MCC’s Revamped Medical Billing & Coding Certificate Offered Fully OnlineNew6/17/20246/17/2024 10:08 AM
​Middlesex Community College is committed to helping make education more equitable and accessible. To provide students with more flexible learning options, Middlesex has revamped the medical billing and coding certificate to offer the program fully online.

“We decided to move the program completely online based on feedback from students and also to expand our reach to students beyond the Greater Lowell and Bedford areas,” said Tracey McKethan, MCC’s Program Coordinator for Medical Billing & Coding. “Faculty stay up-to-date using the latest code books and textbooks, along with hands-on learning.”

The program provides students with the skills to work on the administrative side of medicine, according to McKethan. This includes dealing with insurance companies, understanding the claim life cycle and revenue management, as well as converting medical documentation into diagnosis and procedural coding for reimbursement.

By the end of the program, students should be able to report diagnosis and procedure codes following official guidelines, understand electronic health records (EHRs), and Medicare, Medicaid and private payers. In addition to classroom learning, students gain access to career counseling and support, tutoring and other health career-related experiences.

Students will be prepared to take the national coding exam and to work in an entry-level billing or coding position. Options include inpatient and outpatient long-term care facilities, hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, billing agencies and insurance companies.

The 24-credit program is offered online with no scheduled meetings unless needed. Students complete courses over MCC’s accelerated Mini-mesters. The eight-week Mini-mesters provide the same content, academic standards, and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled during the traditional 15-week semester.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ for more information and to register.
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This Summer, MCC to Offer FAA Remote Pilot Certification Course6/11/20246/17/2024 10:06 AM
​This summer, Middlesex Community College is offering an FAA Remote Pilot Certification program. Run by the college’s Community Education and Training (CET) division, the course will take place on MCC’s Bedford Campus starting on Saturday, July 13.

“From real estate agents taking aerial photos to engineers better envisioning their ideas, the pilot certification benefits a variety of industries,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “The program is open to anyone interested in adding a useful skill to their resume or learning a fun new hobby. The certification serves to make businesses more legitimate in the services they offer.”

Over three days, participants will learn about FAA requirements for drone operations, regulations and safety practices. The 21-hour course covers all of the required knowledge content areas of the FAA’s Remote Pilot Test. Skills include regulations, the National Airspace System, weather, aircraft loading and performance, and flight operations.

The program will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for three consecutive Saturdays, from July 13 to July 27. Taught by Aviation and UAS industry expert David Price, previous aviation experience is not required to sign up for the program. Upon completion, students will be prepared to sit for the FAA Remote Pilot Test.

MCC’s CET courses and programs provide employees with the training and skills they need to advance in their careers. Other classes this summer include eligible grant funded programs, including a Business Computer Applications Certificate starting July 12 and Practical Computers beginning August 6.

“We have a variety of programs this summer to help individuals advance their careers and enrich their lives,” Nahabedian said. “Gain valuable and meaningful insight into some of the leading industries in the state to become prepared to get hired into stable and fulfilling roles.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/ for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC’s Evening of Excellence Honors ’24 Graduates5/30/20246/17/2024 10:06 AM
​On Tuesday, May 21, Middlesex Community College held an Evening of Excellence Student Award Celebration to honor the achievements of the 2024 graduating class. Recognizing students for their academic achievements in their program pathways, the event featured three student speakers sharing their stories of success, including Prachi Dayal, Maddy Fadden and Muy Ngy Lov.

“Being named an Evening of Excellence speaker is such an honor,” Dayal said. “My speech reflects on a letter I wrote to my future self in sixth grade, and it was so healing to write and read out loud. Being nominated and then selected instilled so much confidence, and I am so grateful to the people who helped me get there.”

Dayal, from Lowell and now living in Acton, graduated from MCC’s paralegal studies program with highest honors. An MCC tutor and Blackboard Ambassador, she completed an internship at Lowell Juvenile Court and was this year’s recipient of the Deborah Walsh Paralegal Studies Award. She plans to transfer to pursue her bachelor’s degree and one day go to law school.

A Liberal Studies major from Dracut, Fadden graduated with honors. A member and now mentor of MCC’s Success Scholars Program, she was president of Club Prism and is a Commonwealth Honors Scholar. Hoping to one day work in student affairs in higher education, she will transfer to Southern New Hampshire University to earn a bachelor’s in General Studies with a concentration in Diversity and Cultural Awareness.

“To be an Evening of Excellence speaker is such an honor,” Fadden said. “I feel appreciated for everything I’ve done for this community. I truly don’t have enough words to explain how much this means to me.”

From Cambodia and now living in Lowell, Lov graduated from MCC’s biology program with high honors. An active member of the college community, she participated in as many MCC activities and clubs as possible. For her work around campus, she received a Distinguished Student Award for Student Spirit. Interested in pursuing pre-medicine studies, Lov plans to transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree and one day go to medical school.

“To be named an Evening of Excellence speaker, it is both an honor and an opportunity to use my voice to inspire others – especially the youth – and to share my story,” Lov said. “To win an award, it felt surreal as I never thought I would even be considered. It is a privilege and an honor.”

In addition to honoring academic achievements, awards focused on students’ service to MCC through their involvement in programs and leadership experiences. These include Commonwealth Honors Scholars, Engaged Scholars, Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders, Academic Centers for Enrichment Tutors, and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society members.

MCC’s President Phil Sisson, Provost Arlene Rodríguez and faculty and staff from all areas of the college joined the graduates’ family, friends and supporters at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. A reception followed the event.

Provost Rodríguez shared how proud the college was of the students and their dedication throughout the duration of their time at MCC.

“At MCC, we have incredible, hard-working students who have proven their commitment to their academic studies, the college and themselves,” Rodríguez said. “During their time here, these award recipients have showed strong academic achievement and worked in valuable roles across our campuses. We are so proud to honor them with this prestigious recognition.”
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Teens Get an Early Start to College & Career Exploration This Summer at MCC5/28/20246/17/2024 10:06 AM
​This summer at Middlesex Community College, teens can get an early start on the college experience. Through MCC’s Community Education & Training division, students in the College for Teens program can explore the engineering and public service pathways and gain skills to develop future academic and professional interests.

“With our College for Teens programs, young students get the chance to learn about different careers and pathways they can take,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Education. “In addition to learning more about a specific subject, they freshen up valuable skills, gain confidence, and develop helpful habits they can use as they continue their education.”

For students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), an Engineering/Computer Aided Design (CAD) course introduces high school students to the field. The class allows students to explore skills, values and life goals, while teaching tools, such as hand-on printed circuit board layout, 3D printers, and software programs.

Taught by MCC professor Angel Escalona, the class will also provide information on current jobs and career mapping. The class will run from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from June 3 to June 12 on the Bedford Campus.

In the Public Service Career Exploration class, students learn about careers in a variety of fields, including law enforcement agencies, court system, corrections, emergency response services and victim services. High school students will explore how their interests, personality, skills, values and life goals match with their strengths in the public service industry.

In addition, students will go on a walking field trip and tour to the Lowell Police Department and Lowell Justice Center. The Public Service class will be taught by MCC professor Marisol Nobrega from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, July 8 to July 11 on the Lowell Campus.

“We hope to spark students’ interest in the criminal and social justice program and show them that our program is very unique because we offer several paid and unpaid internships, networking opportunities and field trips,” Nobrega said. “I plan to take the teens to visit to the courthouse as well as the police station. I believe criminal justice has many valuable professions and hope to inspire the youth into seeking a degree and career path in one.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/ for more information and to register.
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MCC to Celebrate Commencement of 2024 Graduating Class5/22/20246/17/2024 10:06 AM
Middlesex Community College is excited to celebrate the college’s 52nd Commencement. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 23 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, as well as with a live stream on YouTube by MCC’s Communication, Art & Design students.

“At MCC, the most important day for the college is witnessing our students walk across the stage at commencement,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “Graduation provides an opportunity for us to join together to celebrate each individual’s commitment to reaching their academic, professional and personal goals. All of our graduates have shown resiliency in completing their education and it is vital that we pay respect to the diversity and lived experiences of each and every learner. I am proud to preside over the college-wide event and hear from some of our amazing graduates, distinguished alum, and community members as we mark this special day.”

MCC students Megan Guros and Jennifer Laing will represent their classmates as this year’s commencement speakers. Guros is a Biotechnology major from Andover, while Laing is a Liberal Arts and Sciences major from Venezuela who now lives in Maynard.

Jim D’Agostino, formerly a Vice President at the TJX Companies, Inc. and now with D’Agostino Consulting and Keller Williams Realty North Central, will address the 2024 graduating class as the Distinguished Alum.

A diverse class in terms of backgrounds and experiences, the 2024 graduating class have made a number of accomplishments during their time at the college. The college will award 155 Associate in Arts, 611 Associate in Science, and 99 Certificates on commencement day.

The age range is 17 to 63, with graduates representing 107 Massachusetts cities and towns and 57 countries. There are 50 veterans, 10 Dual Enrollment high school graduates, 85 MCC employees, and 47 percent of the graduates are first generation students.

MCC held a Health Pinning Ceremony and Evening of Excellence Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 21 ahead of commencement. MCC’s health programs pinned 119 graduates, and 50 students received department awards for their achievements.

While eight students made the Commonwealth Commitment to attend a Massachusetts state four-year college or university, MCC’s Commonwealth Honors Program graduated 21 scholars, and 66 are members of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the national honor society for two-year colleges. Nicole Dionne Marques, Lihong Li and Rahim Mian were named to the 2023-2024 PTK All-Massachusetts Academic Team.

“MCC’s 2024 graduating class are a dynamic and talented group of students who are ready to continue on with their education, careers and futures,” said Leonard Russ, MCC’s Dean of Students. “We are proud of each of our graduates and have enjoyed helping them explore their options, discover their passions, and pursue their dreams. I look forward to watching them cross the stage on one of their most important days in their college experience, as well as seeing where their journeys lead them next."

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/graduation/ for more information on MCC’s 2024 commencement ceremony.
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Recent Graduate Found Belonging at MCC Thanks to Community of Support6/13/20246/13/2024 9:41 AM
​After 10 years of being out of school, Maddy Fadden, of Dracut, was looking for a career beyond retail. From the beginning of her time at Middlesex Community College, she found a community of support that made her feel like she belonged. Combined with a variety of opportunities in and outside of the classroom, Fadden realized the academic and professional path she wanted to pursue.

“My experience has been amazing,” Fadden said. “I made friends, met people from all over the world, and got to do things that I normally wouldn’t have done if I didn’t go to school. Also, the support I have received from MCC being a transgender student has been nothing but supportive and it made me feel like I truly belong.”

Joining MCC’s Success Scholars Program helped set Fadden up for success from the start of her time at the college. This includes a program-led New York City Pride trip where she learned more about the opportunities MCC offers and met new friends within her community.

Within the Success Scholars Program, Fadden also had a mentor and worked with faculty and staff who helped her navigate college. They showed her all the resources available to her at MCC and advocated for her needs. Inspired by their guidance, Fadden became a peer mentor to assist others like herself at MCC.

“Without the people who supported me, I wouldn’t be graduating,” Fadden said. “Being part of the Success Scholars Program, I started learning about different communities, religions and traditions. I learned the importance of being a great ally and they did the same with me.”

During her time at Middlesex, Fadden stayed busy on campus. As an orientation leader, she welcomed new students to the college experience. Part of MCC’s Prism Club, Fadden organized events on campus, including the winter formal and the update of the Pride Flag rising. For the 2022-2023 academic year, she was the student body president representing the student voice for MCC’s Office of Student Engagement.

Graduating from MCC with honors in May 2024, she was a Commonwealth Honors Scholar. She was also named a 2024 Evening of Excellence speaker where she shared her story of success with the audience.

“To be an Evening of Excellence speaker is such an honor,” Fadden said. “I feel appreciated for everything I’ve done for this community. I truly don’t have enough words to explain how much this means to me.”

A Liberal Studies major, Fadden enjoyed taking classes in the subjects she wanted to take. Along with her extracurricular activities, this helped her narrow down a career that interested her.

Fadden’s involvement in activities at MCC inspired her to pursue working in student affairs in higher education. In the fall of 2024, she will transfer to Southern New Hampshire University to study General Studies with a concentration in Diversity and Cultural Awareness.

“MCC helped me find my full potential of being a leader, the fundamentals of being a great ally, and introduced me to two of my best friends,” she said. “Being part of this community made me realize that no matter who you are, there is a community who will care for and support you here. All students across this country deserve the education they want and strive for.”
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MCC Students Learn Skills and Earn Certificates Through Metallica Scholarship6/12/20246/13/2024 9:39 AM
Students enrolled in an electronics course at Middlesex Community College were presented with a hand soldering certificate on Friday, May 3. After finishing their final projects, the students reflected on their experiences. The course is fully funded by Metallica’s Foundation, All Within My Hands, through the Metallica Scholars Initiative.

Eden Vachtel, an MCC Biomedical Engineering major from Lexington, learned about the course after MCC Professor Cristopher Algarra emailed her about the opportunity. After receiving more information about it, she was excited.

“At first, I thought about being a doctor, but then I realized I wanted to work behind the scenes,” Vachtel said. “I became more interested in hands-on work and increasing my engineering and manufacturing knowledge. This allowed me to improve my building and problem-solving skills.”

In the Summer of 2022, Middlesex was selected from a competitive field of community colleges across the country to receive $100,000. With the funding, MCC’s Corporate and Community Education and Training division worked with MassHire Lowell to develop an electronics course to teach participants the knowledge and skills they need to be hired into entry-level positions in the advanced manufacturing field.

The course was taught by Professor Nicoleta Cozi on MCC’s Bedford campus where students developed their soldering skills.

Sean Wilcox, an MCC Mechanical Engineering major from Reading, participated in the course after Algarra contacted him. With four years of soldering experience, he wanted to hone his skills.

“I think it is an amazing program,” Wilcox said. “The teachers care about you which is refreshing. The program offers a great path for people who are willing to work hard and put in their best efforts.”

Katy Gentile, MCC’s Assistant Director of Corporate Education and Training, believes that through the program’s scholarship and course offerings, OSHA-30 certification and J-standard preparation, student applicants enrolled in a STEM major or certificate program can build their resume, learn new hands-on skills, and lessen their cost of tuition.

“All three choices are a game changer,” Gentile said. “We are proud to offer a skill developing opportunity that can be life-changing for our students and help them discover stable employment.”

About All Within My Hands (AWMH)

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

About American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)

As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the AACC delivers educational and economic opportunity for more than 10 million diverse students searching for the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,100 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C.. AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.
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2024 MCC Criminal & Social Justice Graduate to Transfer to Harvard University6/6/20246/13/2024 9:39 AM
Growing up in the Boston Housing Authority, Stephanie Berardi, now of Lowell, witnessed and experienced social issues related to race, class and gender. Looking to make positive changes in her community, she started studying Criminal and Social Justice at Middlesex Community College. In the fall of 2024, she will transfer to Harvard University to continue working toward social reform.

“Pursuing higher education was a decision driven by a desire for a better future and the hopes of what could be for me and my community,” Berardi said. “I chose MCC because I knew it was a college that offered equal opportunities to everyone and is a place where anything is possible as long as you’re willing to work for it. I’m pursuing a degree in criminal and social justice to give people the tools to break the cycle and to stand as an ally to all those who think it’s not possible or believe the system can’t be beaten.”

Calling MCC’s Criminal and Social Justice program “comprehensive,” Berardi benefitted from hands-on opportunities and an internship with the Woburn Superior Court. Combined with classes such as Law, Justice and Society and Society and Victims of Crime, these experiences allowed her to explore the role of social issues within the criminal justice system, including poverty, substance abuse, and mental health.

In her internship, Berardi shadowed probation officers to listen to court procedures, learn operating systems, and explore state rehabilitation guidelines. She helped identify relevant programs and develop rehabilitation plans for those struggling with substance abuse, as well as organized and updated case files.

“Seeing this allowed me to grain a new level of empathy and understanding, which helps provide better support and services for them,” she said. “I’ve learned to develop skills to address social problems such as risk assessment, intervention strategies, and rehabilitation. MCC’s classes taught me the value of learning from experience and being able to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to the outside world.”

In addition to working with professors in her program, Berardi connected with members of MCC’s Success Scholars and TRIO programs. In the Success Scholars Program, she was connected to resources, mentors and advisors who helped her navigate college. Through a supportive and welcoming environment, the TRIO program helped Berardi feel like she belonged at Middlesex.

Berardi names the Director of MCC’s TRIO for Student Success Program Joanne Jaber Gauvin as someone who has impacted her most at Middlesex. “She taught me that getting a college education isn’t just about the degree,” she said. “It’s about your experiences while at college and enhancing the way you see the world.”

At MCC, Berardi also appreciated flexible class schedules with online and accelerated options that helped her finish her degree in just one year. As a Commonwealth Honors Scholar, Vice President of the Student Government Association, and a member of the LatinX Club, she learned more about leadership and advocating for the diverse needs of her classmates.

Graduating from MCC with highest honors, Berardi received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship, the 2023 New England Transfer Association Scholarship (NETA) Governing Board Scholarship, and was awarded the Donald J. Melisi Criminal and Social Justice Award for Academic Excellence.

Berardi credits MCC for giving her a foundation for her future.

