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MCC Grant Awards Keep on Cummings

Middlesex Community College is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program. Middlesex was chosen from a total of 479 applicants, during a competitive review process.

Patricia Demaras, MCC Assistant Dean of International/Multicultural Student Affairs, and Lisa Doucett, Director of Grant Development, joined approximately 300 other guests at a recent reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $140 million to local nonprofits alone.

“This Cummings Foundation grant will help Middlesex sustain and expand programs that support our diverse student body and help all who come to our college succeed,” said President James Mabry. “Students recruited and trained to be peer advocates and achievement coaches work on many levels to close achievement gaps, and build persistence and success across the college. This grant will be critical in our ability to reach more students and help them to achieve their educational goals.”

The three-year grant will enable Middlesex to build capacity to enhance academic and career opportunities for students, using peer-support staff to improve engagement, leadership and job readiness.

The college will expand its successful student-outreach model of peer liaisons (now well established at the Lowell-campus Multicultural Center), to hire trained student Achievement Liaisons (AL) and a program coordinator to work out of the Bedford Multicultural Center. ALs will reach out to and support Bedford-campus students who are more likely to experience gaps in achievement – such as those who are first-generation to college, ethnic/racial minorities, and/or who are from nontraditional or low-income households.

The Cummings Foundation has also given $5,000 to MCC’s annual Celebrity Forum in past years. Proceeds from Celebrity Forum help raise funds for MCC Foundation student scholarships.

The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits that are not only based in, but also primarily serve, Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties. This year, the program is benefiting 41 different cities and towns within the commonwealth.

Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages more than 10 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“We admire and very much appreciate the important work that nonprofit organizations like Middlesex Community College are doing in the local communities where our colleagues and clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are delighted to support their efforts.”

This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including education, homelessness prevention, elder services, healthcare, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.

The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org 
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Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 11:02 AM by MCC Blog Admin | 4 Comments
Strings for Cambodia
As part of its Strings for Cambodia fundraising campaign, Middlesex Community College’s Music Department is donating a carbon-fiber violin to Cambodia’s Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA).

The state-of-the art violin and bow were recently presented to Middlesex President James Mabry by Luis Leguia, founder of Luis & Clark Carbon Fiber Instruments and retired cellist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The presentation took place on the Lowell campus.

Also present was recently retired MCC Music Professor Johannah Segarich, founder of Strings for Cambodia. She started the campaign to support RUFA’s goal of forming a Cambodian National Symphony Orchestra. 

“We are all thrilled with this beautiful violin and knowing it will be put to good use, both in an educational setting and also in the newly formed symphony orchestra,” said Segarich. “One of my goals in teaching is to raise awareness and sensitivity toward other cultures and ways of thinking.” 

Segarich launched Strings for Cambodia following a 2010 U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad to Cambodia. While in Phnom Penh, she met with RUFA faculty, administrators and students who expressed a desire to acquire high quality Western classical instruments – especially strings – for teaching music and to establish an orchestra. 

Innovative carbon-fiber instruments are ideal Cambodia, because they not only produce high quality tone, but also will be more durable than wooden instruments in the hot, humid climate. The violin will be delivered to RUFA this summer by Dona Cady, MCC Dean of Global Education, who is traveling to Cambodia on another Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad.  
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Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 2:03 PM by MCC Blog Admin | 2 Comments
Radio Days

When students walked into their MCC Radio Production class this spring, the first thing they saw were ten shiny new big-screen Apple computers in their new classroom at Lowell Telecommunications Corp. 

Even more exciting, they hit the road for a series of field trips that brought them face to face with a variety of interview subjects, ranging from Division I hockey players and a concert promoter to glass blowers, quilters and painters. 

The Radio Production class teaches students how to collect, edit and produce material for broadcast on a radio station or a podcast. Students produce public service announcements, radio promos, and several NPR-style news stories.

Students hit the ground running with a visit to Tsongas Arena to interview members of the Division I UMass-Lowell hockey team, during the team’s exciting playoff run to the Hockey East finals. Students used professional Marantz recorders to capture ambient sound like the scratch of skates on ice and the crack of a puck against the boards, then met with players for interviews. They also got to meet veteran WUML play-by-play announcer Bob Ellis, who gave the class tips on how to do an interview. 

The class sat down with John Marciano, who books the bands for the Lowell Summer Music Series. John explained the process of getting big-name bands like Peter Frampton, Dr. Dog, the B-52s, Los Lobos, Eric Burdon and Edgar Winter, Patty Griffin, Peter Wolf, Weird “Al” Yankovic and The Lone Bellow. John also explained how he finally booked Guster, a band he's been pursuing for years and scored for a concert on June 11 at Lowell’s Boarding House Park. 

The class also visited artists at Western Avenue Studios to ask them about their work blowing glass, stitching quilts, making paintings and taking photos around the world. These recordings will become short audio profiles in the style of NPR’s StoryCorps feature. Instructor Jill Arabas is also creating a web page featuring these audio profiles alongside photos of the artists and their works, an effort that Middlesex will share back with the artist community at Western Avenue.

This is the first year students created their audio pieces at LTC at 248 Market Street. The collaboration allows Middlesex students to work on state-of-the-art Apple computers running Adobe Audition, Audacity and other software programs.

Registration is now open for Radio Production for Fall 2016. More exciting trips are planned!

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Posted: Monday, June 13, 2016 2:25 PM by MCC Blog Admin | 0 Comments