15th Annual Julius Sokenu Poetry Awards Night, April 28th at QVCC with Honored Guest Bruce Cohen

Bruce CohenQuinebaug Valley Community College will hold its 15th Annual Julius Sokenu Poetry Prize Celebration at 6:00 pm on Thursday, April 28th in the Robert E. Miller Auditorium at 742 Upper Maple Street, Danielson, CT. The event will also be live-streamed on QVCC’s YouTube channel. The event will feature a reading by award-winning student poets and honored guest Bruce Cohen.

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Bruce Cohen’s poems and creative nonfiction have appeared in over a hundred literary periodicals such as AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Harvard Review, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review, and has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. He has published four volumes of poetry: Disloyal Yo-Yo (Dream Horse Press), which was awarded the 2007 Orphic Poetry Prize, SWERVE (Black Lawrence Press), Placebo Junkies Conspiring with The Half-Asleep (Black Lawrence Press) and Imminent Disappearances, Impossible Numbers & Panoramic X-Rays (New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2016). Prior to joining the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Connecticut in 2012, he directed, developed, and implemented nationally recognized academic enhancement programs at the University of Arizona, The University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Connecticut.

The Julius Sokenu Poetry Awards is a lively annual event honoring the best student poetry in English and Spanish at Quinebaug Valley Community College and at Quinebaug Middle College. The event is sponsored by the QVCC Foundation, Department of English, Department of Spanish, Department of History and Social Sciences, the Cultural Programming Committee, QVCC Library, EASTCONN’s Quinebaug Middle College, and the QVCC Student Government Association, as well as generous Julius Sokenu Poetry Prize donors. The event is free and open to the public. Sandwiches, chips, sweets, and cool beverages will be provided.

For more information, please contact Professor of English, Jon Andersen at jandersen@qvcc.edu or Interim Academic Division Director, Elkin Espitia-Loaiza, at eespitia-loaiza@qvcc.commnet.edu.

Women in Manufacturing Day at QVCC

Quinebaug Valley Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) will host a Women in Manufacturing Day, in celebration of Women’s History Month. On Friday, March 25 from 8:30am – 1:00pm, young women from area high schools will speak with a panel of QVCC AMTC alumnae that are currently working or have worked in a variety of manufacturing careers. Following the panel discussion, students will be split into groups. Each group will be accompanied by several AMTC alumnae to complete the following hands-on workshops:

• Making a brass whistle using the manual lathe and milling machines
• Making a personalized tag using the CNC machines
• Working with a 6-axis robotic arm
• Completing a 3D printer and laser engraving project in the engineering lab

Both visiting high schools are currently participating in the Youth Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative (YMPI) program, which is part of the Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline. The program is a partnership between various area high schools and the Eastern Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), Electric Boat (EB), Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA), Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC), and Three Rivers Community College (TRCC).

This program offers manufacturing skills training to high school students who are interested in a career in manufacturing upon graduation. Students who successfully complete the program will also earn manufacturing credits to QVCC (or TRCC) if they choose to continue their manufacturing education.

“Women in Manufacturing is an opportunity for young ladies to learn about all the great career opportunities that wait for them in manufacturing,” said Jodi Clark, Assistant Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. “If young ladies want to save lives, they can do that through manufacturing. If they want to help change the environment, they can do that in manufacturing too. The sky is the limit. Women have a place in manufacturing! Our goal is to show the ladies that girls can do anything!”

Learn more about QVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics programs at qvcc.edu/manufacturing. For more information about the event, please contact Jodi Clark at jclark1@qvcc.edu.


QVCC Spring Open House, March 30 at 6pm

Have you always wanted to go to college? Are you looking for a new career or the right career for you? Do you need help figuring out your next steps? QVCC is the place to find yourself and your path. Attending Open House on Wednesday, March 30 @ 6 pm is the best way to discover why QVCC should be your choice for starting, continuing, or finishing your college education. Space is limited, so register now at qvcc.edu/openhouse!

