited to bring his knowledge to MCC in order for “future entrepreneurs to know what to expect.”

    “I hope this class will be found to be interesting and entertaining,” Jacobson said. “There are a lot of stories I can tell about the day-to-day operations of owning a coffeeshop – things I never expected when writing my business plan.”
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    Take Advantage of Flexible, Accelerated Courses at Middlesex CC8/7/20238/17/2023 11:03 AM
    At Middlesex Community College, students can fit education into their busy lives. The Fall 2023 semester features a variety of course formats and options to best meet students’ needs, from on-campus, online and hybrid options to full-length and accelerated courses. This includes two eight-week Mini-mesters for students to reach their goals faster.

    “Mini-mesters are an excellent way for students to fit more classes into their schedule throughout the semester, helping them complete their degree, certificate or industry credential faster,” said Arlene Rodríguez, MCC’s Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “The accelerated sessions are a popular and convenient option for many of our students. They can start their education when they want, fully commit to a subject in a limited period of time, explore available options, and get on track to transfer to a four-year institution or enter the workforce.”

    MCC’s Fall 2023 semester starts on Tuesday, September 5. Students can choose to register for the traditional 15-week semester or two accelerated eight-week Mini-mesters. While Mini-mester I begins September 5, MCC’s Mini-mester II offers students a second chance to take classes in the semester with a Monday, October 30 start date.

    Students enrolled in the accelerated Mini-mesters receive the same content, academic standards and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled in the traditional 15-week semester. This allows students to complete general education requirements and earn credits and explore a variety of subjects, including arts and humanities, business, education, health, social science, public service and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

    MCC’s flexible Mini-mesters allow students to make going to college a priority and a possibility. All MCC students also gain access to award-winning student support services and resources to help them succeed from day one, including tutoring, advising and financial aid assistance.

    Students enrolled in Mini-mester I and II may also qualify for financial aid. MCC encourages students to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to find out their eligibility. From 8:3 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays throughout the summer, students can meet one-on-one with financial aid counselors in Bedford and Lowell to get their questions answered and go through the application process.

    For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ or call 1-800-818-3434.
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    Alumna Dives into New Role After Graduating from MCC8/3/20238/16/2023 11:05 AM
    When Molly Millett, of Lowell, was diagnosed with cancer, she decided to focus on her health and end her career as a Law Enforcement Park Ranger with the National Park Service. Once her health improved, she returned to school to pursue Paralegal Studies at Middlesex Community College. After graduating in May of 2023, she has already found a job in her new field.

    “The education I received helped me reach many goals already and I haven’t started my job yet,” Millett said. “Through different experiences and personal interests, I decided a paralegal career would be something I wanted to pursue.”

    An internship with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office with the Malden Superior Court was one factor in Millett’s success. In her role, she was able to take the skills and knowledge of what she learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-life situation.

    “I learned I chose correctly when pursuing a paralegal certificate because I had enjoyed interning there, especially when given more complex tasks,” she said.

    Millett found Middlesex through her research of available programs. From talking to Halye Sugarman, MCC’s Program Coordinator for Paralegal Studies, she learned more about the field and what MCC had to offer, including being one of the only American Bar Association (ABA) approved programs in Massachusetts.

    After deciding that both the college and the field would make a good fit, Millett applied to the program. Once at the college, Millett found a sense of community early on that carried her through her time at Middlesex.

    In her classes, she was appreciative of the different backgrounds her professors brought to their lectures and learned a lot. Sugarman, in particular, made an impact both inside and outside of the classroom with her support.

    “I have gained so much self-confidence starting at MCC,” she said. “There have been many skills and techniques I’ve learned.”

    At MCC’s 2023 commencement, Millett graduated with her certificate in Paralegal Studies with High Honors. Looking forward to starting her new job, she feels her education from MCC has helped her believe in herself and feel more comfortable trying something new.

    “My experience here at MCC has been amazing,” she said. “I learned many paralegal skills and general aspects of the job that I would not have gained elsewhere.”
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    Middlesex CC Hosts Graduation Ceremony for New Partnership8/1/20238/15/2023 11:25 AM
    On Thursday, July 28, Middlesex Community College hosted a graduation ceremony for students who completed the RENEW Equipment Technician with Robotics course. The nine program participants received an OSHA 10 certification, are sitting for the Tooling U certification exam, and are eligible to be screened by Insulet for open positions at the company.

