MxCC Now Has Its Own Radio Station

Radio StationBy Sadie Deens

Students will now have the chance to hone their broadcasting skills using the school’s very own radio station and frequency.

Middlesex Community College has been granted a permit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a radio station for students. This is a major accomplishment because back in 2000, MxCC applied for a permit and was denied.

“I think that it is going to be a great opportunity for students at Middlesex and Portland High School to have a voice. A voice in their community, a voice in their location, a political voice, a journalistic voice, a musical voice, I think it will be a great experience for anyone involved,” said Professor Rich Lenoce, director of the Center for New Media at MxCC.

The station’s antenna will be located in Portland, and it will be fairly high up so the station will be able to reach Middletown, Portland, Meriden, the center of Durham, most of Glastonbury, Moodus, and the south side of Haddam.

Having a station is major advantage for students who are broadcasting majors because they have a chance to build experience and create new skills within their career field. Lenoce said that radio production class, broadcast journalism class, and the journalism class will be able to work with the radio station and have it be a part of their curriculum. “Journalism isn’t a newspaper, it’s a range of media. We should be looking in incorporating those types of things and having it as a part of their class,” Leonce said.

Students who may want to be a part of the station, but don’t think their major incorporates radio, still may have the opportunity to participate. “You can form a radio club, so you don’t have to be a major but you can participate in the station by being a member of the club,” Lenoce said.

With the tower being in Portland, MxCC students will be teaming up with Portland High School students. The high school already has a radio station and TV courses. “Portland High School has a club that’s actually very active, that’s what made me think of this partnership,” Lenoce said.

As for the timeline of when this will all happen, the FCC gave MxCC 18 months to build a radio tower and transmitter and then proceed to broadcasting.

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MxCC’s Fourth Annual Legislative Breakfast

Senator Paul Doyle (right) and President Anna Waschesa (left) at the 4th annual legislative breakfast. Photo Credit: Randi Plake

Senator Paul Doyle (right) and President Anna Waschesa (left) at the 4th annual legislative breakfast. Photo Credit: Randi Plake

By Robin McMenamin-Richardson

State legislators and community leaders may have enjoyed a light breakfast on the Middlesex campus, but they discussed heavy topics, including sustainability, during Middlesex Community College’s annual Legislative Breakfast.

The purpose of the legislative breakfast is to build relationships with legislators and community leaders. With the help of legislators in the past, MxCC has been able to evolve and grow as a school. The breakfast is also a way to show appreciation for the support that MxCC receives from its public servants.

The breakfast always has a theme and this year’s was environmental sustainability on campus.

“Get [the state] off the grid,” said Sen. Paul Doyle, who represents Middletown and was the keynote speaker. This was just one goal Doyle hopes the state and the campus will one day reach.

Doyle and others commended MxCC for being a leader in sustainability and pointed out the commitment made to provide an eco-friendly campus. Two examples of this commitment are the installations of EZ H2O water fountains to help lower water bottle waste and planting a perennial garden located between Founders and Chapman Halls.

“Together, we are working to build a vital democratic society, based on an energy-efficient economy in which citizens are fully engaged through their work and in their communities. That is why sustainability is so critical to us all, and certainly here on our college campus,” said MxCC President Anna Wasescha while conveying gratitude to the elected officials for their ongoing support.

While some students attended the breakfast, organizers hope even more will come next year. It is a chance for students, faculty, and staff to learn about the community and ask questions. Students are encouraged to get involved by joining the Student Environmental Association for Sustainability (SEAS).

Doyle and state Rep. Matt Lesser, who also represents Middletown, both encourage more student involvement.

“Without hearing from students, it is difficult to determine student needs,” Lesser said.

Doyle also encouraged students to get involved with public service careers. He emphasized the importance of maximizing opportunities, gaining exposure in the community, and finding jobs will lead student’s passions.

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Students Interview a Former Foreign Service Officer

Professor Tad Lincoln (left) and Michael Scanlon (right) at a Q & A session. Photo Credit: Abbie Tirone

Professor Tad Lincoln (left) and Michael Scanlon (right) at a Q & A session. Photo Credit: Abbie Tirone

By Abbie Tirone

MxCC students had the opportunity to interview a former government official who served under five presidents and eight secretaries of state.