“MCC was the perfect start for me because it gave me a safe place to learn about what it takes to be a college student while providing me with programs to help me navigate the academic world,” she said. “MCC has supported me and provided opportunities to help me grow socially, academically and professionally.”
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Kids Love Variety of Programming Offered at MCC’s College for Kids Summer Camps6/10/20246/13/2024 9:38 AM
This summer, Middlesex Community College’s College for Kids program are debuting a variety of new classes. In MCC’s summer programs, kids ages 8 to 17 engage in interactive activities to explore future careers, learn new skills, meet new friends, and boost self-confidence.

“I loved the variety of things we did in aviation camp,” said Charlie Dugan, a 10-year-old College for Kids student from North Andover. “We did a lot of hands-on experiments. We used toy planes, paper planes and simulators. The instructor John was very nice and very understanding. I’m looking forward to doing more outdoor experiments this year and to trying another MCC camp.”

College for Kids classes run July 8 to August 8, featuring subjects including Ace Aviation, All About Science, Coding, Dungeons and Dragons, Cakes and Cupcakes, Creative Drawing and Exploration Art Studio.

New programs debuting this summer include subjects in science, game design, improv, dance, and Taylor Swift. In Curious 4 Science Concepts, students have the chance to perform experiments, including a lava lamp and microscopic observation of plant and animal cells. A game design course allows students to build, design and look intro translating games into digital formats. Skills include planning out a timeline, playtesting, design and implementation.

The new On the Spot Improv teaches young students the basics of improv through playing games and creating scenes. Skills include active listening, quick thinking and imagination. Students in the dance bootcamp learn the fundamentals of improv, as well as a pom dance, hip hop, and one they create together throughout the week, ending with a group performance.

MCC’s new (NOT SO) Cruel Summer focuses on the songs and sensation of Taylor Swift. Fans will take a creative writing-based deep dive of the artist’s greatest hits, analyzing the poetry behind her work. There will be the opportunity to listen to songs, watch music videos, and make friendship bracelets.

“We are thrilled to offer a line-up of popular returning and new and exciting programs this summer,” said Ellen Wright, MCC’s Assistant Director of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development. “While our students enjoy collaborating with their friends on topics they wouldn’t normally learn in school, they also gain skills that develop their academic interests that may plant the seeds for potential future careers.”

Programs are taught by public school teachers and expert professionals on MCC’s Bedford and Lowell campuses. Featuring five weeks of full- and half-day programs, 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.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/collegeforkids/ or email CollegeForKids@middlesex.edu and call 781-280-3663.
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Three MCC Students Named to Phi Theta Kappa All-Massachusetts Team6/5/20246/13/2024 9:38 AM
Three Middlesex Community College students were named to the 2024 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-Massachusetts Team: Nicole Dione Marques, Lihong Li and Riam Mian. The students were recognized at a ceremony at the State House in Boston on Friday, May 9.

“It is a great honor to be recognized among so many great students,” Marques said. “MCC has helped reach my goal toward getting a degree while keeping me financially stable. The quality of classes, dedication from staff, and the price per class at MCC is undefeated.”

From Brazil and now living in Tewksbury, Marques graduated from Middlesex as a Business Administration student. In the fall of 2024, she plans to transfer to Boston College to continue studying business and hopes to grow into a management position. She calls attending MCC “one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made.”

Li is an MCC Elementary Education student from Lexington. Having graduated in May 2024, she now plans to transfer to a four-year institution. New to the United States, Li is balancing her studies with being a mother and wife. She credits Middlesex for offering a “personalized education” that meets individual students’ needs.

“I am thankful MCC provides students like me with a fair, equitable, diverse and inclusive educational environment, but also helps student solve the problems they face in life, economics, psychology and other aspects,” Li said. “Being named to the All-MA team makes me feel proud, excited and grateful for the recognition. It’s a validation of my skills and dedication to my studies. It motivates me to keep pushing myself to get even better.”

From Lexington, Mian studied Computer Science at Middlesex. He plans to continue his studies at UMass Amherst before pursuing a master’s degree in artificial intelligence. The former treasurer of the Sustainability Club, he became president and worked in the Bedford campus community garden. At MCC, he benefitted from small class sizes and student support services, such as tutoring in the college’s Academic Centers for Enrichment.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience here at MCC,” Rian said. “I feel grateful that I’ve been selected for the All-MA team. I’m also proud for all the work I’ve put into my academic as well as the time I’ve put into the community here at MCC. I’m looking forward to meeting the other All-MA team members and listening to their different experiences.”

Since 1918, PTK – the international society for two-year colleges – has recognized and encouraged scholarship among community college students, while promoting the academic integrity of the associate degree program. Students with grade point averages of 3.5 or higher are invited to join PTK.

“We are so proud of our PTK student leaders and all of the amazing work they have done during their time at Middlesex and throughout the year,” said Maria McDuffie Clark, MCC’s Director of Student Engagement for Equity. “I am thrilled for Nicole, Lihong and Riam to celebrate their accomplishments at the State House and to have received the All-Massachusetts Academic Team honor.”
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MCC Hosts Women in IT Panel Discussion6/4/20246/13/2024 9:38 AM
To help students learn more about the Information Technology (IT) industry, Middlesex Community College hosted an IT and Cybersecurity panel on Wednesday, April 24. The event featured a panel of female professionals working in the field who discussed their educational journeys, interests and career paths.

When panelist Sokphaneath Taing, an MCC Cybersecurity graduate from Lowell, began her career in IT, the experience was challenging yet exciting. As an intern, she got used to a fast-paced and changing work environment with help from her mentors and coworkers.

“A supportive work environment that respects and encourages everyone’s contributions is significant,” Taing said. “Companies can create programs specifically for women like mentorship programs and professional development workshops to help them advance their careers.”

Panelist Maribel-Fuentes Torres, an MCC Cybersecurity student and IT Support for RSA Security, encourages women to take advantage of opportunities that organizations in the IT field offer.

“There is a vast amount of information to learn and understand so it is important to offer flexibility for working moms,” Torres said. “This allows us to contribute and build leadership.”

Panelist Adjoa Edzie, founder and CEO of Gruuvv, believes that improving representation in IT is important. She recognizes that female leaders can inspire other women to enter the field. Their participation can influence and help women progress in their careers.

“Initiatives like leadership training for women, policies that support work-life balance, and active recruitment and retention strategies can play a significant role,” Edzie said. “By creating a more inclusive culture that actively supports women's advancement, we can inspire a new generation to pursue careers in IT.”

Panelist Grace-Rebecca Mecha, Health Policy and Program Analyst for Public Consulting Group, wanted to work in IT to make a positive impact and develop new ideas. After almost a decade of work in a variety of IT roles, she found her place and felt more comfortable in the field.

“It was pretty interesting to figure out what my abilities were in the IT space,” Mecha said. “The best ways to learn them are by application and trial and error. Once you get over the learning curve, it is easier to recognize your strengths and opportunities for improvement and sharpen your skill set.”

Panelist Ama Edzie, Head of Product at Gruuvv, wants more workplaces to appreciate and respect women. When she got started in IT, the experience was difficult, but it led to growth.

“There were times I doubted myself,” Edzie said. “I had many situations where I felt less valued and unsupported because I was the only female of color. But with those challenges, there was excitement in being a part of change and helping others through technology. Each task became a chance to learn and build confidence in my abilities.”

Each panelist shared their experiences in IT, gave career advice, and answered questions in the Lowell Campus Cafeteria. After the panelists spoke, attendees had the opportunity to network and were served lunch.

John Mercado, an MCC Science and Cybersecurity student from Lawrence, appreciated how professional the panelists were. He enjoyed hearing them talk about their work experience and accomplishments. The panel also made him feel encouraged about his career pursuits.

“I learned to always ask questions and be willing to learn that mistakes are going to be made,” Mercado said. “Embracing those mistakes and making adjustments will lead me to having a bright future and continue moving forward.”

Marie Tupaj, MCC’s Dean of STEM, promoted the panel’s significance and impact on students.

“The panelists gave examples of resilience and creativity,” she said. “Their stories were applicable to everyone and relatable to minorities in tech fields. The event provided a way for the panelists and students to learn from each other.”
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Get Ahead and Register for MCC’s Fall Semester6/3/20246/12/2024 10:47 AM
At Middlesex Community College, new and returning students can plan ahead and set themselves up for success by registering for the Fall 2024 semester. Featuring flexible and affordable options, MCC guides students through exploring options, starting a new career, transferring to a four-year school, or upgrading skills.

“Although summer is a busy and fast-moving time for many, we are ready to assist students with making their fall plans now,” said Yohanka Tejada, MCC’s Interim Assistant Dean of Pathway and Academic Advising. “Those who register early get the best pick of classes, have time to organize their schedules to fit their needs, and meet with advisors. Doing so will put you in a great position to adjust to college life and start the fall off strong.”

MCC helps students fit education into their busy schedules with on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex classes for over 80 programs. Students can also choose to take classes as part of the traditional 15-week semester or over two accelerated eight-week sessions.

MCC’s Mini-mesters provide the same content, academic standards, and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled during the traditional 15-week semester. Accelerated sessions allow students to finish credits faster, take classes over a shorter period of time, and balance their studies with other responsibilities.

To help students pay for college, Middlesex offers Financial Aid and Financial Wellness support, as well as access to scholarship and grant opportunities. Many of MCC’s programs also provide students with a chance to apply the knowledge they learn in classes to real-world experiences, including Learn and Earn, internships, Service-Learning, lab and clinicals, and networking sessions.

The Fall 2024 semester begins on Tuesday, September 3. While Fall Mini-mester I begins the same day, MCC’s Fall Mini-mester II will start later in the semester on Monday, October 28.

Over the summer, MCC will also offer a final five-week session starting on Monday, July 8.

“We have many options designed to meet your needs,” Tejada said. “Register now and get on the path to reaching your goals.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC Pins 119 Health Graduates from the 2024 Class5/29/20246/11/2024 11:02 AM
​Middlesex Community College celebrated the achievements of 119 graduates of the class of 2024 with a Health Pinning Ceremony on Tuesday, May 21 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Gordana Marchio and Katie Matte addressed their classmates as the two student speakers this year.

“Being named a health pinning speaker is a tremendous honor and privilege,” Marchio said. “My hope is that my speech will be inspiring and motivating for others, especially those who may be facing their own challenges or contemplating their next steps in life.”

From Serbia and now living in Winchester, Marchio graduated from MCC’s Dental Hygiene program with highest honors and is one of two recipients of this year’s Dental Hygiene Award for Academic Excellence. Looking to re-enter the workforce, the mother of two chose to come to MCC because of the college’s strong reputation, high-quality programming, and opportunities for growth in and outside of the classroom.

At MCC, Marchio built upon her background in dental assisting, including as a tutor for the college’s Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE). She strengthened her skills through clinicals at the VA Bedford Hospital, Middlesex House of Corrections, and the D’Youville Life and Wellness Community. After MCC, she plans to work in private practice, continue her education to receive a master’s, and one day teach in the field.

Matte, of Dracut, graduated from MCC’s nursing program with high honors. She took evening and weekend classes to balance her studies with working a full-time job and raising two children. With a master’s in public health, she has worked in healthcare for over a decade, choosing to enter the nursing field to offer high-quality care to vulnerable populations.

MCC’s courses, professors and hands-on experiences provided Matte with a comprehensive understanding of how and why they care for patients in the nursing field. She had clinicals in long-term care, rehab, pediatrics, maternity, labor and delivery, geriatrics, psychiatry, public health and surgery. She has already accepted a role working in acute care at a local hospital and plans to pursue a master’s degree.

“It was important to represent my peers because they are all such impressive people,” Matte said. “I am excited to share our journey together and I’m so proud to be part of this amazing cohort of students. MCC is the launchpad I needed to transition into a second career as a nurse. It would not have been possible for me without a program structured like this, and I’ve found many local hospitals have so much respect for the education we get here.”

An honored tradition, the pinning emphasizes the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the graduates entering the fields. Graduates received ribbons of different colors representing their programs, which include Nursing, Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Dental Laboratory Technology, Medical Assisting, Medical Laboratory Technology, Radiologic Technology, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and the Academy of Health Professions.

MCC’s President Phil Sisson, Provost Arlene Rodríguez, Dean of Health Karen Townsend, and faculty and staff from all areas of the college joined the graduates’ families, friends and supporters to honor their pinning. Dawn Chandonnet, a 2001 alumna of the nursing program, spoke during this year’s pinning.

Currently working toward a doctorate in nursing practice journey, Chandonnet received a bachelor’s in nursing and a master’s as a clinical nurse educator. In her 24-year career, she has assisted in making changes in the nursing practice and onboarding new nurses. A member of the American Organization of Nursing Leadership, Organization of Nurse Leaders, and Sigma Theta Tao, she is a chair of councils within her organization.

“MCC prepared with skills, knowledge and opportunities to practice nursing,” Chandonnet said. “Attaining this degree opened so many amazing doors in my professional career. For that, I am truly grateful. I would encourage new graduates to continue reflecting on their why when choosing nursing as a profession. Having a purpose at the forefront of your thoughts as you grow on your professional and personal journey is important. It keeps you focused on what you are trying to achieve, and why!”

During the ceremony, graduates were called on stage individually to receive their pins from faculty of MCC’s health programs. Each program then recited a pledge to practice their new professions ethically, promote health for all, and advance their fields. A reception with family and friends followed the ceremony.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of our 2024 health graduates and witness them receive their pins,” Townsend said. “Throughout their time at MCC, the graduates have shown their determination, dedication and resiliency in honing their skills and improving their craft. As they progress into their fields, I know they will continue to make us proud as compassionate healthcare providers, future leaders and innovators of the industries in which they serve.”
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MCC Student Screens Film at Boston Independent Film Festival5/15/20246/10/2024 12:37 PM
​Middlesex Community College selected Communication student Donovan Meehan’s film “TRAEH” as the college’s submission to the 2024 Boston Independent Film Festival on May 4. From Concord, Meehan directed and edited the film, assisted by MCC students Phillip Nelsen and Abby Hamill.

“It feels really great to have my film in the festival and I am really looking forward to seeing it on the big screen,” Meehan said. “I am studying film after a long experience of not being able to find a career that suits me. I settled on my true passion.”

Meehan wrote and shot the film over the summer of 2023. Based on Instagram memes about Ryan Gosling characters, the film focuses on neo noir movies and features an ending plot twist to “flip the cliché on its head.”

“TRAEH” was also one of 29 films from five countries screened at the Lowell Film Festival on April 6. MCC co-hosted the first-ever event with UMass Lowell at MCC’s Academic Arts Center.

“The Lowell Film Festival was my first film festival that I have attended since starting my journey into the world of filmmaking,” Meehan said. “It was a really cool and exciting experience.”

MCC’s program has provided Meehan with various hands-on experiences to improve his knowledge and skills in the industry. In addition to working on his own projects, he has interned for the college’s Communication division by filming events and acting as a teaching assistant in classes.

He chose to come to Middlesex based on its convenient location, affordable prices, and on recommendation from his mother who is an alumna of MCC’s Dental Hygiene program. While he explored different subjects in his first year at the college, Meehan discovered his love of filmmaking thanks in part to professor and Chair of the Communication, Art & Design division Dr. Jennifer Bauer.

“When we met in my first semester of second year, Jen Bauer saw I had potential and took me under her wing,” Meehan said. “She helped me not only create fantastic pieces of work, but also allowed me to do what I am passionate about, which in turn makes the work that much better.”

After graduating from MCC, Meehan wants to continue his filmmaking with shorts and other projects. He is also working toward getting into the union for set design. His goal is to build connections and make his way up in the industry as he films his own projects on the side.

With plans to transfer to a state four-year institution, Meehan credits MCC for a “top-notch education” that helped him explore his passion.

“MCC has allowed me to grow my craft and expand my knowledge,” he said. “I have truly enjoyed my time at MCC and cannot see any other way that I would have come out in the same path if not for the school and the community it has given me.”
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MCC Commencement Speaker Thrived in MCC’s Learn & Earn Program5/21/20246/6/2024 11:09 AM
From childhood, Megan Guros, of Andover, has lived with a disability and a diagnosis of a rare disease that brought a life expectancy of 15 years. Medical advancements helped her survive, improved her quality of life, and inspired a passion for the field of biotechnology, which she pursued at Middlesex Community College. Guros is one of two graduation speakers representing the class of 2024 at MCC’s Commencement held on Thursday, May 23 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

“It is an immense honor and profound responsibility to be selected as a commencement speaker,” Guros said. “Given the struggles I have experienced with my health, I doubted my ability to ever graduate. This opportunity allows me to reflect on our shared experiences and the resilience we've demonstrated throughout our educational journey. It's a platform to express gratitude, share insights, and inspire my classmates as we all prepare to embark on our next chapters.”

In MCC’s Learn and Earn Experience, Guros appreciated the “unique” opportunity to study while gaining relevant experience and supporting her family. Bringing firsthand knowledge to the company as a rare disease patient, Guros interned at Ultragenyx. She feels that the labs and classes as part of MCC’s Biotech program prepared her to be a productive member of her team working hands-on within the supply chain.

“The internship has greatly contributed to my education by offering me real-world industry experience,” she said. “This helps me to know the right questions to ask for further clarification and assists me in seeing how everything we are learning comes together in industry.”

