Community College Excellence Week

Monday April 26, 2021 – Friday, April 30, 2021

Starting on Monday, April 26th the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges (MACC) will be recognizing outstanding scholars for their induction to the 2021 All-MA Academic Team through a virtual “PTK Community College Excellence Week.” Traditionally, a celebratory ceremony is held at the Massachusetts State House to recognize the students’ achievements and honor their hard work. We hope you will join us virtually as we celebrate these inspiring students, and highlight their academic achievements and career aspirations online. Make sure to follow along on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts!

Congratulations 2021 PTK All-MA Academic Team

Read more about these inspiring students on our Student Stories page.

Monica Bliss, berkshire community College Student

Monica Bliss, Berkshire Community College

All-USA Academic Team Scholar and New Century Transfer Scholar – As a mother, wife, opera singer, theater artist, and non-traditional student, I’m both a theater and music major. My hope is to transfer to a four-year college as a theater major. I’m passionate about preserving live theater as an art form. Not only does theater entertain, but theater serves as an incredibly powerful tool of the people which can influence and change society. Using theater to illuminate a problem creates empathy which can resonate throughout the entire world. My goal is to lead a progressive theater company producing transformative work. I’m a Berkshire Honors Scholar. I serve as PTK New England Region President, PTK Chapter President, SGA President, PR Chair of the Massachusetts Student Advisory Council to the Board of Higher Education where we work to make education and the student experience as equitable and accessible as possible. My interests also include writing, social justice, law, and politics.

Molly Gingras, Berkshire Community College Student

Molly Gingras, Berkshire Community College

When I first entered Berkshire Community College, I majored in music but later realized that it was not the right path for me. I was inspired by my second semester sociology class to fully invest myself in understanding the world around me. While I don’t currently have a major, I have been devoted to the Berkshire Honors Scholar program to expand my abilities as a student. Upon transferring, I intend to major in gender studies while additionally taking courses in the many aspects of the humanities. I believe that putting emphasis on critical thinking will allow me to gain well-rounded knowledge of my major. I want to effectively serve marginalized identities through my work and part of this effort will be to educate future students. My goal after finishing college is to become a college professor and to create positive change through higher education.

Ginger Zani, Berkshire Community College Student

Ginger Zani, Berkshire Community College

Hello my name is Ginger Zani,  I live in Ashley Falls, MA with my husband, two teenage boys and many beloved pets. I have worked most of my life as a licensed veterinary technician. While I love working with animals, I have always been drawn to the field of nursing and am so excited to be on the journey I am on now. I was first inspired to be a nurse when I had my first child. I thought what could be more amazing and fulfilling than helping to bring a life into this world. After graduation from the ADN nursing program at BCC I hope to go on to receive my bachelors in nursing from Umass. I look forward to the many opportunities that lie ahead in my career. When I am not working or studying, I enjoy gardening, kayaking and camping with my family.

Dakota Chixarro, Bristol Community College Student

Dakota Chixarro, Bristol Community College

My name is Dakota Chixarro and I am a graduating sophomore at Bristol Community College in the criminal justice transfer program. In the fall, I will be transferring to UMass Dartmouth to continue my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Upon attaining my bachelor’s degree, I hope to be hired as a police officer for the UMass Dartmouth Campus Police department while I continue to work on my master’s degree in criminal justice. I plan to transfer to another agency to pursue a career as a detective in either domestic violence or juvenile units. I also plan to attain the rank of lieutenant before retirement when I merge my career experience and love for the classroom as a criminal justice professor. I currently work as a night victim advocate with the New Bedford Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit. I enjoy playing guitar and listening to music.

Magielette Hudson, Bristol Community College Student

Magielette Hudson, Bristol Community College

My name is Magielette Hudson and while at Bristol, I have held leadership roles as President of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Vice President of the Commonwealth Honors Program Club and Academic Chair of Bristol’s Student Senate. I am dedicated to serving my community as a volunteer with Bristol’s Mobile Food Market. I have also served as president of my husband’s military unit Family Readiness Group and as a volunteer with the Fall River Women, Infants and Children program. Upon graduating this spring, I will be attending Bryant University to pursue a degree in human resource management and will continue to volunteer in initiatives at Bryant and throughout my community. I attribute my success to the immense support I have received from the faculty, staff and my peers at Bristol, but especially to my husband and six children for always encouraging me to thrive in academics and beyond.

