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Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Bartley Center for Athletics & Recreation at Holyoke Community College (HCC) is now open five days a week for pickleball after the college recently installed seven indoor courts.

Now, for a $5 per visit fee, any member of the general public can come to HCC to play what has been touted as the fastest-growing sport in America.

“We’re offering the courts and all the equipment — nets, balls, and paddles,” said HCC President Christina Royal, an avid pickleball player. “We have everything here you need to play, and it’s all new.”

The pickleball courts at the Bartley Center are available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Courts cannot be reserved in advance but instead are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no pickleball fee for HCC students and other Bartley Center members.

“It’s exciting to create more access to the Bartley Center,” Royal said. “We already have a lot of people that utilize the facilities for basketball or for working out in our fitness room. Here’s another way we can open up our campus to the community.”

Pickleball, which is like a hybrid of tennis, table tennis, and badminton, became possible at HCC after the floor in the Bartley Center gym was redone over the summer. Inserts for existing indoor tennis nets were removed, and inserts for pickleball nets were installed along with permanent pickleball court lines.

“Tennis is a dying sport at the junior-college level,” said Bartley Center director Tom Stewart, who serves on the board of regents for the National Junior College Athletic Assoc. “There are no junior colleges in New England that have tennis anymore. Tennis used to be so popular, you couldn’t get on a court. Now people are having a harder time getting courts for pickleball, particularly indoors.”

Royal, once a competitive amateur tennis player, started playing pickleball a few years ago at the suggestion of former HCC trustee Julie Pokela. At the time, Royal was looking for a way to get some exercise and relieve some stress from her busy new job at HCC. She found pickleball to be the perfect outlet and a lot easier on her knees than tennis.

“I love competitive sports, and I’ve played them all my life, so to be able to get back into that was really thrilling,” she said. “When I’m interested in something, I go full immersion, so I got my own equipment and started playing regularly.”

Three years ago, Royal was playing in a pickleball league in Easthampton and invited Stewart to watch.

“She said, ‘I’d love to get pickleball courts at HCC,’” Stewart said. “The floor was scheduled to be redone anyway. I said, ‘when we redo the floor, we’ll put them in.’”

Stewart and Royal both envision the college hosting pickleball leagues and tournaments.

“In addition to my own passion for the sport, there’s a real opportunity here from an economic-development perspective for our region to draw more visitors to the area for pickleball,” Royal said. “That creates all sorts of business opportunities.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Holyoke Community College (HCC) announced a partnership with Upright Education to offer training for skills in technology, including software development and design.

College officials said they were excited to partner with Upright, a workforce-training company, to create more technical jobs, including in the growing information technology (IT) sector, and skilled-labor opportunities for the Western Mass. workforce. The colleges and Upright are offering online educational opportunities for adult learners looking for a new career in technology. No experience is necessary to enroll.

STCC is an institution dedicated to closing gaps in opportunity and achievement for students who traditionally face disproportionate challenges in the professional sphere. HCC pursues a similar mission by fostering a connected college experience designed to educate students holistically in an open and inclusive atmosphere. Both are also designated Hispanic Serving Institutions dedicated to promoting diversity in public education in Massachusetts.

Upright President and CEO Benjamin Boas and the presidents of both colleges participated in a formal announcement on Sept. 13.

“STCC is excited to partner with Upright Education to offer short-term certificate programs that will help anyone in Western Massachusetts who would like to change their career or develop technical skills to find jobs in high-demand fields, which includes high-tech,” STCC President John Cook said. “This new partnership aligns strongly with STCC’s technical mission and helps meet the demand for skilled workers in the region.”

HCC President Christina Royal added that “HCC is happy to join in the announcement of our joint partnership with Upright to provide 21st-century skills for today’s job seeker. The development of skills in IT will make our students more ready for the jobs in the future. Together, Upright, HCC, and STCC will help make job seekers of Western Mass. job-ready.”

Along with Greenfield Community College, Upright now partners with three different colleges in the region. These partnerships represent Upright’s investment in the growing tech sector in the state, particularly surrounding Springfield, which Boston Business Journal ranked the number-one city in the country for tech job growth in 2021.

Massachusetts has received support and resources for its tech sector from major companies in the tech industry, including an annual donation of $500,000 of cloud-computing resources from Microsoft. Upright’s presence also continues to grow in the Northeast more broadly, where its partnerships include multiple schools in New York and Vermont, and nationally, where it has signed 11 total education partnerships to date.

“Adults working hourly jobs want salaried careers where they can work remotely, enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, and reside in a neighborhood that doesn’t break the bank. Western Massachusetts represents a landscape that is ripe for providing these career opportunities in the growing tech economy,” said Benny Boas, CEO and founder of Upright Education. “Upright’s partnership with Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College provides direct-to-career pathways for in-demand technology jobs through accessible programs, which don’t require industry experience or a college degree.”

Upright’s full-time and part-time boot camps and individual courses currently maintain a job-placement rate of 92% and offer a 30% increase in salary for students coming from prior careers.

Expanding services in the Springfield region supports Upright’s mission of stimulating economic growth in areas where large populations of working adults stand to benefit from innovative educational opportunities and skilled training in burgeoning professional fields like software development, designing visual elements on a website, and improving user experience and user interface with the website.

Anyone interested in learning more about these programs may attend an informational session hosted by the enrollment team via Zoom on Thursday, Sept. 22 at noon. Click here to register.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Cannabis Education Center (CEC) at Holyoke Community College (HCC) will begin its fall schedule of industry training programs Sept. 10-11 with “Cannabis Core: Foundations of the Industry,” a two-day, introductory cannabis course.

Additional Cannabis Core programs are set for Oct. 1-2, Oct. 29-30, and Dec. 10-11. All classes meet over Zoom on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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. The program is a foundational course and a prerequisite for the center’s four career-track courses: cultivation assistant, extraction technician, culinary assistant, and patient services/retail associate.

The CEC is now partnering on its cannabis industry programs with Green Path Training, an accredited RVT, or responsible vendor trainer.

“Green Path Training brings responsible vendor training to HCC for the first time,” said Julia Agron, the CEC’s assistant project coordinator. “This will allow our local and statewide cannabis businesses to benefit from the highest-quality classes available for their current and future employees.”

All businesses in Massachusetts licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission are required to provide RVT for cultivators, managers, and employees involved in the handling and sale of marijuana for adult and/or medical use.

Green Path founder Ellen Brown will be joining the CEC team as one of the instructors for the “Cannabis Core: Foundations of the Industry” classes. Brown is an award-winning educator and industry leader and U.S. Air Force veteran. For more than a decade, she has been a pioneer in the cannabis industry, training thousands of students around the world.

The CEC’s fall cannabis training program schedule is as follows:

“Cannabis Core: Foundations of the Industry”: Sept. 9-10, Oct. 1-2, Oct. 29-30, Dec. 10-11 (Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Zoom);

“Cultivation Assistant” (Session 1): Sept. 18, Sept. 25, Oct. 2, Oct. 9;

“Cultivation Assistant” (Session 2): Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11, Dec. 18 (Sundays, 4:30-6 p.m., Zoom and asynchronous online classes);

“Extraction Technician”: Oct 15, Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5 (Saturdays, 10-11:30 a.m., Zoom and asynchronous online classes);

“Culinary Assistant”: Oct 18, Oct. 20, Oct. 25, Oct. 27, Nov. 1, Nov. 3 (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9 p.m., first two classes over Zoom, the rest in person at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke); and

“Patient Services/Retail Associate”: Nov. 5-6, Nov. 12-13, Nov. 19-20 (Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. over Zoom).

The cost of the Cannabis Core training is $599; career track programs cost $799. Scholarships are available to those who qualify. To register, visit hcc.edu/cannabis-core or call Julia Agron at (413) 335-6540.

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 growing cannabis industry in the Northeast U.S. 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.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The office of Institutional Advancement at Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently welcomed John Sieracki as its first leadership gift officer and manager of campaign initiatives.

Sieracki joins HCC after nearly 19 years at Mass Humanities, where he started in 2003 as director of Development. In that role, he built a multi-faceted Development office from scratch that now has a thriving major donor program, a robust and engaged volunteer group, a prestigious awards dinner, and multi-platform annual appeals. He also managed a portfolio of major gift prospects resulting in five- and six-figure donations and oversaw capital campaign planning.

Prior to that, he served as director of Development for the Northern Forest Center and Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust. His 30-year career also includes stints in development at Landmark College, New York Law School, New York Academy of Sciences, and Children of Alcoholics Foundation.