Michael Scanlon, a retired mid-level Foreign Service officer, was a guest speaker in Professor Tad Lincoln’s International Relations class on February 19.

Until 2011, Scanlon served with the U.S. State Department Foreign Service for 25 years in nine countries and on four continents. He began his service in the government under the presidency of Ronald Regan and finished under Obama’s first term in office.

Scanlon said that he mainly worked on the management side of embassy operations. He described his basic responsibilities as overseeing budget, human resources, logistical support, IT, and health support services. This allowed his fellow officers do such things as promote bilateral relations, issue visas, speak to dissidents, counsel people how to apply for Fulbright scholarships, and perform other duties.

He also explained that the United States has 250 official diplomatic posts all over the world, as well as diplomatic relations with approximately 180 countries in the United Nations alone.

Some of the topics discussed during the class included Benghazi, the types of security, and differences between the levels of classification—classified and unclassified. He spoke about the types of securities in both embassies and consulates, and how each post’s level of security is based on “threat level”—low, medium, high, and critical.

Although retired, Scanlon is occasionally asked to take short term assignments as a State Department contractor. This month he will leave on a short-term assignment in Turkey where he will be involved in the support programs to help Syrian refugees through a program for retired diplomats known as START (Syria Transition Assistance and Recovery Team).

Scanlon could not be quoted due to his current level of involvement with the government as a contractor.

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Newly Elected Meriden Mayor Visits Meriden Campus

Meriden Mayor Manuel Santos speaking to students at MxCC’s Meriden Center. Photo Credit: Dermot Morgan

Meriden Mayor Manuel Santos speaking to students at MxCC’s Meriden Center. Photo Credit: Dermot Morgan

By Dermot Morgan

With the business environment in Meriden being lackluster in past years, Manny Santos’s main goal in his first term as mayor is to bring an atmosphere back to Meriden that will allow businesses to prosper.

Upon a visit to Middlesex Community College’s Meriden Center on Feb. 11, the recently elected mayor of Meriden fielded an array of questions from a group of students and faculty.

These questions varied from what he has planned for the downtown area, to inquiries on how he has envisioned the city to be less “boring,” as one student put it.

Other questions were raised as to what the newly developed City Hub will bring to the center of Meriden.

On the forefront of his agenda is the business culture that has been lacking and continues to spiral downwards. The downtown area is a major portion of the area that has not attracted business. Santos stated in his visit to MxCC, “Business throughout Colony and Main St. would be a major improvement.”  Which are areas of an issue when it comes to a business culture in Meriden.

Another major point Santos made was that he wants to improve the perception that has been stuck to Meriden as being a city with no business opportunity. The high cost of taxes is one thing steering entrepreneurs away from opening and settling down as business owners.

Santos points to Middletown, a neighboring city of Meriden, which has recently gone through some new editions to Main Street. The fresh look of the downtown strip, which is occupied by small, high-end stores and boutiques, has brought a new energy and customer base to the city.

Using the resurgence of downtown Middletown as an example, Santos is looking to bring the same type of revitalization to the City of Meriden. Business is an important part of his mission as mayor.

In the months to come, by creating a business environment, Santos also hopes to create jobs in the city, which would address unemployment.

Santos also alluded to having a city government that would be more transparent and allow for more public involvement.

Santos, who was born in Portugal, is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

He holds a degree from the University of Connecticut in Mechanical Engineering and also served in the Unites States Marine Corp.

He is the city’s 49th mayor and has had no prior public office experience before being sworn in December.

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MxCC Has Record High for Spring 2014 Full Time Equivalent Enrollment

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MxCC’s enrollment increases. Photo Credit: Randi Plake

Despite strong competition from colleges and universities in the region, Middlesex Community College ‘s enrollment is up 2.5% over last year.

The College’s current FTE enrollment is 1,627, making this the largest spring FTE enrollment to date. The previous record was in spring 2010 with a FTE figure of 1,623.

College administration believes there are many factors attributing to this rise in FTE enrollment. Since last spring, students taking courses at the Meriden Center have increased by 8.7 percent and there has been a 25 percent increase of students enrolled in online courses. The College has also seen a 5.7 percent increase of full-time students since spring 2013.