One of the reasons Guros first chose to come to MCC was the diverse student body. She believes the “rich and vibrant learning environment” at the college provides an opportunity to work with and learn from people with different backgrounds, cultures and life experiences.

Faculty and staff have also made a big impact on Guros’s time at Middlesex. By creating a safe space in which to learn, Dr. Mariluci Bladon, MCC’s Professor & Chair of Biotechnology, helped Guros feel comfortable asking for assistance and pushing herself to succeed. Guros also has guidance in the TRIO Program for Student Achievement, including from director Jennifer Stach. This network of support allowed her to make the return to college, knowing she has built-in help as she navigates her college experience and any challenges that may arise.

“My experience at MCC has been transformative,” Guros said. “The faculty's engagement, the wealth of knowledge I have gained, and the unwavering support I have received have shaped my educational journey into one that is fulfilling and rewarding.

Guros was President of MCC's Biotech Club and of the student chapters of the New England Parenteral Drug Association and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, as well as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, MCC’s Commonwealth Honors Program, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Graduating with highest honors, she is now studying at Northeastern University on a scholarship to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She credits MCC for helping to build a foundation for her future.

“I have found my path and I am excited again for the future,” she said. “MCC has helped me move forward in my life from a place of merely surviving to a course on which I am thriving. I am determined to do the biotech program proud and have a real impact in the industry.”
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Community of Support Helped Commencement Student Speaker Find Her Path5/21/20246/5/2024 11:08 AM
For Jennifer Laing, from Venezuela and now living in Maynard, the people of Middlesex Community College made a positive impact on her college experience. A Liberal Arts and Sciences major, Laing is one of two graduation speakers representing the class of 2024 at MCC’s Commencement held on Thursday, May 23 at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

“I am incredibly delighted to represent the student body at graduation,” Laing said. “The MCC community of faculty, students and staff members have made my experience here enriching, exciting and exalting. I hope I can deliver a message that can reciprocate their care and support.”

Laing is honored to have been asked to speak at graduation. From classmates to professors, she sees her speech as an opportunity to give back to the people who inspired her. Calling the MCC community “generous, resourceful and very special,” she appreciated taking advantage of all of the opportunities available to her at Middlesex in and outside of the classroom.

“I could not have anticipated the support I have received from faculty, peers and staff over the past two years,” Laing said. “I chose MCC because the school offers a great variety of online classes, but I stayed at MCC because every single human I have interacted with has impacted my journey in inspiring and encouraging ways.”

The support Laing found at Middlesex started with her first ever professor, Dr. Denise Marchionda. By experiencing a welcoming environment, Laing felt more comfortable beginning her academic journey. With Dr. Marchionda’s guidance, Laing also pushed herself harder to “reach my fullest potential.”

“She believed I could do great things here at MCC, and made me believe it too,” Laing said. “She continues to be a mentor as well as a source of motivation to keep going after my academic goals.”

When Laing first started at Middlesex, her goal was to earn a college education. Unsure of what she wanted to study or pursue for a career, Laing’s husband recommended she start with general education courses. Exploring a variety of subjects helped her find her passion. She also gained a “well-rounded foundation” to help her develop goals and a plan for the future.

An active community member at Middlesex, Laing enjoyed attending campus events and working as a writing tutor for MCC’s Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE). Graduating with highest honors, she is a member of MCC’s Commonwealth Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa, the honors society for two-year schools.

As she looks forward to transferring to a four-year institution, Laing hopes to continue to use the knowledge, skills and confidence she found at Middlesex. At her new school, she plans to major in English and minor in Psychology.

Laing emphasizes the value of having a community of supportive employees and classmates dedicated to her growth and development. As she graduates and continues on with her education and into the workforce, she hopes to take what she has learned from the college and apply it to her new endeavors.

“Being a student at MCC has been a fantastic experience,” she said. “I have grown as a scholar, friend, mother and thinker because of my experiences and education here.”
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MCC to Close Out Spring 2024 “World of Music” with Faculty Performance5/20/20246/4/2024 11:37 AM
Middlesex Community College will close out the Spring 2024 “A World of Music” concert series with a performance by MCC faculty member Raley Beggs and Carl Straussner. The concert will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 at the MCC Concert Hall on the Bedford Campus.

"Carl and I are thrilled to deliver this program of acoustic sunshine to the MCC community,” Beggs said. “Working in tandem and true to our roots, ‘Duo du Sud’ zooms in on an eclectic mix of world music through the sonically intimate, binocular lenses of two guitars."

The guitarists will present a concert featuring western classical music and works by South African composers inspired by traditional African music. Duo du Sud seeks to revitalize and expand the guitar repertoire, performing concerts that are equal parts virtuosic and vibrant. Works by Robert Johnson, Johannes Kapsberger, Ali Farka Touré, and David Hewitt will be performed.

The Spring 2024 “World of Music” series included two performances by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, February 18 and Saturday, May 4; A Chopin Celebration on Sunday March 3; Duos and Trios for Oboe, Flute and Piano on Friday, April 5; and a Student Recital on Monday, April 22.

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. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/ for more information.
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MCC Communication Students Get Inside Look at Local Production Studio5/8/20246/3/2024 12:15 PM
In March, the Middlesex Community College Communication, Art and Design division participated in the Camera Operator Bootcamp hosted by Red Sky Studios with the Mass Production Coalition (MPC). The day-long experience allowed students to see and hear from professionals who work in various camera roles on productions.

“My friends and I want to collaborate more on film and video projects and this experience was a great way to see what efficient communication looks like and all the pieces involved to make the process as smooth as possible,” said Max Gofstein, an MCC Communication student from Lowell. “It was a lot to take in but was well worth the trip. The amount of people you meet [at these events] is immense and the opportunity to learn from professionals is one you don’t want to miss.”

Gofstein and classmates enjoyed learning about the different roles on set, as well as how to build camera rigs, frame shots, follow actors, and pull focus manually, among other skills. Throughout the day, the students engaged in breakout sessions, hands-on demonstrations, a career panel, and question and answer sessions.

Joining the students were MCC’s Director of Media Production François de Costerd, MCC’s Media Production Coordinator Jeff Caplan and part-time Communication employee – and MCC alumna – Cristina Rivera.

“Students were able to get firsthand experience with cinema equipment that is out of reach for 99 percent of schools,” de Costerd said. “In addition, being able to speak with film professionals directly was very exciting. It allows them to see what ‘being on set’ entails and find out what they like to do. Several of our students found their calling that day.”

As part of the MPC, Middlesex has more access to filmmakers, production companies, creative agencies and studios. MCC students interacted with industry professionals who worked on productions filmed in the area, such as “American Hustle,” “The Holdovers,” “Spirited,” “Defending Jacob” and “Little Women.”

This connection allows for more “experiential learning” opportunities that help students – and MCC’s program – advance.

“As I was leaving the studios, David Hartman – the Director of MPC – remarked to me how great a job we were doing with the program at MCC,” de Costerd said. “These opportunities are great for students to get a sense of the opportunities that exist for them outside of MCC, but there’s also plenty for them here at the college."
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Register Now for MCC’s Summer and Fall 2024 Semesters5/13/20245/30/2024 10:27 AM
​Get ahead and register now for Middlesex Community College’s Summer and Fall 2024 semesters. Featuring flexible and affordable classes, MCC will help students get on track to reach their goals. Summer classes start on Tuesday, May 28, while the Fall semester begins Tuesday, September 3.

“At MCC, we design courses that help students fit education into their busy lives,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “By choosing what works best for their schedules, students are better able to have their individual needs met. We have on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex classes and a choice of over 80 programs. This Summer and Fall provides a perfect opportunity to explore interests, develop a plan, and access resources and support services that will guide them to success.”

Over the summer, MCC’s sessions are three, five and eight weeks long.
  • Summer Quickstart: three weeks, May 28 to June 14
  • Summer Session One: five weeks, May 28 to June 27
  • Summer Session Two: eight weeks, May 28 to July 29
  • Summer Session Three: five weeks, July 8 to August 8
For the Fall, students can choose between the traditional 15-week semester or two eight-week accelerated Mini-mesters.
  • Fall Semester: 15 weeks, September 3 to December 20
  • Fall Mini-mester I: 8 weeks, September 3 to October 24
  • Fall Mini-mester II: 8 weeks, October 28 to December 20
In the Summer or Fall, MCC’s accelerated classes allow students to complete classes in a shorter period of time. Students get the same content, academic standards, and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled during the traditional 15-week semester.

Shorter sessions help students finish their credits faster, balance coursework with other responsibilities, and start classes later in the semester if needed.

To help students pay for college, MCC offers Financial Aid and Financial Wellness support, as well as scholarship and grant opportunities. Many of MCC’s programs offer students a chance to apply the knowledge they learn in their classes to real-world experiences, including in Learn and Earn, internship, Service-Learning, networking, lab or clinical opportunities.

“MCC has a lot to offer in our upcoming semesters, whether you are looking to transfer to a four-year school, jumpstart a new career, or anything in between,” O’Neil said. “We’re here to help you as soon as you’re ready to get started!”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ for more information on MCC’s Summer and Fall 2024 semesters.
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MCC Hosts 13th Annual Commonwealth Honors Research Conference5/16/20245/29/2024 10:28 AM
Middlesex Community College hosted the 13th annual Commonwealth Honors Program (CHP) Research Conference on Monday, April 29. The event allowed Middlesex honors students to present and discuss their research projects with the MCC community and celebrate their dedication and success.

“I got to visit other students' tables and learn about their research,” said Crystal Messamore, an MCC Nursing student from Ashby. “I was a little nervous about the judging process, but once I was there, I was not nervous at all. Faculty came to support students and the judges were all so friendly and truly invested in the work being done.”

Messamore appreciated how supportive students, faculty and staff were at the event. To prepare for her presentation, she learned how to make a digital poster and practiced presenting her material. The research and presentation experience improved her confidence.

Students individually presented their research in the Bedford Campus cafeteria. Each student shared slides and spoke on their topics at assigned tables. In the end, students received awards based on their presentations.

Amber Borges, an MCC History, Politics and Global Studies student from Worcester, liked the valuable connections she made with fellow students. Although she felt shy, her peers helped turn that feeling into excitement and she was glad to showcase her knowledge.

“Being able to present topics I have researched so thoroughly is a passion of mine,” Borges said. “It is something I hope to continue in my future career. This was my second time presenting, and I have greatly enjoyed the experience of being a part of this celebration of learning.”

As Rhondyna Reth, an MCC Graphic Design student from Lowell, presented her research, she became cheerful and more relaxed. She was nervous at first, but the casual environment and people’s friendliness grew her confidence. She felt “accomplished after the conference.”

“The program helped me learn how to manage my time better,” Reth said. “Each class had a nicely organized syllabus that led up to the final research paper. By having steps laid out, it kept me on track, and I received feedback for all those steps and thought more in-depth about concepts.”

MCC’s CHP offers students the opportunity to work with dedicated faculty and participate in seminar-style classes to improve their research techniques and present their work. Through this experience, students attend special events and activities, while sharing ideas with peers, faculty and staff.

Lisa Tohline, an MCC Biotechnology student from Billerica, believed the CHP helped her “develop a stronger speaking and writing voice, through academic projects and discussions with fellow students.” She loved being around people with diverse backgrounds and learning about research papers and how to write them.

The program improved the studying methods of Jack Wagner, an MCC Psychology student from Concord. He finished his homework faster and became a stronger student. “I deeply cherish the honors experience at Middlesex,” Wagner said. “Much of the work was done in a way that accommodated the students. I was introduced to speed reading and what is most important when reading book chapters, old newspaper articles, and bulk text without skimming.”

Binnur Ercem, MCC’s Professor of Sociology & Cultural Anthropology and Director of the CHP, recognized the conference’s importance and purpose. “The conference serves as a festive celebration of the hard work of honors students, featuring a lively atmosphere with refreshments, scholarships, prizes and giveaways,” she said.
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MCC Cuts Ribbon on New, State-of-the-Art Certified Nurse Assistant Skills Lab5/14/20245/29/2024 10:28 AM
On Wednesday, May 1, Middlesex Community College hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new, state-of-the-art Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) skills lab. Efdjeen Cineas, from Haiti and now living in Methuen, represented the program as the student speaker at the ribbon cutting.

“It was an honor and pleasure to be asked to speak at the ribbon cutting,” Cineas said. “I shared the truth, talking about what happened and what it means for me to be here and start everything new. I hope to continue my journey and see if I can become what I want to be. I’m grateful for this opportunity and am going to embrace it and keep going.”

A doctor and pharmacist in Haiti, Cineas was nervous about starting over in the United States. Led to MCC’s CNA program by the International Institute of New England, she took the opportunity as a sign for a new start.

Cineas enjoyed learning in the college’s skills lab. After completing the program and passing her certification exam, she returned to assist the instructor in the lab to help other students. In September, she plans to start in the college’s Medical Assisting program.

Run by the Community Education and Training division, MCC’s CNA program provides individuals with comprehensive, hands-on training opportunities to directly enter this in-demand field. The program covers everything students need to pass the Massachusetts CNA certification exam and enter the workforce.

The new four-bed working lab prepares students to attend clinicals and be well-equipped to work in the field. Highlights include hospital beds, mannequins, wheelchairs and canes, and blood pressure cuffs and machines.

“Having a lab fully dedicated to the CNA program means we are able to train more students and prepare them to enter an in-demand workforce that trusts us to prepare employees,” said Caitlin Campopiano, MCC’s Director of Workforce Programs and Professional Education. “The combination of the equipped lab and strong industry partnerships has also allowed us to add more advanced skills training based on employer feedback, including medical and surgical care and pediatric acute care.”

The ribbon cutting event took place at 3:30 p.m. in the lab located in MCC’s Derby Building in Lowell. MCC President Phil Sisson was in attendance with administrators and employees throughout the college.

Joining them were alumni of the program, community partners, advisory board members, MCC Trustee James Campanini, Rep. Rodney Elliot, Rep. Vanna Howard and Senator Edward Kennedy.

“The amount of support at the event was amazing,” Campopiano said. “We have many people who are so supportive of our programs.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/ for more information on MCC’s CNA and Community Education and Training offerings.
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MCC’s Adult Learning Center Celebrates Students Who Passed GED® and HiSET® Exams5/6/20245/22/2024 12:02 PM
Through the Adult Learning Center (ALC), Middlesex Community College offers free noncredit, basic education courses for Massachusetts adult learners who are 16+. This includes preparation courses to sit for high school equivalency testing, attending college or job training, or obtaining employment. In April, MCC hosted a ceremony for students who earned their high school credential through the GED® and HiSET® exams.

“The Adult Learning Center helped me so much,” said Veble Hann, an ALC student from Lowell. “By the end of the semester, I understood how to write an essay and do math again. I know it was the teachers they had that made it easier. My main advice I will give to future students is to ‘not give up!’”

Students in the program attended evening classes to help them get familiar with what college is and how it works. In the free classes, students improve their reading, writing and math skills for a well-rounded academic program. To help them be more competitive in the job market, students are prepared to take the high school equivalency exams, polish their English skills, and boost their knowledge.

“The ALC is proud of every student who takes steps toward or achieves their goals,” said Joy DeHaan, MCC’s ALC Program Coordinator. “We were excited to host these students at a small event where we presented them with a certificate of achievement, gifted them a graduation cap, and took pictures to commemorate their success.”

Sponsored by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the ALC has been helping students since 1995. At all times, the Center supports 85 or more adult learners – with 25 to 35 different countries of origin represented – who bring with them a wide variety of backgrounds, skills and goals.

In 2023, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced that the state will cover the cost of Mass. residents’ initial GED® and HiSET® tests in each subject, as well as two retakes. To qualify to take the free classes, students must be a resident of Massachusetts.

In order to complete classes at the ALC, students must also have a computer with a keyboard, speaker, microphone and camera, reliable internet access, be able to attend and participate in live class sessions in-person and online, as well as complete homework outside of class.

About the ALC, Alice Sharp, of Tewksbury said, “You’ve changed my life.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/adultlearning for more information about MCC’s Adult Learning Center.
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MCC Announces Long-time Community Partner As 2024 Commencement Speaker5/9/20245/21/2024 11:01 AM
​Jim D’Agostino, formerly a Vice President at the TJX Companies, Inc. and now with D’Agostino Consulting and Keller Williams Realty North Central, is Middlesex Community College’s 2024 Distinguished Alum. He will speak to the graduating class during the commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 23.

“I cannot put into words how humbled, proud and honored I am to be selected as commencement speaker,” D’Agostino said. “I have been blessed with a great career. Professionally I consider this one of my proudest honors.”

D’Agostino chose to come to Middlesex because the college was affordable and had a positive reputation. Flexible classes helped him manage his schedule while working full-time, including having the ability to complete courses over the summer.

Studying Retail Management and Marketing at MCC, D’Agostino enjoyed a variety of business courses with engaging professors. In his final semester at MCC, he was promoted to Assistant Store Manager. He credits the college for helping him build the confidence he needed to be a successful employee.

“All of my business-related courses spoke to my passion and made me enthusiastic to learn,” D’Agostino said. “MCC prepared me to launch my career with a great foundation of how the business world works. It also fostered my desire to learn more. I became a lifelong student of retail and used my foundation to learn how to become a successful business leader.”