He has also been active in the Western Mass. community as a volunteer, serving as a board member and president of the Amherst Committee for a Better Chance program, and treasurer of Blues to Green, producer of the annual Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival.

“We are thrilled to have John on board,” said Amanda Sbriscia, HCC’s vice president of Institutional Advancement. “He brings a wealth of development experience and a genuine passion for connecting with folks to advance college priorities and support our students.”

In his new role, Sieracki will manage a portfolio of donors and prospects and seek new major gifts and deeper philanthropic relationships. He will also manage and support the efforts of HCC’s capital-campaign steering committee, work closely with the college’s board of trustees and HCC Foundation’s board of directors on fundraising involvement, and organize and lead other campaign-related initiatives.

Sieracki holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in fine arts in creative writing and poetry from UMass Amherst, where he received the Best New Poets Award from the Department of English.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal will retire from the college after the 2022-23 academic year, she announced today. Her last day will be July 14, 2023.

“It has been one of the greatest honors and privileges of my life to serve as the fourth president of this great institution,” she said in a message to the HCC community, “and now is the time to prepare for the next chapter of my life.”

Royal, 50, said she is not leaving HCC for another job and has no specific plans.

“One of the greatest responsibilities of any leader is to know when and why to lead an institution and also when and why it is time to leave it,” she said. “I have spent a considerable amount of time reflecting about this life change, and my ‘why’ is simple and straightforward: I am seeking expansion and personal growth in the form of new learnings and experiences and an opportunity to pause and enjoy the present moments.”

Royal started at HCC in January 2017. She is the fourth president in the 75-year history of HCC and not only the first woman to hold the position, but the first openly gay and first bi-racial person to serve HCC as president.

“President Royal’s understanding of higher education and the management of higher education has been invaluable to the board and to me personally,” said Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC board of trustees. “She has always known what needed to be done to take HCC to the next level, and she involved everyone in the process of moving the college forward.”

Presidential search plans will begin immediately, he added.

“President Royal has laid a strong foundation with her cabinet that will, I have no doubt, successfully carry out the daily activities of the college over this year and beyond. The work to advance HCC’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities will indeed continue. Without question, higher education as a sector is in for a lot of change as we look to the future, but Dr. Royal has prepared our institution well and has set HCC up for success far beyond her tenure.”

Before coming to HCC, Royal served as provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. Prior to that, she was associate vice president for E-learning and Innovation at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and director of technology-assisted learning for the School of Graduate and Continuing Education at Marist College. She holds a PhD in education from Capella University and a master’s degree in educational psychology and a bachelor’s degree in math from Marist.

In her announcement, Royal cited some of the milestones of her tenure: working collaboratively to develop HCC’s first strategic plan, advancing equity across the institution, and investing in programs to support students’ basic needs, such as creating the President’s Student Emergency Fund (to provide grants to student facing immediate financial needs), opening Homestead Market (the first campus store in Massachusetts to accept SNAP benefits), partnering with Holyoke Housing Authority (to help students find affordable housing), and launching the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Program (to provide HCC student-parents access to free, short-term care for their children).

Other highlights include opening the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street; reopening the HCC Campus Center after a two-year, $43.5 million renovation; establishing El Centro, a bilingual center dedicated to the needs of Latinx students; weathering a global pandemic; and celebrating HCC’s 75th anniversary as the oldest two-year college in Massachusetts.

“Change, in its many forms, can feel difficult,” she said. “Yet, in times of change — from our founding and in recent years — HCC has been a beacon of light, hope, and opportunity for this community. This is what matters, and it is what I am certain will continue for years to come.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will begin its fall 2022 Women’s Leadership Series on Wednesday, Sept. 21 with presenter Trayce Whitfield, executive director of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy, leading a discussion titled “Leaning Into the Positive.”

Whitfield will be followed in subsequent months by Michelle Lemoi, chief operating officer of Zora Builders in Newton; Christina Royal, president of HCC; and Suzanne Blake, a career coach and consultant based in Medfield. All sessions run from noon to 1 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month over Zoom.

During each session, participants will join prominent women leaders for discussions on relevant topics and ideas to help their leadership development. They will also have the opportunity to form a supportive network to help navigate their own careers.

“This will be the sixth semester HCC has offered this lunchtime series over Zoom, allowing women the opportunity for connection, networking, and professional development at a time and place that is convenient for them,” said Michele Cabral, an adjunct professor of Business and organizer of HCC’s Women’s Leadership Series.

Whitfield, the first guest presenter, is the former director of contract sales for HCC’s division of Business & Community Services. In 2020, she was honored by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as a 2020 Commonwealth Heroine.

On Oct. 19: Lemoi will present “How Claiming ‘I Don’t Know’ Opens Up Opportunities to Bolster Confidence.” On Nov. 16, Royal will discuss “Growth Mindset.” And on Dec. 21, Blake will present “Ask for It and Get It.”

The cost of each session is $25. The full four-session series can be purchased for $75. Email Lanre Ajayi, HCC’s executive director of Education & Corporate Learning, at [email protected] if pricing is an issue.

Registration will open soon at hcc.edu/womens-leadership. Space is limited, so advance registration is required.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Registration is now open for the Holyoke Community College (HCC) Foundation’s 35th annual golf tournament on Monday, Sept 12 at Springfield Country Club in West Springfield.

Money raised from this year’s tournament will support student scholarships managed by the HCC Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of Holyoke Community College.

The golf outing begins with an 11 a.m. buffet lunch followed by a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. After golf, participants can enjoy cocktails on the clubhouse porch with scenic views of the Pioneer Valley, followed by dinner.

“We are excited to bring our community together again on the golf course to support HCC students,” said Amanda Sbriscia, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation. “This is always such a wonderful day, and we are so grateful for the support of our alumni, faculty, staff, board members, and local businesses for investing in our mission.”

Participants can arrange their own foursomes or sign up as singles. The $185 individual fee includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, dinner, and refreshments on the course. The cost per foursome is $740. Dinner only is $40 per person. Sponsorships are also available in various increments from $100 to $10,000.

Over the past 34 years, the annual HCC Foundation Golf Classic has raised more than $500,000 for HCC scholarships, student-support programs, and classroom technology.

To register or sponsor the golf tournament, visit www.hcc.edu/golf.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Gateway to College at Holyoke Community College (HCC), an alternative high-school program for dropouts and students at risk for dropping out, has been recognized with a national award for its outstanding graduation rate.

The award for Graduation Achievement was presented to HCC Gateway staff in June at Achieving the Dream’s K-12 Partnerships Institute in Portland, Ore. Achieving the Dream oversees the national Gateway to College network.

The award recognizes participating Achieving the Dream institutions that exceed the graduation benchmark of 50% established by the Gateway to College national network. HCC’s three-year (2019-21) graduation rate was 88%. The network average was 68%.

“Despite the obvious struggles of the past two years, you and your colleagues across the Gateway network have persistently done everything you can for your students,” Stephanie Davolos, director of K-12 Partnerships for Achieving the Dream, wrote in a congratulatory message to Vivian Ostrowski, HCC’s Gateway to College director. “HCC’s graduation rate, at 88%, is well beyond your long-strived-for 80% goal. I am thrilled. You and your team are leading the way for our network and our field. Our network’s continued improvement is due to exemplary programs like yours, and your outcomes will have an impact well beyond your community. We know these student outcomes are the product of the culture of relentless kindness, constant reflection, program improvement, and a tremendous amount of hard work and care.”

Gateway to College is an alternative high-school program that offers dropouts and struggling teenagers a chance to earn their high-school diplomas through dual enrollment by taking college classes. Gateway students also collect transferable college credits they can apply toward a college certificate or degree. HCC has hosted a Gateway program since 2008. Most of HCC’s Gateway students come from Holyoke and Springfield.

Graduation Achievement is one of the principal benchmarks used to evaluate the success of Gateway programs, Ostrowski said. “Given that students come to us so disengaged from school, an 88% graduation rate is a ridiculously amazing number.”

Since 2008, nearly 500 students have earned their high-school diplomas through HCC’s Gateway to College program, which has received the national award for Graduation Achievement multiple times in past years, along with Gateway’s national Program Excellence Award in 2016 and 2017.

“Your work is changing lives, and we are proud to learn from you and hold your program up as an example for educators across the country,” Davolos said.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Students enrolled full-time in chemistry, biology, engineering, mathematics, physics, or other STEM fields at Holyoke Community College (HCC) have until Monday, Aug. 1 to apply for a National Science Foundation scholarship of up to $10,000 per year.

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. New and current HCC students are encouraged to apply.