    “It is my honor and privilege to stand before you today as we celebrate this outstanding milestone,” said Steeve Auguste, of Fitchburg, who spoke during the ceremony. “The knowledge and experience we have gained has shaped us into Equipment and Robotics Technicians who have mastered the basics of blue print reading, electronics, troubleshooting systems, programming, procedures, quality management systems, principles of leadership. We have also acquired critical thinking, problem solving, and interpersonal skills that will serve us well in the years to come.”

    The nine program completers include Auguste, Magnussen Chery, Louis Schleier, Christian Chan, Enid Famania, Todd Robertson, Motoyuki Yamanaka, Charles Riley, and Steven Gaudet.

    MWCC was awarded the RENEW grant from the Commonwealth Corporation with EOLWD and the Workforce Skills Cabinet, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program was run in coordination with MCC, Mass Life Sciences, Insulet and MassHire.

    “Congratulations to the graduates on their tremendous accomplishment,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “MCC is proud to partner with our sister institution and local businesses to provide these students with the opportunity to advance their professional and personal lives. The graduation was a celebration of their hard work and resilience, and the success of this partnership.”

    “I would like to congratulate the graduates, and thank our friends here at Middlesex Community College for their partnership on this vital program,” President Vander Hooven said.

    In addition to MCC President Sisson and MWCC President Vander Hooven, Jennifer James Price, Undersecretary for Workforce Development for the State of Massachusetts, Ashley Terrill, EOLWD Rescue Plan Program Manager, and representatives from Insulet, Mass Life Sciences, Commonwealth Commitment and MassHire were also in attendance.

    “The Workforce Skills Cabinet and Commonwealth Corporation have been grateful to be part of this partnership helping Insulet build a pipeline of manufacturing talent,” Undersecretary Price said.

    The program ran from May 31 to July 27 on MCC’s Bedford campus. Students worked hands-on to gain relevant knowledge and skills to prepare them to enter an in-demand industry.

    MWCC provided the robotics equipment and trainer, while MCC supported with instructors, curriculum, and collaboration with MassHire Lowell.

    “Caitlyn Gullege of MassHire does a great job of helping interested people get into these types of special programs and she will make her schedule available for that person to get them in the program,” said Amy Veillette, MassHire Lowell Career Center Assistant Manager.

    MCC and MWCC will partner again for a Fall 2023 cohort on MCC’s Bedford campus.

    “The program was great with in-depth learning and a steep learning curve that you could easily access with the help of the staff and teachers,” Gaudet, of Sterling, said. “It was an all-around goal to achieve the end of the class.”
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    There’s Still Time to Register for MCC’s College for Kids Classes!7/31/20238/14/2023 11:27 AM
    Middlesex Community College’s College for Kids is wrapping up another successful summer. Through Friday, August 11, kids ages 8 to 17 can explore interests, learn new skills, meet new friends, and boost self-confidence with a variety of fun and engaging classes.

    “This is the second summer back in-person since the pandemic and it’s been great to see the kids engaged and having fun on our campus,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “Our classes allow kids to enjoy subjects they might not have a chance to during the school year, featuring hands-on, interactive activities in the arts and sciences.”

    Starting on Monday, August 7, there is still time to register for the Cakes & Cupcakes, DIY Crafts, Coding for Teens, and Lego Mindstorms classes. Other options this summer included Fashion Design, Aviation, Introduction to Veterinary Science, All About Science, and Minecraft.

    “My son had a wonderful time at College for Kids,” said Valerie Strezsak, of Tewksbury. “He was thrilled to learn how to do more in Minecraft, and wants to bring his friends with him next year.”

    Students in College for Kids’ Theatre Camp will perform “The Addams Family” at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 11 and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 12.

    Run by MCC’s Community Education and Training division, College for Kids classes are taught by public school teachers and professionals who are experts in their fields. Programs are offered in Bedford, featuring five weeks of full- and half-day programs through August 11, Monday through Thursday.

    Full-day programs run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and half-day programs run 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Students who take two half-day programs to make a full day can stay on campus for lunch in between the two sessions.
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