News from our members

MWCC’s Third Annual STEM Awareness Day Showcases Careers

Aspiring scientists, medical professionals, engineers and mathematicians were among the crowd of area high school students who attended Mount Wachusett Community College’s third annual STEM Awareness Day promoting academic programs and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Nearly 90 high school seniors from Fitchburg, Leominster, Oakmont, Montachusett Reginal Vocational Technical, Gardner, North Middlesex and Mahar high schools attended the half-day event on March 4. Activities included a hard hat tour of the college’s new STEM building, which opens this fall, an experiment creating DNA necklaces from their own saliva, an overview on healthcare careers and academic programs, and presentations on fire science technology, manufacturing, and college success.

Janice Barney, Dean of MWCC’s School of Business, Science, Technology and Math teamed up with Associate Vice-President of Facilities Management Jon Wyman to lead groups of students through the new building. The 44,000-square-foot addition to the main campus will house state-of-the-art classrooms and science laboratories that will be central to academic programs such as allied health, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, medical laboratory science, computer information systems, natural resources, nursing, physical therapist assistant, physics and pre-engineering.

While cycling through the stations, many of the students shared their excitement and experiences through social media, posting photos and comments on Twitter using the college’s #MWCC hashtag and the event hashtag #takeiton.

That’s how Twitter followers learned that Oakmont senior Jon Chernock will graduate high school this spring with a full year of college courses already completed as a dual enrollment student at MWCC. “I’ll have one year of classes done, then complete my degree in physics at MWCC before transferring to UMass to major in physics,” he said.

In addition to showcasing academic and career opportunities, the event served to raise awareness about the college’s STEM Starter Academy, funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and the STEM SET scholarship program, funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The college is currently recruiting students for its seven-week STEM Starter Academy summer program, which begins July 5. Participating students will receive up to two free college courses, textbooks, up to $1,200 in stipends, academic support and tutoring, and will attend industry field trips and MWCC’s Summer Leadership Academy.

MWCC’s STEM Starter Academy students have gone on to transfer to public and private colleges and universities to continue on for their bachelor’s degrees, including Carnegie Melon, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Massachusetts campuses, MCPHS University, and others.

For more information about the STEM Starter Academy and academic programs at MWCC, visit or contact the admissions office at 978-630-9110 or

MWCC Foundation Names Douglas J. Petersen 2016 Citizen of the Year


The Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation will honor Douglas J. Petersen, president and CEO of Workers’ Credit Union, as the 2016 Harold E. Drake Jr. Citizen of the Year for his leadership and service in the community. He will be recognized during the foundation’s annual celebration on May 25 at MWCC’s Gardner campus.

The Citizen of the Year Award is presented in memory of Harold E. Drake, Jr., treasurer and former president of Royal Steam Heater Co. and Lynde Hardware & Supply, Inc. The award recognizes community members who exemplify Harold Drake’s extraordinary commitment to the North Central Massachusetts region.

“Doug Petersen contributes a tremendous amount of his time, energy and expertise serving the North Central Massachusetts community,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “His leadership benefits the residents of our region in numerous ways, and we are proud to honor him as our 2016 Citizen of the Year.”

Mr. Petersen is involved in many professional associations, business ventures and community causes. He serves as chairman of the boards for the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, and is also a member of the MWCC Foundation board of directors and a member of the HealthAlliance President’s Council.

He said he is honored to be selected to receive an award that has recognized many “important people who have given to the community and been an inspiration to us all. I’m very excited to be a part of that.”

A prominent figure in North Central Massachusetts business circles since joining Workers’ in the mid-1990s, Mr. Petersen was appointed to the top position of the nonprofit financial institution in 2011. The sixth oldest credit union in the country, Workers’ was established in Fitchburg in 1914 to assist Finnish immigrants and has expanded over the past century to 86,000 members. In December, Workers’ announced it reached $1.3 billion in assets under Mr. Petersen’s leadership.