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. The application and eligibility guidelines can be viewed at hcc.edu/stem-scholarship.

STEM disciplines include biological sciences, physical sciences, math, computer and information services, geosciences, and engineering.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will be holding Registration Express for the fall 2022 semester on Saturday, Aug. 6, and Monday through Friday, Aug. 8-12, in the HCC Campus Center.

During Registration Express, prospective students can apply for admission, take the college placement test, meet with an academic adviser, register for classes, and set up financial aid — all in one day.

HCC’s Aug. 6 Registration Express event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Campus Center on the main campus at 303 Homestead Ave. Students who can’t attend on Saturday or need additional time to finish their steps can also return when Registration Express continues Aug. 8-11 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Aug. 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Full-term, 14-week fall classes begin Monday, Sept. 6. HCC has two additional fall flex start dates: Sept. 26 for 12-week classes, and Oct. 31 for seven-week classes.

“Becoming a college student can feel overwhelming,” said Mark Hudgik, HCC’s director of Admissions. “Whether students are brand-new, transferring from another college, or returning to HCC, we’re here to help make everything easier. Registration Express puts all of the resources they need in one place.”

Those who can’t make it in person during Registration Express week will be able to connect with registration advisers via Zoom or visit campus another day. Outside Registration Express, the HCC Admissions and Advising offices on the first floor of the Campus Center are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. on Fridays).

Students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend classes in person for the fall semester and must submit proof of their vaccination status before they can register for on-campus classes. Students who plan to register only for online or remote classes do not have to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information and instructions about accessing Registration Express via Zoom, contact HCC Admissions at (413) 552-2321 or [email protected], or visit HCC online at hcc.edu.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) Anthropology professor Vanessa Martínez is the recipient of the 2022 Antonia Pantoja Award from the Latino Scholarship Fund of Western Massachusetts.

The award, named after the noted Puerto Rican organizer and education activist, was presented on June 23 at the Latino Scholarship Fund’s 32nd annual meeting at the Log Cabin. The organization presents the award annually to an individual who has made a profound and significant contribution to education, demonstrating a dedication to the academic achievement of Latinx students.

Martínez is co-director of HCC’s Honors Program and co-founder of the Women of Color Health Equity Collective, a Springfield-based nonprofit. In addition, her HCC classes frequently engage with community groups and Holyoke schools through service-learning projects. She has been teaching at HCC since 2006.

“This is exciting for me and HCC, as HCC continues to be acknowledged in my work,” she said.

In January, she also received the 2022 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award from Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education.

Martínez was born in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbus State University, a master’s degree from Georgia State University, and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts. In 2011, she received the Latino Teaching Excellence Award from then-Gov. Deval Patrick, and was selected in 2015 as a Leadership Fellow by the American Anthropological Assoc.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will be running a free, one-month, intensive line-cook training course beginning Monday, July 18.

The course runs Monday through Thursday through August 18, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke.

The program is designed for those already in the restaurant industry who want to upgrade their skills as well as unemployed or underemployed individuals interested in starting a new career.

The program is being taught both online and in person at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. Participants will learn all the essential competencies they need to become successful line cooks: knife skills; how to prepare stocks, soups, sauces, desserts, poultry, fish, and meat; culinary math and measurements; moist/dry heat cooking methods; as well as workplace soft skills, such as building a résumé and searching for jobs.

Offered as part of HCC’s Business & Workforce Development division, the line-cook course is free to qualifying applicants.

Education Special Coverage

Marking a Milestone

The original home to HCC

The original home to HCC, the former Holyoke High School

The campus today

The campus, and its renovated campus center, today

Holyoke Community College, the state’s first community college, is marking its 75th anniversary this year. This has been a time to reflect on how the school has evolved to meet the changing needs of those living and working in the communities it serves, while remaining loyal to the mission with which it was founded — to open doors to opportunity.

 

It’s called the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Center.

And the name says it all — if you know about this kind of facility. It’s not a daycare center — there’s already one of those on the Holyoke Community College campus. And it’s not an early education facility — the college has no intention of getting into that business, according to its president, Christina Royal.

Instead, it’s a … child-watch center, a place where students can bring young children for a few minutes or a few hours, while they’re attending classes, taking part in meetings, or perhaps huddling with advisors.

“In daycare, you drop your child off in the morning and you pick it up at the end of the day; it’s generally for full-time working parents,” she explained. “In a child-watch program, you’re dropping the child off for a short-term period that is very specific; you’re coming, you’re taking a class, you need to put your child in a child-watch program for that 50 minutes or an hour and a half that you’re in class.”

The presence of the Itsy Bitzy Child Watch Center is just one example of the profound level of change that has come to the institution now known as Holyoke Community College. There are many others, including the name over the door — the school was originally called the Holyoke Graduate School (a night program), and was later renamed Holyoke Junior College, before becoming HCC in 1964 — as well as the setting. Indeed, the college was originally located in the former Holyoke High School, which was totally destroyed by fire in 1968, to be replaced by the current campus, carved out of a dairy farm, which opened in 1974.

“We were birthed to create opportunities for working adults to be able to get a quality education, and that’s really important still today. Education is accessible to all — that’s the most important piece about community colleges; access is a tenet of a community-college education.”

But for perhaps the most dramatic change we need to juxtapose the picture of the first graduating class in 1948 with some statistics that Royal keeps at the ready, specifically those noting that more than half of the current students are women, and that during the most recent semester, 41 different countries were represented by the study body, and 33 different languages might be heard on the campus.

The first graduating class

The first graduating class (1948) was much smaller, and far less diverse, than the classes today.

But while celebrating all that has changed over the past 75 years, the institution is also marking what hasn’t. And there is quite a bit in that category as well.

Christina Royal, the college’s fourth president

Christina Royal, the college’s fourth president

Indeed, HCC has, seemingly from the beginning, been a place to start for those seeking a college education, but not a final destination, said Royal, noting that many have transferred to four-year schools to obtain bachelor’s degrees and then graduate degrees.

It’s also been a place for those for whom college is certainly not a foregone conclusion.,

“We were birthed to create opportunities for working adults to be able to get a quality education, and that’s really important still today,” said Royal. “Education is accessible to all — that’s the most important piece about community colleges; access is a tenet of a community-college education.

“No matter who you are, or where you’re at in your career, there is a place for you at HCC,” she went on. “This creates doors that open for many students, and it’s also why, when you look at our alumni, we talk about HCC being a family affair; we have many alums who say that either their parents had come here or their siblings or their cousins come here.” because you see many generations of students that continue to come back and have the next generation supported at HCC.”

Meanwhile, the school has always been known for the high levels of support given to its students, many of them being the first in their families to attend college. In 1946, and the years that followed, many of these students were men who had served in World War II and were attending college on the G.I. Bill.

Fire destroyed the college in 1968

Fire destroyed the college in 1968, leaving some to ponder whether HCC had a future.

Today, as noted, more than half are women and far more than half are non-white. Many arrive with specific needs — ranging from food insecurity to transportation to a child-watch facility — and HCC, while helping them earn a degree or certificate, has been steadfast in its efforts to address those needs and “meet students where they are,” as Royal likes to say.

Moving forward, the school is marking its first 75 years with a variety of ceremonies, a commitment to continue its tradition of being accessible, and a refreshed strategic plan, one that has put additional emphasis on academic success and meeting student needs.

“It’s important that we provide equitable opportunities and that there is an equitable chance of success no matter who walks through the door.”

For this issue and its focus on education, BusinessWest talked at length with Royal about where HCC has been, where it is today, and where it would like to be in the years to come.

 

School of Thought

As she talked with BusinessWest late last month, Royal was planning for, and very much looking forward to, commencement ceremonies at the MassMutual Center on June 4.

This would be the first in-person ceremony in three years, and members of the classes of 2020 and 2021 were invited to join this year’s graduates in the proceedings. Royal; said several dozen members of those earlier classes accepted the invitation to march.

The new Center for Health Education and Simulation

The new Center for Health Education and Simulation on Jarvis Avenue is one of many recent additions to the HCC landscape in recent years.

“We’ve heard from some members of those classes that they desire to have that traditional pomp-and-circumstance experience,” said Royal, noting that, beyond the canceled in-person commencement ceremonies, the pandemic has tested HCC in myriad other ways, from enrollment to helping students secure access to the Internet.

“We were impacted as intensely as everyone else in the world,” said Royal, adding that this has been a test that has left the school stronger and more resilient, in her estimation.

And looking back on HCC’s 75 years of service to the region, the pandemic is certainly not the first, or only, time the school has faced adversity of the highest order — and persevered.

