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HOLYOKE — The Cannabis Education Center at Holyoke Community College has announced its schedule of industry training programs for the fall 2021 semester.

The CEC will offer three 12-hour, introductory Cannabis Core training courses with the next set to run Oct. 16 and 17, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. each day over Zoom.

The Cannabis Core program provides an overview of the cannabis industry in Massachusetts and is geared for people looking for general knowledge as they consider a cannabis career. During four, three-hour sessions, students will interact with cannabis experts and guest speakers in reviews of the plant, various cannabis products, the endocannabinoid system, laws and prohibition, growing and plant care, labeling, packaging, testing, employment considerations, and more. 

The Cannabis Core program is a foundational course and a prerequisite for career track courses, such as cultivation assistant, extraction technician, culinary assistant, and patient services advocate. 

Additional Cannabis Core programs will run Nov. 9-17 (Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m.) and Nov. 28-Dec. 20 (Mondays from 6-9 p.m.). 

Those who complete the core training program are then eligible to enroll in the Cannabis Cultivation Assistant training course that begins Nov. 13. 

Cultivation assistants help cannabis cultivation teams in all areas of growing operations. The CEC’s Cultivation Assistant program is a 20-hour, self-paced online course enhanced with four one-hour Zoom sessions so students can interact in real time with industry experts.

This course, taught by HCC associate professor of biology Sage Franetovich, considers agriculture as a multidisciplinary activity. The curriculum includes material on plant biology, pests (insect, animal, fungal, bacterial, and viral), the environment, economics, marketing, soil, hydroponics, plant health, nutrition, harvesting, trimming, inventory tracking and plant waste. The four, one-hour Zoom sessions will run Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m. on Nov. 13, Nov. 20., Nov. 27, and Dec. 4.

The cost of the Cannabis Core training is $595. Career track programs cost $799. To register, please go to: hcc.edu/cannabis-core

The Cannabis Education Center is a partnership between HCC and Elevate Northeast and based out of HCC’s Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development. 

Elevate Northeast is a Massachusetts-based, women-founded 501(c)(3) nonprofit, created to support the Northeast’s growing cannabis industry through workforce training, education and advocacy. 

More information on these and other cannabis industry programs can be found on the Cannabis Education Center’s website — cannabiseducationcenter.org — or by calling (413) 552-2320.

Daily News

 

HOLYOKE — With the help of a federal grant, Holyoke Community College is continuing its efforts to make college more affordable and inclusive by increasing the use of free Open Educational Resources (OER) in place of costly textbooks in its classrooms. 

HCC is part of a consortium of six state colleges, along with the state Dept. of Higher Education, sharing a $441,367 grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The three-year grant project aims to boost the number of college courses that make use of Open Educational Resources. 

The project — Remixing Open Textbooks through an Equity Lens (ROTEL): Culturally Relevant Open Textbooks for High Enrollment General Education Courses and Career and Professional Courses at Six Public Massachusetts Colleges — will test the hypothesis that underrepresented students will achieve higher academic outcomes if colleges use free, culturally-relevant course materials that reflect their experiences. 

Open educational resources, or OER, are teaching, learning and research materials that are not protected by copyright and readily available in the public domain for free use, duplication and distribution.

Framingham State University is the lead partner in the project. The other colleges taking part are HCC, Fitchburg State University, Northern Essex Community College, Springfield Technical Community College, and Salem State University. 

“We are excited about the project’s potential and outcomes for our students,” said Millie González, interim dean of Framingham State’s Whittemore Library and the lead project manager. “We will track performance measures, including numbers of courses, sections and faculty using new OER materials, student grades and satisfaction in those courses.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College has named Harmony Cross its first dean of Student Development, Engagement and Inclusion.

This new position combines the responsibilities of two previous jobs at the college — dean of Students and director of Retention and Student Success — with an increased emphasis on education equity.

Cross began her new role July 6.

“I am honored to serve as the inaugural dean of Student Development, Engagement, and Inclusion at HCC,” said Cross, who was born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y. “I am excited to join such a thriving organization of students, faculty, and staff. As an advocate for educational equity, I am impressed by the college’s commitment to removing barriers so students can engage in a holistic collegiate experience. I look forward to partnering with members of the HCC community to continue the college’s legacy and efforts and help reinforce its mission, vision, and values.”