Attending the same time as his wife Beverly, the pair shared educational experiences and supported each other’s educational journeys. D’Agostino also benefitted from the diverse population of students Middlesex serves. Coming from a high school that had only 100 students, he learned from classmates of many different backgrounds at MCC, which “enhanced the classroom experience.”

After graduating from Middlesex in 1984, D’Agostino got married and continued his career in retail. At TJX, he built upon the skills he learned at MCC and took internal leadership, educational and developmental courses throughout his 40-year career with the company.

During his time at TJX, D’Agostino is also proud of the partnership the company shares with MCC. He believes the relationship is “unique” because of the personal relationships that have developed over the years. This includes TJX’s dedication as a proud Presenting Sponsor of MCC’s spring fundraisers since 1999.

“One of TJX’s core philosophies is to be a ‘Neighbor of Choice,’” D’Agostino said. “The TJX/MCC relationship is a great example of this.”

Reflecting on his time at MCC, D’Agostino believes many skills he learned in his classes at MCC – including economics and accounting – helped him later in his career. During the 2024 commencement, he hopes to show the graduates and future MCC students the impact MCC can have on a person’s life and career, as well as the importance of pursuing a career one enjoys.

“I would give them the advice my mother always instilled in her five children – ‘be your best self,’” D’Agostino said. “Choose any career path you want, but be known as the best person in that space.”
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MCC’s The Dead River Review Debuts New Issue5/7/20245/21/2024 10:39 AM
Middlesex Community College’s online literary magazine The Dead River Review (DRR) debuted a new issue on Thursday, May 2. DRR welcomes MCC students, faculty and staff to contribute their creative work in several genres. From reading submissions to organizing the final issue, the magazine also offers MCC students experience in the publishing industry through a Creative Writing and Publishing capstone course.

“Reading other people’s work was my favorite part,” said Conor Burrell, a Liberal Arts and Sciences major from Westford. “All of us as artists are kind of the most critical about our own work. We do not really know if our work is the best and if it can get out there. It is very encouraging when other people see the beauty in your art.”

Burrell focused on editing poetry. He liked the editorial process and found the hands-on experience valuable. Reading other people’s work allowed him to study different creative approaches. After graduating from MCC, he plans on transferring to UMass Lowell.

Led by MCC Creative Writing Program Coordinator and Professor Tom Laughlin, MCC hosted a Dead River Review Issue Release Party on its release day. Contributors presented and read their work, celebrating with food and live music.

Matt Tighe, a Creative Writing student from Lowell, found his DRR experience worthwhile. He grew his confidence, interest and creative writing skills. In the Fall, he will transfer to UMass Amherst. While furthering his education, he aims to submit his poetry to numerous publications.

“I enjoyed the idea of combining different art styles and forms of writing to create the magazine,” Tighe said. “As a team, we sat down and decided what we wanted. Through a long conversation, we maneuvered and found a way to communicate and agree on what we liked. The course experience encouraged me to push forward and put my work out there.”

El Engerman, a Creative Writing student from Lowell, heard about DRR from his friends. They were editors in DRR’s last issue and recommended the course to him. Once he graduates from MCC, he plans to transfer to UMass Lowell and continue submitting his creative work to publications.

“The experience was rewarding, and I liked collaborating with my talented peers,” Engerman said. “Tom Laughlin was very encouraging of sharing and creating your work. I learned a lot about the editorial process which was cool because I want to publish some of my work in the future. The experience was great and enlightening.”

The Creative Writing and Publishing course at MCC helps students grow as creative writers and gain knowledge. As they learn about the publishing industry, they discover potential career paths and try different educational opportunities. In addition, the course offers guest speakers, public readings and creative writing workshops.

“This is the largest Dead River Review issue ever,” Laughlin said. “I am proud of these students who worked hard through the complete publishing process of soliciting submissions from the whole MCC community, communicating professionally with creative writers and artists, making thoughtful and careful editorial decisions, designing and creating each individual page of this online magazine, and helping to organize a release party and reading to celebrate this issue’s authors, artists and musicians and the richness of their work in this great new issue!”
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MCC Goes “ALL IN” with New Coordinator of Civic and Service Learning5/2/20245/20/2024 11:55 AM
A participating campus of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, Middlesex Community College has hired Milissa Duncan as the new Coordinator of Civic and Service Learning. Most recently the Competency Based Education Coach and adjunct faculty in English and Developmental English at Northern Essex Community College, Duncan is excited to lead MCC’s efforts in civic and service learning.

“Civic engagement gives students firsthand knowledge of the complicated issues we are facing in the 21st century America and affords them the opportunity to actively contribute to community-based organizations that are working to address these problems,” Duncan said. “Through civic engagement, students apply their academic knowledge and skills in real-world situations and develop foundational career skills, as well as their professional network for future job searches.”

In her role, Duncan will help connect students to experiences in nonprofit and government organizations. She hopes to teach them more about what is happening in their communities and work to address the issues while using the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom. Working with faculty, Duncan hopes to be a resource for including relevant service-learning opportunities into the curriculum.

One of her goals is also to encourage the MCC community to get out to vote, especially in the upcoming presidential election. The college is involved with ALL IN to increase both voter registration and participation because of how important they are to “maintaining a healthy democracy,” according to Duncan.

“MCC students and their families are directly impacted by many governmental decisions and political policies pertaining to education, student loan debt, healthcare, childcare, and economics and employment,” she said. “Voting gives them influence and a political voice to influence those decisions. Today’s students are the future of our democracy, and we want to foster an ethic of life-long civic responsibility and empower students to make a difference in their local, state and national governments.”

This spring and summer, Duncan is focused on meeting members of the MCC community and connecting with local organizations. During the college’s Spring Fling, she met with students at a voter registration table. She is building a campus-wide coalition of students and employees to support voting and democratic participation, as well as worked with the MCC Libraries to create a resource guide for voting and election information.

Duncan holds a Master of Education in Teaching, Curriculum and Learning Environments from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, and earned a bachelor’s in English Literature from Boston University.

When the role opened at MCC, Duncan jumped at the chance to work in a service-learning position. Proud to work at a community college, she looks forward to having the opportunity to be “constantly learning,” from MCC’s faculty, students and community members, she said.

“Community colleges are incredibly dynamic institutions that are constantly adapting and working to build a better future for our students and communities,” she said. “They are inclusive and affirming, offering educational and career opportunities to a diverse range of students who will be the future of this nation. There are also a lot of talented faculty and staff at MCC with a wealth of diverse and interesting experiences.”

Visit https://libguides.middlesex.mass.edu/voting for more information about voting and elections.
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MCC’s Prepare to Attend College Celebrates Student Success5/1/20245/16/2024 11:15 AM
On Friday, April 5, Middlesex Community College’s Prepare to Attend College (PAC) graduation ceremony celebrated students and honored their success. During the ceremony, graduates reflected on their experiences, received certificates, and had a potluck lunch and sang a celebratory song.

Sedighe Rostamiozemchelouei, from Iran and now living in Stow, graduated from MCC’s PAC Two course. Rostamiozemchelouei felt grateful about joining the program after her friend recommended it.

“Throughout this experience, I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge,” Rostamiozemchelouei said. “The teachers at MCC are amazing. They are helpful and have made learning fun. It has been a journey of growth and learning for me and opened new possibilities so I am excited to see where this journey will take me.”

Rostamiozemchelouei and PAC One student Mariam Ababri spoke at the graduation. Both students talked about how the PAC program helped them feel more confident with their English skills. They were glad to learn about American culture and meet their classmates.

Ababri, from Morocco and now living in Dracut, was thankful for the experience. In particular, she was appreciative of class instructor Faithe MacElliott’s teachings.

“I have much more confidence with talking to others,” Ababri said. “I would not be in this position if it were not for my brilliant teacher believing in me.”

After the PAC graduates spoke, MacElliott gave the graduates their certificates.

“Our classroom is often the first opportunity students have to make friends in a new country. These connections can help them better understand cultural differences through shared experiences in a new environment,” MacElliott said. “As time goes by, students gain confidence speaking in front of others. At the end of most classes, we break into smaller groups, which gives students an opportunity to discuss any topic while practicing their pronunciation and language structures.”

In addition, MacElliott introduces students to college resources such as the Academic Center for Enrichment for tutoring, building study skills and additional English practice. The college also offers access to on-campus services such as the libraries and food pantries. As the course finishes, MCC’s academic advisors visit to speak to graduates about continuing their education with various options, including enrolling in credit classes.

The PAC program is a part of MCC’s English Learner Institute (ELI) which offers non-native English speakers the opportunity to improve their English skills. The PAC program runs three times a year and learners complete it in eight-weeks. It is free, flexible and split into two levels.

“I cannot wait to see what they do next,” said Katy Gentile, MCC’s Assistant Director of Corporate Education and Training. “Watching how proud each student was to receive the certificate, come together to sing a graduation celebration song, and then spend time eating the food they brought for a potluck lunch, was absolutely amazing and uplifting.”
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Musical Legend Shines at Lowell Memorial Auditorium as Part of MCC’s Celebrity Forum4/26/20245/15/2024 9:49 AM
At Middlesex Community College’s Spring 2024 Celebrity Forum on Thursday, April 25, award-winning singer, author and humanitarian Dionne Warwick performed at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. MCC welcomed the 2023 Kennedy Center Honoree and 2024 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to raise funds for student scholarships and celebrate an evening of music.

“Education is one of the most valuable things that we all should revere,” Warwick said during a sit-down conversation with MCC President as part of the Celebrity Forum. “Without it, we would know nothing. With it, we can learn and know everything, if you take the time to care enough to make sure students continue their education, especially in music. Please continue to give and let your friends know to give.”

“The Celebrity Forum is possible because so many in our community and business partners support our students, many of whom are represented here tonight,” President Sisson said in his introduction. “This event is a critical source of support for our central mission of providing affordable access to high-quality education for the very diverse population of learners that we serve each and every day. We cannot build a successful open access institution without your help, and we greatly appreciate those committed sponsors in the audience who have supported us by attending the forum for many years. We are blessed at Middlesex with an amazing group of friends to help our students accomplish their goals.”

Hosted by the Middlesex Community College Foundation, the event was the 24th Celebrity Forum to bring educational and cultural enrichment to Greater Lowell area residents. TJX Companies, Inc. has been a proud Presenting Sponsor of MCC’s spring fundraisers since 1999.

“TJX has long been committed to helping unlock educational opportunities for young people to help them reach their full potential,” said Mary Ellen Mattheos, TJX Senior Vice President of Human Resources. “We are pleased to support the Middlesex Community College Foundation’s 2024 Celebrity Forum as we have for many years, and to enjoy the wonderful performance by Dionne Warwick!”

“On behalf of the MCC Foundation, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dionne Warwick and our incredible donors, community partners and employees who made this extraordinary evening possible,” said Judy Burke, MCC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement & Workforce Development. “It was an honor to witness Ms. Warwick perform some of her greatest hits in front of an enthusiastic audience as we raised critical funds to assist MCC students in attending college. This support goes a long way in helping our students focus on school and stay on track to reach their goals and transform their lives.”

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 and the 2019 GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award.

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.
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MCC Hosts Second Day of Love, Acceptance and Belonging Event4/30/20245/14/2024 9:49 AM
On Wednesday, April 17, Middlesex Community College hosted the college’s second Day of Love, Acceptance and Belonging. Everyone at the event had the opportunity to connect, celebrate MCC as a community, and reflect on the significance of love, acceptance and belonging through group discussions and programming. The MCC community gathered on both the Bedford and Lowell campuses to enjoy snacks, decorations and art activities.

“Students, faculty and staff were invited to take the time to reflect on the importance of love, acceptance and belonging and participate and celebrate who we are as a community,” said Maria Isabel Gariepy, MCC’s Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging. “Throughout the day, we listened deeply, shared our experiences, engaged in meaningful conversations about acceptance, belonging and the importance of building a supportive community.”

This event reminded the community of how MCC encourages learning from each other’s experiences and the importance of uplifting one another.

To give participants the opportunity to share their experiences and have meaningful conversations, learning sessions and activities were spread throughout the day. Led by MCC employees and students, participants learned about different topics, such as addressing an individual’s inner child, being an LGBTQ+ ally, and building relationships.

“The events included sessions that drew on lived experiences to continue forging an environment where employees and students grow, learn, work and teach,” Gariepy said. “While we advanced the sense of belonging for all, embracing love, acceptance, and our shared humanity.”

As part of the event, MCC hosted an art project where students collaborated and shared their personal experiences to build a mural that represented belonging. The activity was intended to deepen the MCC community’s sense of understanding and togetherness.

“Together, we learned how we can counter hate,” Gariepy said. “The day reminded us that no matter who you are, you are valued and belong at MCC.”
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Keep Kids Learning & Having Fun This Summer with MCC’s College for Kids4/23/20245/13/2024 10:20 AM
​Interactive summer programs will keep kids ages 8 to 17 busy and having fun this summer at Middlesex Community College. Starting on Monday, July 8, MCC’s College for Kids programs provide unique opportunities for young students to explore careers, learn new skills, meet new friends, and boost self-confidence.

“Whether they are looking to dive deeper into one of their hobbies or explore something new, there is a lot for kids to choose from in this summer’s College for Kids line-up,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “Engaged in exciting and hands-on activities, kids can enjoy their summer while also maintaining a sense of normalcy and routine during the break.”

Taught by public school teachers and expert professionals, College for Kids topics include a mix of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and creativity each week. Students can enjoy subjects, such as arts and crafts, baking and cake decorating, aviation and veterinary science, fashion and jewelry design, gaming and game design, photography and filmmaking, and science and Lego Mindstorms. New options this summer include an improv class and dance bootcamp.

“Our College for Kids programs allow kids to enjoy subjects that aren’t traditionally taught in school, providing them with early exposure to fields they might not get otherwise,” said Ellen Wright, MCC’s Assistant Director of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development. “As they are having fun, they are also gaining a number of skills to develop their professional interests and enrich their lives.”

Programs are offered in Bedford and Lowell, featuring five weeks of full- and half-day programs from July 8 to August 8, 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.

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/collegeforkids/ or email CollegeForKids@middlesex.edu or call 781-280-3663.
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Take the Plunge on Possibilities This Summer with Classes at MCC4/29/20245/9/2024 12:09 PM
​Featuring a variety of flexible and affordable options, Middlesex Community College’s Summer 2024 semester will get students on the fast track to success. Students can start a degree, certificate or industry credential to prepare for transfer to a four-year institution or advance in their career.

“Understanding that summer is a busy time, Middlesex makes it easier for you to fit education into your schedule,” said Arlene Rodríguez, MCC’s Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “While you still receive the same content, academic standards, and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled during the traditional 15-week semester, you can take advantage of shorter sessions to complete more classes in less time. This summer, finish credits faster, balance coursework with other responsibilities, and start and end on your own terms.”

During the summer, MCC’s sessions range from three, five and eight weeks long. Middlesex will offer four opportunities to start throughout the summer, beginning Tuesday, May 28.
  • Summer Quickstart: three weeks, May 28 to June 14
  • Summer Session One: five weeks, May 28 to June 27
  • Summer Session Two: eight weeks, May 28 to July 29
  • Summer Session Three: five weeks, July 8 to August 8
Summer offers students the perfect opportunity to jumpstart academic plans, finish general education requirements, earn transferable college credits, and update skills with professional development. Students can take classes whether they are visiting for the summer or planning to start a degree or certificate at MCC.

Throughout the year, Middlesex offers on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex classes for students to choose which options work best for their schedules and learning styles. Each of MCC’s over 80 programs feature hands-on learning experiences inside and outside of the classroom to help students discover their path.

All of MCC’s courses come with access to targeted and free student support services to guide students to reach their goals. Options include tutoring and academic, transfer, career and financial advising.

To show prospective students and their families what the college has to offer, MCC will host a Lowell Open House at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1. Participants can meet with faculty and staff from many of MCC’s programs and student service areas, as well as take a tour of the Lowell campus.

“Register for classes now and learn how we can help you turn your dreams into reality,” Rodríguez said.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/summer/ for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC to Host Lowell Chamber Orchestra for “World of Music” Concert4/22/20245/8/2024 10:50 AM
Middlesex Community College is excited to welcome the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO) for a second performance as part of the Spring 2024 “A World of Music” concert series. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

Conducted by MCC Music faculty member Orlando Cela, the LCO will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem with The Boston Cecilia chorus and soloists.

“We are so looking forward to hearing the Lowell Chamber Orchestra perform Mozart’s final masterpiece, the ‘Requiem,’” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “This work was not finished when Mozart died on December 5, 1791, and over the years many composers and musicologists have written concluding sections. In this performance, the unfinished portions of the ‘Requiem’ were completed by Harvard musicologist Robert Levin in the 1990’s. LCO will be joined by the noted Boston Cecilia chorus and soloists, and it will be a truly exciting event!”

“A World of Music” will end the Spring 2024 season with Duo du Sud at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 in MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall. Previous concerts include the LCO on Sunday, February 18; A Chopin Celebration on Sunday March 3; Duos and Trios for Oboe, Flute and Piano on Friday, April 5; and a Student Recital on Monday, April 22.