Indeed, the fire of 1968, which broke out on Jan. 4, just before final exams, left the school shaken to its foundation — quite literally, with some wondering if it even had a future.

“Culturally, we have fewer students who start, finish their education, and then focus on work for the rest of their career.”

“Springfield Technical Community College had just opened,” said Royal, only the fourth president in the school’s history. “And there was a lot of conversation about whether we needed another community college in this region — and if so, do we want to build it in Holyoke? It was amazing that while all this debate and discussion was going on, we inherited the land from the Sheehan family, what was the Sheehan Dairy Farm, and be able to rebuild the college in a place that allowed us to continue to expand and grow to what you see today.”

And since opening its facility off Homestead Avenue in 1974, the college has certainly grown within that space, adding several new facilities, including the Bartley Center for Athletics and Education, the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development, a new health sciences facility, and a renovated campus center. It has also returned to its roots with facilities in downtown Holyoke, including the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Center in the Cubit Building on Race Street, and the Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center.

Meanwhile, it has become far more diverse, said Royal, adding that, overall HCC has changed and evolved as the region, its host city, the local business community, and society in general have.

The Kittredge Center

The Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development is another of the many recent additions to the HCC campus.

“We are a reflection of the community,” Royal explained, adding that the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Center is just one example of this phenomenon.

“When you look at the history of our communities and when you think about how these communities have changed, then we’ve had to grow and change with them to keep up with the changing demographics of our region — both in growth in numbers and in terms of the ‘who’ that we’re serving; we really serve a lot of student populations.”

Elaborating, she said that today, as always, the focus is on inclusion, empowering students, and creating an environment in which they can not only attend school, but achieve success, however they wish to define it.

“We’re really focused on equity,” Royal explained. “It’s important that we provide equitable opportunities and that there is an equitable chance of success no matter who walks through the door. And the data shows us that our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of Color) students are not succeeding at the same rate as our white students.

“So our equity initiatives look to be able to provide the additional support and services so we can bring those numbers into alignment,” she went on, adding that, overall the school has become far more data-driven as it works to understand the changing demographics of those it serves — and usethat data to determine how it pivots and changes to better serve students and other constituencies.

Summing it all up, Royal said, “We have a reputation of being a place to come, to start your education at an affordable rate, with high-quality faculty, strong academic rigor, plenty of support services, and to set students up to transfer to any of the prestigious four-year institutions in our area or beyond.”

 

Course of Action

Looking at HCC today, and what she projects for tomorrow, Royal said the process of evolution at the school is ongoing. And that’s because change is a constant — change within the communities being served, change in the business community and the workplace, and change when it comes to the needs of the students coming to the Homestead Avenue campus.

The pandemic accelerated this process of change in some respects, said Royal, and it also brought a greater need for reflection on just what students need — and how those needs can be met.

Returning to the subject of the new child-watch center, she said it’s a reflection of how the school has been focusing on the basic needs of students and taking direct steps to address them, work that was part of the latest strategic plan, which was completed in 2017.

“We want to be a college of academic rigor, known for helping students overcome barriers to success,” she explained, adding that when discussions were launched on this matter, there were four barriers that were initially defined — food, housing, transportation, and childcare — with area focal points, such as digital literacy, mental health, and others, identified

Each has been addressed in various ways, she said, citing initiatives ranging from a program to house students in dorms at Westfield State University (which not only provides housing but provides exposure to potential next step in the higher education journey), to another program that provides 3,000 bus passes to students to help them get to and from the campus.

Childcare has taken longer to address, she went on, adding that collected data clearly showed the need for a facility where students could place children while they were attending class or accessing services at the college. With $100,000 in support from the state, HCC was able to become the second community college in the state (Norther Essex is the other) to offer child-watch services.

While addressing these needs, HCC is also focused on the changing world of work, what it will look like in the years and decades to come, and how to prepare students for that world.

“Our focus is on having students create life-long relationships with the college,” she explained. “Culturally, we have fewer students who start, finish their education, and then focus on work for the rest of their career. Now, the world of work has shifted, the future of work has changed a lot, and we know that people make job changes much more rapidly than they did in past decades, and so therefore, there’s a different interconnection and relationship between education and workforce.

“It’s not linear anymore,” she went on. “It’s integrated, and it changes depending on how a student’s path changes in life, how many career changes they make; they’ll come back and retool through short-term training or perhaps another degree, and then they make their way into a new career field.”

 

Class Act

Summing up both the first 75 years and what comes next, Royal said that while there has been tremendous change since HCC was founded, and there is much more to come, there is a constant:

“We believe in transforming communities through education; that is at the core of what we do,” she told BusinessWest. “We believe there are a lot of different ways that people can find their path and contribute to our local economy.”

Helping individuals forge a path is what this institution has been about since it was called the Holyoke Graduate School. And that is what is being celebrated in this milestone year. u

 

George O’Brien can be reached at
[email protected]

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College will host a cannabis careers fair on June 1, with local and statewide cannabis retailers looking to hire workers in an industry that has eclipsed $3 billion in sales since 2018. 

The fair will run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the PeoplesBank Conference Room on the third floor of the HCC Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on the main HCC campus, 303 Homestead Ave. The HCC Cannabis Education Center is partnering on the fair with Mass CultivatED, a public-private partnership that seeks to empower people negatively impacted by marijuana drug laws through education, job training and legal services. 

Among the companies expected to attend are: Canna Provisions, GTI, Milltown Agriculture, MyAnalytics Labs, Trulieve, Affinity, EZ Hire Cannabis, Curaleaf, Pleasantrees, Buudda Brothers, Holyoke Cannabis, and others. 

“This is a great opportunity for folks interested in entering the cannabis industry to connect with the companies in our region that are hiring, learn more about the CEC and Mass CultivatED programs, and explore how the cannabis industry can support our region,” said Julia Agron, assistant project coordinator, HCC Cannabis Education Center. 

According to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, adult use marijuana sales surpassed $3 billion as of May 14. Since the first two retail stores opened in Massachusetts in November 2018, the state industry has grown to 216 marijuana retailers and 11 delivery businesses. 

“We are incredibly proud to partner with Holyoke Community College to host this cannabis job fair,” said Ryan Dominguez, executive director for Mass CultivatED. “We are excited to provide students and community members interested in the cannabis industry with an easy and informal way to connect with local companies to learn about different jobs in the cannabis industry as well as educational and free legal programs that they can access. We hope this event will lead to direct hire opportunities and create pathways for us to establish a diverse industry focused on social equity.” 

The fair is free, and attendees are encouraged to bring their resumes.  

To register for this in-person event, please go to hcc.edu/cannafair-register or call (413) 552-2320. 

To learn more, visit cannabiseducationcenter.org or masscultivated.com 

Daily News


HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College has appointed Leslie Klein Pilder as the first director of its new free program, Itsy Bitsy Child Watch. Pilder started working at HCC in March.   

“With Leslie Pilder in place as the director of HCC’s Itsy Bitsy Child Watch, we are ready and eager to welcome the children of our students,” said Sheila Gould, coordinator of HCC’s Early Childhood Education program. “The policies and procedures Leslie has designed ensure that our students will know their children will be safe, loved, and have a great time while on campus. I couldn’t be happier with all the work Leslie has done to launch the program.” 

Pilder served for nine years as executive director of the Nonotuck Community School in Northampton. She has worked as director of Buds and Blossoms, a Mandarin-immersion childcare center in Boston, and as director of The Educational Alliance Preschool in Manhattan. She has also worked at New York University’s Teaching for Success program — a research project designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning in New York City’s Head Start centers. 

Pilder holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University, a master’s degree in early childhood and Montessori education from Xavier University. As a lecturer at SUNY’s Empire College, Pilder taught undergraduate and graduate students studying early childhood education and created a seminar series on adolescent rites of passage — the topic of her second master’s degree from New York University. 

HCC held a ribbon-cutting event for the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Center on May 4. The center will officially open with the start of summer classes on May 24. 

Daily News

 

HOLYOKE — Kara Torres has tried to make the most of her first year at Holyoke Community College. Besides studying accounting, she has a work-study job in the Student Engagement office and an internship with the college’s Student Ambassador Mentorship Program. 

As the mother of 8-year-old twins, though, things have not always gone smoothly.   

“When their school is closed for teacher service days or their school vacations don’t line up with ours, it becomes difficult, because it’s either me or my wife who has to stay home,” said the 29-year-old Holyoke resident. “This semester, I had to stay home for a week during their spring break so my wife could go to work. I had to miss some classes.” 