Before coming to HCC, Cross served as director of the New York State Education Department’s Higher Education Opportunity Program at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she managed and developed holistic services and high-impact practices for students who might not have considered attending college because of their academic and economic backgrounds.

Prior to that, Cross worked as program director for the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx and area coordinator for 15 co-ed residential facilities at Widener University in Chester, Pa. She has also taught college-level, first-year transition courses and leadership classes and coached students on conflict resolution and mediation techniques.

“We are so happy to have Harmony join our college team,” said HCC President Christina Royal. “Her education and experience in student affairs, student services and academic affairs position her perfectly to create and support a transformational student development experience for HCC students.”

Cross earned her M.Ed. In Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education at Temple University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University, where she was a Division I collegiate athlete in track and field.

She is currently working on her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration at Bradley University.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Beginning July 6, Holyoke Community College will reopen its Admissions and Advising offices for on-campus, in-person services.

The Admissions and Advising offices, located on the first floor of the HCC Campus Center, will be open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Those offices, and most others, have been operating remotely since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides Admissions and Advising, other departments will also have in-person services at varied hours based on staff availability, and those hours will be posted on the HCC website. All offices will continue to provide remote services via email, phone, Zoom, and the “ChatNow” feature on the HCC website: hcc.edu.

The HCC Bookstore, located on the second floor of the Campus Center, has been open for in-person business since mid-May.

Due to renovations underway on the second floor of the Frost building, the Financial Aid, Student Accounts and Student Records offices will continue to operate remotely for now via email, phone, zoom, and ChatNow.

Masks must be worn in all HCC buildings.

Meanwhile, the fitness room in the Bartley Center for Athletics & Recreation is scheduled to reopen on July 16, with some restrictions for the remainder of the summer.

A maximum of 15 guests will be permitted in the fitness room at any given time. Workout time slots will run for 60 minutes with 30-minute intervals in between for cleaning and sanitizing along the following schedule: Monday-Friday: 6-7 a.m.; 7:30-8:30 a.m., 9-10 a.m., 10:30-11:30 a.m., noon to 1 p.m., 1:30-2:30 p.m., 3-4 p.m., 4:30 -5:30 p.m., 6-7 p.m., 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Saturday & Sunday: 8-9 a.m., 9:30-10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-noon.

Guests can pre-register for preferred workout times by calling the Bartley Center desk attendant at (413) 552–2160 during normal business hours, although pre-registration is not required.

Fitness room users may remove their masks while engaged in cardio exercises only. For the time being, the lobby, basketball courts, locker rooms and second floor areas will remain closed.

More information Bartley Center hours and regulations can be found on the HCC websitehcc.edu/bartley-center

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Students enrolled full-time in chemistry, biology, engineering, mathematics, physics, or other STEM fields at Holyoke Community College (HCC) may qualify for a National Science Foundation scholarship of up to $10,000 a year toward tuition and fees.

Through HCC, the National Science Foundation Scholarship offers, on average, $6,500 per year to qualified full-time students and prorated amounts for part-time students.

Incoming and current HCC students are encouraged to apply. The STEM scholarship application deadline for the fall 2021 semester is Aug. 1.

Students chosen for the NSF scholarship become members of HCC’s STEM Scholars 2.0 Program, also known as SCoRE (STEM Cohorts for Research & Engagement). STEM Scholars are expected to maintain enrollment in a STEM program, be in good academic standing, complete an associate degree at HCC, and/or transfer to an accredited STEM degree program at a four-year institution. The scholarships are renewable every year students continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

Beside the financial awards, STEM Scholars become part of a learning community that fosters a sense of belonging and academic success, and includes mentoring, research, and honors experiences; community service; and internships.

Eligibility guidelines for the National Science Foundation Scholarship in STEM can be viewed at hcc.edu/scholarship. STEM disciplines include biological sciences, physical sciences, math, computer and information services, geosciences, and engineering.

The program is lead by HCC Math Professor Ileana Vasu, coordinator of the STEM Scholars program. She can be reached at [email protected] or (413) 552-2438.