Ross Sherman, Bristol Community College Student

Ross Sherman, Bristol Community College

My name is Ross Sherman and I am an excited and grateful young man who will be majoring in nursing beginning in September 2021. I look forward to helping as many people as possible and giving back that which has been so freely given to me. I am interested in the areas of emergency care, pediatrics and weight loss. When I complete my time with Bristol, I plan to pursue my BSN degree at UMass Dartmouth. I enjoy exercising, spending time with family and fixing stuff up around the house.

Niki Nguyen, Bunker Hill Community College Student

Niki Nguyen, Bunker Hill Community College

Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar – Niki Nguyen currently serves as the Student Trustee at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and Vice-Chairperson of the Massachusetts Student Advisory Council (SAC) to the Board of Higher Education. She also served as Vice President of Service for Phi Theta Kappa and Central Vice President of PTK New England. Niki is a member of the Student Trustee Advisory Committee to the ACCT Board of Directors, Massachusetts OER Advisory Council, and the Basic Needs Advisory Committee. She is currently interning as an Asian American Women’s Political Initiative (AAWPI) fellow at the State House and as an Early Education and Care Policy and Advocacy Intern for Strategies for Children. As a History/Government and Biology Transfer major, Niki’s future plans include emphasizing the importance of equity and access to education for all. To Niki, serving her community does not simply mean representing just one voice but standing for every voice at all levels.

Andrea Priolo, Bunker Hill Community College Student

Andrea Priolo, Bunker Hill Community College

Andrea Priolo came to Bunker Hill Community College in the Fall of 2019. Inspired by her mother, who is a Respiratory Therapist, she chose to pursue a career in Health Care.  After working in Radiology in a few hospitals, she decided to focus her studies in Cardiac Sonography.  She will complete her program in July and looks forward to a fulfilling career in providing care to people in our community.

Zuleka Queen-Postell, Bunker Hill Community College Student

Zuleka Queen-Postell, Bunker Hill Community College

Although Zuleka Queen-Postell started her education at Bunker Hill Community College in 2012, she took time off to raise her children. In 2019, she resumed her education with renewed passion.  Zuleka serves as Associate Vice President of the H Building on the BHCC Student Government Association and has actively represented the student voice at college events and college committees. She is a TRO Student Success Program member and an Open Educational Resources (OER) Ambassador. Zuleka works as the Special Education Parent Advisory Council Liaison for Cambridge Public Schools and is passionate about sharing her knowledge of Special Education Rights and laws with anyone in need. She is the neurodiverse mom of two neurodiverse boys and plans to transfer to Lesley University to obtain her Bachelor’s in Art Therapy. Her goal is to open a school in Barbados that helps children with disabilities grow to their fullest potential.

Alexandria Moran, Cape Cod Community College

Alexandria Moran, Cape Cod Community College

My name is Alexandria Moran. I am 25 years old and have lived on Cape Cod since I was two years old. Growing up on Cape Cod has been a blessing. I am a student at Cape Cod Community College expecting to graduate this upcoming May 2021. I am a Phi Theta Kappa Honor society member and a part of my colleges’ Alpha Upsilon Mu chapter. Through this, I was nominated to the All-State Academic Team. My goal after graduation is to transfer to a four-year university for to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Neuroscience. I believe the brain is one of the most interesting and complex parts of the human anatomy. After I receive my bachelor’s degree, I plan to attend an accredited Physician Assistant program with hopes of obtaining a career as a Physician Assistant in Neurosurgery.

Ethan Hansen, Cape Cod Community College

Ethan Hansen, Cape Cod Community College

Ethan Hansen is a 26 year old student studying philosophy at Cape Cod Community College. His primary focuses are Metaphysics and Ethics. He plans to obtain his PhD and be on the forefront of moral philosophy. He has been a member of Alpha Upsilon Mu for the past two years, acting as president for the last two semesters. Last semester, Alpha Upsilon Mu got approval to have a community orchard planted at 4Cs as a result of their Honors In Action research project. Ethan is eternally grateful for PTK for challenging him to be a better student. Over the past two years, he has learned invaluable skills that he knows he will carry with him for the rest of his life. A special thanks to Keli (Swan) Gates, Kate Martin, and Rebecca Griffon for helping him get to where he is.