She hopes that the opening of HCC’s free child watch center will help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety of being both a parent and a college student. 

“With my busy schedule, I can’t wait for them to be able to come in and be involved with this program,” she said on May 4, during the grand-opening celebration for the college’s Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Center. “If anything happens now, I’ll be able to bring my kids with me to school. That makes me very excited.” 

Torres was not the only one excited that day. The Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Center was packed with HCC faculty, staff, students, as well as state and local officials getting their first look at the new facility on the first floor of the HCC Marieb Building. The celebration was held in advance of the center’s official opening on May 24. 

“I always say this, but every time I come to HCC something good is happening,” said state Sen. John Velis of Westfield, who helped cut the grand opening ribbon. “You talk about food insecurity, housing, childcare — all important issues. Every time I come here you’re addressing one of them, so kudos to everybody in this room.” 

Velis was key to securing a $100,000 allocation in the 2022 state budget to get the child watch program started. 

“So many students have to make a choice between an education and child care,” he said. “That shouldn’t be a choice they have to make.” 

HCC student parents will be able to start dropping their children off for child watch on May 24, the first day of summer classes. HCC is just the second community college in the state — and the only one in Western Massachusetts — to offer a child watch service for its students. 

In 2017, HCC embarked on a strategic planning process that included a significant focus on basic needs that many HCC students struggle with: food insecurity, housing insecurity, transportation, and childcare. 

“We’re excited to be able to make good on our promise to focus on the childcare needs for our students,” said HCC President Christina Royal. “And that’s what today is about, delivering on that promise to help our student-parents be successful while they continue to change their lives through the power of education.”  

The Itsy Bitsy Child Watch takes its name from the classic nursery rhyme, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, a name also borrowed for the Itsy Bitsy Zoomcast, a recorded series focused on early education co-hosted by HCC faculty and staff, and the HCC Early Childhood Education department’s Itsy Bitsy Learning Lab. 

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College will mark its 75th anniversary on Thursday with events that celebrate its past, present, and future as the Commonwealth’s oldest community college.  

Festivities begin as early as 9 a.m. with special programming from the college radio station, continue throughout the day with student presentations, program tours, exhibitions, open houses, demonstrations, alumni panels, food, music, and dancing, and culminate with a community reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street. 

All events are free and open to the public.  

HCC was founded in September 1946 as Holyoke Graduate School, later changing its name to Holyoke Junior College, and finally Holyoke Community College.   

“Our 75th anniversary enables us to celebrate our remarkable past, and provides us an opportunity to define our bright future,” said President Christina Royal. “HCC was built and rebuilt by innovative and resilient individuals, who we are proud to honor as part of our history. That history has laid the foundation for who we are today, and it inspires us to advance excellence, increase equity, and foster innovation for years to come. Our celebration is for our community — past and present — and for the future of HCC.” 

Events will take place all around campus and online from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., before concluding at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute  for the community reception, where guests will enjoy food prepared by HCC Culinary Arts students and chefs from MGM Springfield, beverages from White Lion Brewing and Arcpoint Brewing; live music performed by HCC music students and faculty; demonstrations of HCC’s workforce training programs; and brief remarks from current students and HCC alumni.  

Community members are encouraged to RSVP for the reception at hcc.edu/75th-event although walk-ins are also welcome.  

Daily News

HOLYOKE  Interested in jumpstarting a career in the hospitality industry? Holyoke Community College is running a free, seven-week hotel training program starting April 26.  

The hands-on, in-person classes for hotel front-desk workers and hotel room attendants will take place in HCC’s hotel training lab on the second floor of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street in downtown Holyoke.

The program runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5:30-8:30 p.m., April 26 through June 9. 

The course will provide students with up-to-date knowledge of the hotel industry, hands-on experience for front desk and/or room attendant roles, workplace skills, resume building, interviewing, job search assistance, and connections to local employers. 

HCC’s hotel lab was equipped using $35,000 from a 2019 Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant, which funds purchases for educational initiatives linked to workforce needs.

HCC ran its first round of free hotel industry training in February and March.

The lab is set up like a hotel reception area with a front desk and adjoining guest room and equipped with the most modern technology and software. 

“The hotel lab gives students the ability to learn in a model hotel room and reception lobby, gain knowledge about key card access systems, and understand point-of-sale technology,” said Jeff Hayden, HCC vice president of Business and Community Services. “This is the kind of experiential training employers are asking for.”

No high school diploma or GED/HiSET test is required for admission.

Offered as part of HCC’s Business & Workforce Development division, the hotel training course is free to qualifying applicants. 

For more information, contact Laura Smith, HCC job placement assistant and career development counselor, at [email protected] / (413) 552-2833, or fill out the inquiry form at hcc.edu/job-ready.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will lift its mask mandate on Friday, May 20, after the end of the spring 2022 semester. After that, students, faculty, staff, and visitors will no longer be required to wear masks inside campus buildings.

Summer-session classes at HCC begin on May 24. Registration for both summer and fall classes opens on Monday, April 4.

In a message to the HCC community, President Christina Royal cited the low number of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts as well as current mask guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Public Health as reasons for making the shift to a mask-optional environment.

“This transition aligns with similar decisions being made at all Massachusetts community colleges this spring,” she said, while acknowledging that people may have different levels of comfort with the decision. “For many of you, this news may come as a relief. For others, you may still not feel safe without your mask. Both are understandable. I ask that, as a community, we practice our values of kindness, inclusion, and trust. I ask that we make those who continue to mask feel comfortable, respected, and welcome as part of our community. The health and safety of our community remains of utmost importance.”

Royal said the college will continue to remain flexible regarding its mask policy if future conditions should warrant revision.

“We will continue to follow the guidance of the medical community as it relates to the pandemic, remaining attentive to the unique needs of communities we serve,” she noted. “I appreciate having the opportunity to engage in conversation with many of you on this topic during recent town halls and in other forums. Like every decision, there are a variety of perspectives. I share this news now in order for our community to have maximum time for transition.”

On March 17, HCC announced that it would return to in-person graduation for the first time since 2019. HCC’s 75th-anniversary commencement will be held on Saturday, June 4 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — For the first time, Holyoke Community College (HCC) will run its free, 10-week line-cook certification training course during daytime hours at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute.

The course, taught by HCC culinary arts instructor and professional chef Tracy Carter, begins Monday, March 28, but prospective students can sign up and start anytime until Monday, April 4.

The line-cook training course runs four days a week, Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until June 2 at HCC’s culinary-arts facility on Race Street in downtown Holyoke.

The program is designed for those already in the restaurant industry who want to upgrade their skills as well as unemployed or underemployed individuals interested in starting a new career in the restaurant industry. This is the first time HCC has offered its free line-cook training program during daytime hours.

“There was a demand for it,” said Maureen McGuinness, assistant project coordinator. “Some people can’t take classes at night because they work at night in restaurants, and that’s what we’re responding to. It’s kind of exciting. In the future, we will be alternating day and nighttime programs. It’s also a perfect option for anyone who loves cooking and wants to improve their kitchen skills.”

The program is being taught both online and in person at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. Participants will learn all the essential competencies they need to become successful line cooks: knife skills; how to prepare stocks, soups, sauces, desserts, poultry, fish, and meat; culinary math and measurements; moist/dry heat cooking methods; as well as workplace soft skills, such as building a résumé and searching for jobs.

Offered as part of HCC’s Business & Workforce Development division, the line-cook course is free to qualifying applicants. For more information or to register, call (413) 552-2500 or e-mail [email protected].

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will present a three-hour, in-person workshop on Wednesday, April 27, focusing on life after retirement.

“Rewire: Finding Purpose and Fulfillment After Retirement” will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on HCC’s main campus, 303 Homestead Ave. The workshop will be facilitated by former career counselor Barbara Foster.

“Retirement is a major life transition, not unlike a major career change” Foster said. “People often fail to consider how they will find purpose and fulfillment in retirement. The average 65-year-old will remain active for 20 years or more after leaving a full-time job. The workshop will assist both pre-retirees and recently retired people to consider how they will spend the 2,000 hours a year they formerly spent at work. This could be volunteering, starting a new business, developing hobbies, seeking part-time work, or new learning experiences.”

The workshop will offer a series of exercises and self-assessments, as well as time to reflect, brainstorm with others, and develop goals and a vision for this new chapter of life. Participants will also leave with an extensive list of resources to explore.

Space is limited, so advance registration is required. To register, visit hcc.edu/rewire, or call (413) 552-2500 for more information. The cost is $39.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all workshop participants, and masks must be worn in all HCC campus buildings.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Cannabis Education Center (CEC) at Holyoke Community College (HCC) will be running three cannabis-industry training programs beginning next month.

