“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”
-Albert Camus, The Fall.
“Sometimes, carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement.”
Under the direction and oversight of Dr. Kathy Rentsch, Associate Vice President for Strategic Academic and Workforce Initiatives, as well as the Academic Affairs team, we are pleased to announce that we have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Southbridge Public Schools. QCC Southbridge will be moving from 5 Optical Drive to Southbridge High School, 132 Torrey Road later this Summer.
As we acclimate to the changes that have occurred due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, our current and former students and alumni are adapting as well. They are working around the clock to protect our communities as first responders, respiratory therapists, nurses, mental health workers, social service workers, custodial workers, delivery drivers, grocery store and restaurant workers who are keeping essential services running. They have the ability to jump right and and save lives with confidence because of the education they received from their talented, experienced professors.
Quinsigamond Community College has begun a new e-sports team for the League of Legends, a highly competitive, fast paced, action-strategy online game. Nate Mello (QCC learning manager for Interactive Media Design) is coaching this year’s inaugural team.
QCC's President Luis G. Pedraja, Ph.D., released a strong statement denouncing the recent guidelines by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that will force international students to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their college or university offers classes entirely online this fall. According to the guidelines, international students will not be issued new visas for those colleges and universities that are offering all programs completely online.
“The new guidelines are a direct violation of our students’ human rights. Our international students should not be subjected to such blatant discrimination. The decision of colleges and universities to continue with remote instruction this fall is for the health and safety of all students; not a chosen few,” said President Pedraja. “Our international students are an integral and valued part of our higher education system. They expand our students’ and our campuses horizons by opening them up to worldwide perspectives, which is so important in today’s global economy. Additionally, they typically pay out-of-state tuition, and do not receive financial aid. International students free up much needed resources, to allow the under-served and underrepresented members of our community the ability to access higher education. To put this type of pressure on international students and institutions of higher education is reprehensible.”
QCC has chosen to continue with remote instruction this fall, with a limited number of labs and clinical experiences that require direct hands-on participation offered in-person. The decision was made by the college to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the community.
“No one should have to choose between pursuing an education or deportation. Forcing students to choose between education and their health is unfathomable. In this current scenario, if there is a surge in the virus and in-person classes are moved to remote instruction, what are these students supposed to do?,” President Pedraja said. “We must all stand together to support our international students and decry this vicious attack on individuals trying to realize their ‘American Dream.’”
Zuheyry Encarnacion has found her secret weapon, her motivation and her self confidence. Since she started criminal justice classes at Quinsigamond Community College, she's has had the support and guidance of a special woman - Dr. Natalie Anumba, a forensic psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It could have been fate, it could have
The people have spoken and the students have made their choice, Mustafa Boweden. Mustafa now holds the responsibility of being Quinsigamond Community College’s student trustee for the coming year. He will serve on the 11-member Board of Trustees acting as a representative for the student body for a one-year term and also serve on the Strategic Planning Committee.
Sutton Fire District Chief Robin Dresser is living proof that mother really does know best. The Chief is a graduate of the Fire Science program at Quinsigamond Community College, class of 2005 and he says it was all his mom's idea. Chief Dresser's mom (Edna) is also a QCC grad, she received her Accounting degree with the class of 1978. So... when her son was looking for a school, she knew exactly what to suggest.
“Growing up I had always wanted to get into public service- be it firefighter or police officer. When I hit my early teens I decided I wanted to be a firefighter,” he said.
Robin knew he wanted to get into fire science, but that his choices would be limited because it wasn't offered as a degree option at many schools... not within a reasonable driving distance, anyway.
“I didn’t want a mess of student loans and at the time spending a lot money on a degree and then going into an entry-level position didn’t make sense,” he said. That's when mom chimed in and suggested he take a look at what he could get at QCC. “They did offer fire science as a major, so it worked out well,” he said.
While being a firefighter does not require a degree, Robin said most communities require some form of degree in order to advance. If you wanted to move up the 'ladder', be eligible for pay increases, promotions, and achieve other career goals, a degree is a good thing to have. When you have the opportunity to get it done without any debt, you really can't go wrong.