Alumni & Student Panel Q&A:
• Get the student perspective
• Includes Q&A

Learn about our programs:
• Allied Health, Business, Computer Science, Human Services, Liberal Arts, Manufacturing, STEM, Transfer Pathways, Visual Arts, and more!
• Staff & faculty will be on-hand to answer questions

Learn about paying for college:
• Financial Aid
• PACT Free Community College
• Scholarships

Tour the campus & apply on the same day:
• If you apply to the college and attend Open House, you may win the $1000 scholarship!

For more information, contact QVCC Admissions at admissions@qvcc.edu.


CSCU COVID Protocol Changes Effective April 4

The following is a message from Terrence Cheng, CSCU President:

CSCU Office of the President

Today marks two years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. I want to thank all of you for all you have done to support our students and institutions over the last two years and your continued efforts to ensure we have a safe and vibrant spring semester.

Several weeks ago, as I reviewed plans for the balance of the semester with campus leaders, we thought we would have to stay the course with our virus mitigation strategies. I am pleased to say that the state is turning the corner on the virus, and we therefore can relax our pandemic response, including ending the mask mandate effective Monday, April 4, 2022 for all 17 CSCU institutions and system office.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state Department of Public Health (DPH) have issued updated guidance and mandates which have lifted restrictions on public activities. In particular, the CDC’s new metrics related to the virus have deemed that all of Connecticut is at low risk of spreading of virus. Given these changes in guidance and through conversations with DPH, campus leaders, and COVID Coordinators, our consensus is that we are ready to relax our current protocols. Furthermore, although we had an agreement with the bargaining units on COVID mitigation strategies for the fall semester we did not execute an agreement this spring to continue those strategies.

Our campuses will now shift from pandemic emergency response to routine disease prevention.  Campus leaders and their teams will continue to monitor state and federal guidance and the community virus conditions. They will be prepared to reinstate mitigation strategies as needed to respond to upticks in cases if and when they occur this spring and in future semesters.

On April 4, the COVID reopen plans that were developed in June 2020 will expire. Effective that day, the mask mandate will come to an end. The campuses will shift to a “mask-optional” protocol. No employee has the authority to mandate the use of masks by others. However, mask wearing remains an effective prevention strategy against the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases, and we fully support and expect all employees and students to respect those who choose to continue wearing masks. Our COVID Coordinators will continue to make masks available for employees and students who want them.

In addition, we will remove physical distancing restrictions in areas such as lounges, cafeterias, conference rooms, and other non-academic setting. However, in most instances, current classroom arrangements will remain as set for the remainder of the semester. Campus leaders are encouraged to plan for more in-person activities including commencements and other special events this spring as well as a full schedule of in-person courses, meetings, convenings, etc. for the summer and fall.

Lastly, we will end weekly testing of employees and students and individual case contact tracing, effective April 1, 2022. We have made provisions to continue PCR testing on campus for any employee or student who wants access to testing through April 1, 2022. In addition, COVID Coordinators will have antigen tests available for those who are concerned about their potential exposure to the virus and would like access to a rapid test.

We expect employees and students to continue to self-monitor their health and stay home whenever they have COVID-like symptoms and follow current CDC guidance on quarantine and isolation. Employees and students who test positive should continue to follow the campus process for notification. Human Resources, Health Services, or the COVID Coordinator, as appropriate, will determine the quarantine and isolation expectations, confirm when it is safe to return to campus or classes, and notify close contacts as needed.

Thank you again for all your hard work over the past two years.  I am very excited that we’ve reached this point and can move forward having learned many lessons along the way about how to support our institutions, our employees and most importantly our students through a public health crisis.


