February 2020

Updates from College Leadership

At MCC, we all work tirelessly to foster growth, to instill a love of learning and to provide our students with the tools and techniques necessary for success. The world around us is in a state of constant change and we strive to rise to the challenge of reaching our students and meeting their diverse needs.

Earlier this month, Trustee Chairman James Campbell, Trustee Dr. Cheryl Howard, Executive Director of Public Affairs Patrick Cook and I — along with two other Mass. Community College Presidents — had the opportunity to attend the annual Community College National Legislative Summit held in Washington D.C. The summit provided the MCC delegation with the opportunity to meet with national legislators to advocate for more funding and support of community colleges and the students we serve.

While at the Capital, I had the opportunity to talk about the amazing work happening at our school, and was able to highlight how MCC’s faculty and staff have come together to develop new ways of engaging students, of improving persistence and retention, and closing the achievement gap — highlighting the power of community college and how the work we do at MCC is critical to building a stronger community, region and economy.

As we continue our work throughout the semester and as we prepare to mark 50 years of transforming lives through education, I look forward to continuing to engage with you in meaningful work that will allow Middlesex to elevate students — and the college— to their greatest potential.

Jim Mabry

Table Of Contents

  • Featured Video
    • Interdisciplinary Studies: Career Exploration
  • Featured News Story
    • Resident turns to MCC to help find path
  • Upcoming Events
  • Awards, Presentations & Publications
    • Diversity and Equity Workshop
    • Drawing Discourse
    • National Young Arts Foundation Prize
    • Outstanding Dissertation Competition
  • Community Submissions
    • AANAPISI Grant
    • College Advancement
    • College for Kids
    • Community Education and Training
    • Corporate Education and Training 
    • Homeland Security
    • MCC Employee-Alumni Gathering
    • MCC Foundation
    • Multicultural Career Institute
    • New Student Ambassadors

Featured Video

Interdisciplinary Studies: Career Exploration

Featured News Story

Resident turns to MCC to help find path

Screen Shot 2020-02-04 at 3.43.54 PMAs a teenager, Michelle Shipka was doubtful that college would be in her future. Her hands tremble from an undiagnosed condition and she suffers from episodes of depression and anxiety. As someone on the autism spectrum, she has difficulty reading social cues and suffers from sensory issues. [Read More]

Upcoming Events

Awards, Presentations & Publications

Diversity and Equity Workshop

Reggie Nichols, Assistant Director of HR/AAO, and Darcy Orellana, Ed.D., Associate Director of HR/CDO assisted Terracorps, a Lowell based land conservation non-profit, with a diversity and equity workshop for their team.

Drawing Discourse

Professor Jan Arabas had work selected for the prestigious juried exhibition, “Drawing Discourse” at the University of North Carolina, Ashville. This years annual international survey of contemporary drawing was chosen by renowned artist William Beckman. Professor Arabas’ piece, “Exploding Forest #1,” was selected by Mr. Beckman from 1053 entries, submitted by 366 artists, from 5 countries. A total of 44 pieces are included in the exhibition.

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National Young Arts Foundation Prize

IMG_0565 - Matthew Olson.JPGNathaniel Abreu recently was a 2020 winner of the National Young Arts Foundation prize for Classical Music/Cello. Currently a dual enrollment student, Nathaniel will graduate in May with both his high school requirements completed and an associate’s degree from MCC. He has performed in MCC student recitals and for college activities, and he has taken various music courses at the college. Below is information about the competition from their website: YoungArts’ signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12 from across the United States. Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, YoungArts winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentors, and performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions. Joining a 20,000-strong alumni community, they receive creative and professional development opportunities and connect with an extraordinarily rich network of peers.

Outstanding Dissertation Competition

image001Darcy Orellana’s dissertation entitled “Organizational Culture in Community Colleges: Making Connections to Diverse Student Success” was selected as the 3rd place winner in the Outstanding Dissertation Competition hosted by the  American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Inc. (AAHHE)  and the Educational Testing Service (ETS).  She will be attending the 2020 AAHHE’s 15th Annual National Conference to be recognized and present her study.

