2023 PTK All-MA Academic Team
Ethan Trautman, Berkshire Community College
Ethan Trautman is a Nursing Student at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield. He is serving as the President of the Xi Alpha Chapter for the 2022-2023 academic year. He was also formerly the Vice President of New England PTK for the 2021-2022 academic year. Last year, Ethan was the Valedictorian of Berkshire Community College. Ethan will be graduating again with an Associate Degree in Nursing this spring. He enjoys playing hockey, hiking, and strategy games in his free time. He also has an identical twin who is currently studying Math at Vanderbilt University. After graduation, Ethan will work as a Registered Nurse in Oncology at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. He plans on attending the University Of Alaska Anchorage, his parents’ alma mater, to complete his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Carissa Crossley, Bristol Community College
Carissa Crossley is a student at Bristol Community College in Massachusetts. She is currently studying prerequisite courses for the Regis College Bachelor of Nursing program which she has been accepted to enter in the Fall of 2023. She earned her Associates of Arts degree from Palm Beach Community College in May of 2022. She is the Chief Officer of Public Relations for Phi Theta Kappa Club at Bristol. Her responsibilities include managing all marketing and social media publications. Carissa is a pioneer of dance therapy at Bristol Community College, where she curated, organized, and participated in leading several Ecstatic Dance events. Her drive to become a nurse practitioner is rooted in her compassion for the suffering of others. Carissa is a single mother who sees generational wealth in education. Some of her favorite hobbies include sailing, camping, and volunteering for the Fall River Re-Creation Sailing Program.
Aiden Morgado, Bristol Community College
Aiden Morgado is a student at Bristol Community College. His most recent job title LAL Technician at Associates of Cape Cod. He is President of Bristol’s chapter Phi Theta Kappa Club, where he enjoys planning service events, guest speaker events, and extracurricular events. Some examples include ecstatic dance events, a Fulbright speaker event, and a podcast. Aiden will receive his associate degree in biology in May of 2023 and plans to continue education at The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where he will earn a bachelor’s degree. He is passionate about biological systems, and he finds works by Robert Sapolsky and Andrew Huberman at Stanford to be especially interesting. As a biologist, he hopes to earn at least a master’s degree and become involved in neurobiology as a passion and research concentration. Aiden is eternally grateful to those who help him succeed.
Magny Gisele Bohui Epse Breguhe, Bunker Hill Community College
Magny Gisele Bohui Epse Breguhe is from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. A candidate for an associate in arts in Business at Bunker Hill Community College, Bohui has already achieved significant academic success. Her hard work and dedication have been rewarded with multiple grants from the PepsiCo Foundation and membership in several prestigious organizations, including Phi Theta Kappa, the Commonwealth Honors Program and The National Society of Leadership and Success. In addition to her accomplishments, Bohui was named a semi-finalist for the national and prestigious Jack Kent Cook Scholarship this year. Nurturing the dream of creating a consulting company that can help individuals, businesses and organizations meet their financial challenges, Bohui is determined to develop a leadership that allows it to have a real impact in the world of finance, and Phi Theta Kappa’s Leadership Development Studies program perfectly meets her ambitions. Admitted to Suffolk University and Northeastern University, Bohui is promised a bright future and undertakes to continue her studies with a view to obtaining a bachelor’s degree in finance. Thanks to her dedication, intelligence and ambition, there is no doubt that she will achieve great things in her chosen field.
Makayla Crowley, Cape Cod Community College
Makayla Crowley is a 20 year old student studying Communications at Cape Cod Community College. After graduating with her Associates degree, she is going to further her education by attending Western Carolina University to complete her Bachelor’s degree. At 4Cs, Makayla is involved in Phi Theta Kappa, The Debate Club, and The Mainsheet School Newspaper, all while working as a medical receptionist and social media manager. She was also recently nominated for The National Society of Leadership and Success. In her free time she likes to write poetry, listen to podcasts, and research self improvement. Makayla is a first generation college student with a passion for helping people know they are capable of their dreams. She is always looking out for ways to be a better human, and hopes to make a significant impact on society as a whole.
Caitlin Grosso, Cape Cod Community College
Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver As an avid lover of nature and literature, Caitlin Grosso has dreamed of becoming a writer since elementary school. From a young age, she wrote short fantasy stories about her explorations and observations of the world around her as she grew up in Yarmouth, Massachusetts with her family. She graduated from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School in 2018 and attended Cape Cod Community College in 2019, where she left with a Medical Assisting Certificate and an A.A. in English in December 2022. Grosso was highly involved at 4C’s: She became a Peer Tutor, Supplemental Instructor, and Peer Mentor. She also wrote for the college’s student-run newspaper, the MainSheet, partook in Honors research, and briefly served as the Secretary of the Creative Writing Club. Grosso is now pursuing a B.A. in English at UMass Lowell and aims to study law or medicine once she graduates. With her passion for writing at the core of her life, she also hopes to one day publish her creative works. Caitlin is also receiving recognition for earning Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver.