Terrence Cheng
President, CSCU


International Women’s Day at QVCC: #BreakTheBias Panel Discussion on March 8, 2022

Quinebaug Valley Community College will host a panel discussion, “International Women’s Day 2022: #BreaktheBias” from 5:00 to 6:20 pm on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Fireside Lounge on QVCC’s Danielson campus, located at 742 Upper Maple Street, Danielson, CT. The event will also be livestreamed to our Willimantic Center at 729 Main Street, Willimantic, CT. The event, organized by the QVCC Cultural Programming Committee, will feature three guest speakers: New London City Councilwoman Reona Dyess, singer-songwriter Lara Herscovitch, and QVCC student Yasmin García-Juárez. Student Government Association President Dana Normandie will facilitate.

Reona Dyess, Councilwoman and President Pro Tempore of New London City Council is a member of the National Association for the Advance of Color People, The National Council of Negros Woman, the League of Women Voters, the Lion Club and the Kiwanis Club of New London. Dyess also serves as executive director of The Center: A Drop-In Community Learning and Resource Center Inc., as a member of the Board of Directors of Connecticut Storytelling, Expressiones, and St. Francis House, and as a youth advisor for the New London Linwood Bland NAACP Youth Council. Dyess is a founding member of the Steering Community of the Community Land Trust. Known as “Ms. D,” she enjoys being a grandmother to Rishad and a voice for families and children in her community.

Lara Herscovitch is a singer-songwriter-poet-performer gem, leading with authenticity, integrity, humor, and heart. As The Boston Globe describes, she brings “a luminous voice and a buoyant stage presence… big-hearted lyrics embrace the sum of life…” Former Connecticut State Troubadour, Sound Waves Magazine called her work “expertly written prose… songwriting at its best… good for your ears AND your soul.” Find out more about Lara at www.LaraHerscovitch.com.

Yasmin García-Juárez came from Mexico when she was 15 years old. She is a mother of three, a full-time worker, and a part-time college student. She began taking classes at QVCC in 2016 and earned her ESL( English as Second Language) Proficiency Certificate in 2020. She is now focusing on completing her medical assisting degree and expects to graduate in 2023.

International Women’s Day (March 8) has been observed annually across the globe for over a century to “celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women” and to “accelerate women’s equality.” The theme for this year’s day is #BreaktheBias. More information can be found at www.internationalwomensday.com.

The panel discussion is sponsored by the Quinebaug Valley Community College Cultural Programming Committee.
For more information contact Jon Andersen at jandersen@qvcc.edu or Norly Germain at ngermain@qvcc.edu.


Waiting for Yoko Series: Celebrating Women’s History with Poet Rhonda M. Ward

When: Thursday, March 10 @ 6:00-9:00 pm
Where: SPIROL Gallery, Danielson Campus
Admission: Free and open to the public. Refreshments served.
Sponsors: Cultural Programming Committee; Fine Arts Department; English Department
Please note: Face masks that cover the nose and mouth are required.

Quinebaug Valley Community College presents the Spring 2022 installment of the popular Waiting for Yoko Series: “Celebrating Women’s History with Poet Rhonda M. Ward.” The reading takes place on Thursday, March 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm in the SPIROL Gallery on QVCC’s main campus at 742 Upper Maple Street in Danielson, Connecticut 06239. An open mic follows the featured reading. The event is free and open to the public. Light snacks and refreshments will be available. Please note: face masks that cover the nose and mouth are required.

Rhonda M. WardRhonda M. Ward is a native of Dayton, Ohio where she grew up across the street from poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar and began reciting his poems at the age of eight. She has organized poetry readings in the southeastern Connecticut region for nearly 20 years. She currently co-hosts the annual Langston Hughes Community PoetryReading at the Mystic Museum of Art, which will celebrate 14 years in 2022. Rhonda’s poems have appeared in print and online, most recently in Connecticut Woodlands, Cape Cod Quarterly, the nature anthology Waking Up to the Earth (edited by Connecticut Poet Laureate, Margaret Gibson), and online at the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day Project. Ward has served on the board of directors for The Writers Block Ink and Soul Mountain Retreat. She has collaborated with visual artists on numerous projects including 3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back, which addresses systemic racism and was exhibited in April 2021 in Vero Beach, FL. Ward has read her poetry internationally, including Skiathos, Greece, Cumbria, UK, and Sofia, Bulgaria. She was appointed Poet Laureate for the City of New London in 2017 and passed the torch to the next poet laureate in April 2021.