Business Talk Podcast Special Coverage

We are excited to announce that BusinessWest, in partnership with Living Local, has launched a new podcast series, BusinessTalk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachuetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times.

Episode 64: May 17, 2021

George Interviews Julissa Colon, special programs coordinator for the Gateway to College program at Holyoke Community College

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien continues his series of discussions with members of the magazine’s 40 Under Forty class of 2021. This week, his guest is Julissa Colon, special programs coordinator for the Gateway to College program at Holyoke Community College. The two discuss the many ways this program helps those who have left traditional education set and reach new goals — for their education … and their lives.  It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

 

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Education

Prepared for Launch

By Laurie Loisel

 

David Gruel stands next to the launchpad

David Gruel stands next to the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center on July 29, 2020, the day before NASA’ s Perseverance rover mission launch.

Not many people can say they’ve worked on every U.S.-led rover mission to Mars. One who can is David Gruel, a Holyoke Community College graduate from the class of 1991.

Five years out of HCC, Gruel was part of the Pathfinder mission that landed the Sojourner rover on Mars, the second Mars mission since the Viking became the first-ever U.S. mission to Mars in 1975. Sojourner had limited movement when compared to other rovers (most recently Perseverance) that travel across the planet, but it was a milestone nonetheless.

“Pathfinder was the return to the red planet some 20 years after Viking,” he said of the rover that launched in December 1996, landing on Mars in July 1997.

After that, through his job as an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Gruel was among the crews working on the Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance NASA rover missions.

Considering that Gruel falls into a category of people for whom the maxim “it’s not rocket science” most definitely does not apply, the 50-year-old is modest and candid about his high-school years as an avid underachiever. He is equally clear about the role HCC played in putting him on a path to a career in rocket science. In fact, he flat-out declares that, if not for HCC, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“I still have an incredible memory of the math and physics professors at HCC, and it was mutual. They went out of their way to know their students and to figure out where they could help.”

As a student at Westfield High School, Gruel spent more energy stocking grocery-store shelves, tending to the car those earnings bought him, and socializing with his friends than on academics. “I was looking for the easy road out at all times,” he admits.

After graduation, when many of his friends headed off to four-year colleges, Gruel continued working in the grocery store. “And then I realized I needed a different challenge in life,” he said.

That’s how he ended up at Holyoke Community College. Despite a less-than-stellar high-school transcript, he knew HCC “would actually give me a chance,” he said. “HCC was there to give people a second chance.”

Once enrolled, encouraged by his professors, he buckled down. He believes he had a better academic experience at HCC than he would have had he attended a four-year program right out of high school.

“The classes were small, and the teachers actually cared about you,” he said. “I still have an incredible memory of the math and physics professors at HCC, and it was mutual. They went out of their way to know their students and to figure out where they could help.”

It was not easy. He worked two jobs while a full-time HCC student, sometimes studying while logging third shift at a gas station.

“I was willing to work at it,” he said, “but there were people who were willing to support me, and that’s what I needed.”

Gruel graduated with honors and an associate degree in engineering, an accomplishment he remains proud of to this day. “This was something I had done for myself, and I had earned it.”

 

Up, Up, and Away

It also earned him acceptance at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., where he found he had a real affinity for engineering. And here is where his humility rears its head again.

“A lot of things went my way,” he said. “In addition to working hard, there’s a lot of luck involved in where we end up in our lives.”

In his senior year at RPI, he learned that two friends who also had gone to HCC were doing co-op semesters in the field, working at engineering jobs. He decided to pursue one, landing a co-op placement at the prestigious Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, a federally funded research and design center managed by Caltech, with the vast majority of its funding and contract work coming from NASA.

Dave Gruel’s favorite photo of Perseverance was captured moments before the Mars landing

Dave Gruel’s favorite photo of Perseverance was captured moments before the Mars landing by one of the EDL (entry, descent, landing) cameras he installed on the rover.

Gruel thought the experience would spice up his résumé by adding that he worked on a team designing interplanetary spacecraft. Little did he know it would lead to his life’s work.

After eight months, he went back to RPI to finish school and graduate. Once on the job market, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was among the job offers he received, and though he always imagined settling down in New England, he found himself changing those plans when such an enticing job.