The CEC’s 12-hour, introductory Cannabis Core course will be held April 2-3 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.

Cannabis Extraction Technician training also begins April 2 and runs through April 23. The course meets weekly on Wednesdays over Zoom from 10 to 11 a.m., supplemented by self-paced online instruction. In this course, students will learn the basic fundamentals needed to work in a cannabis extraction laboratory: how to extract useful molecular components from cannabis and hemp using various techniques, including both solvent and solventless methods. Topics covered include good lab practices, health and safety metrics, extraction techniques, winterization, and dewaxing.

Cannabis Culinary Assistant training begins April 19. Classes will meet in person on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through May 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, 164 Race St., Holyoke.

Cannabis culinary assistants are responsible for cooking, baking, and infusing cannabis- or hemp-based products with extracts. The program is a 20-hour introductory course that provides an overview of cooking and baking techniques used to create edibles. The course reviews tools, equipment, food safety, standard recipes, and dosing, and provides discussions on infused oils, sauces, chocolates, ice cream, and more. Cannabis is not used in this program. Participants will be introduced to industry professionals, prepare for employment opportunities, and have the opportunity to earn SERV Safe certification.

The cost of the Cannabis Core training is $599. Industry-specific course training is $799. Scholarships may be available to those who qualify. To register, visit hcc.edu/cannabis-core.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — When is a food truck not a food truck? When it’s a mobile culinary-arts laboratory.

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been awarded a $147,000 Skills Capital Grant to purchase a truck for its culinary-arts program that will be used as a mobile kitchen for community outreach and education.

“It’s not our intention to sell food out of the truck as a means to generate revenue,” said HCC Professor Warren Leigh, co-chair of the culinary-arts program. “We’re not going to set up on the corner and sell tacos and hot dogs. We are absolutely going to cook in it, but the main purpose is to engage the community. At the same time, our students will gain experience in food-truck operations.”

The funds, from Gov. Charlie Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, are part of a new, $3.3 million package of grants to 20 educational organizations in Massachusetts for updating equipment and expanding student enrollment in career education programs.

According to the award letter, HCC will use the $147,000 to purchase and outfit a mobile food lab that will support both credit and non-credit culinary-arts programs and also incorporate other areas of study, including nutrition, health, business, and entrepreneurship. HCC’s grant application notes that residents of Holyoke face a high level of food insecurity and that downtown Holyoke has been identified as a ‘food desert.’

“HCC will deploy the truck to bring food to neighborhoods of downtown Holyoke,” HCC wrote in its application. In addition, the college plans to connect this project to its downtown Freight Farms initiative with a focus on basic nutrition, local produce, and healthy eating.

Leigh envisions using the mobile food lab to engage community partners such as the Holyoke Boys & Girls Club and area food pantries. Students will meet with representatives from area organizations to create menus based on ingredients of their choice or what might be seasonally available.

“We’ll be there with our kitchen on wheels and help them understand that they can take this product XYZ and make it into something interesting, cooked in a fashion they would like,” he explained.

Once the truck arrives — sometime later this year — food-truck operations will be worked into the current culinary-arts curriculum in both credit and non-credit courses such as event planning and line-cook training. Students will have to learn to cook in a much smaller space than they are used to in the kitchens at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute; they’ll also have to learn food-truck logistics, such as how to dispose of dirty ‘grey’ water, replenish the kitchen with fresh water, and maintain a stable power source.

“You have to have a production plan, just like you do in a restaurant, but now it’s even more important because you’re going into a vehicle and driving away from your home base,” Leigh said. “It’s like catering off site. You have to bring everything you need.”

According to statistics, the growth of food trucks outpaced restaurant growth 5.5% to 4.3% in 2021, spurred in part by the pandemic. According to the research journal IBIS World, the industry was already experiencing rapid growth in the five years before.

“What’s really cool about food trucks is that it allows you to enter the industry much more inexpensively,” Leigh said. “If you’re opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant from scratch, the vent hood alone can cost $20,000 to $50,000, so it’s a much lower bar getting started. It’s a great way to put in a minimal investment and test out your concept without a lot of risk.”

He cites the example of HCC culinary arts alumna Nicole Ortiz, who wrote a letter in support of the grant and started her own culinary career with her Crave food truck business. Ortiz now also runs Crave restaurant on High Street in Holyoke.

“Nicole started with that small trailer that she bought with a grant from EforAll,” Leigh said, referring to Holyoke SPARK’s Entrepreneurship for All initiative. “She got going, and now she’s in a brick-and-mortar site.”

He said the HCC mobile food lab will have an awning like a food truck and a window pass for food and will also be equipped with cameras in the cooking area and a flat-screen TV on the outside so people can watch what’s going on inside.

“Other organizations, their idea of engaging with the community is pop-up tents and Bunsen burners,” Leigh said. “We’re going to show up, and it’s going to look like a professional operation. It will be a professional operation.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal will be the featured speaker at the Feb. 23 session of HCC’s Spring 2022 Women’s Leadership Series.

Royal will lead a discussion focused on “Growth Mindset” at the February session of the spring series, which meets over Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month.

During each session, participants will join prominent leaders for discussions on relevant topics and ideas to help their professional development. They will also have the opportunity to form a supportive network to help navigate their own careers. The sessions are interactive and geared for professional women who want to connect. Other upcoming sessions include:

• March 30: “Finding Your Mentors,” with Willie Maddox, executive vice president and chief risk officer at ACBB;

• April 27: “My Ankle is Made of Steel,” with Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle; and

• May 25: “Self Love,” with Shawntsi Baret, leadership coach and owner of SBSWF Consulting.

The cost of each session is $25. Cost, however, will not be a barrier to participation. Space is limited, so advance registration is required. To register, visit hcc.edu/womens-leadership.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Community College (HCC) Foundation will begin accepting scholarship applications on Wednesday, Feb. 9 for the 2022-23 academic year. More than $300,000 in awards are available for incoming, continuing, and transferring HCC students through more than 150 different scholarships. The application deadline is Wednesday, March 23.

Students must be currently enrolled at HCC or have been accepted for the upcoming academic year to be eligible for scholarships, which are awarded through the HCC Foundation, HCC’s nonprofit fundraising corporation.

“We pride ourselves on meeting students where they’re at in order to help get them to where they want to be,” said Patrick Carpenter, HCC’s director of Institutional Advancement. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re in a position again this year to give out more than $300,000 in scholarships. This life-changing support will enable our students to remain focused on their studies as they progress toward their certificates and degrees.”

Applicants only need to fill out a single online form to be automatically matched with the scholarships they are most qualified to receive. There are scholarships for new students, current students, and students transferring to other institutions; scholarships based on financial need; scholarships for students in specific majors; scholarships for residents of certain communities; and scholarships that recognize academic achievement. For the 2021-22 academic year, the HCC Foundation awarded more than 200 students.

To view scholarship opportunities and begin the application process, visit www.hcc.edu/scholarships.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will soon introduce a free, drop-in child-watch program for parents who need safe and affordable supervision for their children while they tend to their college studies.

When the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch opens in March, HCC will be just the second community college in the state — and the only one in Western Mass. — to offer a child-watch service for its students.

“As part of our strategic plan, we’ve been focused a lot on basic needs,” HCC President Christina Royal said, “and one of those basic needs is childcare.”

The Itsy Bitsy Child Watch will offer free, short-term care to children 6 weeks to 12 years old, provided their parents sign up in advance and remain inside on the Homestead Avenue campus. Parents will be given a restaurant-style pager to alert them to return if necessary.

“It’s not our goal to be in the daycare business,” Royal said. “Our goal is to be able to serve our students by providing short-term child watch they can access while they attend class or a tutoring session or other educational supports. That is our focus, and it’s been a long road to get here.”

The pilot phase is being funded through a $100,000 allocation in the 2022 Massachusetts budget secured by state Sen. John Velis.

“For parents looking to begin or support their education, finding reliable childcare is always a barrier,” Velis said. “This new program will help make a real difference in the lives of so many families, and I am proud I was able to advocate for HCC to receive these funds.”

HCC is in the process of hiring an interim director to get the child-watch program up and running. Many of the details still need to be worked out, such as days and hours of operation.

“We’re going to determine hours based on student needs,” said Sheila Gould, director of HCC’s Early Childhood Education program. “Our hope is that, in the future, our academic departments will align their courses to run when the child watch is open.”