For more information please contact Jon Andersen, professor of English, at jandersen@qvcc.edu (860-932-4054) or Jessica Porzuczek, instructor of fine arts at jporzuczek@qvcc.edu (860-932-4000).

The QVCC Foundation Kicks-Off $130,000 Scholarship Application Period

Current and Future Students Can Apply February 1 – March 11, 2022

The Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation is pleased to kick off the annual scholarship application period.  $130,000 will be awarded to students who will be attending QVCC as of the fall 2022 semester. The Foundation continues to support low or no-cost tuition to the residents of Windham County.

Chair of the 2022 Foundation Scholarship Committee and QVCC graduate Mark Light ’02 stated, “Thanks to the support of many donors, the QVCC Foundation will award over $130,000 to local students this year. The average scholarship is $1,500 and the process to apply only takes about 60-minutes. How many of us can say that we earned $1,500 for an hour’s work? We know these funds can help many students achieve their educational dreams and encourage current high school students, returning QVCC students, and PACT eligible students to apply.”

It is a short process to apply for a wide range of scholarships through an online application. The scholarship period begins Tuesdays, February 1 and ends on Friday, March 11. Apply and learn more at www.QVCC.edu/scholarships.


Scholarship applicants are screened by an impartial committee from the QVCC Foundation. Recipients will be notified by members of the QVCC Foundation by April 20.

Questions should be directed to the QVCC Financial Aid department, 860.932.4003

.Townsend award winners

QVCC’S SPIROL Art Gallery to Exhibit Flypaper by Douglas Degges and Sarah Phyllis Smith Until February 25


On view from January 31st – February 25th
Closing reception February 22n from 6-7:30pm

Flypaper by Douglas Degges and Sarah Phyllis SmithFlypaper is an ongoing collaborative project by artists Douglas Degges and Sarah Phyllis Smith. The work explores relationships to land and landscape through the pairing and layering of text and image. At a time when we have immediate access to anything, from sourcing information on the internet to our ability to capture, store, and share images at a moment’s notice, analogue processes seem well poised for critically engaging newer forms of visual expression. This collaborative project is not only a celebration of the corporeal or material world but also a reflection on the speed at which images are produced and consumed. Image-making is approached as an intuitive and physical thinking process where mixed media and raw material become images as well as containers for shared memories.

For Sarah, whose work is often rooted in autobiographical narrative, this work is a move toward improvisation and abstraction. For Douglas, this work marks an embrace of representational imagery and storytelling. This collaborative project, when exhibited, becomes an inquiry into the nature of authorship and heterogeneity, as all works are fully collaborative and make use of hybrid forms and seemingly divergent studio processes and image-making strategies. The work is often exhibited in such a way as to highlight this. Works are installed according to a kind of cadence established by competing visuals and significant jumps in scale, as seen here in the SPIROL Art Gallery.


Tackle the Trail™ Unveils Permanent Commemoration in Putnam, CT

On Thursday, January 6, 2022, a group of local dignitaries gathered at the Henry Breault Bridge, Kennedy Drive, Putnam, CT to commemorate the addition of a permanent bronze plaque for the final stretch of The Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation signature fundraiser and race, Tackle the Trail™.

Breault Bridge Tackle the Trail groupCelebrating this milestone were: QVCC Foundation President Joseph Adiletta, Town of Putnam Mayor Barney Seney, QVCC Director of Institutional Advancement and Tackle the Trail™ Race Director Monique Wolanin, President of the Northeastern CT Chamber of Commerce, Putnam Business Association Business Coordinator and owner of The Courthouse Bar and Grille Sheila Frost, Putnam Business Association President and owner of WINY Radio Gary Osbrey, and WINY Radio Sports Director (the 2021 race announcer) Mike Brunetti.