Kimberly Day, Greenfield Community College Student

Kimberly Day, Greenfield Community College

My name is Kimberly Day and I am a proud member of Phi Theta Kappa. I am a non-traditional student and am the first in my family to graduate from college. I went back to school at 45 to turn my life around and find a profession that will be rewarding and allow me to be self-sufficient. For me, that is the field of Nursing. I enjoyed my prerequisites and nursing program classes so much that I am going to start my Bachelor’s in Nursing this Fall. This decision was inspired by the input and guidance I received from my PTK peers and advisor. I am honored to be recognized by PTK for my efforts, since I see it as an organization that embodies respect, success, and ambition.

Kellie Girouard, Greenfield Community College Student

Kellie Girouard, Greenfield Community College

Kellie Girouard aka Kellianna is an American Neo-Celtic singer and songwriter internationally renowned for her performance of song and chant inspired by myth, magic, sacred places, and ancient times. She has released 6 critically acclaimed CDs and the first two books of a fantasy fiction trilogy, with the 3rd book pending release in 2022.  Since 2003, she has performed her music in 11 countries on 3 continents with regular visits to Canada, the United Kingdom, Western Europe and Australia. Semi-retired from touring, Kellie enrolled in the Associate Degree program in Accounting at Greenfield Community College in Fall of 2019, with the intention of launching a bookkeeping and accounting company to service small businesses in her local area.

Brody Trott, Greenfield Community College

Brody Trott, Greenfield Community College

I am currently in the Business Administrative Transfer degree program at GCC. I will be transferring to UMass Amherst in Fall 2021 for my bachelor’s degree in finance. I am currently unsure what specific job path I am interested in, but I feel that once I get to UMass, I will figure out more interests. I currently work at a local animal hospital as a veterinarian assistant, so I love working with animals. I like going camping, playing tennis, and fishing. Currently, my goal is to get my bachelor’s degree through UMass Isenberg for finance and be debt free. This is one reason why I chose GCC. I feel I received the same education as a larger university, and I also received the one-on-one help that is harder to get from professors at universities. I feel that GCC has prepared me for the next chapter in my life. I am now looking forward to my many career opportunities that await me and to see where UMass takes me. I want to thank my friends and family for giving me the support that I have needed these past few years. I would not have done it without them.

Todd Cummings, Holyoke Community College Student

Todd Cummings, Holyoke Community College

As Eric Thomas (Motivational Speaker) says “To achieve a goal, you must know your WHY”. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What’s your motivation? I know my “WHY” and I will share it with you know as it pertains to why I enrolled at Holyoke Community College and how I am where I am today. My name is Todd Cummings, a Hospitality Management Major at HCC. Transferring to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst next fall majoring in Hospitality & Tourism Management in the Isenberg School of Management. I have worked in the restaurant industry since I was 14. That first moment seeing how fries are made, the smell, and being able to eat them, I was and will forever be a part of, the “Chef Life”. I graduated Connecticut Culinary Institute in Suffield, CT in 2005 with an Associates in Advanced Culinary Arts. I have worked Fine Dining, Gastro Pubs, Breweries, Bistro’s and even helped open 2 different Train Stations converted into restaurants. I’m pursuing my dreams of opening “Waugh’s”, my future restaurant and learning how to run a business in Hospitality. I say this because I’m in the Mass Transfer Program from HCC to UMASS. This decision came after my brother Tim committed suicide.  Tim graduated from UMASS.  I want to feel spiritually connected to my brother and dedicate this in his memory while advancing my life at the same time. Upon graduating, I can literally “Walk in my Brothers Footsteps” across the stage at the graduation ceremony from UMASS.