Maggie Brisbois, Greenfield Community College
Maggie Brisbois graduated from Greenfield Community College in January of 2023 with an Associate in Liberal Arts. Maggie started at Greenfield Community College in the fall of 2020 as a dual enrollment student and has enjoyed all of her time spent at the college. She was also very involved in the student government within the college through serving as a student senator and as student trustee. Maggie has also contributed to campus by working in the admissions office giving tours to prospective students and working on the activities council. Maggie is currently continuing her education by pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at Smith College and intends to major in history or environmental science. Outside of school she enjoys spending time outdoors and volunteering with various organizations.
Rathana Thann, Greenfield Community College
Ray Thann is from Amherst and grew up in Shutesbury and the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. He has been a performer since elementary school, staying in during recess to perform lip sync karaoke for other kids as well as putting on skits. Ray performed in such plays as The Tempest and Cabaret, while also choreographing dance pieces in Dance Theater Ensemble and performing in a hip hop dance crew. Along with pursuing his place in the film industry, Ray is a business major and will attend Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst after graduating from Greenfield this spring.
Eva Sweeney, Holyoke Community College
Eva is a chemistry major in their final semester at Holyoke Community College. As a Success Ambassador in the Student Ambassador Mentorship Program, Eva serves as a peer-mentor to 8 of their fellow HCC students. Passionate about LGBTQ+ advocacy, Eva serves as the President of the Rainbow Forward and a member of the LGBTQ Task Force at HCC. Eva has dedicated themselves to making HCC a trans-inclusive campus and has worked closely with faculty, students, staff and the administration at HCC to ensure that everyone on campus feels welcome and respected. Eva has been honored with the Excellence in Leadership Award and Teamwork Award for their involvement on campus.
Eva’s passion for science is evident through their work in the community and on campus. Eva was accepted into the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program and is in the National Science Foundation STEM Seminar. Due to their work in this seminar, Eva will be spending this summer studying green chemistry and science policy in Washington D.C. They hope to graduate from a 4 year college with a major in chemistry and a minor in sustainability. Afterwards they hope to go to grad school where they can become an expert in climate change research and green chemistry.
Eva is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM and working towards sustainability. In their down time they enjoy reading, hanging out with friends, making jewelry and watching Star Trek.
Olivia Delprete, Massasoit Community College
Olivia Delprete is a sophomore from Quincy, currently enrolled at Massasoit in both the Fire Science Degree Program and the Paramedic Certification Program. She will be finishing up with both of these programs at the end of this current semester. Upon graduation she will have an Associates degree in Fire Science and her Paramedic License. She hopes to join a fire department as a paramedic & also become a firefighter. The main reason I chose to follow this career path is because I want to do something with my job that will help others & I enjoy the physical aspect of the job.
Grace Henry, Massasoit Community College
Grace Henry is a student at Massasoit Community College. After graduation, she plans to attend Bridgewater State University where she will study Psychology and Special Education in hopes to work with special populations. She currently works as a Registered Behavior Technician during the weekdays and helps her mother with her donut business on the weekends. She hopes to make a positive change for children with special needs, and enjoys reading, baking, walking, and animals. Grace is thankful for her amazing professors at Massasoit and is excited to continue to pursue her education.
Asif Raza, Massasoit Community College
Asif Raza graduated from high school in Pakistan in 2018 and moved to the United States with his family in 2019, just before the Covid Pandemic. He says that “while moving to the United States and settling down in a new country when there is a Pandemic is quite challenging, as soon as I got stable with my family in the United States, I resumed my education in 2021 at Massasoit Community College.” Asif is about to complete his associate degree in business administration. Business and entrepreneurship are his passion. He is planning to pursue his bachelor’s degree from UMass Boston and then hopes to complete his MBA with his goal to start his own business and create job opportunities for the community. Asif is committed to positively impacting the community and has set an ambitious goal of creating 5000 jobs from his business venture. He adds, “I know that achieving my goals will require hard work, dedication, and a clear vision, but I am confident that with my dedication, and positive attitude, I will succeed and achieve my dream and build better future for myself and the people around me.”
Anthony Jones, Massasoit Community College
Anthony Jones is a technically-minded individual with a passion for design who has always been fascinated by the intricate details of how things work. Starting with an early interest in computer science and operating system architecture, he pursued an Engineering Technology vocational-technical program in high school; it was in this program where he honed his skills in technical design and problem-solving. Through his vocational training, Anthony had the opportunity to try his hand at programming, circuit design, structural analysis, and project scheduling. This vocational training culminated in a Construction Engineering internship, where he discovered his passion for the field. He enjoyed learning about the practical applications of technical design and the challenges that came with working in construction, particularly in process optimization from contract negotiation to project closeouts. He is eager to prepare myself to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management and continue advancing his education with an ultimate goal to acquire his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and move into the critical infrastructure sector where he can apply his technical expertise to make a meaningful impact on society. Anthony is excited to continue learning and growing in his field, and is grateful for the opportunities that have led him to where he is today.