The low cost of attendance is also a factor. Less than five percent of students borrowed money to defray college costs this school year. Plus, MxCC recently launched a campaign called Take 5 as a way for students to lower college costs by taking five classes a semester for the same cost of four.

“We are delighted that enrollment is up this year at Middlesex Community College,” said Dr. Anna Wasescha, president of MxCC. “This year, we introduced a number of initiatives designed to promote student engagement, including a smartphone app called Persistence Plus that uses information from the student and about their courses to reach out to them regularly to keep them on schedule and focused on their goals. We’re determined to keep enhancing the student experience so that more and more students succeed at realizing their dreams and ambitions by earning a college degree from Middlesex.”

MxCC offers more than 50 degree or certificate programs at the main 38-acre campus in Middletown, the downtown Meriden Center, the shoreline, and online.

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Documentary Showing for Black History Month

Doc Black History MonthBy Nate Munic

On March 12, in the student lounge, there was a showing of a documentary about Black History Month. The film was called “More Than a Month,” which is the story of African-American filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman as he travels throughout the U.S. on a campaign to end Black History Month.

“The turnout we had was not a large one,” said Linda Ansarra, a co-organizer of the event, “but the people that were here really enjoyed the film and engaged nicely. I was happy though, because sometimes it’s not the amount of people that matters, but who is there and what they thought, as well as their perception.”

The event was put together by the President’s Committee on Diversity [PCOD].

“Based on the turnout, it would be a good idea to show films like this maybe three or four times a year, just so the opportunity is available,” said Mary Lou Phillips, MxCC’s HR director and member of PCOD.

“I wish more people had the taken the chance to come see it,” said Phillips, “but I’m glad that some people came. We also showed the film in Meriden last week. I think the ideas are important, and the film to me is really engaging.”

“I think Shukree had a particular goal he was trying to reach, and he pretty much reached it,” Ansarra said.

“I can see where there is a need to have one month to celebrate the achievement of people,” said Ansarra, “and frankly to show our history was and how far we have come today. However, on

the other side, I can understand the need to take it a step further and transcend into more than just one month and have it just be included through the entire year. In history books that would be both side of the story.”

At the end of the film there was a discussion about Black History Month and its importance. All who attended were welcome to participate.

Those looking for more information about the even, or for information about upcoming events, contact Mary Lou Phillips in Founders Hall.

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Middlesex Community College Receives Grant to Fund Women’s History Month Program

Fund Women’s History Month Program

MxCC will be celebrating women’s history.

Middlesex Community College received a grant for $1,500 from Connecticut Humanities to fund the College’s Women’s History Month program. The celebration highlights Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment.

The grant will fund a series of free events that feature former MxCC student and best-selling author Beverly Donofrio, including book readings, a film discussion, and a writing workshop.  Donofrio is also the keynote speaker at the College’s Women Students Forum on April 4.

As a “master memoirist,” by the Daily Beast, Donofrio symbolizes what it means to heal through writing – a process she has gone through in three separate, highly acclaimed memoirs: “Riding in Cars with Boys,” “Looking for Mary,” and “Astonished.” During her visits to MxCC, Donofrio will discuss her books and writing, her philosophies on life and faith, and the importance of using grief and tragedy for inner growth.

“The grant is a significant contribution toward our Women’s History Month celebration,” said Christine Ruggiero, assistant professor of English. “I’m thrilled that Connecticut Humanities recognized the humanities and scholarship reflected in our diverse series of events, enabling us to bring Beverly Donofrio to our community.”

Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that funds, creates and collaborates on hundreds of cultural programs across Connecticut each year. These programs bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to express, share and explore ideas in thoughtful and productive ways. From local discussion groups to major exhibitions on important historical events, CTH programs engage, enlighten and educate. Learn more by visiting www.cthumanities.org.

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Understanding MxCC’s Cancellation Process

Understanding Cancellation Process2By Sadie Deens

Middlesex Community College is a commuter school and that means snow storms can really affect students.

Since the fall semester of 2013, many students believe the school has not been able to meet up students’ expectations when it comes to closing due to weather conditions.