Community Submissions


On November 6, 2019 the Program for Asian American Student Advancement (PAASA) hosted a meet-and-greet with the cast members of Cambodian Rock Band as one of our grant initiatives to hold engagement activities with community-based organizations at MCC. The all Asian American cast are actors in a play that combines the history and consequences of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime with a musical concert highlighting the arts of the 1970s.

nov 2019 - Linda Thiem.jpg

Students and staff engaged in a community and cultural dialogue with the cast, who were invited to the college by Virak Uy, Director of PAASA. The cast spent two hours speaking with students and staff in a conversation about cultural identity in the arts, meaningful connections to the play’s plot of family bonding and sacrifice, and career opportunities for Asian Americans in theater. Forty plus years after the historical event in Cambodia, many of our students are still struck by the absence of dialogue about the consequences of the regime. One student in particular commented about the value of having attended the play:

“As a newcomer to the United States, it was powerful for me to see the Americans’ view of a history I never witnessed, but I hear so much about. The play brought a lot of emotions out of me because I was able to engage in memories that my older family members may have had.”

– Farrorza Lim, Global Studies ‘2020

College Advancement

Please join us as we celebrate and thank MCC employees that are also MCC alums! We are hosting two opportunities to meet and greet President Mabry and the Advancement Team, one on each campus: Monday, February 24th from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.at the Trustees House on the Bedford Campus and on Wednesday, February 26th from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. in the 5th Floor Reception Area, Cowan Center, Lowell. We hope to see you there!

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Community Education and Training

Enrollment is open for non-credit Community Education classes for winter/spring 2020. Check out the new personal enrichment and cooking classes listed on pages 14-16. As a newly added HR benefit, some PER classes are eligible for a 50% tuition waiver for MCC employees with a signed waiver form. The form can be obtained online at the MCC HR portal site. More info:

College for Kids

Break out your yellow submarines, silver hammers, and octopus gardens for a fun-filled jaunt down memory lane with the Fab Four themselves, the Beatles! Join Community Education on Wednesday March 18 at 2pm for our opening MILES session, Café East. Keynote Speaker Rod Griffith will discuss the Beatles – 50 years later – with in-depth insights into the studio workings of their last album, Abbey Road, as well as the political and social climate of the pivotal years of 1968-1970, both in the world of music and pop culture. Rod is currently an active board member of COOL – the Cultural Organization of Lowell. https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/careertraining/miles.aspx

It may be winter but summer 2020 is planned. Registration for College for Kids ages 8 -17 is open! Full and half day programs are offered July 6 – August 13. Ever popular classes such as Cakes and Cupcakes, Healthy Eating, Theatre, Fashion Design, and Aviation are back.

New programs: Junior Farmer, Dungeons and Dragons, Creative Sculpture, Zip and Zap Electricity, Sports 101, Dark Room Digital Photography. https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/collegeforkids/summer.aspx

Questions, email Lauren Ellis at ellisl@middlesex.mass.edu or 781-280-3669

Corporate Education and Training 

Corporate Education and Training delivered or will be delivering:

  • ESOL training for Diamond Antenna and Microwave Corporation in Littleton. This course is being conducted through the Express Program within the Workforce Training Fund.
  • Leadership Development training sessions for Lowell General Hospital.
  • Leader as a Team Builder and Overview of Management/Supervisory Skills courses at CTI in Lowell.
  • Microsoft Excel training for Monogram Gourmet Foods in Wilmington. This course will be taking place on the MCC Bedford Campus
  • Medication Administration Recertification training for LifeLinks. The courses are conducted at MCC in order to provide employees exposure to taking classes in a college setting.
  • English Composition I offered at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office in Billerica.
  • Team Building, Advocacy for Clients, and Myers Briggs courses at CTI in Lowell.
  • Collaborated with the Education Department to offer two courses: ESOL Beginning and Intermediate Communication for Early Childhood through the Career Pathways Grant. The courses are taking place on the Lowell Campus.
  • Combined First Aid/CPR training for LifeLinks. This course is being conducted at MCC in order to provide employees exposure to taking classes in a college setting.
  • Microsoft Word training for Monogram Gourmet Foods in Wilmington. This course will be taking place on the MCC Bedford Campus.