Miren Neyra Alcántara, Holyoke Community College Student

Miren Neyra Alcántara, Holyoke Community College

Miren Neyra Alcántara is an international student at Holyoke Community College pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Latinx Studies. Passionate about elevating the voices of others, and a native of Mexico, Miren enrolled in HCC’s Latinx Studies concentration because of its interdisciplinary and community-engaged approach to the subject. A member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, peer tutor, member of the Student Advisory Board and co-president of HCC’s Latinx Empowerment Association, (LEA). Miren fervently believes in social justice, and teaches ESL courses and a Spanish literacy program as part of Planting Literacy, which helps dedicated Central American immigrants improve their literacy skills. Miren plans to transfer to a four-year college after HCC and continue her degree in Latinx Studies with a minor in Women & Gender Studies. Her long term goal is to do a Masters degree and become a teacher at a university while still implementing her passion for social justice.

Nathalia Goettert, MassBay Community College Student

Nathalia Goettert, MassBay Community College

Nathalia Goettert, an international student from Brazil, is a Biotechnology major at MassBay Community College. She is part of the STEM Mentor Program at the College, where she has been matched with a local biotechnology professional to provide her with academic and career support, while also giving her the opportunity to participate in many career-focused events and activities. Nathalia is scheduled to graduate with her Associate of Science degree in May 2021. She hopes to transfer to the University of Massachusetts or Northeastern University to continue her studies in Biotechnology. Her career goals include working in the Biomanufacturing industry, where she hopes to help people by discovering and producing treatments to cure diseases. When Nathalia is not on the MassBay campus, she volunteers at animal shelters and she loves cooking and baking at her Wayland home.

Lauren Morris, Massbay Community College Student

Lauren Morris, MassBay Community College

Lauren Morris, of Waltham, MA, graduated MassBay in December 2020 with an associate of arts degree in elementary education and a 4.0 GPA. She transferred to Lesley University in January 2021 and is currently majoring in Expressive Arts Therapy, where she is also applying to the accelerated master’s program. Lauren’s career goals include working in a classroom or counseling practice to help cultivate kind, empathetic, independent, and courageous children who have healthy relationships with their peers, their world, and themselves. Lauren wants to help these children become the best versions of themselves by showing them the tools they already possess. Lauren is currently a lead teacher for preschool and school-aged kids at Neck of the Woods, where she also spends her summers teaching adolescents leadership skills. She volunteers with organizations that assist children and adults with disabilities and exceptionalities. In Lauren’s free time, she loves to dance, create art, and spend time in nature with her dog and her fiancé, Ben.

April Anderson, Massasoit Community College

April Anderson, Massasoit Community College

April Anderson, a student at Massasoit Community College is a TEM Scholar, President of the Alpha Kappa Upsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, a mother, daughter, wife, and non-traditional student at the age of thirty-seven. After changing her major three times from Accounting to Psychology and Nutrition, her experiences have led her to pursue her goal of becoming a Medical/Clinical Lab Scientist minoring as a Veterinary Technologist. Her journey at Massasoit began online at home with young children, three years of studies, ending online as a Liberal Arts Science Transfer student. According to April, “Massasoit and my PTK chapter have taught me so many things, but most of all to use all the resources I can use in order to understand the concepts of the lessons that are crucial to continuing my path.” She hopes to one day open an animal-assisted therapy farm for individuals with mental health and development disorders. “I have the motivation and drive similar to a pack of sled dogs,” she ads. April has been accepted into the Medical Lab Science Program at the University of Maine Orono on a Flagship Merit Scholarship.

Cindy Mack, Massasoit Community College

Cindy Mack, Massasoit Community College

Cindy N. Mack currently serves in a second term as the PTK Vice President of Leadership for the Alpha Kappa Upsilon chapter at Massasoit Community College. He is also serving a second term as Student Trustee.  As a PTK Officer, Cindy leads multiple leadership roles on and off-campus, advocating for and representing students’ voices not only at Massasoit, but also at a state-wide platform as well. As a trustee, Cindy has served as Parliamentarian Chair of the Students Advisory Council SAC) under the Board of Higher Education, as a member on the Online Educational Resource executive committee, and has recently been instrumental in working with the legislature to amend Higher Education policies to allow equity among part-time students to be Trustees of their respective institutions. As the PTK VP of Leadership, Cindy has led projects on campus, such as addressing food and homelessness insecurity, Honors In Action project, and has been selected as a distinguished officer team at PTK Catalyst and the New England Region. Moreover, Cindy is an active member of the Student Senate and past VP of the Gay-Straight Alliance. Cindy is double majoring in Criminal Justice and Human Services programs and will be transferring to Bridgewater State University to pursue a double major in Criminal Justice and Sociology. After completion, Cindy plans to work in his community in social services and has political aspirations.