JV Fonseca, Middlesex Community College
João Vitor Fonseca, from Brazil and now living in Winchester, is a Fall 2022 graduate of Middlesex’s Business Administration program. During his time at the college, he worked full-time as a Mortgage Loan Officer Assistant and volunteered at his church. Fonseca was the Secretary for the Student Government Association (SGA) before being elected Vice President of SGA for the Bedford campus. He enjoyed representing his classmates in order to help them have their voices heard. In addition to being a member of PTK and the National Society of Leadership and Success, Fonseca is most proud of raising his GPA from a 3.23 to 3.72 at MCC. He will continue his studies at Northeastern University, studying online from South Africa where his father is posted as Ambassador of Brazil. In the future, his goal is to move back to Brazil and work as the Economy Minister.
Sara Bruce, Middlesex Community College
A wife and mother of three daughters, Middlesex Business Administration and Management student Sara Bruce, of Lowell, is completing an associate degree while working as a Universal Banker at The Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank. As an adult learner, her goal is to advance in her career and grow both personally and professionally. She enjoys immersing herself in the MCC experience, meeting classmates, volunteering, and attending campus events. In her classes, she is learning skills that apply to her current position and to her future goals. After graduating from MCC in Summer 2023, Bruce plans to continue her career path at the company she has worked at for 18 years. During her time at MCC, Bruce has volunteered at a photo art exhibit for The Center for Hope and Healing, collected funds for the Lowell Folk Festival Free, and supported her children’s elementary school and teachers. Sara is the recipient of the Coca-Cola New Century Workforce Scholarship, which recognizes the most outstanding workforce-bound student from each state.
Conner DiPietro, Middlesex Community College
Conner DiPietro, of Tewsbury, is a Business Administration major who came to Middlesex on recommendation from a high school teacher. From the affordable tuition to the ease of applying for the college, he credits MCC for helping him flourish academically, socially and mentally. As school did not always come easily to him growing up, DiPietro considers one of his favorite accomplishments at MCC to have earned a 4.0 GPA in a semester. He is a proud member of PTK, as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success. As he attends school, DiPietro works two jobs, one as a Front-end Supervisor at TJ Maxx, and another for a small insurance company. After graduating from MCC, he plans to transfer to UMass Boston to continue studying Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. He is looking forward to starting off in the industry and one day working for himself.
Christine Boadu, Mount Wachusett Community College
Christine Boadu is a graduating dual enrollment student at Mount Wachusett Community College. As a first generation immigrant and the oldest of three children, she was inspired by her parents grit and determination in their struggle for obtaining a better life in a country they were unfamiliar with. Christine decided to seek higher and more challenging education to get ahead. Once she graduates, she will have her high school diploma and Associates degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Additionally, Christine has held many leadership roles from being Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa to treasurer of the Asian, Latino(a), African American, and Native American club also known as ALANA. She says, “Not forgetting where I started from, I wanted to help others who had been in a similar situation that I had been and give back to the community. Therefore, I decided to volunteer with the Worcester Partnership program that was hosted at Bancroft school. The program allowed students from underserved, low-income communities in the Worcester area the opportunity for continued and supportive learning to ease the transition from one grade to the next. Thus, fostering lifelong learners and easing parents concerns that their children are receiving the best opportunities possible.” At UMass Lowell, Christine plans to pursue a degree in Biotechnology so that she can help with the curing of diseases and continue to give back to her community. She adds, “I am deeply honored to named one of the nominees for receiving this award. Thank you for your consideration.”
Lily Strzepek, North Shore Community College
Lily Strzepek is a twenty-three-year-old college student attending the North Shore Community College Radiologic Technology Program. Although originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Lily grew up in San Jose, Costa Rica before moving back to Massachusetts at the age of 10. Lily is quiet and shy, a hard worker, very resilient, and full of determination. She excels in her college classes and soaks up as much information as possible during clinical rotations. On weekends, Lily works part time as a Radiology and CT Tech Aide. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting and knitting, cooking, cuddling with her cat, Cassie, and being outdoors. She also loves photography, writing poetry, and reading. One of Lily’s life goals is to graduate from NSCC as an x-ray technologist and go on to work with pediatric patients, their parents, and their care teams to help diagnose and rule out illnesses.
Justin Gaede, North Shore Community College
Justin Gaede was born, and currently lives in, North Andover, Massachusetts. He will be graduating from the Engineering Science Transfer program at North Shore Community College and intends to earn a bachelor’s degree or greater in the field of mechatronics engineering. Due to his passion for country and the people of the United States military, he plans to enlist and serve while finishing his degree. After completing his military career, he hopes to design and improve systems that assist and ensure the safety of future American warfighters.