Corporate Education and Training collaborated with Resource Development to submit a Workforce Training Fund Grant for Community Teamwork (CTI) in Lowell.  That grant was awarded. Training will include Managing Workplace Conflict, Dealing with the Problem Employee, Management and Supervisory Skills, Quality Supervision, Interpersonal Communication Skills, Strategic and Tactical Planning Approaches, and Business Writing.

Additionally, Corporate Education and Training hosted a Workforce Training Fund Program Information Session on Thursday, January 9th from 10:00am—12:00pm in the Trustees House. Kristen Rayne from the Commonwealth Corporation provided an overview of grant options and content on the Workforce Training Fund.

Homeland Security

Homeland Security Program Executive Director Terry Downes was interviewed on WCAP Radio on January 7, following the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qasem Soleimani. Terry provided analysis and context, and discussed the history of U.S. / Iran / Iraq relations since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

MCC Foundation

The MCC Foundation Scholarship Application for fall 2020 awards will open on February 15, 2020. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 27, 2020. Please encourage your students to apply.

For more information or if you would like to serve on a scholarship review committee, please contact Amy Lee, leea@middlesex.mass.edu or 978-656-3028.

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Multicultural Career Institute

Every December, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston decorates a large holiday tree in its entry way with flags from around the world. The tree was one of the first sites that students from the Multicultural Career Institute saw during their field trip to the museum this past December 12.

The MFA trip was the final program for the Institute—a 9 week series that ran out of the Asian American Connections Center at MCC this past Fall. The Institute covered a wide range of professional topics, including resume and cover letter writing, elevator pitches, salary negotiation and more. By participating in the Institute, students not only enhanced their academic and professional profiles, but deepened connections with staff and other students in the Institute.

The MFA field trip also encouraged students to search for career opportunities in places that they might not have considered before. The MFA offers an array of job opportunities that extends way beyond art. It is home to over 1,000 employees who work in a wide range of professional fields such as, business, marketing, education, membership, event planning, public relations, technology, security, entrepreneurship, hospitality, and customer service.

Students also had the opportunity to explore art at the museum, including the Art of Asia exhibit, which houses works from many of the students’ home countries and cultures. The field trip also offered students an opportunity to bond and connect with one another in an engaging and educational setting outside of MCC.

The Institute will continue out of the Asian American Connections Center next semester. Programming will include new topics like understanding the gig economy, connecting personality to career path, social media, and more.

New Student Ambassadors

The Office of International, Multicultural & Veterans Affairs launched the Multicultural this spring with a one-day training in January for MCC students. Researched and developed by a UMass Lowell Graduate Fellow of the Program for Asian American Student Advancement, the Multicultural Council consists of a diverse cohort of student ambassadors and allies from the multicultural clubs and organizations at Middlesex Community College. Through a series of skill development seminars, members of the student council aim to promote campus-wide multicultural inclusion by fostering diversity and empowering underrepresented identities.

The council is advised by Maria McDuffie Clark, Tiffany Laudano and Linda Thiem. In alignment with the college’s Diversity and Equity value, the Multicultural Council provides a platform for students to access unique development opportunities with the goal of promoting multicultural education. Student ambassadors of the council will act as a liaison to promote inclusiveness, student empowerment, and intercultural enrichment on our campus-community. Their first collaborative event as a council is scheduled to debut in April executed as a festival on the Bedford Campus.

feb 2020 photo - Linda Thiem

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