“The challenge of JPL massively dwarfed the benefits of being in New England,” he said.

Gruel’s role in the last two Mars missions was to lead the team known as ATLO (“I’m the boss man,” he said cheerfully.) ATLO stands for Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations. Essentially, the team takes all the parts for the rover and its spacecraft — tens of thousands of them — and assembles them.

“We get delivered to us a bunch of intricate Legos,” is how Gruel put it.

Next the team conducts endless tests to simulate launch, touchdown, and the harsh conditions on the ground. “So when it’s cruising from Earth to Mars, it works as designed,” he noted.

To simulate launch, the machine goes into a large vibe table; to mimic the Mars environment, it goes into a vacuum chamber that gets as cold as the red planet itself.

From mission start to landing, it takes about six to eight years, he explained. And timing is everything: because the planets align every 26 months in a way that creates optimal conditions for Earth-to-Mars travel, all assembly and testing must be fully complete when that time comes.

“The schedule pressure is intense,” he said. “We need to get our testing done and our design done in order for it to be ready to launch.”

In addition to finding a career at JPL, Gruel met his wife, Danelle, there when she was working in the Finance division, though now she stays home with their two boys, Dylan, 14, and Ethan, 11 (who also love Legos, as well as watching mission launches with their father).

Typically, once a mission has landed, Gruel’s role slows down quite a bit, but the Perseverance landing in February 2021 was different because he had installed a camera system to take video and still images of the descent, and he was responsible for it.

“Even after we launched, I was still intimately involved in making sure that system was going to function,” he said. “We continued to do testing on it to make sure it would reach its full potential, and it sure did. The images were amazing.”

Those images captured the spacecraft’s descent and landing, including video of the rover setting down on Mars and kicking up dust. “We joked it was kind of like our selfie cam,” he said.

 

Back to His Roots

In 1998, Gruel returned to HCC as the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award at commencement and delivered the keynote address, an invitation he seems to still find hard to believe to this day: “I spoke at commencement! Me, a flunkie out of high school!”

It’s a fact he mentions not to boast, but rather to inspire. If there’s anything he hopes people take away from his story, it’s that they should never underestimate their potential, even if they’ve had trouble living up to it.

“When you as a person make a decision to do something, the sky opens up,” he said. “The sky is no longer the limit.”

And that’s coming from someone who knows how to get to Mars.

 

Laurie Loisel is a freelance writer based in Northampton.

Special Coverage Women in Businesss

Learning to Take Charge

By Mark Morris

Only one-third of all businesses in Western Mass. are owned by women, according to a recent survey. In the healthcare sector, one of the largest employers in the region, leadership positions are held by women 41% of the time — with outliers like one hospital where it’s only 16%.

These findings are from a 2019 study commissioned by the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts titled “Status of Women and Girls in Western Massachusetts.”

To address disparities like the ones in the survey, the Women’s Fund and Holyoke Community College (HCC) have teamed up on an eight-week training program this spring for women who want to enhance their leadership skills.

Titled “Women Leaning into Leadership: Empowering Your Voice,” the course begins March 25 and runs through May 13.

According to Michele Cabral, executive director of Professional Education and Corporate Learning at HCC, the idea for the course grew out of the Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series, hosted by the college.

Until COVID-19 forced it into a virtual meeting, the college hosted the luncheon every month for the past five years. With attendance limited to 28 attendees, four women leaders would each select a topic relevant to women and leadership, then break out the attendees into four groups to discuss their particular subject. The next month, the groups would rotate so they could discuss a different topic with a different leader. Areas of discussion have included dealing with different leadership styles, the role of communication, and conflict management when you’re the only woman in the room.

When COVID hit, Cabral said they pivoted to a remote video lunch and changed the format to having one person lead the discussion and opening it to anyone who wants to join via video. A recent conversation covered how to deal with changes brought on by the pandemic. Because some women wanted to discuss some of the topics in more depth, Cabral said, developing a course was a logical next step.

Michele Cabral

Michele Cabral

“These women want to get to know themselves better, to identify what skills they need to focus on and promote their strengths. They were looking for a more structured program to help guide them through that process.”