“Workers’ is so active in the community and part of our heritage is to give back to our members,” he said. “One of the ways to give back is to help strengthen the community. From that standpoint, it’s an honor to be able to lend a hand in different areas. It’s very rewarding to help out different organizations that all basically have the same goal of helping others. I’m fortunate to be able to do this because of the tremendous support I receive from the Board of Directors and our 280 employees. Also, it corresponds with who the credit union really is. The credit union is here to improve the daily lives of our members. That’s our core purpose. The opportunity I have to help in the community helps many of our members directly, and all of our members indirectly.”

Among his professional affiliations, Mr. Petersen is the vice chairman of the board of directors for the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations, and a member of the Massachusetts Advocacy Committee, the board of directors for Student CU Connect LLC, and the board of directors for Member Gateways LLC.

Mr. Petersen earned an MBA in finance and a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Bentley University. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Brookline, NH and have two children and one grandchild.

Tickets to the annual foundation celebration are $100 per person. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made by contacting Carla Zottoli at 978-630-9276 or

MWCC Offering Free Workshops this Spring for Adult Learners

Mount Wachusett Community College is offering free workshops this spring for adult learners interested in earning a college degree.

MWCC’s Adult College Experience (ACE) program features hands-on workshops designed to guide adult learners through the steps of applying for college and financial aid, selecting courses, managing coursework and balancing school with work and family life. Participants attending all four workshops will be eligible to win a free, three-credit course.

“Each year, millions of adult students return to college to expand their career options, change careers, or fulfill a long-held dream of earning a degree. We developed the ACE program at Mount Wachusett to provide students with a roadmap to follow to make their transition to higher education as seamless as possible,” said Marcia Rosbury-Henne, Dean of Admissions and Enrollment.

The four-session ACE program, geared toward adult learners age 24 and above, begins Thursday, March 17 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with the workshop “Beginning Your College Journey.” During this workshop, students will be admitted to an academic program for the summer or fall 2016 semesters. This workshop will also include a session on accessing library and academic support, as well as a panel presentation by MWCC alumni who returned to college as adult learners balancing work, family and studies.

The second session, “Navigating the ‘Net for College Success,” will take place Thursday, March 24 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Participants will learn about digital tools, including iConnect and Blackboard, that connect to courses, faculty and campus resources. Students will learn about the components of their financial aid package, including knowing the difference between loans, grants, scholarships and work study aid, and receive assistance completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

The session, “Foundations for Success,” will take place Thursday, March 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. Participants will have the opportunity to take their Accuplacer placement test, review previous college transcripts with an advisor, and plan their academic path.

The series concludes on Thursday, April 7 with the session “Build Your Future from 5:30 to 7 p.m. During this final session, students will register for fall semester courses. The session will end with a pizza party celebration and a drawing for a free, three-credit course.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment of students age 25 and above increased by 42 percent between 2000 and 2010 and is predicted to increase by another 20 percent by 2020. In comparison, enrollment of college students age 24 and under increased by 34 percent between 2000 and 2010, and is expected to increase 11 percent by 2020.

To register for MWCC’s free ACE program, contact the admissions office at 978-630-9110 or email Registration can also be completed online at

MWCC offers over 70 associate degree and certificate programs, transfer agreements with public and private colleges and universities for students continuing on for a bachelor’s degree, adult basic education/HiSET programs, industry and technology training, and personal enrichment programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and other industry-specific accrediting organizations. Amenities for students and the public include the Fitness & Wellness Center, Theatre at the Mount, and the LaChance Library.


Special Chamber Offer by Trivium Technology LLC

Special Chamber Offer

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• Full Detail Report.
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This offer is good only until 3/15/2016 and is available on a first come first serve basis. This is a limited time offer
Please contact
or Call 98-219-2500 ext. 1001

Fitchburg Art Museum named 2016 Finalist for National Medal for Museum and Library Service

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced that the Fitchburg Art Museum is among 30 finalists for the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the
community. For 22 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

“The 2016 National Medal finalists make lasting differences in their communities by serving and inspiring the public,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We proudly recognize these museums and libraries for their invaluable work to provide citizens with educational resources, 21st century skills, and opportunities for lifelong learning. As key stewards of our nation’s future, we salute the 30 finalists for their excellence in engaging our citizenry and expanding learning of all kinds.”
Finalists are chosen becasue of thir significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited the Fitchburg Art Museum to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page. To Share Your Story and learn more about how the finalist institutions make an impact, please visit