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.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/ for more information.
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MCC Helps International Student Start a New Career Path4/19/20245/7/2024 11:31 AM
Josh Correia, of Winchester MA, joined Middlesex Community College early 2023 as a biology transfer student. Correia worked as a mechanical engineer for a period before deciding to enter another career path. He lost interest in his work and believed going back to school was the better option. His goal is to use the education and experience he gets at MCC to eventually become a physical therapist.

“My family recommended MCC,” Correia said. “They found that it not only offers a good experience, but a good opportunity to learn something in the courses rather than just earn a credit. When I was given the opportunity to join MCC, I said why not. I feel like I am still young and can pursue a career that I would be glad to be in long term.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce in 2021, Correia moved to the United States from his native country of Canada. His knowledge and experience in fitness led to him wanting a career where he can directly assist and interact with people.

As an international student who does not receive federal financial aid, the cost of a degree program played an important factor in his decision to attend MCC. The per credit cost and quality of education MCC offers is making it possible for him to complete his prerequisites and transfer to a graduate program in Physical Therapy.

“Some people are willing to compromise to a degree, saying I am excellent at math or coding so I am going to pursue this, but they may not be as happy,” he said. “I am passionate about people and fitness. I like helping people and feel like this is more in line with who I am and what I am good at.”

During Correia’s first year at MCC, he joined multiple clubs including the International Student Club, African Cultural Club and Asian Students in Alliance. Currently, he works as a Supplemental Instruction Leader in Academic Centers for Enrichment. In addition, he works in the Office of Student Engagement.

“I am essentially the first point of contact when people have questions,” he said. “They will come and inquire about services and what the school offers. It really is a good way to know people and communicate with others in the community. It has been a great experience.”

Since joining MCC, Correia tries to develop meaningful connections with staff, faculty and fellow students. Before, he had a tough time engaging with the MCC community. Eventually, he found that building relationships with people at the college was beneficial and increased his opportunities.

Professors such as Jose Pacheco, Jayne Jarger, Sunny Nguyen and John Savage played a big role in his development. He noticed how they cared about his success which motivated him to work harder. Through their conversations, he received advice and valuable resources.

Correia found that his relationships with people in the MCC community made his overall experience at the college smoother. MCC’s resources allowed Correia to grow, adjust his studying methods and learn how the college functions.

“You are recognized by name at MCC, assuming you do a little bit to connect,” he said. “I find that MCC does a good job of promoting their services and resources that are available. When you put your best foot forward, reach out, and try to develop relationships, you will realize there is a lot more available to you.”
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Register NOW for MCC’s Fall 2024 Semester4/10/20245/6/2024 9:08 AM
Middlesex Community College offers flexible and affordable options to guide students of all ages, backgrounds and goals on their path to success. Registration for MCC’s Fall 2024 semester is now open.

“It’s never too early to start preparing for your education,” said Scott O’Neil, MCC’s Dean of Enrollment Services. “By registering now, you have the time and flexibility to choose which classes you want to take, learn about all of the different resources MCC has to offer, and connect with people across the college who are here to help you. Register as soon as you can to get on track to reach your goals and pursue your dreams.”

Flexible course formats keep students on track to complete their studies faster, including on-campus, online, hybrid and hyflex options. Students can choose which modality works best for their schedules and needs in addition to choosing between day, evening and weekend classes.

MCC offers two eight-week accelerated Mini-mesters in both the Fall and Spring semesters to allow students to complete classes in a shorter period of time. This helps students finish their credits faster, balance coursework with other responsibilities, and start classes later in the semester if needed.

Mini-mesters provide the same content, academic standards, and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled during the traditional 15-week semester. While Fall 2023 Mini-mester I begins on Tuesday, September 3, Fall 2024 Mini-mester II will start half-way through the semester on Monday, October 28.

More than 80 degree and certificate program options prepare students to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. Every student gains access to award-winning student support services and resources when taking classes at Middlesex. This includes academic, transfer, career and financial advising.

To help students pay for college, MCC offers Financial Aid and Financial Wellness support, as well as scholarship and grant opportunities. Many of MCC’s programs offer students a chance to apply the knowledge they learn in their classes to real-world experiences, whether in a Learn and Earn, internship, Service-Learning, networking, lab or clinical opportunity.

To show students more about what the college offers, Middlesex will host a Lowell Open House at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1.

The Fall 2024 semester starts on Tuesday, September 3. Students can also register for MCC’s Summer 2024 semester – starting on Tuesday, May 28 – which offers an eight-week, three-week, and two five-week sessions.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC Awarded First Place at 2024 AACC Awards of Excellence for Equity & Belonging Work4/17/20245/2/2024 11:54 AM
Middlesex Community College won first place in Advancing Institutional Equity and Belonging at the 2024 American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Awards of Excellence. MCC President Phil Sisson and Provost & Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs Arlene Rodríguez accepted the award at a ceremony hosted in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday, April 8.

“This achievement is a collaborative effort from many individuals and divisions across the college and it is an honor for our efforts to be recognized by the AACC in this way,” President Sisson said. “It is a point of pride that MCC has become a strong leader of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) work both at the college and within the greater communities that we serve. As an open access institution, we have the responsibility of spearheading these initiatives, engaging in difficult conversations, and doing the necessary work to make actual change in an otherwise divisive world.”

President Sisson credits the dedication and hard work from across the college for receiving the award. Calling the DEIB work an “ongoing process,” the president looks forward to MCC continuing to learn, grow and adapt to take the needed steps to meet the college’s mission of equity and to transform the lives of students for the better.

In February 2024, Middlesex was nominated for the award among five other colleges in the country. The national recognition was one of 11 awards handed out during the gala event.

“Receiving the AACC Award for Advancing Institutional Equity and Belonging is a huge honor for Middlesex,” Rodríguez said. “More importantly, it's also a recognition of all the work being done by our faculty and staff to make sure all MCC students have what they need to succeed. Becoming an equity-minded, student-prepared campus doesn't stop with one project or program. It's a continuous process of reflection and change. It's understanding that as our students' needs change, so must we change and address them. In this way, we show our commitment to preparing students for the future.”

The college was awarded for initiatives that advanced institutional equity and belonging, according to Maria Gariepy, MCC’s Executive Director of Diversity, Equity & Belonging. This includes the work of the Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) and MCC’s 2022-2027 strategic plan With Equity at Its Core.

“Many innovative and progressive practices that support institutional equity were included, such as Achieving the Dream, the Pedagogy of Real Talk, and the Leading for Change Racial Equity & Justice Institute, among others,” Gariepy said. “In order to support and measure our progress and success, outcomes data was also included for a number of programs and initiatives on campus, including the SUCCESS Scholars Program, the Program for Asian American Student Advancement (PAASA), the First Year Experience, surveys, demographics and diversity of our student body, and changes in our workforce diversity.”

Middlesex is one of 71 colleges in the nation hosting a campus-based Center for TRHT. The Center has become a hub for the extended community, offering racial healing circles, professional development trainings, and access to resources that are helping to build a deeper collective capacity toward racial equity and justice.

Throughout the 2023-2024 academic year, Middlesex established TRHT as a fixture of the communities of Greater Lowell and hosted events to celebrate the diversity and lived experiences of the college’s students and employees. MCC’s Center will host the second Day of Love, Acceptance and Belonging on Wednesday, April 17, featuring a variety of workshops facilitated by MCC students and employees.
Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/trht/ for more information on MCC’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation and the Day of Love, Acceptance and Belonging.
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MCC to Host In-person Open House on College’s Lowell Campus4/16/20245/1/2024 2:00 PM
At Middlesex Community College, a variety of course options and formats, student support services and resources, and expert professionals are prepared to set up students for success from day one. Prospective students and their families can learn more about what Middlesex has to offer at an Open House at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1 in Lowell.

“By meeting students where they are when they arrive at the college, MCC helps students build a foundation for their futures,” said Jenna Hurd, MCC’s Assistant Director of Admissions. “Attending an Open House is a great way for students and their families to learn about Middlesex firsthand. Take a tour and explore our campus, meet with faculty to discuss a program of interest, and learn about the support services we offer that can help you establish and reach your goals. We are very happy to provide the opportunity for participants to meet our welcoming and supportive college community in-person.”

During the in-person Lowell Open House, students and their families can meet with faculty and staff from all of MCC’s programs and student services areas. The Open House 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 an opportunity to take a campus tour of the Lowell facilities and apply to the college.

Over 35 prospective students and their families attended MCC’s Open House in Bedford on Wednesday, April 3. Prospective students and their families learned more about MCC’s resources and offerings, while touring the Bedford campus.

“MCC has so much to offer students of all ages, backgrounds and goals,” Hurd said. “We look forward to welcoming you on our Lowell campus!”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/admissions/ for more information and to register for MCC’s Lowell Open House!
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Student Trustee Represents MCC in Visit to Washington D.C.4/11/20244/30/2024 3:03 PM
Sarah Alzate-Pérez, from Bogotá, Colombia and now living in Lowell, is the 2023-2024 Middlesex Community College Student Trustee. The Criminal and Social Justice major had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. in February 2024 with MCC President Phil Sisson and Vice President of Administration Patrick Cook. During the trip, she toured historic sites and met with legislators to share her academic and personal story. The following is her experience in Washington D.C. in her own words.

My experience in Washington D.C. was undoubtedly unique and something I will never forget. That was my first time in Washington and thanks to the opportunity that MCC gave me, I fell deeply in love with the city, its historical icons, its social dynamics, and the things it has to offer. I had a great time, walked a lot, ate great food, and learned a lot from the people at the conference. The trip to D.C. was phenomenal and a very enriching experience both personally and academcally.

A highlight of my D.C. experience was having the opportunity to meet and connect with some of the 120 other students who attended the national conference as student trustees or Student Government Association (SGA) presidents. Having the opportunity to hear about their leadership work and their community represents a lot of learning, motivation and inspiration.

Being fortunate to have been able to see the U.S. Capitol, have a private tour, and share my leadership role and activist voice with Senator Elizabeth Warren and our brilliant Congresswoman Lori Trahan was also one of my favorite parts. Not only was it an enriching experience to my interest in my role as a student leader, but it was also an inspiration to me. Thanks to this, I am more than sure that I want to dedicate my life to legislative work and politics. D.C. led me to strongly establish that - someday - my name will be on an office in the Capitol.

Sharing my story with senators and congress members not only means for me to share the story of my community and my people, but it also means giving visibility to issues, situations and stories that are often silenced, forgotten or not even acknowledged. For me, it was an honor to be able to raise my voice, to share the reality of why people are asking for change. By sharing my story, I give a face to the story of many others, and I think that's the most important thing.

On this trip, I discovered a lot about myself that I may have never noticed before. I learned how to navigate an airport on my own, and to take a deep breath before boarding the plane. I learned that all around us there are different worlds and things that we are passionate about and that enrich us in different ways. I learned that education is not only one of the most important things we can try to bring to our society without limitations, but that it is truly one of the things I am most passionate about, and that serving and listening to people is another thing I want to dedicate my life to.

I learned that there is much work to be done to make sure that everyone has access to resources and that we must continue to fight and make room for ourselves to be heard and considered in the biggest decisions. There is much to be done to make sure that America is a place where all histories and worlds have a place of participation and safety, a place that we can all call home.

I would like to share the gratitude I have with MCC, President Phil Sisson, Patrick Cook, and all the people who made it possible for me to have this experience in Washington D.C. For the tours, the delicious food, the private visits to the capitol, and for empowering my voice, my future and my dreams through their work.
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Mother & Daughter Enjoying College Experience as They Take Classes Together at MCC4/24/20244/29/2024 11:08 AM
Emma Seymour, of Billerica, has been home schooled by her mother Wendy Seymour for the majority of her education. Through Dual Enrollment courses at Middlesex Community College, the 16-year-old is earning college credit and enjoying being able to go to school. Taking classes alongside her daughter, Wendy is also exploring a variety of subjects and learning new skills.

“Middlesex works perfectly for me because it allows me to have the social aspect of public school while I am able to pick the timeline of my classes,” Emma said. “This means I can get the amount of sleep I need.”

Emma appreciates being able to ask her questions about what they are learning in class. In particular, the pair have enjoyed taking art classes together in both drawing and ceramics. For Wendy, the standouts of being in class are seeing her daughter’s skills improve and watching her meet new friends.

“We can already see the positive influence that MCC has had on Emma,” Wendy said. “Academically she is getting more than I can teach her, and she is gaining a level of maturity we hoped would come with her attending such a program. Again, it’s still new and there are many first-time experiences she is having, but it’s such a welcoming environment that we know we have made a good decision by her attending.”

The mother and daughter learned about MCC from a friend in their local archery club who had two children take classes at Middlesex. After researching options, the Seymours reached out to MCC and received help from the college’s Office of Admissions to go step-by-step through the Dual Enrollment process.

Calling MCC’s Assistant Director of Admissions Jenna Hurd “irreplaceable in this journey,” Emma and Wendy appreciate the people who assisted them in getting started at MCC. “All of our professors have been wonderful and the administrative staff that I have worked with are all patient and very informative,” Wendy said.

MCC is providing Emma with an opportunity to discover what she wants to pursue as she continues her academic path. With an interest in health-related fields, she is considering going into psychology, nursing, dermatology or physical therapy. For now, she is happy to explore different subjects and work on earning an associate degree at Middlesex before transferring to a four-year school.

“MCC will help me get college credits and will eventually help me to discover what I would like to major in,” Emma said. “My experience has been pleasant so far and I have learned a lot.”

Wendy is also glad to take classes that interest her. While an English class has helped her write well-structured and informative essays, art classes have led to a new passion for ceramics. She is already looking ahead to the different STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) options that are available as well.

For both of the Seymours, MCC “has helped fill a need we have,” Wendy said.

“I’m very happy that MCC exists,” Wendy said. “We are both learning and meeting new people. Best of all, I’m spending time with my daughter and watching her grow into an intelligent young woman. For me, I do not think I will ever be through. There are so many classes and I love to learn.”
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MCC Students and Alumni to Headline Open Mic Night at Coffee & Cotton Café 4/8/20244/26/2024 3:23 PM
Middlesex Community College is excited to be featured at Untitled Open Mic, a popular Lowell poetry series for poets, singer-songwriters, beat-box artists and more. Four student and alumni writers will headline MCC Night at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17 at the Coffee & Cotton Café.

“Untitled is an event I always look forward to attending and being invited to read as a feature is a huge honor,” said Ray Anganes, an MCC alum. “My coursework and extracurricular activities in the MCC creative writing scene helped me branch out in my craft and challenge myself. Every novel I’ve written has been distinct from the last in both theme and style, and I attribute my interest in writing both wide and deep to MCC’s excellent creative writing program.”

Anganes, of Tyngsboro, studied chemistry and creative writing at Middlesex. An avid writer, he has been an active participant of the writing spaces at MCC and Untitled Open Mic. At the event, he will read a short story from his “Europan Reef Gold,” a science fiction frontier story set on Jupiter’s ocean-moon. He credits the college for helping him become a better and more creative storyteller.

MCC Creative Writing student Olivia Steen, of Dunstable, will read four poems of varying subjects. Having always loved to write, Steen chose to pursue her passion as a major. She credits professor Tom Laughlin for his help throughout the creative writing journey.

“I wanted to participate in the Open Mic Night because I felt honored to be one of the people chosen to read,” Steen said. “I haven’t really gone out of my comfort zone to read in front of many strangers besides having to do it for classes. This is also my last semester, so I think that it’ll be a nice send-off.”

Anganes and Steen will be joined by MCC student Ariadna Muñoz and alum Lexy Perry. MCC students are welcome to sign up to read in addition to the featured writers.

The Coffee & Cotton Café is located at 240 Jackson Street, Fourth Floor, Lowell.

MCC Night at Untitled Open Mic is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Office of Student Engagement. Visit https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/english/creative.aspx for more information about the event.
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MCC to Highlight Student Singers & Instrumentalists in End-of-Semester Recital4/9/20244/24/2024 3:02 PM
In a celebration of their hard work throughout the semester, Middlesex Community College is excited to host a Student Recital as part of the Spring 2024 “A World of Music” concert series. The performance will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, April 22 at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall.

"I've been working with Professor Dr. Daniel Fridley this semester doing an independent study in voice,” said Emily Holway, an MCC Music student from Westford. “He has pushed me to explore new terrain in music and it's rewarding to hear my voice develop. I'm excited I get to perform an original composition I wrote over a year ago and share it. It's a piece I'm most fond of and I hope everyone will like it!"

The line-up will feature MCC student singers and instrumentalists showcasing their talents on stage in front of a live audience. 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 student singers, pianists, guitarists, percussionists, cellist, music technology compositions, and our new MCC Music Club Band,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “Music ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Amy Winehouse will be performed."

Two additional “A World of Music” concerts include a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at MCC’s Academic Arts Center in Lowell and Duo du Sud at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 at MCC’s Bedford Concert Hall.

The LCO also kicked off this semester’s performance with a concert on Sunday, February 18, followed by A Chopin Celebration on Sunday, March 3 and Duos and Trios for Oboe, Flute and Piano on Friday, April 5.

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. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/ for more information.
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MCC Hosts CNA for Success Graduation Ceremony4/3/20244/23/2024 11:18 AM
On Thursday, March 7, Middlesex Community College held a graduation ceremony for its ninth cohort of Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for Success students at the International Institute of New England in Lowell (IINE). The graduation was an opportunity to honor their hard work and accomplishments.