“These women want to get to know themselves better, to identify what skills they need to focus on and promote their strengths,” she explained. “They were looking for a more structured program to help guide them through that process.”

A few years back, Monica Borgatti attended the Women’s Leadership Luncheons at HCC. As chief operating officer for the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, she especially liked the cohort-style of learning (a collaborative approach in which individuals advance together in an education program) that took place at the events.

“The cohort model works well in this type of learning situation because people start to feel comfortable with each other, and they are more willing to be vulnerable as they share and learn together,” she said.

The luncheon reminded her of a program the Women’s Fund used to run known as the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI). While it had some success, Borgatti and her colleagues thought the program suffered from trying to be all things to all women and fell short in that effort. After compiling feedback from women who had gone through LIPPI, the Women’s Fund put the program on hold.

“LIPPI grads gave the program its highest marks in the cohort learning approach,” she recalled. The graduates also cited networking opportunities and making connections as solid benefits from the program.

After wrapping up LIPPI, Borgatti explained, the Women’s Fund’s emphasis shifted from creating and running programs to identifying leadership programs it could adapt for this area, as well as support for existing programs.

“When I learned HCC was developing a more in-depth leadership program, I thought it was worth exploring to see if there might be a partnership opportunity for the Women’s Fund,” she said.

 

Engaged in Equity

The course is targeted to women in mid-career, especially those who are emerging as leaders in their careers and the community. As part of its partnership, the Women’s Fund is offering sponsorships of up to $650 to defray the $799 tuition cost.

“The Women’s Fund is contributing in such a meaningful way. With their sponsorships, HCC is able to bring this program to people who would not have access otherwise,” Cabral said, adding that many employers do not reimburse the cost of training, so these sponsorships make the course more accessible for women who struggle to pay for self-development.

“HCC provides the education, the Women’s Fund provides the sponsorship, and together, we bring our common mission out to the community,” she noted.

Borgatti said taking part in the course was an easy call because it allows her organization to reach women who are seeking personal and professional development. “We want to see more women in leadership positions across our region, so we’re proud to partner with HCC to help more women become effective leaders.”

While the goals of the Women’s Fund address gender equity and gender justice, Borgatti also made it clear that her organization also strives to improve racial equity and racial justice.

“We know that women are not in leadership roles as much as men, and there are even fewer women of color in leadership positions,” she said, noting that the HCC course is one way to support the current and future leaders of color in the community.

“HCC provides the education, the Women’s Fund provides the sponsorship, and together, we bring our common mission out to the community.”

Borgatti added that her organization became involved to make sure affordability would not prevent anyone from taking the course. “We want to encourage more women of color in programs like this, and we want to make sure it’s financially accessible for all women.”

Cabral noted several highlights of the course, such as assessing communication styles and techniques, as well as working with each woman to develop a professional roadmap to help her reach her potential. Each program participant will also receive 30 minutes of private, one-on-one coaching from Annie Shibata, owner of Growth Mindset Leadership and Communication Coaching in Cincinnati, who will coach each student via video link.

“Incorporating one-on-one coaching elevates the course to a higher level of really personalizing the experience for each individual,” Cabral said.

One of the main reasons the Women’s Fund got involved was to encourage more representation of women in leadership. Borgatti hopes women who take the course emerge more confident in their skills and abilities to step into all sorts of leadership roles.

“We want to see more women CEOs, more women chiefs of police, more women judges,” she said. “Unless we support women being able to access these opportunities, we’re not going to see real change.”

At the end of the day, Cabral said, she and Borgatti share a common mission: to elevate the skills of women who are willing to put in the work. “We want to make sure those skills are here in Western Mass., and they stay in Western Mass.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Business coach and strategist Lynn Turner of Clear Alliance Inc. and Moe Belliveau, executive director of the Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, will give a presentation titled “Maintaining Power and Grace While Glass Ceilings Are Being Shattered” as the Holyoke Community College (HCC) Spring Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series continues on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The luncheon series takes place over Zoom on the last Wednesdays of January, February, March, April, and May from noon to 1:15 p.m.

Each month, participants join a group of women leaders to discuss current issues and ideas to help their leadership development. They will also have the opportunity to form a supportive network of women leaders to help navigate their careers.