Amber Medeiros, Massasoit Community College

Amber Medeiros, Massasoit Community College

Amber Medeiros currently serves as a New England PTK Regional Officer, and has been elected to continue for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is currently enrolled at Massasoit Community College in pursuing an associate degree in psychology. After completing her associate degree, Amber plans to transfer to a four-year university program to receive her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She works for Justice Resource Institute at the Total Achievement Program as a Therapeutic Counselor. Her career goals involve working with children and teenagers who have mental health and behavioral issues. Outside of being Vice President of Service and Fellowship at the Alpha Kappa Upsilon chapter of PTK, classes, and work, Amber loves to be outside in warmer weather. Before becoming a PTK officer in the Alpha Kappa Upsilon chapter, Amber was a member and became a state officer in The National FFA Organization. At Massasoit, being part of PTK has given her the chance to grow and learn more about who is as a person. She could not be more grateful for her time at the chapter level thus far, and cannot wait for her time at the regional level as well. She is passionate about mental health issues, and sustainable gardens for fresh produce to help address the food and hunger insecurity in our region.

Hannah Ditmars, Middlesex Community College Student

Hannah Ditmars, Middlesex Community College

I will complete my associate degree in Business Administration at Middlesex Community College in May 2022. I plan to transfer to the Isenberg School of Business at UMass Amherst to complete my bachelor’s degree, and I look forward to making an impact by helping to advance pro-environment, ecologically sustainable practices in the business world. In addition to pursuing my academic goals, I have tried to contribute to my learning community by being active in several clubs, and have held leadership positions in Westford Academy’s Human Rights Club, Gender Sexuality Alliance and Speech and Debate club.  As a Speech and Debate participant, I was named the 2020 Massachusetts Speech and Debate League State Champion of the Group Discussion event. In my free time, I enjoy sailing, paddle boarding, reading and spending time with my family and pets.

Gianna Tringali, Middlesex Community College Student

Gianna Tringali, Middlesex Community College

My name is Gianna Tringali and I am a Dual Enrollment student at Middlesex Community College and Woburn High School. I enrolled at MCC in the beginning of my junior year and it has been the best choice I ever made! I am currently undecided on my major, but I am leaning toward Business. Next year, I have decided to transfer to UMass Amherst to continue my studies. My hobbies include working out, listening to music and having fun. I am honored to have been nominated!

Riana Willsie, Middlesex Community College Student

Riana Willsie, Middlesex Community College

My name is Riana Willsie and I am from Groton, Massachusetts. I am currently majoring in Fashion but I plan to double major in both Fashion and Business once I transfer to a four-year university. I hope to one day live in Europe and work as a fashion buyer for a magazine. I want to use my creativity to help as many people as possible and most importantly, I want the opportunity to make a difference in society. I am very passionate about the idea of inclusivity and sustainability in the fashion industry, and I hope that in five years I will be on a path to promote those ideas in the world.

Paige Landry, Mount Wachusett Community College Student

Paige Landry, Mount Wachusett Community College

Over the past year, Paige Landry has persevered through homelessness and hospitalization with COVID-19, while not only maintaining her academic standing but continuing to volunteer both on campus and off. She is the current President of Phi Theta Kappa Honors (PTK) Society, President of the Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society, a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success Honors Society, President of the MWCC Sexuality and Gender Alliance Club and a member of the Student Government Association. Off campus, Landry currently volunteers at the Lowell Alliance where she helps to supply diapers to struggling area families. Following graduation from MWCC with her Associate Degree in Human Services, Landry will be moving to the Springfield, MA area where she will continue her education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She intends to continue her focus on human services, eventually earning her Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling.