With Connecticut being hit with many winter storms in 2014 the school’s cancellation process seemed sporadic. Sometimes it was not cancelled or delay when it was snowing, while other weeks it was a few times in a row.

There was many times the college closed because Connecticut was in state of emergency and the governor announced that non-essential employees should not report to work.

However, for the fall semester, and the beginning of the spring semester, many students woke up to find that they had to go to class in a miserable setting outside because the school was still open.

If you feel that you would be putting yourself in harms way, don’t come to school,” President Wasescha said. “Many students do take this advice but are worried their teachers may penalize them.

President Wasescha believes teachers should be lenient on students. “I would encourage the faculty to be flexible and understanding.”

In the inclement weather policy it says, “Individual faculty members are not authorized to cancel classes due to weather conditions.” President Wasescha pointed out that faculty cannot cancel class based on the weather but, “If they seriously cannot get to class, because there are 39 inches of snow… they can cancel or have a substitute.”

The policy also mentions that the president makes the decision whether to cancel school or delay it, but she does not in fact make the final decision. Dean Sykes, dean of Finance and Administration, makes the final decision.

“I know he looks at the national weather service and the state weather service,” said Wasescha. “He’s looking at all the different websites trying to figure out what the situation is.”

Wasescha highly recommends students to sign for the text alerts and/or look on the school website, Facebook or Twitter. “It would be really terrible to get started and drive 15 miles and get here and realize this place is empty. Everyone’s gone home.”

Even when school is cancelled or students cannot get to school, blackboard can be used as a database to connect to the entire class and the professor. “It’s so great that we have blackboard, the online learning platform, because honestly you can have a discussion, a live discussion online with a faculty member without leaving your home,” said Wasescha. “And some people will realize that when you can’t go anywhere you can still participate in class.”  

 

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SPEAK: A Place for the LGBTQ Community

Michael_McKenna_LGBT_logoBy Nate Munic

Middlesex Community College encourages diversity, and one of the more popular clubs on campus has been growing because of the support and resources they offer the LGBTQ community.

SPEAK, an acronym for Students Promoting Equality, Acceptance, and Knowledge, is a place where people can voice opinions and concerns about the state of the LGBTQ community. It is also a place where those who do not identify as LGBTQ can go if interested in learning more about these issues.

“We provide a net for students to learn, to grow, and to be comfortable,” said Eva Jones, one of the advisors of the group. “Even if they don’t identify as anything, people feel comfortable coming to me and saying, ‘You know what, I had this idea. You host this group; I feel comfortable talking to you. I’m conflicted in some way.’ And that helps. It’s contagious, and it might help someone who is struggling with their identity.”

The group convenes on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. to discuss agenda items like relevant current events as well as club activities and programs.

“We get to set up different experiences for students and teachers, and everybody on campus who comes to do,” said David James McDonald, vice president of SPEAK. “We’ve been able to set up four total SPEAKs with different teachers including one I’ve done myself.”

SPEAKs are sessions, open to anyone campus, where specific topics related to the club, or the LGBTQ community, are discussed. These can include personal experiences, like the one McDonald did earlier this year.

McDonald has been involved with SPEAK for the past seven months and was voted in as vice president almost immediately.

There will be two SPEAKs in April, and one in March. They are also holding one at True Colors in March, which is held at University of Connecticut.

The agenda of a SPEAK meeting usually consists firstly of club-specific discussion. Things like programs and activities, or items to be voted on. The latter parts of the meetings consist of current event discussions.

“I don’t mean ‘what is Miley Cyrus doing’ but what is happening right now in gay culture, and in the LGBTQ community that is specific for that week,” McDonald said.

McDonald gave the example of the Sochi games as one event that was talked about in a recent meeting.

“We got to see all of these openly gay athletes compete, and we talked about their presence in Sochi as well as three athletes that have come out in the time since the games began,” McDonald said.  “So we talk about the positive things that are happening in gay culture that make us less of a minority and more accepted.”

The club has two advisors: Eva Jones and Judy Mazgulski.

“They take a leadership position, but are not the true leaders of the group. Delphina Rosario is the president, she sets up and runs the meetings,” McDonald said.