Marissa Vaillancourt, North Shore Community College
Franziska Hoene, Northern Essex Community College
Franziska Hoene is an early college homeschooled student from Woburn, MA. Franziska started college at age 12 and, despite her age, she was to find her path with help from key individuals at NECC including Stephanie Haskell, Lillian Brand, Habib Maagoul and Suzanne Reyes. Each helped her develop academic and communication skills while fostering leadership skills. Franziska was able to earn numerous academic accolades including Commonwealth Honors, Civic Scholars, National Society of Leadership and Success, and All Massachusetts Academic Team. She became a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Art Club, and Phi Theta Kappa and Student Government. She was elected VP of PTK and President of SGA. Franziska has achieved accomplishments not only academically, but also professionally. She has many passions outside of school. She loves to play, referee, and mentor soccer and futsal, which have led to earning invitations to Regional and National Tournaments to referee including USFF Regionals and Nationals in New Jersey where she earned the whistle for a final match and to a recent invite to President’s Cup, a Regional Soccer Tournament for US Soccer this June in Pennsylvania. Her favorite part of refereeing soccer is mentoring youth officials in the Genesis Program, a place for youth referees to develop the tools and skills that they need to become certified referees. In her off time, she loves to read, snowboard, knit and play futsal with the Men’s Team at NECC. Franziska was struggling with navigating three campuses this semester; she started UMass Lowell in the Biomedical Engineering Department by transferring her Mechanical Engineering Associate’s Degree pathway courses into the Biomedical Program and she enrolled in the honors program based on her high honors success at NECC. She earned the Dean’s Scholarship and if she is able to complete the exact trajectory. She has not quite decided which path she will choose, but she is considering the biomedical engineering, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, PhD or MD. She wants to focus on all the options that UMass Lowell offers and as her concentration becomes narrower, then it will make it easier to decide which way to go in the end. Franziska is grateful to all those who helped her to achieve her current success and for all the tools they gave her to continue her journey in and out of school. She wants to give a special shout-out to Stephanie Haskell for giving her the courage to run for VP and President of SGA as well as always being so supportive and helpful with the entire college experience. She states, “My family also made it possible, if I did not grow up with the parents and siblings I had, I probably wouldn’t be as lucky to be in the situation I am in today. They made me a better person!”
Kendall Tobin, Northern Essex Community College
Kendall Tobin is from Haverhill, Massachusetts, and is currently majoring in Liberal Arts. She plans on transferring this fall to major in English and minor in Education. Her long-term goal is to become a high school English teacher. She’s passionate about helping others and embracing her love of learning. Kendall says, “I would like to thank the professors I’ve had over the years for helping me find myself: Thomas Greene, Elle Yarborough, Ginger Hurajt, Krista Titone, Kristi Arford, Meredith Gunning, the list goes on. I also want to thank another professor I had last semester, Donna Tanner. If I didn’t take her Intro to Teaching course, I wouldn’t have known that I wanted to be an educator. Most of all, I want to thank the PACE Program at NECC, as well as Stephanie Haskell, who used to work in Student Life at the college. Not only has the staff in the PACE Program helped me along my educational journey, Student Life gave me the chance to grow as a student and an individual. And lastly, I would like to thank my friends and family. If it weren’t for their unconditional support, I don’t think I would be where I’m at today.”
Johnson Ebe, Quinsigamond Community College
Johnson Ebe is a Computer Systems Engineering Technology – Cybersecurity Option major at Quinsigamond Community College. Johnson says, “My academic experience in Quinsigamond Community College has been awesome. During my time in QCC, I achieved various skills, certifications, and awards, including Academic Dean’s List for 2021 and 2022. Being a member of Phi Theta Kappa chapter of QCC remains a major highlight of my academic experience. I have participated in various volunteer activities within my community, including serving as assistant coach for the youth soccer team in my community, offering free transport for the elderly to medical appointments, and various church mission events. I plan on transferring to Northeastern University for my bachelor’s degree, with plans to earn a master’s degree afterwards. With the rate of cyber-attacks against our infrastructures and nation, it is my goal to one day work for the United States cybersecurity department to help secure our cyber space.”
Alee Sharma, Roxbury Community College
Alee Sharma was born and raised in a very remote part of India where girls’ education is still scarce. She received a diploma in Electrical Engineering from India, but after moving to the United States, she decided to go back to college again to begin a new career in Biotechnology. This May she is completing her associate degree in biotechnology at Roxbury Community college with a GPA of 3.95) and afterward transferring to Northeastern University to continue her bachelor’s degree in the same discipline. She is currently working as a visiting undergraduate research fellow at Harvard Medical School as well as at Boston Children’s Hospital. She received Merit Scholarships from Roxbury Community College and is stated to be honored with the President list award from RCC during the graduation ceremony. She also received SPARC fellowship from Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center to work on cancer research and cancer disparity, which she will start this month.