John Maron, Mount Wachusett Community College

John Maron, Mount Wachusett Community College

John Maron is a former bus driver who started his associate degree at the age of 54 after being inspired to do so by his daughter. He will be graduating from MWCC in May with his associates in Business Administration and plans to transfer to Fitchburg State University to pursue his bachelors and ultimately an MBA. He looks forward starting his own CPA practice in the future. John Maron was MWCC’s Phi Theta Kappa, Phi Delta Chapter Treasurer in 2020, as well as a member of the ABG honor society and SAGA. During the pandemic, and while taking classes virtually and caring for his family, John was a vital part of the PTK efforts to help get safety masks made by members delivered to community members in need. He recruited volunteers, donated supplies, and managed safe distribution, of over 700 facemasks for local community members and students in need.

Christopher Campbell, North Shore Community College Student

Chris Campbell, North Shore Community College

My name is Chris Campbell, and I was born on May 8th,1991 with Cerebral Palsy. I am a full-time wheelchair user and nonverbal. I grew up watching cartoons, reading fantasy series, and playing video games. The lessons I learned from these different forms of media make me who I am today. This is why I will be majoring in Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy because I want to write books about morality in pop culture. One of my favorite hobbies is skiing at Loon Mountain. I use an adaptive ski called a sitski. In my free time I also enjoy going to comic book conventions with my friends. I am a member of PTK and the President of DaPi Honor Society, and I am graduating from NSCC in May 2021 with an associate degree in Liberal Arts. I am looking forward to studying at UMass Boston in the fall.

Chelsea Edo, North Shore Community College Student

Chelsea Edo, North Shore Community College

I was born in West Africa and from an early age I have been heavily involved in academics. I enjoy science and learning all about the human body. My passion is helping people, so I decided to pursue a career in nursing. Few years ago I moved to the United States. My goal is to become a General Nurse practitioner or Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Besides helping others, I enjoy the outdoors like going to the beach and hiking. I love to learn about new things and experience different cultures, foods and music. I’m a member of STEM club as well as well as an active member of PTK, This Fall I’ll be transferring to UMASS Boston into the Nursing program and I’m excited because my dreams are turning into a reality. Eleanor Roosevelt one said “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.

Aryell Lula, North Shore Community College Student

Aryell Lula, North Shore Community College

My name is Aryell, I am a Business and Administration Transfer student at North Shore Community College that will be majoring in Entrepreneurship at Endicott College. I am a very hardworking and motivated person, trying to pursue my dreams. Currently, I am a stock trader, and I intend to continue to do that as my future career. My hobbies are being active, being outdoors, and traveling. I know I have a big career ahead of me, and I know there are a lot of obstacles that will be coming my way, but as the motivated and dedicated person I am, I will not give up.

Jay Cassandra Anaya, Northern Essex Community College Student

Jay Cassandra Anaya, Northern Essex Community College

Jay, a Lawrence, MA native, is graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA and an associate degree in criminal justice. She has already begun taking courses at UMass Lowell, while enrolled at Northern Essex, and she anticipates that she will graduate with her bachelor’s in criminal justice with a legal studies minor in just one year. A master’s degree is definitely in her future. Jay’s short term goal is to be a juvenile probation officer and long term she plans to become a criminal justice professor. She says that because of her experience growing up in an urban area, she would most like to work with youth who may be troubled or at risk. Jay has volunteered in her community in the past, and, most recently, she has committed 400 hours as a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line, helping those in need.

Michelle Colbert-Mason, Northern Essex Community College

Michelle Colbert-Mason, Northern Essex Community College

Michelle had to drop out of high school for health reasons. After getting her GED, she has excelled academically at Northern Essex, earning her associate degree in Liberal Arts: Journalism/Communications with high honors. She also has been active on campus, serving as a student ambassador, helping other students with online learning; as a member of Phi Theta Kappa; and participating in the PACE (Pathways to Academic and Career Excellence) Program, a federally funded program for first generation college students. A Haverhill resident, Michelle gives back to her community as a volunteer and member of Junior Board of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. Michelle’s goal is to be a journalist and she has applied to bachelor’s programs at Boston University, Emerson College, and Northwestern University. Michelle has been selected to the student speaker at the Liberal Arts Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 15.  

Cathalina Eisan, Northern Essex Community College Student

Cathalina Eisan, Northern Essex Community College

Cathalina’s goal is to be an interpreter for the Deaf, and her passion is working with Deaf children. After earning her associate degree in American Sign Language Studies in May, she plans to return to Northern Essex for her Sign Language Interpreting Certificate, an intensive program which will help her hone her signing skills. When she graduates with the certificate in 2022, she plans on pursuing her interpreting license and eventually landing a position in a school system. Cathalina has a 3.71 GPA and she’s been working part time at TJ Maxx to pay for her schooling. A resident of Rowley, she spent her early years in Derry, NH and graduated from high school in California.