Each lunchtime event features two presenters leading discussions on different topics. Future topics include:

March 31: “Women’s Leadership from a Male Perspective” (presenters to be determined);

April 28: “Courageous Actions,” with Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo, population health capstone director at UMass Medical School, and Jessica Collins, executive director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts; and

May 26: “Leading Through Change,” with Margaret Tantillo, executive director of Dress for Success Western Massachusetts, and Jess Roncarati-Howe, the organization’s program director.

The first session on Jan. 27 focused on “Compassion Fatigue,” with presenters Luz Lopez, executive director of MetroCare of Springfield, and Annamarie Golden, director of Community Relations for Baystate Health.

Sessions cost $20 each or $50 for the full series. Space is limited, and advance registration is required. To register, visit hcc.edu/leadership-luncheons.

Education

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Christina Royal

Christina Royal

Yves Salomon-Fernández

Yves Salomon-Fernández

Harry Dumay

Harry Dumay

Three local college presidents are among only 13 nationwide to be recognized last week for leadership in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion by the Assoc. of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the education-technology company Cengage.

Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal, Greenfield Community College President Yves Salomon-Fernández, and Elms College President Harry Dumay were among that select group of 13 to receive the AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship, which recognizes college and university presidents whose outstanding leadership to advance liberal education has resulted in reduced equity gaps, improved inclusion and belonging for minority students, and reformed hiring practices to promote greater diversity.

“Growing up as a first-generation, low-income, multi-racial college student, I understand some of the challenges today’s students face and the importance of having an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive,” said Royal, who was also honored last week by BusinessWest as one of the 2020 Women of Impact. “These are very important issues to me personally and professionally, as well as to our college community, and I’m honored to receive this recognition on behalf of HCC.”

The recipients were announced on Jan. 22 at the AAC&U Presidents’ Trust Symposium, part of the organization’s virtual annual meeting. The symposium brings together higher-education leaders from all institutional types to explore the most pressing issues facing colleges and universities and to share strategies for success.

“I am honored by this recognition, and I am most proud of the work that my colleagues and I are engaged in at Greenfield Community College with and for our local communities,” Salomon-Fernández said. “We know that a more just and equitable world is most conducive to citizenship and democracy.”

The other recipients of the 2021 AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship are Sandra Boham, president of Salish Kootenai College in Montana; Roslyn Clark Artis, president of Benedict College in South Carolina; Karrie Dixon, president of Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina; Alicia Harvey-Smith, president of Pittsburgh Technical College in Pennsylvania; Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in Louisiana; Valerie Roberson, president of Roxbury Community College in Massachusetts; Ron Rochon, president of University of Southern Indiana; Ivy Taylor, president of Rust College in Mississippi; Dwaun Warmack, president of Claflin University in South Carolina; and David Yarlott Jr., president of Little Big Horn College in Montana.

“We are so excited to be able to support these amazing higher-ed leaders who are making a real difference by reducing inequities and increasing access to education. At Cengage, we believe learning transforms lives, and the work of these leaders is so critical in giving students the opportunity to better their lives and in creating an educated, informed, and just society.”

Four Massachusetts presidents made the cut, two more than any other state.

“AAC&U is proud to recognize and support these exceptional leaders in their efforts to advance equity and quality as hallmarks of a liberal education across a diverse range of campuses and student populations,” AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella said.

The AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship recognizes higher-education leaders who support and advance quality, equity, and student success in undergraduate education. This includes improving degree completion or transfer for students from underrepresented groups; closing equity gaps in student success; improving diversity in hiring practices and creating more equitable hiring policies; and increasing the sense of belonging, well-being, and inclusion among students from historically underserved populations (including racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and LGBTQIA students).

“We are so excited to be able to support these amazing higher-ed leaders who are making a real difference by reducing inequities and increasing access to education,” said Fernando Bleichmar, executive vice president and general manager for U.S. Higher Education at Cengage. “At Cengage, we believe learning transforms lives, and the work of these leaders is so critical in giving students the opportunity to better their lives and in creating an educated, informed, and just society.”