“It is a true honor to be recognized at a national level and in the
company of so many other impressive institutions for the work that we have done and are continuing to pursue,” said FAM Director Nick
Capasso. “All decisions, initiatives, projects, and programs at the
Fitchburg Art Museum reflect our commitment to education and the greater community.”
This honor recognizes the contributions of FAM’s community-focused and collaborative programs, including the Main Street Public Art project, our Community Gallery, our continued partnerships with the City of Fitchburg, Fitchburg State University, and New Vue Communities, and our many creative initiatives in support of our regional creative economy. We are grateful and are honored to be recognized as a 2016 finalist. To learn more visit our website

The National Medal winners will be named later this spring, and representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C., to be honored at the National Medal award ceremony. To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit

About the Institute of Museum and Library Service
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow them on
Facebook and Twitter.

About FAM
The Fitchburg Art Museum serves the cities of Fitchburg and Leominster and the surrounding communities in North Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. FAM was founded in 1925, and its five-building complex, with over 20,000 square feet of exhibition space, features exhibitions from its art historical collections as well as special exhibitions focused on New England contemporary art. FAM playsa vital role in the cultural life of the region and the Museum maintains active educational partnerships with the local school systems, as well as Fitchburg State University. FAM is an engine for creativity, education, community building and fun!

United Way Youth Venture Community Expo to Showcase Projects of Social Entrepreneurs


Curious about what millennials are doing to resolve some of society’s toughest issues? Then don’t miss the United Way Youth Venture Community Expo, taking place Wednesday, March 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Great Wolf Lodge, 50 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg.

Teams of young social entrepreneurs will be on hand to showcase how they are leveraging their passion and skills to generate unique solutions to school and community challenges, including homelessness, autism awareness, support for foster children, environmental conservation, animal welfare and many others.

In addition to networking and enjoying one-on-one presentations from the youth Venture teams, the drop-in expo will also feature live and silent auctions, appetizers and cocktails.

United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts, the largest program of its type in the country, was established in 2002 when the United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Mount Wachusett Community College and Ashoka’s Youth Venture partnered to help schools integrate youth-based social ventures into their curriculum, afterschool activities and special events. UWYV is independently funded and relies on community support to continue.

The program is currently available to students in the following partner schools: Applewild School, Ayer Shirley Middle and High School, Murdock Middle/High School, Frances Drake Elementary School, Leominster High School & CTEi, Sky View Middle School, Samoset Middle School, Fitchburg High School, North Middlesex Regional High School, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School, Sizer School, Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School and MWCC.

“The UWYV Community Expo promises to be an inspirational evening that allows business and community leaders to learn directly from engaged youth how they are making an impact in the region,” said Lauren Mountain, associate director of UWYV program at Mount Wachusett Community College.

“It is inspiring to see young people identify solutions to challenges they see in our region, then build a plan to address these challenges in innovative and creative ways,” said MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino. “The UWYV program has grown exponentially over the years and serves as a model that demonstrates the power of today’s youth to initiate change that benefits citizens now and in the future.”

“United Way Youth Venture is very much on the cutting edge because it is tapping into the entrepreneurial power of young people who want to address important community issues,” said Phil Grzewinski, President of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts. “We are looking forward to an inspiring evening.”

UWYV Cpmmunity Expo sponsors to date include Pirro Auction Services, Inc., the Greater Gardner, Nashoba Valley and North Central Massachusetts Chambers of Commerce, the Catalano Companies, IC Federal Credit Union, Workers’ Credit Union, HealthAlliance Hospital and Kevin Bliss Self Defense Center.

General admission tickets are $35 and youth supporter tickets, which includes a donation to UWYV, are $75. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 978-630-9201. The Greater Gardner Chamber, Nashoba Valley Chamber, and North Central MA Chamber of Commerce are offering discounted tickets to chamber members for $25.