“The program gave me a good start and opportunity to improve myself,” said Efdjeen Adma, a CNA for Success student from Haiti. “It was an incredible experience. I was emotionally touched by practicing with clients and would like to continue helping people. The teacher was helpful and had a lot of patience with us and I really appreciated that.”

Through funding by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Mass Skills Training Education Programs, CNA for Success offers two cohorts for English Language Learners pursuing a career in healthcare with a 200-hour course each year. With 100 hours of classwork, students build their English and job readiness skills for employment.

The additional 100 hours provides students with MCC clinical training through a Certified Nursing Aide module. The classes are held online and in-person, preparing students to sit for the CNA licensing exam.

“The graduations are really amazing to attend,” said Caitlin Campopiano, MCC’s Director of Workforce Programs and Professional Education. “You see what these individuals had to overcome just coming to America and the obstacles they face being here. This past cohort was especially wonderful to see that many of them have already applied for positions at the clinical site they did their training in.”

In 2019, MCC, IINE, Abisi Adult Education and D’Youville Life Care Center established a partnership to provide learning opportunities for people coming to the United States from a different country. MCC and IINE now run the program.

“Many of the students who have come through our program came to the United States looking for a better life and opportunity,” Campopiano said. “A number of them have healthcare backgrounds from their home country. By offering this training, we are giving individuals who can help our own healthcare system here in the United States the opportunity to do so with the addition of the ESOL training.”

Debra Shaw, an MCC instructor who has been teaching the course for six years, believes that the students positively impact the community. She enjoys connecting with and learning from a diverse set of students about their cultures and credited this year’s cohort for their dedication to the program. Their consistency and work ethic made her feel good about its impact.

“This cohort had very good attendance overall and completed their health record requirements in a timely fashion which shows commitment,” Shaw said. “They have been well received wherever I have taken them and I have no doubt this will continue when they join the workforce. There is opportunity for them to advance in the healthcare field if they should desire and we are available to help with future career planning.”
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MCC to Present Musical Retelling of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” for Spring Musical4/1/20244/22/2024 11:05 AM
Middlesex Community College’s theatre department is proud to present “Alice By Heart” for its Spring 2024 production. The musical will run for six performances from Thursday, April 18 to Sunday, April 21 at the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“This show has so many important messages and I think showing it to audiences is so important,” said Bronte Ryan-Andrews, an MCC theatre student from Lowell. “This show is truly such an experience, and I can’t wait for audiences to see the Wonderland we have created!”

Ryan-Andrews will play the main character Alice Spencer, a 15-year-old girl figuring out “what it means to become a woman.” Having also played a role in the Fall 2023 performance of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” Ryan-Andrews loves the creative and collaborative process of being part of one of MCC’s productions.

“Being a theatre student, I am always so excited walking into theatre rehearsals and being able to be around such an awesome community,” Ryan-Andrews said. “This theatre company has introduced me to so many of my now closest friends and I would have met them if it wasn’t for this awesome opportunity.”

“Alice By Heart” is a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” from the Tony and Grammy award-winning Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, co-written by Jessie Nelson. The musical follows Alice and her friend Alfred in the aftermath of the London Blitz during World War II, featuring familiar characters from the original novel.

Curtain times for MCC’s production are 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18; Friday, April 19; Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, as well as 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21. Tickets are $10 for MCC students and seniors, $15 for MCC employees, and $20 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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Opportunities at MCC Help Student Pursue Dream He “Never Thought Possible” 4/4/20244/19/2024 11:05 AM
Having struggled with school growing up, Toby Barnett, of Somerville, never believed he would attend college. Despite enduring a family tragedy days before starting, a combination of free programs at Middlesex Community College helped him earn his GED and take college preparation courses. Now in MCC’s Criminal and Social Justice program, he is making his dream of pursuing a college degree a reality.

“It was definitely a rough time period but continuing to pursue my GED at the time was the best decision of my life,” Barnett said. “Being someone who comes from a low-income family where very few people went to college, MCC has helped me have so many great experiences I never would have been able to have otherwise. I have never felt more supported and seen as not only a student but an individual more than I do at MCC.”

After MCC’s Adult Learning Center helped prepare him for his GED, Barnett was approached by MCC’s Links Program Coordinator Karen Spengler. The tuition-free program offered extra support to help prepare him for college-level classes and was the opportunity Barnett needed to transition into his degree program at MCC.

Grateful for the chance to continue his education, Barnett was intimidated by the college process at first. He found the instructors and staff who guided him through each step to be “some of the kindest people I have ever met.”

He was also met with support in the Criminal and Social Justice program from professors who are both knowledgeable and willing to help him as he plans out his next steps. While professor Kenneth Lavallee inspired Barnett to explore his dream career as a victim witness advocate, program chair Heloisa DaCunha helped Barnett find internships at the Lowell Police Department and Alternative House.

“I have been able to meet so many great professors that have real-world experience in the field and that has enriched my learning experience even more,” Barnett said. “Throughout my time at MCC, I have a much clearer path on how to reach my future goals both career-wise and who I want to be as a person.”

In his internship at the Alternative House in Lowell, Barnett works with the community-based coordinator to help victims of domestic violence. He has gained experience doing intakes, speaking directly to victims, and observing the 24/7 hotline. In addition to getting an in-depth look at the field, he has started to build a network of contacts.

“My time at the Alternative House has been an absolutely eye-opening experience,” he said. “I’ve learned so much about domestic violence and the sad reality of it. Being able to directly work in the field I’m working toward a career in has made me certain this is what I want to do with my life.”

At MCC, Barnett is also benefitting from working with classmates. After receiving help as a mentee in MCC’s Success Scholars Program, he is now mentoring other students as they navigate college life. A founding member of the Theatre Appreciation Club, he enjoys the opportunities MCC offers to meet people from all over the world.

After graduating from Middlesex in Fall 2024, Barnett looks forward to transferring to a state school to continue his education. Starting at MCC, he said, “has made my life so much better.”

“There is no way I would be where I am today both education wise as well as personality wise if it wasn’t for MCC and the great staff and professors here,” he said. “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity and experience I’ve been able to have while being a student at MCC.”
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MCC Criminal & Social Justice Students Benefit from Experiences In & Outside of Classroom4/2/20244/17/2024 10:11 AM
From offering internships to holding events, Middlesex Community College’s Criminal and Social Justice students gain hands-on, relevant experience in their field early on in their program. Students in Program Chair Heloisa DaCunha’s Law, Justice and Society course are benefitting from internships across Greater Lowell to introduce them to the various systems where they can work after graduating.

Anna Julia Azevedo, an MCC Criminal and Social Justice student from Lowell, is interning at the Lowell Alternative House. In her position, she works with her site coordinator to help high-risk clients with any needs they have during challenging times. She has also had the chance to translate to members of her community and connect with people in law enforcement.

“My experience at my internship has been amazing and I have been able to learn and grow in my future career and field of study,” Azevedo said. “It helped me in many ways to focus on my career and what I want in life, and prepared me for a better future than what I started with.”

Growing up, Azevedo had an interest in community service, government agencies and law enforcement. Upon realizing there was not much Brazilian representation in the industry, she decided it was important to pursue a career in the field. After she graduates from MCC, she plans to transfer to UMass Lowell to continue her education in criminal justice.

“MCC prepared me with all the right classes to take and connected me with this great opportunity to learn,” she said. “I’ve learned firsthand experience and how to handle situations in the workplace.”

MCC Criminal and Social Justice student Jessie Trimper, of Groton, is interning at the Billerica House of Corrections. Working with the women’s pre-release department, she has listened to meetings with correction officers and case workers, as well as sat in on group sessions for inmates. She is also working with the case manager to visit inmates to help with their plans for after jail or connect with lawyers for legal proceedings.

“Overall, I got to learn about how the jail works in general,” Trimper said. “This experience has confirmed to me that I am pursuing a career that interests me. I will be able to achieve my goal of wanting to help others when they need it most. I absolutely loved the experience and am excited to continue down this path.”

Trimper was inspired to enter this field from her mother’s experience as a police officer when she was younger. After graduating from MCC, she plans to continue her education to become a police officer and, ultimately, a detective. MCC has been “a great stepping-stone,” she said.

“It is great being at a school where they want you to succeed,” she said. “I am excited for the future and look forward to making these goals come true.”

MCC will also hold a collegewide Criminal Justice Career Day at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 11 in Lowell. Welcoming representatives from law enforcement, the courts, probation, victim services and corrections, the event will feature a panel presentation, breakout sessions and career fair.

“We want our students to not only get a comprehensive education, but also a strong sense of what to expect once they enter these fields,” DaCunha said. “Exposing students to various career options within the field enables them to network and learn about the hiring process early in their college career so they can be best prepared when they apply for these jobs.”
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MCC Culinary Students Awarded Best Presentation At “Dining Around Dracut”3/27/20244/16/2024 11:10 AM
On Monday, March 11, students in Middlesex Community College’s Culinary Arts program flexed their skills at this year’s “Dining Around Dracut” hosted by the Dracut Rotary Club. Students prepared over 200 desserts and were awarded Overall Best Presentation for the event out of approximately 40 participants.

“The event was a delightful celebration of food, community and creativity,” said Pingping Zhu, MCC Culinary Arts Student, of Bedford. “We showcased our culinary skills by preparing a unique and visually appealing dessert and aimed to create an unforgettable culinary experience for the attendees. Winning the award for Overall Best Presentation was a moment of pride and joy. It validated our hard work, attention to detail, and passion for culinary arts.”

Zhu believes participating in events such as Dining Around Dracut allows her and her classmates to connect with and learn from industry professionals and demonstrate their creativity and culinary expertise with people who appreciate food.

In MCC’s program, Zhu is able to turn her passion for “flavors, textures and the magic of transforming ingredients into memorable dishes,” into a career. As she hopes to open her own bakery after graduating from MCC, Zhu is grateful for all of the hands-on experience she has received in the culinary arts program.

For MCC Culinary Arts student Jantana Briggs, of Lowell, participating in the event was a chance to see opportunities that are available in the field. Hoping to also one day open a café or bakery, Briggs appreciated meeting people to talk about what the college has to offer, as well as get a strong sense of the industry.

“It is the best way for students to learn more about how the real-life culinary arts works and to help students find a job,” Briggs said. “When we won, we were so happy, excited and proud of our selves to be a part of the first time the college attended this event.”

Calling the event a “big hit,” MCC’s Hospitality & Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Kim Morrissey credits the college’s new Culinary Lab on the Lowell campus for students being able to prepare so many desserts. The popular offerings included tiramisu, chocolate eclairs, biscotti, profiteroles and swan cream puffs.

“Having our own space allows us the freedom to prepare food outside of our scheduled class times for these kinds of events,” Morrissey said. “Our culinary students really stepped up to volunteer their time for this event, and truly represented MCC at its best.”

According to Morrissey, the students “truly represented MCC at its best” as they volunteered and met guests with their own MCC experiences. Believing MCC left a positive impression at their first time at the event, Dracut Rotarian Lee Ouellette is already looking forward to what the college will bring next year.

“Members of the Dracut Rotary Club were very happy to have MCC’s culinary team join us this year,” Ouellette said. “After viewing all participants in Dining Around Dracut, we all agreed that MCC was by far the most impressive display thus leading them to win the Best Presentation Award.”
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MCC & LPS Partnership Assists Paraprofessionals in Earning Teaching License3/20/20244/11/2024 10:36 AM
​This summer, Middlesex Community College and Lowell Public Schools (LPS) will debut the Paraprofessional Pilot Program to assist paraprofessionals in getting a teaching license. The goal of the partnership is to diversify the teaching workforce, develop a highly qualified staff, and stabilize classroom teacher staffing.

“We are eager to partner with Lowell Public Schools to create a pathway for all interested employees who want to become classroom teachers,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “In working with the paraprofessional population, we are helping to assist those who are already committed to our community and who represent the diverse students in the Lowell Public Schools.”

“The Paraprofessional Pilot Program is a wonderfully innovative endeavor that addresses multiple critical needs all at once,” said Liam Skinner, LPS’s Superintendent. “It promises to help us to tackle a shortage of candidates for some of our hardest-to-fill positions while simultaneously diversifying our teaching ranks through the promotion of some of our lowest paid employees.”

As part of the pilot program, 30 LPS employees who do not yet have an associate degree will receive financial, academic and wraparound support to help them complete their coursework. The opportunity is available only to LPS paraprofessionals and staff members, focusing on individuals whose backgrounds have been historically underserved in classroom teaching.

Students will enroll at Middlesex in the Elementary Education Transfer or Liberal Arts and Sciences Transfer programs and be prepared to transfer to four-year institutions. Some classes will be offered in a cohort model for the LPS employees to support each other.

On Wednesday, March 6, LPS employees visited MCC’s Lowell Campus to enroll and learn more about the program. MCC and LPS will also collaborate on offering support to participating employees on completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as getting resources for the Communications and Literacy Massachusetts Tests for Educators Licensure (MTEL) exam.

“For the past few years, the Lowell Public Schools have been looking for a way to help people who work as paraprofessionals in other roles in the schools to advance their education,” said Russell Olwell, MCC’s Dean of K-16 Partnerships. “Many school districts are struggling with diversity and with retention of their teaching staff. MCC is proud to help these members of our community and the district in building an ideal and qualified pool of future educators.”
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MCC Spring Fundraiser – Featuring Dionne Warwick – Raises Funds in Support of Student Scholarships3/28/20244/10/2024 10:40 AM
​For over 20 years, the Middlesex Community College Foundation has hosted the Celebrity Forum, a spring fundraiser that brings well-known personalities to Greater Lowell for the educational and cultural enrichment of area residents. On April 25, MCC will welcome award-winning singer, author and humanitarian Dionne Warwick to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium to raise funds for student scholarships.

“I have received guidance and mentorship from the donors geared toward success in my field of interest,” said Ethan Muriuki, an MCC Electrical Engineering student, of Lowell. “As a result, I am more motivated, guided and focused on my studies in pursuit of the end goal of graduating with a bachelor’s degree. In addition, I have been inspired to share and support others when possible, just like those who have played a part in my receiving a scholarship. I appreciate the financial support in my academic journey.”

“Being a full-time student, the MCC Foundation Merit Award has helped me with some of my financial burdens, making it easier to dedicate more of my time to my school work,” said Samantha Blaney, an MCC Dental Hygiene student, of Billerica. “Receiving this award will continue to encourage me to do my best. By being able to focus more on my program, I will be able to provide my patients with the high-quality care they deserve.”

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 5 p.m., followed by dinner and the 7:30 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. The TJX Companies, Inc., proud Presenting Sponsor of MCC’s spring fundraisers since 1999, has returned to support this year’s Celebrity Forum.

“Our annual Celebrity Forum is one of the best ways to support MCC students while enjoying an evening of music and celebration,” said Sherri McCormack, MCC’s Dean of Advancement. “We are thrilled to raise funds in support of MCC students, while providing the Greater Lowell community with what is sure to be an incredible performance by Ms. Warwick. Thank you to all of our generous donors for making this event possible.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/cf24 for more information about sponsorship opportunities or contact McCormack 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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Musicians from Boston Symphony Orchestra to Join MCC for “World of Music” Concert Series3/25/20244/9/2024 12:11 PM
Middlesex Community College is excited to welcome musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) as part of the Spring 2024 “A World of Music” concert series. The performance will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 5 at the MCC Concert Hall on the Bedford Campus.

"I have had the great pleasure of collaborating with the wonderful musicians John Ferrillo and Elizabeth Klein for many years,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “I am so looking forward to our upcoming concert at Middlesex.”

John Ferrillo, Principal Oboe of the BSO, and Elizabeth Klein, Associate Principal Flute of the BSO, will join Rodríguez-Peralta, piano, for a program of works for oboe/piano, flute/piano, and flute/oboe/piano by Benjamin Britten, Ludwig van Beethoven, Charles-Marie Widor, and Madeleine Dring.

"It is such a joy to musically reunite with Carmen and John, and play a recital again at MCC," Klein said.

Additional performances of “A World of Music” include 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 at MCC’s Bedford Concert Hall, as well as a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at MCC’s Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

The LCO kicked off this semester’s performance with a concert on Sunday, February 18, followed by A Chopin Celebration on Sunday, March 3.

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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Student Credits MCC’s Small Class Sizes & Supportive Professors for Helping Her Get on Track3/21/20244/8/2024 4:01 PM
Starting out at large university, Emily Weinberg, of Lexington, struggled as she felt unsupported and did not know what she wanted to pursue. Looking for a smaller environment to figure out her goals, she came to Middlesex Community College. At MCC, she found a network of classmates and professors to guide her, as well as a passion for a new field “without feeling like I’m getting lost in a huge sea.”

“MCC is the perfect size and has helped me feel so supported,” Weinberg said. “Over the past two semesters, I finally feel like I’m getting on track to finding a career I’ll love.”

To narrow down her field, Weinberg focused on her experience working in a number of customer-service related jobs, including as a host, server, bartender and front desk agent. Realizing she was strong in hospitality and leadership, she decided to combine those skills with entrepreneurship and start studying business.

“I felt like the business administration track would be a great place for me to start,” she said.