In recognition of their accomplishments, the AAC&U-Cengage Inclusion Scholarship recipients will each receive a one-year, complimentary AAC&U campus membership and a one-year complimentary membership in the AAC&U Presidents’ Trust, a diverse network of CEOs who are committed to advancing the vision, values, and practices that connect liberal education with the needs of an increasingly diverse student body, a global workforce, and thriving communities. The trust provides members with access to dedicated resources and events as well as exclusive opportunities to promote their thought leadership.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Community College Foundation has received a second grant in as many months to help students facing financial emergencies because of COVID-19.

In its latest round of grants, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts awarded $40,000 to HCC from its COVID-19 Relief Fund. In July, the Community Foundation awarded the HCC Foundation $35,000. All $75,000 went into the President’s Student Emergency Fund, which is managed by the HCC Foundation.

“Every week, we are seeing more and more applications from students in need of emergency support,” said Amanda Sbriscia, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation. “Each student applicant hopes to begin the fall semester on the right foot, and it’s our job to keep them focused on their academic success.”

Thanks to CFWM’s first grant to HCC, 67 HCC students received emergency funding with an average disbursement of $522. Already, in the past two weeks 15 additional students have received emergency aid.

“We anticipate disbursing the full $40,000 to students in need before the end of September,” Sbriscia said.

Typically, students request help paying for basic needs, such as food, rent, utilities, childcare and transportation.

“Relief Fund dollars are making it possible for HCC students throughout our region to achieve their educational goals,” Sbriscia said. “I’m so grateful to the Community Foundation for enabling us to respond to our students with good news. This funding tells them, your community is here for you, and we’re committed to your success.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — To assist the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city of Holyoke in reducing the spread of COVID-19, Holyoke Community College will serve as a “Stop the Spread” drive-through testing site offering free tests to the public.

Tests will be conducted outside HCC’s Bartley Center for Athletics and Recreation and administered by Fallon Ambulance in partnership with the Holyoke Board of Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Testing will be available August 26 through Sept. 12, during the following hours:

Monday 7-11 a.m.

Tuesday 2-7 p.m.

Wednesday. 7-11 a.m.

Thursday 2-7 p.m.

Friday 7-11 a.m.

Saturday 7-11 a.m.

 

Testing will be conducted on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are no appointments. There is no cost for the tests and no referral is required.

Signs and HCC and Holyoke city Police officers will direct drivers from Homestead Ave down to M Lot (adjacent the Bartley Center), where in-car tests will be administered. Cars will leave M Lot, pass through N Lot, and exit onto the campus road and out onto Homestead Avenue.

Turnaround time for test results is typically four days or fewer.

For more information, please go to: www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread 

Daily News

HOLYOKEEmpowering Women in the Workplace is the theme of the second Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series sponsored by Holyoke Community College and its Training and Workforce Options collaborative.

The 2020 Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series, postponed from spring due to COVID-19, is now being held over Zoom on the last Wednesdays of August, September and October from noon to 1 p.m.

Each lunch-time event features two presenters leading discussions on different topics.

The Aug. 26, session will be led by Denise Jordan, executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority, and Julie Quink, managing partner of Burkhart, Pizzanelli PC.

The series is sponsored by HCC and Training and Workforce Options — TWO — a collaboration between Holyoke and Springfield Technical community colleges.

The Sept. 30 session, Comfortable in Your Own Skin, Finding Your Voice, will feature Tanisha Arena (executive director, Arise for Social Justice) and Pam Victor (owner, Happy Valley Comedy Theater).

On Oct. 28, Colleen Loveless (president and CEO, Revitalize Community Development Corporation) and Nicole Palange (vice president, V&F Auto) will lead a discussion titled Women Leaders in Non-Traditional Businesses.

HCC president Christina Royal and Amanda Sbriscia, HCC vice president of Institutional Advancement, led off the reimagined monthly Women’s Leadership Luncheon Series on July 29 with a session on Leading Through Change.

Each session is $20 each, or $50 for the final three.

Registration is required. Space for each luncheon is limited to 25.

To register, please go to: hcc.edu/womens-leadership

For more information, contact Michele Cabral at [email protected]; (413) 552-2257; Sharon Grundel at [email protected]; (413) 552-2316; or Tracye Whitfield at [email protected]; (413) 221-4443.

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