The advisors’ position is to make sure the paperwork is filed with the school as well as other official duties. “We have to go through a third party which is why we have advisors. Any official meeting is not a meeting without an advisor,” he said.

Both McDonald and Jones spoke about what they would like the future of SPEAK to be.

“I would like to see a SPEAK once a month. I also put together a Drag Ball that I would like to see turn into the first Annual Drag Ball,” said McDonald.

“I would like the club to remain as strong as it is today and have an alumni base. When people leave and graduate, I want people to look back and say ‘I wonder what they’re doing’ and I want us to be doing stuff,” said Dr. Jones. “I want us to be doing ally trainings, annual drag balls. In five years I would like to see the group continue to remain popular, overcome lulls in attendance, and really become prevalent in the MxCC community.”

The club meets on in the Conference Room in room 508 in Snow Hall.  For more information on club activities and events, come to a meeting or contact Judy Mazgulski in Founders Hall or Dr. Eva Jones in Snow Hall.

 

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Questions? The Student Success Video Library Has Answers

ForgeinOfficer_ Abbie 2By Abbie Tirone

Students now have a one-stop-shop resource center to be a successful student through the school’s versatile student success video library.

The video library addresses a variety of different topics dealing with student development, including: how to handle issues such as financial aid, goal setting, action planning, and study skills. Some of the video topics include note taking, in class networking, effective research, and reading essentials.

These resources are intended not only to provide a student with a better experience in the topical areas such as budgeting and managing money, but also how to perform better academically, improve on resume writing and interviewing, and the dangers, privacy, and various aspects of social media.

“We beg students. We strongly encourage students. We direct you,” said Judy Mazgulski, MxCC’s retention specialist. “We do whatever we can to let you know that we have the resources and they are readily available and we encourage you to use them. We care about your success everyday, and the work we do behind the scenes is indicative of that.”

Instructions to access the online success video library are as follows:

  • Type mxcc.edu in the search engine
  • Once the homepage appears, go to the tab student services in the menu bar
  • Look under departments > college learning center
  • Once there, scroll down to the section on self-study tips or find the option college success tips in the left menu bar

The video library is also linked to other various pages such as Judy Mazgulski’s page.

“How many students know how many hours are in a week?” Mazgulski said,

“168 hours.”

Answers to these types of questions will also be found at the site:

Do students know how to set goals and manage time? Use a planner? Know how to exercise effective time management skills? Or how to most efficiently use time in class?  Is the student allowed record in class? Are students aware about netbook lending? Do students know that they can refer their student email to their personal email by forwarding all emails? Where can a student make photocopies or where to find the wireless?

Some other resources to look at include the online student handbook, catalog, links to specific study sites, online tutoring, and cash courses.

If students have any questions, contact Joy Hansen, MxCC’s librarian, or Judy Mazgulski, MxCC’s retention specialist.

 

 

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Professor Releases Second Book in “The Unbroken Circle” Series

Prof releases book By Randi Plake

In his new historical fiction book “Freedom Betrayed,” Middlesex Community College professor, Victor A. Triay, Ph.D., continues the story of the middle class León family, which is thrown into a tempest of warfare and separation during the early years of the Cuban Revolution.

In “Freedom Betrayed,” the second installment of “The Unbroken Circle” series, three of the Leóns participate in the Bay of Pigs invasion and battle Castro’s war machine in order to prevent their homeland from falling under totalitarian, Communist rule. The third and final installment, “On Freedom’s Shores” is slated for release later this year.

Professor Triay was born in Miami, Florida, to Cuban exile parents.  For over twenty-one years, he has been a professor of history at Middlesex Community College. While Professor Triay’s classroom work focuses on the United States History, Western Civilization, World Civilization, and 20th Century Europe, he has earned a broader reputation as an expert in Cuban exile history.

His parents left Cuba less than two years after the rise of Fidel Castro, so the subject is personal to him – and has inspired him to devote his time and talents towards researching, writing and lecturing on the topic.

He has published three non-fiction books on Cuban exile history, one of which, “Bay of Pigs: An Oral History of Brigade 2506,” won the Samuel Proctor Oral History Prize in 2001.

 

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