Gould, also an HCC professor, was part of the team that put together the child-watch proposal. While the idea for an on-campus child-watch program had been kicking around for a few years, it gained more momentum during the pandemic, when many area childcare centers shut down, some never to reopen.

“As a mom myself and a mom who is still going to school, childcare is a barrier,” Gould said. “The more I got involved working here and advising, the more stories I heard from students who couldn’t take a class or had to drop a class or had too many absences because of childcare issues.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The spring 2022 semester is officially underway at Holyoke Community College (HCC), but prospective students still have two more opportunities to start classes in February and March.

Spring session II classes at HCC begin Monday, Feb. 14 and run for 12 weeks. Spring start III classes begin Monday, March 28 and run for seven weeks. All spring semester courses conclude by Wednesday, May 11, 2022.

Students who enroll for spring session II or III have the opportunity to take a variety of different classes in a wide array of academic areas and can earn as many as four credits per course for a lab science, such as biology or forensic science.

These accelerated spring courses are being offered in person and online in anthropology, biology, business, communication, conflict resolution and mediation, culinary arts, Earth science, English, English as a Second Language, human services, marketing, math, medical assisting, and psychology.

For the spring semester, students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend classes on campus. Students must submit proof of their vaccination status before being allowed to register for on-campus classes. Students who plan to register only for online or remote classes do not have to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Masks are required inside all campus buildings regardless of vaccination status.

The HCC Admissions and Advising offices are located on the first floor of the HCC Campus Center and are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. on Fridays).

For more information, contact HCC Admissions at (413) 552-2321 or [email protected], or visit hcc.edu.

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HOLYOKE — Interested in beginning a career in the hospitality industry? Holyoke Community College (HCC) is running a free, six-week hotel training program starting Tuesday, Feb. 1.

The hands-on, in-person classes for hotel front-desk workers and hotel-room attendants will take place in HCC’s hotel-training lab on the second floor of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street in downtown Holyoke.

The program runs on Tuesday and Thursdays, Feb. 1 through March 10, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The course will provide students with up-to-date knowledge of the hotel industry, hands-on experience for front-desk and/or room-attendant roles, workplace skills, résumé building, interviewing, job-search assistance, and connections to local employers.

HCC’s hotel lab was equipped using $35,000 from a 2019 Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant, which funds purchases for educational initiatives linked to workforce needs. The lab is a classroom set up like a hotel reception area with front desk and adjoining guest room and equipped with industry-level technology and software.

“Hospitality is a significant industry in our region,” said Jeff Hayden, HCC’s vice president of Business and Community Services. “The hotel lab gives students the ability to learn in a model hotel room and reception lobby, gain knowledge about key-card access systems, and understand point-of-sale technology. This is the kind of experiential training employers have been asking for.”

No high-school diploma or GED/HiSET test is required for admission. Offered as part of HCC’s Business & Workforce Development division, the hotel training course is free to qualifying applicants.

For more information, contact Laura Smith, HCC’s job-placement assistant and Career Development counselor, at [email protected] or (413) 552-2833.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently welcomed Evelyn Rivera-Riffenburg as the college’s executive director of Human Resources.

Rivera-Riffenburg has worked in human resources for more than 25 years. She started her career as a personnel assistant and most recently worked as director of human resources for Chicopee Public Schools. Her previous employment featured positions in human resources for the town of Amherst, Medtronic (formerly Covidien), Hot Mama’s Foods, C&S Wholesale Grocers, and Coca-Cola. She is also an adjunct professor at Bay Path University and Western New England University.

“Evelyn brings an impressive array of skills and experience to HCC and to our executive team,” President Christina Royal said. “She has worked throughout her career in recruiting, employee relations, labor relations, training and development, and as a trusted advisor to hourly and management employees. She is particularly experienced in innovating and improving processes and procedures with digital technology to enhance and improve hiring experiences for potential candidates.”

Rivera-Riffenburg began her undergraduate education at HCC before transferring to Baker College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human resources management. She holds master’s degrees in communications and information management from Bay Path University and in organizational leadership from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a Society for Human Resources Management certified senior professional, an HCRI senior professional in human resources, and a certified K-12 Title IX coordinator.

“I am super excited to be back here at HCC, where I started my college education,” she said. “I can’t wait to meet everyone.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — As part of its mission to support the region’s hospitality industry, Holyoke Community College (HCC) is running a free, eight-week line-cook training certification course at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute starting Monday, Jan. 31.

The program is designed for those already in the restaurant industry who want to upgrade their skills as well as unemployed or underemployed individuals interested in starting a new career in a high-demand field.

The course, taught by HCC Culinary Arts Professor and professional chef Warren Leigh, runs through March 31, Monday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., at HCC’s culinary-arts facility on Race Street in downtown Holyoke.

The program is taught in two parts — one online and the rest in person at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. Participants will learn all the essential competencies they need to become successful line cooks: knife skills; how to prepare stocks, soups, sauces, desserts, poultry, fish, and meat; culinary math and measurements; moist/dry heat cooking methods; as well as workplace soft skills, such as building a résumé and searching for jobs.

Offered as part of HCC’s Business & Workforce Development division, the line-cook course is free to qualifying applicants. For more information, call (413) 552-2500 or e-mail [email protected].

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will begin its spring 2022 Women’s Leadership Series on Wednesday, Jan. 26 with Dawn DiStefano, president and CEO of Square One in Springfield, who will give a presentation titled “What’s the Worst That Can Happen?”

All sessions run from noon to 1 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month over Zoom. During each session, participants will join prominent women leaders for discussions on relevant topics and ideas to help their leadership development. They will also have the opportunity to form a supportive network to help navigate their own careers.

“The sessions are interactive and perfect for professional women who want to connect,” said Michele Cabral, HCC’s executive director of Business, Corporate and Professional Development.

On Feb. 23, Christina Royal, president of Holyoke Community College, will present “Growth Mindset.” That will be followed on March 30 by “Finding Your Mentors” with Willie Maddox, executive vice president and chief risk officer at ACBB. On April 27, Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle will present “My Ankle is Made of Steel,” and on May 25, the series will wrap up with “Self Love,” with Shawntsi Baret, leadership coach and owner of SBSWF Consulting.

The cost of each session is $25. The full, five-session series can be purchased for $100. Cost, however, will not be a barrier to participation. If pricing is an issue, e-mail Cabral at [email protected].

Space is limited, and advance registration is required. To register, visit hcc.edu/womens-leadership.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) Professor of Anthropology Vanessa Martínez is the recipient of the 2022 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award from Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education.

The award, presented in partnership with Brown University’s Swearer Center, recognizes senior faculty who practice exemplary, engaged scholarship through teaching and research. Recipients are selected on the basis of their collaboration with communities, institutional impact, and high-quality academic work.

“Holyoke Community College is incredibly fortunate to have Vanessa Martínez among its faculty,” said Lisa Mahon, professor of English and service-learning coordinator at HCC, in a letter nominating Martínez for the award. “Her outstanding commitment to community-based learning, teaching, and advocacy has positively impacted our students, staff, and faculty, as well as the Greater Holyoke community.”

Martínez was recognized for teaching and scholarship that inspires students to take on leadership roles in their communities.

Through academic work that focuses on storytelling, culturally responsive instruction, and cultural humility, Martínez invites diverse groups of students to learn about community-based organizations, advocate and fundraise for community needs based on engaged research, and think critically about the role they play in their communities.

One example is the Women of Color Health Equity Collective, a Springfield-based nonprofit organization she co-founded that seeks to provide communities of color better access to maternal health, therapeutic services, and support. Through the collective, students learn about the social determinants of health and the role social inequality plays in health outcomes while researching community needs and developing advocacy plans to help create change.

“This is a wonderful and distinguished honor, and well-deserved,” HCC President Christina Royal said. “Professor Martínez continues to be actively engaged in our community, and our region is better for it. It benefits our students, who get to witness some exercising civic engagement beyond the classroom.”

Martínez is also coordinator of HCC’s Honors Program and leads a new community leadership certificate program at the college to give students formal training to continue work at community organizations and take on leadership roles.

“Taking action in the world can and should start in your community,” Martínez said in a commencement speech she delivered to graduates in 2021. “The actions can be big or small; they can be self-reflective or engaging of large groups. Remember, there are community agencies to assist, neighborhood mini-libraries to build, book clubs to host, protests to plan, government policies to change, peer-support groups to run, and so much more.”

Born in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, Martínez holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbus State University, a master’s degree from Georgia State University, and a PhD from UMass Amherst. In 2011, she received the Latino Teaching Excellence Award from then Gov. Deval Patrick, and in 2015 she was selected as a leadership fellow by the American Anthropological Assoc.