“The class schedule worked out for me, since I was working full time while attending. I had some day classes, but most of the classes had been evening classes,” he said, adding that the professors he had were all either current or retired from the fire science industry.
“They were not just instructors, they lived being firefighters and experienced it personally,” he said.
After graduation Robin went right into the workforce, having already been a call firefighter with the Sutton Fire Department.
“In 2005 I applied for full-time at the department and was hired. I have continued to move up in rank and this past May was promoted to District Chief,” he said, adding that while it wasn’t necessary for him to have a degree within his department it was “a bonus and helped me out.”
Mr. Dresser said he does plan to one day continue his education and obtain his bachelor’s degree, but will stay in the fire science field.
“I’m happy with what I do. I love my job and love going to work every day,” he added.
*Photos courtesy of the Sutton Fire Department.
Jansson Family alumni, from left: Jeff Jr., Jeffrey, Jarrod, Robin, Lindsey.
Jeffrey Jansson knows the value of a degree. The 1979 Respiratory Therapy graduate came to QCC by way of Holy Cross.
“I had a bachelor’s degree in French but couldn’t get a job. Half my class couldn’t get jobs,” Mr. Jansson said. “Someone had told me respiratory therapy was a good field and there were plenty of jobs.”
That was it, it was all Jeffrey needed to spring into action and become a student again and join the Respiratory Therapy program. He did the clinical portion of his degree at Memorial Hospital on Belmont Street in Worcester and was offered a position after graduation. Jeffrey would spend the next 40 years making his career as a staff Respiratory Therapist B.A.RRT. It was at Memorial Hospital that he would meet Robin, a secretary in the Emergency Department. He and Robin dated, married and started a family. Robin eventually decided she wanted to try something new while the kids were young, so she enrolled in a psychology class at QCC.
“I initially just wanted to take a course and get out of the house so I took a psychology course and thought ‘this is fabulous,'” she said. “I liked it a lot and next semester took another class.”
As someone who worked in a medical setting for so many years, nursing had been something that greatly interested her, so she decided to work toward her nursing degree. For the next 12 years, as her three children were growing, she took one class per semester, working on her prerequisites for QCC’s nursing program.
“While the children were growing I decided I was going to do this and I completed all my prerequisites then slid into the two-year nursing program." Mrs. Jansson said, adding that while she was an older non-traditional student, she never felt she was the “older one” in her classes. “I felt a lot of support."
Robin took pride in being a student and that pride was validated when she did her clinicals at Saint Vincent Hospital and UMass Hospital (University Campus).
“The staff at these hospitals would always say they loved the fact that we were QCC students. They felt like we were prepared and felt confident in us,” she said. “I felt totally prepared to enter the nursing field."
In 2009, at the age of 50 years old, Robin graduated from the nursing program. Today she is working as a Pre-Op/PACU RN at Worcester Surgical Center.
It’s All in the Family
Healthcare is truly ingrained in the Jansson family. In May of 2019, as dad was retiring after 40 years on the job, Jarrod and Lindsey were graduating with nursing and respiratory therapy degrees. Lindsey plans to attend Worcester State University this fall to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Older brother Jeff Jr. graduated from the Radiologic Technology program in 2014 with an associate degree. While Jeff Jr. is currently working as a machinist at Saint Gobain, it was his degree from QCC which helped him “get the job,” according to his mother.
While only just graduating, Jarrod has already obtained a job as a respiratory therapist at the UMass Hospital (University Campus) after passing all his licensing requirements. A particularly emotional moment for the family was during Jarrod’s pinning ceremony when his father was called to the stage to pin his son.
“Jeffrey was passing the torch to Jarrod,” Mrs. Jansson said. “We are as proud as peacocks.”
“I have many patients who are moms who say they can’t get an education I tell them they can do this. I tell them ‘take your time, go to QCC and take that one class,’” she said. “Every journey starts with a first step."
You can see it in her eyes...it's pure excitement for the future, and she's ready for it. Jatnna Perez is a Quinsigamond Community College healthcare student poised to graduate in May with her associate degree in public health. Jattna came to the US from the Dominican Republic in 2012. She attended high school in New York and moved to Worcester shortly after graduation.