Archive of Prior Years
2022 PTK All-MA Academic Team
Brittany Durand, Berkshire Community College
Brittany is honored to have been nominated for the All-MA Academic Team. Brittany currently works per diem between 24- 32 hours weekly within the community as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She loves her work and is continuing her education at Berkshire Community College where she plans to obtain her associate degree in nursing. After graduating from Berkshire, Brittany hopes to transfer to a 4-year college where she can continue her academic pursuits and reach her goal of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Brittany is also a full-time single mother: when she is not working or studying Brittany can be found spending time with her daughter. Brittany says that her daughter is her motivation for returning to academia after more than a decade and pushing through when things get tough. In the future, Brittany hopes to work in an acute care setting such as the emergency department or a critical care unit. Brittany hopes that this environment will give her the knowledge and skills needed to eventually follow another passion: teaching. Brittany says that her dream is to one day take all her experience in and love for nursing and pour it into others, helping to nurture and teach the nurses of tomorrow.
Rain Hajjar, Berkshire Community College
Rain Hajjar graduated from Taconic High School in 2020 with high honors and will graduate from Berkshire Community College this spring with an associate degree in biological science. Rain plans to return in the fall to complete the pre-nursing requirements and eventually pursue the associate degree in nursing program. In addition to being a full-time student, Rain works at Balderdash Cellars and makes time to volunteer in the community. Her favorite volunteering experience was working with the animals at Hancock Shaker Village through the Berkshire Youth United program while she was in high school. Rain has made the Dean’s list every year since starting at Berkshire two years ago. She enjoys hiking, swimming, and being outdoors, and puts her passion into everything she does.
Esha Boyd, Bristol Community College
Esha Boyd came to Bristol Community College from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Raised by her grandmother in poverty, Esha had a difficult childhood in an area marked by gang violence, and often felt hopeless. She went to prison at the age of seventeen, where, Esha says, she worried that she had completely ruined her life. Luckily, she soon learned that she was wrong. Esha opened a successful small business and sold it in 2018. Esha has a desire to help those who grew up the way that she did, with little opportunity and a lack of role models. She wants to be an example of what hard work and patience can do. Esha plans to obtain her master’s degree in social work with the hope of opening a small residential treatment facility for at-risk youth. She is dedicated and committed to doing the work it takes to bring awareness and reform to the criminal justice system.
Corinne Lepage, Bristol Community College
Corinne LePage is a Liberal Arts major at Bristol Community College. She also works part-time at Bristol as a Peer Mentor and Tutor. Being an active student leader is important to Corinne, and she is a member of numerous college organizations and performs a variety of volunteer work. In the fall of 2022, Corinne will transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree in Environmental Science. After she graduates, Corinne hopes to conduct research on how island biodiversity contributes to the regulation of climate and diseases. Corinne’s greatest aspiration in life is to make a significant positive impact on the environment and she is confident that her educational and career goals will help turn her dream into a reality.
Iman Fritis Cherif, Bunker Hill Community College
Iman Fritis Cherif is a Biomedical Engineering major at Bunker Hill Community College. Iman’s dream is to apply engineering principles to biology and healthcare, looking for innovative ways to treat diseases and prevent illness. Iman is passionate about helping others and wants to help empower women in STEM fields by creating more STEM education opportunities targeted at women and girls. Iman is a proud first-generation immigrant to the United States and the first engineer in her family. She believes that every woman has the potential to succeed through education.
Sabrina Soltani, Bunker Hill Community College
Sabrina Soltani is a 34-year-old single mother who was born in Mascara City, Algeria. Sabrina is pursuing her associate degree in computer science and plans to go on to earn advanced degrees in computer science engineering. Sabrina chose to pursue higher education in the midst of the most difficult time in her life and is committed to continuing to chase her academic dreams despite the challenges. Her goal is to be a role model for all individuals who have had to put their dreams aside because of challenging circumstances.
Mary Dunaway, Cape Cod Community College
Mary Dunaway is a 28-year-old student in the Medical Assisting program at Cape Cod Community College. A mother of two, Mary’s children have been her motivation throughout her academic journey. She will be the first to graduate from college in her family and is looking forward to her upcoming graduation in May. She plans to work in medical assisting and return to further her education later down the road.
Dylan Girouard, Cape Cod Community College
After dropping out of high school, Dylan first came to Cape Cod Community College eight years ago to receive his GED. The college offered him a sense of community and compassion that he struggled to find elsewhere. After a long and challenging journey, he is now graduating and moving on to UMass Amherst. He intends to major in English with a practice of writing specialization. After earning his BA, he hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career as an English professor. Teaching English has been a longtime dream of his. He has been inspired by those who taught him at Cape Cod Community College, and he hopes to share that same inspiration with his future students.
Larissa Nichols, Cape Cod Community College
Larissa Nichols is finishing her last semester at Cape Cod Community College and will be receiving an Associate of Science degree in Funeral Service. After graduation, she will be spending her time completing an apprenticeship at Masciarelli Family Funeral Homes in her hometown of Lunenburg, Massachusetts. Larissa hopes to be able to serve her community with compassion and support in the future and is very excited to begin a career in funeral service.