Edmilse Diaz, Quinsigamond Community College Student

Edmilse Diaz, Quinsigamond Community College

My name is Edmilse Diaz and I am a part of Quinsigamond Community College’s Class of 2022 Dental Hygiene program. I am originally from the Dominican Republic and moved to the U.S when I was young.  I received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Saint Michael’s College in 2015. Throughout my life, I have continued to pursue learning and challenge myself. I decided to pursue a career in dental hygiene because I wanted to help raise awareness on the importance of oral health and its effect on a person’s overall health. I love working with my hands, and feel I am making a difference in the health of my patients. I also train in Jiu Jitsu and mantis boxing in my spare time. I love spending time with my dog, “Johnny,” and when the sun is shining, you can often catch me on a hiking trail somewhere.

Alexander Riopel, Quinsigamond Community College Student

Alexander Riopel, Quinsigamond Community College

My name is Alexander Riopel and I chose Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) because of its MassTransfer program with UMass Amherst. Due to COVID-19, this year has been a little different from others; however, QCC has done a great job adapting to online classes and helping students make the transition as smooth as possible. I am currently a business transfer major and plan on pursing a finance degree at a four-year university in the fall. QCC has done a great job preparing me for a four-year university. As the former president of QCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, I was fortunate to be part of a group that affected real change within the community. Along with many other students and staff members, we worked to make our community and the world a better place. Outside of PTK, I have continued to push myself academically by participating in the Commonwealth Honors Program. In addition to my extracurricular activities and academics, I consistently work 20-plus hours a week, to support myself financially while in school. I am proud to say that I have made the most of my time at QCC, and look forward to continuing on to a four-year university.

Vincent Strzelecki, Quinsigamond Community College

Vincent Strzelecki, Quinsigamond Community College

New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar –  My name is Vincent Carl Strzelecki and I came to Quinsigamond Community College to pursue a degree in Computer Science. QCC’s math and writing centers both were vital parts of my education. You will often find me building, modifying, or experimenting with things, and I always encourage others to join in. My favorite core school subject is science, particularly physics. My life goal is to help as many people as I can, and I am working hard to continue down the path of video game development, so I can create games that are inexpensive, highly accessible, and greatly enjoyable.

Bradley Sylvestre, Quinsigamond Community College Student

Bradley Sylvestre, Quinsigamond Community College

My name is Bradley Sylvestre and I am currently part of Quinsigamond Community College’s Class of 2022 Nurse Education program, and I am loving it. Despite classes being online and having limiting time in a physical classroom, I have been able to learn from the best and apply that knowledge in my clinical settings. I was able to go to a local nursing home in Westborough and make a difference with the elderly; see a birth at UMass Hospital in Leominster, and have been able to bond with patients in need of companionship. I was able to do all these things thanks to the hardworking educators at QCC, who were constantly advocating for me and my fellow nursing students, despite the grueling process of nursing school during a pandemic. QCC is a community college, and for me, a new nursing student from Rhode Island, QCC has become my community. I used to work at a windowless warehouse, Monday – Friday, when I decided that I wanted to have a career where I would be able to something meaningful. I quickly became an Emergency Medical Technician, bringing patients from walks-of -life to the closest emergency departments. It was here that I met emergency room nurses, who were literally keeping their patients’ alive. It was through this experience that I realized I wanted to become a nurse. Now, I work as an Emergency Room Technician at UMass Memorial Medical Center (a level 1 trauma center) in the Emergency Department. I hope to do what those nurses showed me so long ago, when I was still unsure of my own career path. My goal is to be an emergency department registered nurse and specialize in pediatric emergency care, where personal connection and quality nursing makes such a big impact on little ones and family alike.