In her classes, Weinberg enjoys learning from interactive experiences, from hearing professionals share their own journeys to working on hands-on projects. After a guest speaker visited her entrepreneurship class, the person stayed after to discuss a business idea Weinberg is interested in launching. She is also excited that the college offers a pitch contest, which provides students with a chance to win seed funding toward their business idea.

“The opportunities for learning are amazing,” Weinberg said. “[These opportunities] show MCC truly cares about the students and what we have to offer.”

Weinberg plans to participate in the upcoming pitch contest this spring, run by Stacie Hargis, MCC’s Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. Hargis is one of the professors Weinberg credits for impacting her time at the college most.

After taking Hargis’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship class in her first semester at Middlesex, Weinberg feels she can still check in with her professor about her business idea as she gets closer to launching. This support is a continuous trend Weinberg has found at the college from all of her professors, calling them “some of the best teachers I’ve had.”

“The professors are thoughtful, encouraging and want you to succeed,” Weinberg said. “In every class I’ve had, I’ve felt as though I can ask for extra help from teachers, even when it’s outside questions. They are able to connect me with other mentors even if they don’t know an answer.”

At Middlesex, Weinberg has gained a strong foundation of knowledge and skills in the business field, as well as a better sense of how to be successful in college. With this support and guidance, she now feels she is more prepared to transfer to a four-year business school after she graduates with her associate degree from MCC.

“I have gained so many connections here which have expanded my network, my knowledge, and helped push me toward the path I want to follow,” she said. “I’m grateful for all the supportive professors and all the opportunities they give students to get involved and learn."
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MCC to Celebrate Financial Wellness with Fair3/26/20244/8/2024 10:40 AM
From lower tuition costs to comprehensive resources, Middlesex Community College is committed to helping students with their financial wellness. To bring awareness to the topic, Middlesex will hold a Financial Wellness Day Fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 in the Lowell Campus Cowan Center Cafeteria.

“Financial Wellness is an essential part of a student’s overall well-being and future health,” said Serrahtani Parrish, MCC’s Financial Wellness Coach. “The Financial Wellness Day Fair is created to allow students the opportunity to find a variety of resources they can use to help them strengthen their financial knowledge and reach their financial goals.”

Over 70 percent of college students worry about their finances and how they are going to pay for college, books and other costs, according to Parrish. In an effort to help students develop a better understanding of their finances, as well as build strong financial habits, MCC offers hands-on, engaging activities centered on financial wellness.

The goal of MCC’s Financial Wellness program is to provide students and alumni with coaching in personal finances, knowledge of higher education financing and repayment, and positive financial behaviors, such as budgeting, savings and reducing debt.

In addition to one-on-one coaching, MCC will host workshop series and pop-up, informational events for students to talk to peer mentors, as well as community partners from local banks, credit unions and organizations.

MCC’s Financial Wellness program is part of the college’s Success Scholars Program, which supports Asian American, Black, African American, Latinx and LGBTQ+ students with academic advising, career preparedness, accessing resources and student support services throughout MCC, and how to be a successful college student.

All MCC students are invited to attend the Financial Wellness Day Fair.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/financialwellness/ for more information.
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MCC to Host In-person Open House on College’s Bedford Campus3/19/20244/3/2024 11:44 AM
​The path to a brighter future starts at Middlesex Community College. To help prospective students and their families learn all about what the college has to offer, Middlesex is hosting a Spring Open House at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3 in Bedford.

“MCC helps students explore new paths and discover their passions to transform their lives and gain long-lasting success well after graduating from the college,” said Jennifer Migliozzi, MCC’s Assistant Dean of Admissions. “Open Houses present prospective students and their families with an opportunity to hear directly from faculty and staff on how MCC makes getting an education affordable and flexible. Learn about how our variety of course formats and award-winning student support services and resources meet the needs of every learner who comes to the college.”

During the in-person Bedford Open House, students and their families can meet with faculty and staff from all of MCC’s programs and student services areas. The Open House 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 an opportunity to take a campus tour of the Bedford facilities and apply to the college.

Middlesex will host an additional Open House this spring. The Lowell Open House will take place at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1. Prospective students and their families can learn more about MCC’s resources and offerings, while touring the Lowell campus.

“Attending an Open House is one of the best ways to get an inside look at MCC before starting,” Migliozzi said. “Whether in Bedford or Lowell, we hope to see you there!”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/admissions/ for more information and to register for MCC’s Open Houses!
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MCC Student Translates Passion for Helping Others into Career in Human Services3/14/20244/2/2024 10:01 AM
​Christina Solivan, of Lawrence, grew up with a passion for helping others. In listening to people’s stories and helping to empower them, she turned her interest into a career path. Understanding the need for more access to mental health support in her role as a Lead Community Health Worker at Vinfen in Lowell, Solivan decided to enroll at Middlesex Community College to earn a degree and advance her learning in the field.

“Working in this role really helped me realize how much I really enjoyed helping others and I wanted to get as much knowledge as I could to help me become a clinician one day,” Solivan said. “Coming to MCC has helped me and impacted my life in so many ways. Not just in my studies and helping me strengthen my current career path, but as a person as well. MCC was the best decision ever, especially when it comes to this career field.”

For most of her career, Solivan has worked in human services, from a Certified Nurse Assistant to a Personal Career Attendant. Although she understands she may not be able to assist everyone, she believes by using the knowledge and skills she has earned through her education and training, she can “make the world a better place.”

“Along the way, one thing I’ve noticed even within my own mental health is that many don’t receive the help they need and struggle to get support,” Solivan said. “After actually working in the field, I set my mind on getting a degree in human services in hopes of helping many overcome these issues.”

In working while going to classes at MCC, Solivan has strengthened her understanding of the field and developed new skills. She appreciates the hands-on training Middlesex provides through clinical hours at her internship at Vinfen, as well as through classroom instruction. She also believes the support she has received from faculty has made a difference in her learning.

For helping her build a strong and compassionate communication style with clients, Solivan is grateful to her advisor Paulo Barrio, MCC’s Chair of Human Services, and Christine DeRosa, MCC Professor of Communications. She is also appreciative of English professors Gordon Curry and Jonathan Bennett for their Race, Class and Gender Honors course for “opening my eyes in so many ways I was closed off to.”

“The class helped me dive deep inside myself and helped me grow, teaching me how to address issues without having a one-sided approach as I once had,” she said. “I feel I have become a better, stronger, and more understanding human being. This is a course I feel should be a requirement for all within human services.”

Her experience at Middlesex has made Solivan certain she is on the right career path and on track to reach her goals. After she graduates from MCC, she plans to transfer to a four-year college before continuing on to earn a master’s to become a psychologist or social worker.

She credits MCC for building a great foundation for her career, as well as for offering the encouragement and guidance she needed to continue her education.

“I want to thank MCC for the support provided through their emergency grants, for providing me with the needed tools to continue to study when I did not have it, and for understanding my struggle through domestic violence and helping prevent homelessness,” Solivan said. “Thank you for providing the support needed for me to continue my dreams.”
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MCC to Host Award-winning Poet as Part of Visiting Writers Series3/18/20244/1/2024 2:45 PM
​Middlesex Community College will host award-winning poet Kathleen Aguero as part of the college’s Visiting Writers Series at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 in the Bedford Campus Café East.

“Discussions of the value of literature often center around its role in expanding the moral imagination,” Aguero said. “I am persuaded that teaching creative writing is also a means to this end. To write we need to observe not just our interior lives but the world around us, including its natural environment, its people, and its social institutions. This kind of conscious seeing enlivens our imagination and pushes us to find the specific language that transforms emotion and observation into art that reaches beyond us to others.”

Winner of the Firman Houghton Award from New England Poetry Club, she received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Elgin-Cox Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Aguero teaches in the Solstice MFA Program at Lasell University, as well as in “Changing Lives through Literature,” an alternative sentencing program.

Aguero has published five books of poetry, including the recent “World Happiness Index” (Tiger Bark Press, 2022). Her other collections include “Daughter Of” (Cedar Hill Books), “The Real Weather” (Hanging Loose), “Investigations: The Mystery of the Girl Sleuth” (Cervena Barva Press), and “Thirsty Day” (Alice James Books).

Her poems have appeared in many literary magazines and journals, such as Poetry magazine, Massachusetts Review, and Cincinnati Review. Contributing editor for the Kenyon Review, she has co-edited three volumes of multicultural literature for the George Press, including Daily Fare: Essays from the Multicultural Experience, A Gift of Tongues: Critical Challenges in Contemporary Poetry, and An Ear to the Ground: An Anthology of American Poetry.

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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Ready to Complete a Degree or Certificate? MCC Offers Flexible Options3/11/20243/28/2024 9:39 AM
For students who are close to completing their certificate or degree, Middlesex Community College offers a variety of flexible and affordable options. MCC provides a second chance to start the Spring 2024 semester with the accelerated Mini-mester II starting on Monday, March 25.

“MCC empowers students to start their education on their terms,” said Kayla Caron, MCC’s Registrar. “With Mini-mester II, students can work toward their degree, certificate or industry credential to get or stay on track and advance on their academic and professional paths. Whether you are beginning your journey or close to the end, the eight-week courses are a high-reward investment that optimize your way to a program or credential.”

The accelerated eight-week Mini-mesters offer the same content, academic standards, and number of instructional hours as courses scheduled during the traditional 15-week semester. Students can earn transferable college credit while completing general education requirements.

Subjects taught as part of Mini-mester II include the arts and humanities, business, social science, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Classes may be offered on-campus, online, hybrid or hyflex.

All students – including those enrolled in Mini-mester II classes – may qualify for financial aid. MCC encourages students to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to find out their eligibility.

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.

“We have a lot of options designed to meet the needs and goals of all our students,” Caron said. “Register today to jumpstart your education!

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration/ for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC’s Art & Design Show Celebrates Diversity, Identity & Creativity3/13/20243/27/2024 11:18 AM
​In celebration of diversity, identity and creativity, Middlesex Community College hosted the Winter Art & Design Show “Perspectives on Identity” on Saturday, February 10. Held by Gallery Z, the event showcased the hard work and dedication of faculty and students in MCC’s Communication, Art & Design department since the summer of 2022.

“This is the first official show I've been in so it was a very cool experience to see my work up on the wall and hear people talk about it,” said Nico Yaffe. an MCC Communication, Art & Design from Rowley. “I believe art shows are very important to keep artists relevant and to help the public appreciate different work concepts and mediums. It's helpful for artists to have shows in their portfolio and to have the experience of their work being perceived by other people who attend.”

Yaffe has enjoyed MCC’s art classes, from the helpful faculty to the variety of materials available. Yaffe was excited to present a self-portrait created during a Printmaking 1 course, explaining an interest in morbid visuals. The image included a nude full body portrait with intestines spilling out, which Yaffe explains as “visually this is exactly what it appears and symbolically, I tried to suggest a sort of vulnerability to the viewer.”

Kaylee Perez, an MCC Communication, Art & Design from Lowell, believed the art show was an opportunity for connection – both between people and art and artists with each other. Enjoying the chance to see what other artists created, Perez displayed a self-portrait designed on Photoshop in a Visual Design 1 class.

“It was created as a self-reflection about my identity and I played around with it until it felt like me,” Perez said. “It was interesting to think about what made me, well me. MCC programs give many people the chance to shine and try out something at least once.”

Dr. Jennifer Bauer MCC’s Chair of Communication, Art & Design was proud of the collaboration between the team’s faculty and students to explore identity through art and design. Bauer explains that the show was a “testament to our collective commitment to fostering a deeper understanding of racial equity and inclusivity.”

“By integrating the rich insights from 'Race and Art Education' into our curriculum and classroom discussions, we have not only enriched our students' educational experience, but also taken a significant step toward actualizing our goals for equity and community engagement,” Bauer said. “It is my hope that this show will not only showcase the exceptional talent of our students, but also serve as a catalyst for continued dialogue and reflection on the vital role of art in navigating and celebrating the complexities of human identity.”

The show came together in part thanks to a professional development grant that allowed the department to include “Race and Art Education” (Kraehe & Acuff, 2021) into the curriculum. Students’ works explored the theme of identity and their reflections based on conversations and coursework completed in class.

“It was such a pleasure to be part of this unique show,” said Jeanne Cronin, MCC Professor of Communication, Art & Design. “Art merged with identity and sparked reflection, connections and conversation.”
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MCC Celebrates Open Education Week by Highlighting the Value of OER in the Classroom3/6/20243/26/2024 1:10 PM
​Equitable and flexible education – combined with hands-on learning – is what Middlesex Community College is all about. For many classes, Middlesex uses Open Educational Resources (OER) that are in the public domain. Faculty and students can learn, edit and cite the free sources of information to enhance the learning experience.

“OER can make excellent educational resources more accessible to a larger group of students, including those who might not have access to traditional textbooks,” said Siya Bhagat, MCC’s OER Student Ambassador for the 2023-2024 academic year. “It may also present chances for cooperation with institutions and instructors who share similar goals, exchanging resources and best practices.”

OER may include digital textbooks, videos, activities, audios, images and assignments. Often replacing expensive textbooks, they 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.

“By recognizing OE Week, we have the opportunity to make students, faculty and the greater MCC community more aware of these flexible and affordable resources,” said Tracy Joyce, MCC’s Coordinator of Library Services. “Throughout the week, we offered online workshops, webinars and resources to share the newest trends and benefits of OE across the globe.”

While at first MCC professor Aisha Arroyo started using OER because they were more affordable for students, she has found OER often provides more resources than a traditional textbook.

“Using a variety of materials can also encourage students to look up other resources to enhance their learning,” Arroyo said. “Start small and choose one course that is frequently taught at most colleges. There's probably a good OER book out there!”

OER addresses MCC’s mission of equity and access, according to Middlesex professor John Femia, who believes OER materials are just as good” as textbooks.

“We should be doing our part to help students pursue other opportunities on campus instead of missing chances because they are working harder to afford expensive textbooks, Femia said. “It is not difficult to do, and the materials are readily available.”

MCC professor Jeanne Cronin remembers how expensive the cost of textbooks were when she was in school, which influenced her choice to include OER in her classes for the past six years.

“Material is always changing so I wanted to find a way to offer all the material free and always up to date,” Cronin said. “It is also the accessibility of the information. All students have the same resources and feel like they are valued and belong.”

For MCC professor Susan Bumbulucz, OER allows her to use learning materials that best fit her students’ needs and her own teaching style.

“OER materials are generally easy to access and use,” Bumbulucz said. “The flexibility that OER gives me allows me to use learning materials that reflect the diversity of the backgrounds my students come from.”

James Grenier is an MCC professor and alum. Students in his classes appreciate the value and reduction of costs that OER brings to their education.

“They have expressed being happy to add to the body of work when we have crowdsourced the creation of new materials, letting them share with others,” Grenier said. “Costs stop being a barrier, I can modify it to meet the needs of the class, and we have built some of these materials as a class – giving the opportunity to think like teachers and editors.”
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MCC Part of $1.5 million for Workforce Training Program from Healey-Driscoll Administration3/12/20243/25/2024 11:02 AM
​Middlesex Community College will receive funding for the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Program as part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s $1.5 million in grants for new community college workforce training programs for adults looking to enter or re-enter the workforce.

“Our successful history of offering robust, hands-on training for the advanced manufacturing industry has provided many individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to get hired immediately in in-demand roles across the state,” said Phil Sisson, MCC’s President. “We are grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for the funding to continue to advance and stabilize the careers for a diverse population of students, while equipping the local workforce with well-prepared, high-quality graduates.”

The grants, which are part of the Training Resources and Internships Network (TRAIN) program, are being issued to 13 community colleges across Massachusetts to prepare residents for careers in fields such as education, health care, addiction recovery, cyber security, and manufacturing. The grants are estimated to provide free career training to more than 400 adult learners at community colleges across Massachusetts, with all programs targeting residents who are unemployed or underemployed.

“The success of MassReconnect has demonstrated that Massachusetts residents are eager to further their careers, and these training programs are another way to meet that need,” said Governor Maura Healey. “TRAIN grants allow community colleges to be responsive to regional workforce needs and quickly prepare residents to fill critical roles in our cities and towns.”

“These grants will not only offer new career opportunities to those seeking them, but they will bring lasting benefits to our communities by increasing the number of trained professionals in our schools, hospitals and beyond,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Massachusetts residents win across the board when employers in key industries can look into their communities and find the talent they need to carry out their missions.”

“Massachusetts’ community colleges are tuned into the workforce needs in their region and these grants allow colleges to meet those needs while bringing opportunities to residents looking to launch new careers with newly acquired and improved skills,” said Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler. “TRAIN grants allow community colleges to build on their existing programs and offer new opportunities targeted toward residents looking for entry or re-entry into the workforce.”

“The Healey-Driscoll Administration continues to invest in building our workforce, including partnering with our community colleges among other partners to prepare untapped talent right in Massachusetts to gain the skills expressed by employers across industries,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Lauren E. Jones, who chairs the Workforce Skills Cabinet. “Thank you to our community colleges for opening their doors to increase training capacity and access for Massachusetts residents to pursue meaningful careers in health care, technology, manufacturing, and more—spanning regions throughout the state.”

“Workforce training is part of the essential role that Massachusetts community colleges play in our economy, and these grants help ensure that the colleges can be responsive to local workforce needs, while creating opportunities for residents,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Noe Ortega. “These free training programs allow accessible ways for adult learners to develop skills in areas that are in great demand, benefitting these learners and their families.”