Courtney Cunat Spencer, Cape Cod Community College
Courtney Cunat Spencer is a second career student at Cape Cod Community College studying nursing. Her future education goals include earning a Ph.D. in nursing research focusing on periviable neonatal care. Her biggest cheerleaders are her husband Colin and son Percival. She is so thankful for the supportive professors and staff she has had the honor to learn from at Cape Cod.
Maggie Brisbois, Greenfield Community College
Maggie Brisbois is a social science major at Greenfield Community College and hopes to find a career where she is able to help people in the community. Maggie started at the college in the fall of 2020 and has enjoyed her GCC experience. She is very involved in the student government where she has been serving as a student senator. This spring she will begin her tenure as the student trustee for Greenfield Community College. Maggie has also contributed to campus by giving tours to prospective students and working on the activities council. Outside of school she enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors.
Nicole Claine, Greenfield Community College
Nicole Claine has a 3.87 GPA and is pursuing a Liberal Arts degree with a focus on Health Science at GCC and intends to earn an RN degree in the future.
Samantha Deblois, Greenfield Community College
Samantha Deblois is completing a Pre-Nursing Certificate at GCC with a 4.0 GPA and intends to pursue her RN degree in the future.
Alina Antropova, Holyoke Community College
New Century Transfer Scholar – Alina Antropova is a graduating sophomore at Holyoke Community College. Alina is an English major who loves reading and analyzing stories from around the world. In her time at HCC, Alina has been a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a peer tutor at the Writing Center, and the chief editor for HCC’s literary magazine, Pulp City. After receiving her associate degree this June, Alina will be transferring to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English and also hopes to add a double-major in social thought and political economy to study the cultural and political systems that inform our society. In the future, Alina aspires to be an immigration attorney and give back to the community. Alina has earned this year’s New Century Transfer Scholar award for Massachusetts.
Courtney Allen, Holyoke Community College
Courtney Allen is pursuing an associate degree in psychology at Holyoke.
Gavin Maloney, Massasoit Community College
Gavin Maloney is graduating from Massasoit Community College this spring as a sophomore majoring in Business Administration Transfer. Gavin will transfer to Bentley University in the fall to continue his studies towards his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Finance. Gavin has been a student in the honors program at Massasoit. He plans to continue to partake in the honors program at Bentley University and challenge himself intellectually to further his understanding of the financial world. Gavin’s focus is on capital markets, with a strong interest in investment banking and private equity. Gavin’s part-time work as a bank teller while at Massasoit has allowed him to gain exposure to the field and solidified his desire to pursue finance. Gavin looks forward to what the future holds and strives to do everything he can to make the greatest positive impact. Gavin would like to thank his family and friends for their support and for always believing in him regardless of his path, and Massasoit for giving him the opportunities it has.
Brandon Spitz, Massasoit Community College
Brandon Spitz is a first-generation college student at Massasoit Community College where he studies mathematics. Upon entering Massasoit, Brandon became dedicated to the campus community, serving as a student senator and later being elected as Student Trustee and Chapter President for the Alpha Kappa Upsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. While attending school, Brandon has continued to care for an infirm family member, an experience he has found both challenging and immensely rewarding. Brandon intends to transfer to a four-year institution to study Finance and later pursue a master’s degree in the area of International Economics and Finance. His ultimate goal is to pursue a career with either the State Department or the Justice Department. Brandon is interested in military history and exploring the concepts behind game theory.
Jessica Ulm,Massasoit Community College
Jessica has a 4.0 GPA and is currently enrolled in the nursing program at Massasoit Community College. She was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa this semester at our latest induction ceremony early November 2021, has volunteering experience, and is hopes to transfer to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science to pursue her bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Matthew Tower, Massachusetts Bay Community College
Matt Tower is a human services student, and shares that he is very happy to be included in this ceremony. His plans for the future are to continue developing his skills in the human services field. He hopes to continue working with kids and currently works at the YMCA. His experience at MassBay has been positive and he is glad to see hard work pay off.
Marjorie Bolduc, Massachusetts Bay Community College
Marjorie Bolduc is a returning MassBay student in the process of earning her associate degree in Business Administration. Marjorie’s academic achievements include membership in the Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Beta Gamma honor societies. Marjorie is a Past Worthy Advisor and Majority Member of Hopkinton Assembly #108 and currently serves as Advisory Board Treasurer for Sandra J. Marshall Assembly #47, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, a Masonic youth organization focused on building leadership skills in young women.
Ryan Halliday, Massachusetts Bay Community College
Ryan Halliday graduated from King Philip Regional High School in 2020. Due to COVID-19, he decided to attend Massachusetts Bay Community College to study Business Administration. He planned on transferring after one year, but shortly after his first semester he realized MassBay was the place for him. Ryan will be finishing up his associate degree this summer and plans to transfer to UMass Amherst to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Marketing.