Jon Luc Dumornay, Roxbury Community College Student

Jon Luc Dumornay, Roxbury Community College

Jon Luc Dumornay is proud to be one of the honorees for RCC’s 2021 PTK All-MA Team. Jon Luc is in his fourth semester at RCC and plans to graduate in May 2021 with a degree in Business Administration. He prides himself on his academic achievements and was grateful to have earned the President’s List Award in the summer of 2020. He plans to continue his studies this fall at a four-year university and has always envisioned himself in a business-focused career. Jon Luc uses his business skills while working part-time at a bank, but also devotes time to the Peer Tiger program at RCC, supporting other students with their studies as a peer tutor and advocate. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and riding his bike around Boston.

Hamid Malik, Roxbury Community College Student

Hamid Malik, Roxbury Community College

Hamid Malik is a Broadcast Media Technology student at Roxbury Community College who has been interested in creative expression since he was a child. Growing up, Hamid loved art and would write wrote stories and poems. Later he developed an interest in movies and filmmaking. Hamid enrolled in the BMT major to learn practical aspects of filmmaking, and has rediscovered his creative passions in the process. In his major, Hamid has made short films, learned how to edit, and has also worked as an audio operator, technical director, and CG operator for various shows produced in his classes, all while keeping up with his writing. Hamid did not pursue these artistic activities before entering Roxbury Community College, and he is proud to be an RCC student. After graduation, he has plans to work in a TV station and gain more experience in this field.

Merlicia Miles, Roxbury Community College Student

Merlicia Miles, Roxbury Community College

Merlicia Miles was born on the island of Dominica. She migrated to the United States of America in 2007 with her family. Her goal is to be a Nurse Midwife, a career that’s personal to her for several reasons. Merlicia is currently working as a professional nanny as she completes her Associate Degree in Health Careers at Roxbury Community College. After her expected graduation in May 2021, she plans to transfer to UMASS Boston, where she will complete a bachelor’s degree in the Registered Nursing Program and then move on to graduate school. She is the treasurer of RCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and has worked hard to help her fellow students whenever given the opportunity.

Miranda Kamukala, Springfield Technical Community College Student

Miranda Kamukala, Springfield Technical Community College

Miranda Kamukala, of Agawam, was born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. A general studies major at STCC, Miranda is taking nursing prerequisites to begin nursing in the fall. She aspires to join the nursing profession and then get a masters in midwifery to be a Certified Nurse Midwife. Miranda participates in the honors program at STCC. Her favorite courses are psychology, human biology and sociology. For honors projects, Miranda has examined how addicted parents affect their children and has explored how the COVID-19 pandemic affects public health and the environment. She also joined an honors seminar called “Picturing Atrocity,” which studied war photography. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked at an afterschool program and a summer camp where she enjoyed working with children. Her other hobbies include running, playing the clarinet, and reading.

About Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) is the international honor society of two-year colleges. PTK has recognized and encouraged scholarship among community college students for 100 years while promoting the academic integrity of the associate degree program. Students with grade point averages of 3.5 or higher are invited to join Phi Theta Kappa.

All-Massachusetts Academic Team

Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and community college presidents co-sponsor All-State Academic Team recognition programs in 39 states each year. Students nominated to the national All-USA Academic Team are automatically named to the All-State Academic Teams and are eligible for stipends provided by Coca-Cola. Ranking on the All-State Team is determined by the student’s score in the national competition. To be eligible for nomination, students must have earned a minimum cumulative college-level GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale.

Coca-Cola and New Century Scholars

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola All-State Community College Academic Team program. The student receiving the highest All-USA Community College Academic Team application score in each state is named a New Century Scholar. The New Century Transfer Scholar receives a $2,250 stipend and the New Century Workforce Scholar receives a $1,250 stipend. Nationally, fifty students are named Coca-Cola Gold Scholars, receiving $1,500; fifty students are named Coca-Cola Silver Scholars, receiving $1,250; and fifty students are named Coca-Cola Bronze Scholars, receiving $1,000. All scholars also receive special medallions.

All-USA Top 20 Scholars

The All-USA Community College Academic Team recognizes high achieving two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Just twenty team members are named annually, with each receiving a $5,000 scholarship. In addition to scholarships, team members are presented with awards at the annual President’s Breakfast held during the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention. An independent team of judges reviews the applications to determine scholarship recipients. The program is sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group with additional support provided by the American Association of Community Colleges and Phi Theta Kappa.