TRAIN launched in 2016 serving four community colleges, and it has grown to offer grant opportunities to all 15 community colleges in Massachusetts.

MCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Program will consist of academic coursework, career readiness and hands-on manufacturing technology skills development. The program offers academic coursework and hands-on manufacturing technology skill development for a total of 160 hours, over approximately six weeks per cohort. Academic and workplace readiness courses – a total of 70 hours – will include mathematics, manufacturing best practices, career readiness and OSHA/Safety standards.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the Healey-Driscoll Administration to strengthen our non-credit Advanced Manufacturing Training Program run by our Corporate Education & Training department,” said Judy Burke, MCC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement & Workforce Development. “Our curriculum is designed closely with industry partners, ensuring our students receive relevant, practical machining training that prepares them to jump into their new field with a comprehensive understanding of the work they will be doing.”

For more information, call Teresa Medina at 978-656-3009.
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MCC’s Fall 2024 Scholarship Application Cycle Is Now Open3/4/20243/21/2024 9:49 AM
​As one of the biggest barriers students face in getting an education is financial, Middlesex Community College helps make college more affordable through scholarships. The Middlesex Community College Foundation scholarship application for Fall 2024 is now open.

“The scholarships allowed me to not worry about trying to pick up more shifts or another job to cover educational expenses and to be able to focus more on my education and studying and less of the finances,” said Madison Hall, an MCC Radiologic Technology student from Dracut. “Receiving a scholarship removes financial burdens of being a full time X-ray student and only being able to work part time. One of my clinical classes is not covered by financial aid over the summer, and scholarships helped me cover that without having to take out more loans.”

MCC students have the opportunity to apply for over 100 scholarships ranging from $500 to $8,000 through Friday, April 26. To apply, students must plan to take classes during the Fall 2024 semester. They fill out a general application that covers all of the offered scholarships and write an essay. In some cases, a faculty recommendation or other steps may be required.

“The value of receiving a scholarship include financial relief, the chance to connect with the scholarship donors, and the reassurance that my hard work is paying off,” said Stephanie Kem, an MCC Nursing major from Lowell. “The scholarships I’ve received have helped fund my education entirely, and even provided me with leftover money I could use to take care of any other financial responsibilities outside of college.”

For MCC Cybersecurity student Ibrahim Konteh, from Sierra Leone and now living in Lowell, the scholarship process has been “rewarding and educational.” Benefits include allowing students to add skills and experience to their resumes and opportunities to network with the community partners who funded the scholarship.

“Scholarships provide economic guides that could alleviate the burden of tuition fees, textbooks and other educational expenses,” Konteh said. “This financial assistance could make better schooling more accessible and less costly for college students who may in any other case battle to have enough money. Moreover, receiving a scholarship can enhance a student’s confidence and motivation because it validates their hard work, dedication and academic achievements.”

The MCC Foundation offers a variety of scholarships for currently enrolled MCC students based on academic performance, specific program or majors, city or town, community involvement, interest in study abroad, and financial need.

All applicants will be notified of award decisions by June 30 and award letters will be emailed to MCC student emails. A scholarship ceremony will be held during the Fall 2024 semester on the Bedford Campus.

“We are proud to support MCC’s mission of equity and access by helping make education more affordable,” said Barbara Maglio, MCC’s Director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations. “The Foundation has so many generous donors and community partners who are dedicated to sponsoring scholarships that help our students complete degrees, transfer to four-year institutions, and jumpstart careers with a clear path to long-term success.”

For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/foundation/scholarships/ or contact Maglio at MaglioB@middlesex.mass.edu.
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MCC Welcomes Prominent Cambodian Artist3/5/20243/20/2024 10:25 AM
​On Thursday, February 8, Middlesex Community College welcomed Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich for an artist talk, “Wading, Ploughing, Waiting” at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell. One of the most prominent, internationally-known contemporary artists working in Cambodia, Pich’s visit was in partnership with MCC’s 2023 Fulbright-Hays grant, which sent 14 Lowell teachers to Cambodia for shared study.

“Pich’s stunning works have been exhibited around the world,” said MCC professors and Fulbright-Hays Co-directors Kerri Gamache and Lara Kradinova. “Pich described his life and artistic journey, the materials he is using in his work –– the audience was surprised to learn that he utilizes old pots and pans – and his work process. The artist shared his vulnerability, sense of humor, and life reflections with all who were able to attend.”

Gamache introduced Pich’s history in his craft before the artist shared his background in school and what led him on his path. Saying he “always wanted to be an artist,” Pich spoke of his struggles in the craft, finding work in Boston, and returning to Cambodia. He then explained how when he started making Rattan, his unique sculptures became more reoccurring.

During the presentation, Pich showed different sculptures and works throughout his years as an artist. He also showed land in Cambodia where he plants trees and works on his craft. Naming artists such as Vincent van Gogh as an influence, Pich talked about the duration of his work and how important his team is in helping him make art.

Over the summer, MCC and Lowell Public School (LPS) employees visited Cambodia with the purpose of amplifying 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.

President Phil Sisson was excited to open the event talking about the important work completed by the 2023 Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad. At the end, Pich answered questions from the audience.

“The Q&A session after the talk kept the audience engaged and produced many interesting discussions,” Gamache and Kradinova said. “The event was well-attended by MCC students, administration and faculty, LPS teachers, and community members.”
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MCC Alumna Returns to Pursue Passion2/29/20243/19/2024 9:24 AM
Isabela Podmaska, from Brazil and now living in Lowell, enrolled in Middlesex Community College’s Computer Aided Design (CAD) program when she first moved to Massachusetts with her family. Her involvement and engagement within the MCC community led to Podmaska’s interest in returning to Middlesex where she is now the new Web Experience Specialist for MCC’s Office of Communications & Creative Services.

“MCC has given me so much that maybe it is my time to do something and give back,” Podmaska said. “It feels really homey and it was not just a place I came to take my classes and leave. I looked at the opportunity as a way to contribute and help make improvements to the college.”

At MCC, Podmaska was quick to make friends after attending the International Student Orientation. She credits MCC’s Director of Student Engagement for Equity Maria McDuffie Clark – who was working in a different role at the time – for guiding her with an agenda and information on important policies.

Once Podmaska felt more familiar and comfortable with the college, she joined the Paul Sullivan Leadership Institute (PSLI) and National Society for Leadership & Success. During Podmaska’s time at the PSLI, she helped create a scholarship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students for her final project. Alongside fellow MCC alumni Maria Aybar and Diego Leonardo, they worked toward providing funds for DACA students who could not apply for financial aid because of their status.

“I really appreciate how things happened and that I landed here first,” Podmaska said. “I was not the greatest English speaker, but there were so many groups and activities at the college so I could engage and become a part of something. For the scholarship, we addressed the problem and talked to the students and sympathized and understood the actual spectrum of the whole problem. That was rewarding for me.”

Podmaska was not kept to one path or career at MCC. The electives and various classes she took allowed her to be more open-minded. She had attended an architecture school in Brazil and lived in Washington D.C. to study English for three months prior to coming to Massachusetts and Middlesex. Though her interest in architecture faded, she felt drawn to the art field inspired by her father’s construction business back in Brazil.

“I feel like when you first get out of high school it is hard,” she said. “You do not know what you want to do with your life and are too young to make that decision. I liked that there were several courses you could take at MCC. I got to dip my toes into different things like graphic design and sociology. I consider myself to be a creative person and I like to be outside of my comfort zone and come up with ideas.”

After graduating from MCC in 2016, Podmaska continued her education at Lesley University where she originally studied Graphic Design. Upon taking a user experience design course (UX), she soon gained an interest in and focused on UX and user interface design. The experience influenced Podmaska’s major switch to Design.

While attending Lesley, Podmaska did a Graphic Design internship at Boston Innovation Gateway. When she graduated from Lesley in 2020, she was hired at the company as a full-time Design Strategist. Then in 2022, she resumed her education at Clark University to pursue a master’s degree in information technology.

Interested in enhancing her web skills, she had a deep desire to grow and push her limits. Her new position at MCC has given her the opportunity to do so.

“Every time that I was here, I really liked how everybody was included and treated with the same respect,” she said. “My familiarity with MCC and their values made me excited about coming back to the college and exploring and being on the other side where you get to make things happen.”
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MCC Named in Top 10 for SHRM Professional Development Course for 20232/28/20243/18/2024 3:03 PM
​The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Holmes Corporation (HC) named Middlesex Community College in the Top 10 Enrollments for the Essentials of HR course. Among colleges, universities and community colleges nationwide, Middlesex was named the number seven recipient for its SHRM Essentials of Human Resource Management course.

“For over 14 years, SHRM/HC have been an incredible partner to MCC in helping to provide high-quality coursework to HR professionals,” said Judy Burke, MCC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Workforce Development. “Employers, employees and job-seekers across the state come to MCC for life-changing professional development opportunities that jumpstart and advance their careers. We’re proud to serve the community and to receive this Top 10 SHRM Enrollment achievement!”

MCC accepted the award during the virtual SHRM Education Partner Learning Connection (EPLC) event on February 8. Middlesex and HC/SHRM collaborate on professional development and certificate programs for HR professionals of local businesses and organizations.

“We were thrilled to earn the recognition from SHRM/HC for our SHRM Essentials of Human Resource Management course,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “Part of our Community Education and Training division, the program provides individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to get hired or enhance their existing careers in human resources. We look forward to continuing to offer this award-winning program and more professional development offerings in fields, such as healthcare, leadership and information technology.”

MCC’s SHRM Essentials of Human Resource Management course provides a detailed overview of all aspects of HR. Participants gain foundational knowledge in addition to an introduction to behavioral competencies essential to success. The course is geared toward current and entry-level employees who are starting out in HR.

Throughout the course, students learn topics related to the HR function, talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, learning and development, performance management and employment law. Once the course and modules are finished, student are awarded a certificate of completion.

The next section of the course will run 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3 and Friday, May 10 on MCC’s Bedford Campus. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining or email career_training@middlesex.mass.edu for more information.
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Congresswoman Trahan Presents MCC with STEM Challenge Award for New CAD Program2/27/20243/14/2024 10:15 AM
​On Monday, February 26, Congresswoman Lori Trahan visited Middlesex Community College to present the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Challenge Award. MCC received $409,410 in funding for the college’s new Computer Aided Design (CAD) Learn and Earn Experience.

“Middlesex Community College is doing remarkable work setting students up for success in today’s job market through their Industry Integrated Computer Aided Design courses,” Congresswoman Trahan said. “Securing this competitive federal funding is a testament to the success of their program that helps students hit the ground running in high demand 21st-century jobs. I will continue to work with our community colleges, vocational and tech schools, and local leaders to ensure Massachusetts students have every tool at their disposal to thrive in a rapidly evolving job market.”

During the event held in MCC’s Cowan Center Cafeteria in Lowell, Congresswoman Trahan learned more about MCC’s CAD and other STEM programs from MCC faculty and President Phil Sisson. As part of a panel, she also had the opportunity to hear from the college’s students and employer partners on the benefits of the college’s programs on the local workforce.

“We are so grateful to Congresswoman Trahan for her support of our new CAD Learn and Earn program,” President Sisson said. “Our award-winning Learn and Earn programs are one of the most efficient ways for students to enter high-demand industries in Massachusetts, receiving relevant and paid work experience in their field at the same time as they are earning their education. In assisting the expansion of our programs, this funding opens up more opportunities for a diverse population of students to begin their path to stable, well-paying jobs and long-lasting success.”

In MCC’s new CAD Learn and Earn Experience, students will learn skills in the classroom that they can relate to the workforce in order to make a smooth transition. These include communication and interpersonal skills, trouble shooting and maintenance, and 3-D modeling. The goal is to promote relevant experience to help students more easily understand their career path and prospects within the field.

“Thank you to Congresswoman Trahan for the opportunity to expand our CAD curriculum and increase hands-on learning experiences and internship opportunities,” said Dr. Marie Tupaj, MCC’s Dean of STEM. “With this funding and support, we hope to implement additional courses, establish a working advisory board where industry is involved in curriculum design, and build partnerships with K-12 institutions.”

Along with the updated curriculum, the program is working with the Office of Career Integrated Learning (OCIL) to include an internship opportunity. In MCC’s CAD Learn and Earn program, students will earn $21-$26 an hour for paid work experience at their internship. They will also receive standard benefits, such as health, vision and dental insurance, flexible spending accounts, paid time off, and more.

Following the success of the Biotechnology Learn and Earn Experience, MCC developed more specialized paid internship experiences for students in Information Technology (IT) and now the CAD Learn and Earn Experience that will debut in the fall of 2024.

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/careerservices/ for more information on MCC’s Learn and Earn Experiences and career services.
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Registration Now Open for MCC’s Summer 2024 Semester2/22/20243/13/2024 11:08 AM
​Middlesex Community College is helping students be productive and stay on track to reach their goals. Featuring flexible and affordable classes, MCC’s Summer 2024 semester has a variety of options to set students up for success. Registration is now open.

“With the Spring 2024 semester in full swing, MCC knows that summer is fast approaching and we want to make sure our students are prepared for their next steps,” said Arlene Rodríguez, MCC’s Provost & Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs. “The summer is a perfect time for students to jumpstart their academic plans, finish general education requirements, earn transferable college credits, and update skills with professional development. We have four opportunities this summer for students to start their education and get ahead of the Fall semester during what could otherwise be a busy time.”

During the summer, MCC’s sessions range from three, five and eight weeks long.
  • Summer Quickstart: three weeks, May 28 to June 14
  • Summer Session One: five weeks, May 28 to June 27
  • Summer Session Two: eight weeks, May 28 to July 29
  • Summer Session Three: five weeks, July 8 to August 8
Students taking classes at MCC have access to award-winning student support services to guide them to reach their goals. This includes free tutoring, library services, and advising for academic, career, transfer and financial support.

“Our accelerated sessions and summer offerings help students fit education into their lives more easily,” Rodríguez said. “Take advantage of this opportunity to complete elective courses and upgrade skills to fast-track your path to a certificate or degree.”

Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/summer/ for more information and to register for classes.
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MCC’s Spring Celebrity Forum to Welcome Award-winning Music Legend 2/20/20243/12/2024 12:01 PM
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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Registration for MCC’s College for Kids Summer Programs Is Now Open2/26/20243/11/2024 10:58 AM
Middlesex Community College makes summer plans easy with its College for Kids program. These interactive and engaging summer classes provide children and teens ages 8 to 17 with unique opportunities to explore careers, learn new skills, meet new friends, and boost self-confidence. Registration is now open.

“Our College for Kids programs are a great way for kids to have fun and stay busy in a productive way,” said Ellen Wright, MCC’s Assistant Director of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development. “Programs are designed to provide students with hands-on experiences that allow them to explore new interests and possible career paths outside of traditional school classes. With a variety of week-to-week classes, College for Kids offers a semblance of normalcy and routine without having to commit for the whole summer.”

Over the summer, students learn from public school teachers and expert professionals. Topics include STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), arts and crafts, baking, aviation, photography, fashion design, online gaming and game design, filmmaking, and Lego Mindstorms.

Programs are offered in Bedford and Lowell, featuring five weeks of full- and half-day programs from July 8 to August 8, 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.

“From decorating cakes and cupcakes to introducing the art of coding to everything in between, this summer’s line-up of College for Kids classes will be exciting,” Wright said. “We look forward to welcoming you this year!”
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Noted Pianist to Celebrate Chopin During MCC’s “World of Music” Concert Series2/21/20243/6/2024 2:33 PM
​Middlesex Community College will continue its Spring 2024 “A World of Music” concert series highlighting the works of esteemed composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin. A Chopin Celebration will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at the MCC Concert Hall on the Bedford Campus.

Noted pianist Paul-André Bempéchat will perform an all-Chopin recital. Nocturnes in B Major and E Major, Ballade in A flat Major, and the Sonata in B Minor will be featured.

“I'm delighted to be performing for the first time at MCC, just ‘down the road’ from our new home and studio in Bedford,” Bempéchat said. “The community welcome has been heartwarming, and I'm particularly happy to bring an array of Chopin's compositions – from the intimate to the powerfully heroic, on his birthday weekend.”

“A World of Music” will hold additional performances at MCC’s Bedford Concert Hall, including 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.

Having kicked off the Spring 2024 season with a concert on Sunday, February 18, the Lowell Chamber Orchestra will perform a second time at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.

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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With MassReconnect, Eligible Students Can Attend MCC for FREE2/14/20243/5/2024 1:24 PM
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 Hires New Director of Student Engagement for Equity2/15/20243/4/2024 12:55 PM
​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 Scholarship2/8/20242/29/2024 11:20 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 Award-winning Poet as Part of Visiting Writers Series2/12/20242/28/2024 10:52 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 to Host College Fairs to Highlight Benefits of MassTransfer & Mass. State Universities2/6/20242/27/2024 11:53 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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MCC Welcomes Early College Lowell Students2/7/20242/26/2024 10:38 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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Dedicated to Supporting the “Whole” Student, MCC Hires New Wellness Counselor 2/1/20242/22/2024 1:58 PM
​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 to Kick Off “World of Music” with Lowell Chamber Orchestra2/5/20242/21/2024 10:46 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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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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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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