Skyler Michaud, Massachusetts Bay Community College
Skyler Michaud sits on the executive board of MassBay’s Student Government Association as the vice president of finances. She is also an active member in the Events, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs committees, as well as the chair of the Finance Committee. Skyler has hosted various events for the SGA and as the president of the Biotechnology Innovations club. She is also the co-chair of the STEM Starter Academy Cohorts of 2022. Having faced food and housing insecurity herself, Skyler has been an active member of the SNACC Committee, which provides resources for MassBay students.
Yuri Joshua Alarcon Diaz, Middlesex Community College
Yuri is a transfer student from Peru who has been enrolled in the Electrical Engineering program at Middlesex Community College since June 2021. Yuri told us that, “it has been a fantastic experience to be part of the Middlesex community as a student and as a member of the PTK honor society.” His dream is to become a Telecommunications Engineer and be able to spread his knowledge and passion in this field throughout the world and be at the forefront of technological innovation.
Maggie Montoya, Middlesex Community College
Maggie is a Liberal Arts & Sciences student from Lowell and is pursuing an Associate in Arts Degree. She has a 3.5 GPA and is a member of PTK and the MCC Bible Study club and has been active on campus throughout her time at MCC.
Karissa Popieniuck, Mount Wachusett Community College
Karissa Popieniuck of Douglas, MA, is a full-time student boasting a 4.0 GPA in the Interdisciplinary Studies – Allied Health associate degree program. Upon her graduation with her associate degree from Mount Wachusett Community College, she will transfer to Fitchburg State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in nurse-midwifery. She is an advocate of patient rights as they navigate pregnancy and birthing decisions and hopes to be a strong partner for women in her future practice. Popieniuck earned her GED after dropping out of high school to help support her mother. As a mother of four, she enrolled in college to both earn a degree to support her family, but also as an example for her children. Popieniuck said, “To say that I am honored by this nomination is an understatement and does not even begin to describe how I feel in this moment. I am very proud, and it feels amazing to have my hard work recognized in this way.” Popieniuck serves as Phi Theta Kappa President of the Phi Delta Chapter at MWCC.
Kathleen Dwyer, Mount Wachusett Community College
Kathleen Dwyer of Winchendon, MA, is a 4.0 GPA full-time student in the Interdisciplinary Studies, Allied Health program at Mount Wachusett Community College, working on pre-requisite courses needed for the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Registered Nurse (RN) bridge program. Following high school, Dwyer began working full time as a certified nurse’s aide, putting off applying to college for several years before pursing her LPN. In addition to her current studies, Dwyer is a full-time LPN, often working up to 50 hours a week while attending school. As a first-generation college student, Dwyer highly credits the TRIO Rx program with helping to guide her through the college process, providing support and assistance.
Samina Mian, Mount Wachusett Community College
Samina Mian is working to complete her associate degree in Natural Resources at Mount Wachusett Community College and will transfer to the bachelor’s degree program in Sustainable Food and Farming at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in fall 2022. At MWCC, she is a member of the Green Society and volunteers weekly at the college’s outdoor greenhouse. She also assisted with the summer and fall CSA seasons at her local community farm and looks forward to returning to her position in the summer. Mian is interested in nutritional education, the relationship between farming and sustainability, and the often-debilitating health effects of consuming mass-produced and highly processed foods. It is her professional and personal goal to use the skills she develops through studying natural resources and agricultural-related fields to develop strategies to educate consumers of all ages about the importance of developing life-long, positive eating habits. In her free time, Mian enjoys visiting farmer’s markets to support local producers, gardening, and spending time with her family.
Zaria Karakashian-Jones, North Shore Community College
Zaria Karakashian-Jones says that “Diversity, equity and inclusion have been at the forefront of every decision she has made,” from her first social justice act in high school organizing a student-led walk out to protest ongoing racial inequalities in education, to organizing her hometown’s first Juneteenth event. As a Black queer woman, Zaria understands the intersectionality and importance of being seen and represented in all of one’s identities. It is important that everyone has representation so that everyone’s voice can be heard and amplified at the highest level. At North Shore Community College, Zaria has had the opportunity to use her voice to further push the boundaries for what people like her can do for their communities and beyond. Zaria is a founding member of NSCC’s SISTERS program, which serves as a safe place for women-identifying Black and Latinx students. Zaria is also the President of Phi Theta Kappa and the Student Government Association at NSCC. Zaria’s career aspirations include going to law school and continuing to use her voice and advocacy for those who are not heard.
Kajal Kataria, North Shore Community College
Kajal Kataria, is a first-generation immigrant of Indian descent. Kajal’s friends say she is determined, social, and able to balance hard work and leisure times to make the most of what life has to offer. Kajal is a dual-degree graduate from North Shore Community College, majoring in Database Management and Security and Computer Networking and Security. Kajal plans to purse a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science – Cyber Security and transition into Cyber Security sales. In addition, Kajal recently obtained her Real Estate license to pursue her goal of becoming a developer as her second career. Kajal shares that her definition of success can be summed up as: “Life continuously throws obstacles at people that are tough but not impossible to overcome – it’s up to them whether or not they want to fight the battle to see what’s on the other side.”