In 2020, Martínez received the Elaine Marieb Award for Teaching Excellence, HCC’s highest faculty honor. She has been teaching at HCC since 2006.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Cannabis Education Center (CEC) at Holyoke Community College announced its schedule of industry training programs for the spring 2022 semester.

The CEC will offer four 12-hour, introductory Cannabis Core educational training courses, with the first set to run Saturday, Jan. 22, and Sunday, Jan. 23, 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 the following career track courses: patient services associate (classes start Feb. 5), cultivation assistant (Feb. 26), extraction technician (April 2), and culinary assistant (April 19). Additional Cannabis Core programs will run Feb. 19-20, March 19-20, and April 5-6.

The cost of the Cannabis Core training is $599, but scholarships are available to those who qualify. To register, visit hcc.edu/cannabis-core.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Students enrolled full-time in chemistry, biology, engineering, mathematics, physics, or other STEM fields at Holyoke Community College (HCC) have until Friday, Jan. 7 to apply for a National Science Foundation scholarship of up to $10,000 per year.

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.

New and current HCC students are encouraged to apply. The application deadline for the spring 2022 semester is the end of the day on Jan. 7.

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/stem-scholarship.

STEM disciplines include biological sciences, physical sciences, math, computer and information services, geosciences, and engineering. HCC Math Professor Ileana Vasu is the coordinator of the STEM Scholars program.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) will hold a Registration Express event for the spring 2022 semester on Saturday, Jan. 15, when prospective students can apply for admission, take the college placement test, meet with an academic adviser, register for classes, and set up financial aid —all in one day.

HCC’s Registration Express event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the main campus at 303 Homestead Ave.

The spring 2022 semester begins Monday, Jan. 24. HCC also has Flex Start dates on Feb. 14 (Spring Start II) and March 28 (Spring Start III). Full-term spring classes run for 14 weeks, Spring Start II classes run for 12 weeks, and Spring Start III classes run for seven weeks.

“We know our students lead busy and complicated lives, especially on weekdays,” said Mark Hudgik, director of Admissions. “By expanding our service offerings to include a Saturday, we hope to create an opportunity for students who want to register for spring classes but maybe haven’t had the time to do so.”

Those who can’t make it in person on Jan. 15 can access Registration Express via Zoom or visit campus another day. The HCC Admissions and Advising offices on the first floor of the Campus Center are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. on Fridays).

For 2022, students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend classes on campus. Students must submit proof of their vaccination status before being allowed to register for on-campus classes. Students who plan to register only for online or remote classes do not have to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Masks are required inside all campus buildings regardless of vaccination status.

For more information and instructions about accessing Registration Express on Jan. 15 via Zoom, contact HCC Admissions at (413) 552-2321 or [email protected] or visit hcc.edu.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Just when they might need it most, students at Holyoke Community College (HCC) are getting a holiday gift from the college totaling $3.77 million. The money is part of CARES Act pandemic-relief funds provided by the federal government.

More than 3,500 eligible HCC students have each received, or will soon receive, block grants of $600 to $2,500, depending on their enrollment status and expected family contribution as determined by their financial-aid eligibility. The average grant is about $1,000.

The cash grants are unrestricted, meaning students can use them however they want, and the money does not need to be repaid. Accepting the money also will not reduce a student’s financial-aid award.

“I received my CARES Act money transfer late last week,” said HCC student Jennifer Lagoy, who is majoring in foundations of health. “It was a great surprise, very much appreciated with the holidays upon us and needing to buy some last-minute gifts and pay my home heating bill.”

This is the fourth semester in a row that HCC has provided pandemic-relief funds directly to students. The federal CARES (Conavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act provides funding to students to offset the expenses they might have incurred when colleges switched from face-to-face to remote learning. That could mean having to buy a computer, buying or upgrading internet access, or paying increased utility costs from being home, among other expenses.

“HCC has received a total of about $10.6 million from federal and state allocations designated directly for student relief during the pandemic,” said Narayan Sampath, HCC’s vice president of Administration and Finance. “With the holidays around the corner, we wanted to provide some more relief to students who continue to face numerous challenges because of the pandemic.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Registration is open for Wintersession classes at Holyoke Community College (HCC), offering new and returning students — as well as students from other colleges home on holiday break — the opportunity to earn a semester’s worth of credits for one class in just 10 days.

HCC’s two-week Wintersession term begins Monday, Jan. 3, and runs until Friday, Jan. 14. The registration deadline for Wintersession classes is Dec. 31.

Students can earn up to four credits by taking Wintersession classes in a wide variety of academic areas: anthropology, communication, criminal justice, economics, engineering, environmental science, geography, law, management, marketing, mathematics, radiology, social science, and sociology. Courses are being offered both on campus and online.

“Wintersession at HCC is a great way for students to pick up a bunch of academic credits in a short amount of time, to complete a prerequisite for another course or just lighten their spring course load,” said Mark Hudgik, HCC’s director of Admissions.

Starting Jan. 3, students must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend classes on campus. Students must submit proof of their vaccination status before being allowed to register for on-campus classes. Students who plan to register only for online or remote classes do not have to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Registration is also open at HCC for spring 2022 classes. Full-semester classes begin Monday, Jan. 24, with additional Flex Start dates on Feb. 14 (Spring Start II) and March 28 (Spring Start III).

Full-term spring classes run for 14 weeks. Spring Start II classes run for 12 weeks, and Spring Start III classes run for seven weeks.

To enroll for a Wintersession class, visit hcc.edu/wintersession. To enroll for spring 2022, visit hcc.edu/admissions.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — HCC Foundation Inc., the nonprofit fundraising arm of Holyoke Community College, has added four new members to its board of directors, including three alumni.

Wendy Fox (’16)  is director of Curriculum Development for Onramp Invest, a crypto-asset management company. A graduate of HCC and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, Fox worked with the UMass Foundation board and UMass alumni board as an administrative fellow for corporate engagement at the university.

Maura Greaney (’93) is director of Philanthropy, Development Communications, and Special Events for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Greaney has an extensive background in nonprofit fundraising, grant writing, event planning, and development. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree from UMass Boston.

Erin Godfrey is director of Odyssey House, a program of Viability, a Holyoke nonprofit that supports individuals with disabilities and other societal advantages. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College whose husband, Chris Godfrey, attended HCC through the support of the college’s veterans programs, and both were involved with the HCC Military Club while he was a student.

Camille Theriaque (’12) is a licensed clinical social worker with MiraVista Behavioral Health Center in Holyoke. As a student at HCC searching for a second career, Theriaque, a retired Holyoke firefighter, received a 29 Who Shine award from the state Department of Higher Education as well as a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree at Smith College.

“HCC gave me back my life with a purpose, lifelong friends, and renewed my love of learning,” Theriaque said in her board application. “I truly loved my time there and want to give back to the college that gave me so much more than an education.”

The foundation board approved the appointment of the new directors to three-year terms at its annual meeting on Dec. 7.

“We are delighted to have Wendy, Maura, Erin, and Camille join the board,” said Amanda Sbriscia, HCC’s vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation. “They have a passion for our mission and bring a rich and diverse wealth of professional experience as well as intrinsic understanding of our students.”

The HCC Foundation has total net assets of $21.4 million and an endowment of $15 million, the largest of all 15 community colleges in Massachusetts, thanks in large part to more than 170 endowed scholarships established by alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the college.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently welcomed Douglas Scanlon to the college’s Institutional Advancement team as its first development and external communications coordinator.

Scanlon comes to HCC after serving for seven years as communications specialist in the Development office at Springfield College. Before that, he worked as assistant director of Institutional Marketing for Elms College in Chicopee.

At HCC, he will be responsible for creating print, digital, and event-related messaging to support donor engagement, community engagement, and fundraising. He started on Nov. 29.

“As the first person to hold this new position, Doug will play a key role in our efforts to enhance the college’s resources and further strengthen relationships with our community,” said Amanda Sbriscia, vice president of Institutional Advancement. “He brings a wealth of experience in development writing that will help us tell HCC’s compelling and inspiring story to our donors and alumni. We’re thrilled to have him on our team.”

Scanlon holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from St. Bonaventure University in New York.

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. New and current HCC students are encouraged to apply. The application deadline for the spring 2022 semester is Jan. 7, 2022.

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, honors experiences, community services, and internships.

Eligibility guidelines for the National Science Foundation Scholarship in STEM can be viewed at hcc.edu/stem-scholarship.

STEM disciplines include biological sciences, physical sciences, math, computer and information services, geosciences, and engineering.

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