Nyla Page, North Shore Community College
New Century Workforce Scholar – Nyla Page, who is a 2021 graduate of NSCC’s Heath Science Program, is currently enrolled in their Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Nyla was recently named a 2022 New Century Workforce Scholar. New Century Workforce Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. Over 2,200 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Workforce Scholar was selected from each state.
Mark Pedersen Jr, North Shore Community College
Mark Pedersen is graduating from NSCC this spring and plans to complete a bachelor’s degree and then pursue a career in marketing. Mark is 23 years old and enjoys spending his free time hanging out with friends, watching sports, snowboarding and going to the beach.
Megan Tongol, North Shore Community College
Megan Tongol is completing an associate degree in Respiratory Care.
Alexis Walters, North Shore Community College
Alexis Walters is completing an associate degree in Nurse Education
Daisy Kiyemba, North Shore Community College
Daisy Kiyemba is completing an associate degree in Human Services
Sierra Goodwin, Northern Essex Community College
Sierra Goodwin is in her second and final year at Northern Essex Community College. Sierra decided to study Dietetics after being diagnosed with a debilitating eating disorder in high school. Sierra knew that she wanted to give back to the eating disorder technician profession, in hopes that she could save someone’s life just like it saved hers. Sierra hopes to continue her education at a four-year college and finish her degree to achieve her professional and academic goals as an eating disorder technician.
Saviel Ortiz, Northern Essex Community College
Saviel Ortiz is a Business Transfer major at Northern Essex Community College.This fall Saviel hopes to attend the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst to concentrate in Finance Risk Management. In addition to being a student Saviel also works at Reading Cooperative Bank as a Bank Supervisor. This experience has led Saviel to consider a career as a Commercial Lender in order to help to develop low-income communities across the commonwealth. Ultimately, Saviel plans to work towards receiving a master’s degree in business and continuing his education after completing his bachelor’s degree. Throughout his journey at Northern Essex Community College, Saviel worked closely with Laurie Sorota in the Academic Coaching program. Their work includes time management, test taking skills, and overall organization. Laurie also helped Saviel with his college applications. Outside of college, Saviel participates in Top Notch Scholars, a youth leadership organization run by Joanna de Pena. The program has helped Saviel stay involved in his community through offering community service opportunities.
Shauna Connelly, Quinsigamond Community College
Shauna Connelly has received a degree in General Studies and a certificate in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement from QCC. Shauna has held many leadership roles at QCC, including serving as secretary of student government, vice president of SHE Club and president of the Multicultural and Criminal Justice Clubs. This year, Shauna has served as president of the QCC Student Government Association and is particularly proud of their reading initiative: two Little Free Libraries will be placed on campus so students can have access to free leisure books and school supplies. As an animal lover and member of Phi Theta Kappa, Shauna also presented the idea of adding pet supplies to the QCC food pantry. Outside of school Shauna has done hundreds of hours in community service and is a cofounder of a local organization. Shauna feels that service to others is of the utmost importance and plans on furthering her education by starting at a 4-year university this fall to pursue her bachelor’s degree.
Christina Duggan, Quinsigamond Community College
Coca-Cola All-USA Academic Team Bronze Scholar – Christina Duggan is one of the Co-Presidents in Phi Theta Kappa at Quinsigamond Community College, where she will graduate this spring with an associate degree in General Studies. She will be furthering my education at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in their Radiography program. Christina has greatly enjoyed her time at QCC and has made great relationships with staff and students. In the future, Christina aspires to be a Radiographer in pediatrics. Christina has earned the distinction of Coca-Cola All-USA Academic Team Bronze Scholar.
Paula Mares Ribeiro, Quinsigamond Community College
Paula Mares Ribeiro is a Brazilian, Latino-American immigrant to Massachusetts. Paula began her education at Quinsigamond Community College in 2018 taking English as a Second Language courses. In 2019, Paula was approved for the CNA program, got her state certification, and started to work in healthcare. She found her passion in helping other adults and making them feel comfortable. In 2020, Paula started her path to the Nursing Program, getting an associate degree in science (pre-nursing option). After completing all of the necessary prerequisites, Paula was accepted to the nursing program in 2021 and was placed on the waiting list for Spring 2024. Her goal is to become a hospice nurse. After graduation she plans to continue working as a CNA while waiting for her nursing program to begin. Paula shares that QCC was critically important for her development and personal and professional growth.
Jessika Supreme, Roxbury Community College
Jessika Supreme is graduating this spring with an associate degree in Early Childhood Education, completing with a strong GPA of 3.62. Jessika has been an active member of Phi Theta Kappa, always ready to lead by example with her dedication and service to others. She currently works as a preschool teacher, has two siblings, and enjoys watching sunsets and television.
2021 PTK All-MA Academic Team
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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, 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 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 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
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.