QVCC Director of Institutional Advancement and Tackle the Trail Race Director, Monique Wolanin stated, “Thank you all and the Town of Putnam for your continued support of Tackle the Trail™, which proceeds from the race will help hundreds of students each year pursue their educational goals.”

Make Tackle Your Destination brings even more energy to the already vibrant Town of Putnam on the third Saturday of October and coincides with The Great Pumpkin Festival and the Roseland Cottage Fine Arts and Crafts Festival. Runners, fans, volunteers, business owners, and community members will enjoy a warm NE CT welcome and all that our region offers.

The Henry Breault Bridge recognizes Henry Breault, Putnam, CT, Peacetime Medal of Honor Recipient, for action at Limon Bay, Canal Zone, Panama on October 28, 1923.  Citation: For heroism and devotion to duty while serving onboard the U.S. submarine 0-5 at the time of the sinking of that vessel. On the morning of 28 October 1923, the 0-5 collided with the steamship Abangarez and sank in less than a minute. When the collision occurred, Breault was in the torpedo room. Upon reaching the hatch, he saw that the boat was rapidly sinking. Instead of jumping overboard to save his own life, he returned to the torpedo rooBreault Bridge plaquem to the rescue of a shipmate whom he knew was trapped in the boat, closing the torpedo room hatch on himself. Breault and Brown remained trapped in this compartment until rescued by the salvage party 31 hours later.

Tackle the Trail™ is a trail race through Northeast Connecticut for marathoners, half-marathoners, and relay teams.  Runners enjoy the quiet solitude of nature with bursts of energetic and supportive fans throughout this point-to-point race. Just 45 minutes from Providence and 1 hour from Boston, Tackle the Trail, a unique race in an amazing place! your gateway to trail racing in New England.

Tackle is always the third Saturday in October and benefits students attending Quinebaug Valley Community College. Learn more about Tackle the Trail™ https://tacklethetrail.org/  .

Released January 10, 2022

QVCC Workforce Development and Continuing Ed: Spring Open House, Programs, and LiR Continuing Ed Scholarship Fund Exceeds $50,000

The Quinebaug Valley Community College Workforce Development and Continuing Education Department has expanded in staff, programs, and funding.  With the recent growth of tuition assistance funds, more community members will have the opportunity for low or no-cost training to advance or start a career.

Patricia Meyer, the new Director of Workforce Development and Continuing Education, comes to QVCC from Fredrick Community College, MD with extensive experience in leading Workforce Development programs. Jennifer Armstrong, Continuing Education Aide and QVCC alumna, previously worked as a student worker at QVCC and is supporting enrollment of Workforce Development students.

The community is invited to attend one of the upcoming open house events to learn more about short-term workforce training options for this spring. Virtual Open House dates are January 13 or 20, from 5 – 6 p.m., and an in-person event is scheduled for the QVCC Willimantic location, 729 Main Street, on January 18 from 3p-4p. QVCC is offering courses in Certified Nursing Assistant, Introduction to Medical Cannabis, Computer Skills, Pharmacy Technician, Real Estate, Business Leadership Series, Business Office Professional, Project Management, Dementia Care, MLT National Exam Preparation, and Veterinary Assistant. More courses will be added in the spring including the popular Motorcycle Basic Riders Course.

Twenty-seven years ago, community leaders started Learning in Retirement (now called LiR) at Quinebaug Community College to offer advanced learning and social opportunities for adults in the Quiet Corner. In 2008, as a thank you to the college, LiR started an endowed scholarship fund for those students seeking a college degree and reached a goal of $50,000 in 2012. Bill Brower, former LiR President and QVCC Foundation member stated, “In 2012, LiR decided to endow another fund for students seeking professional certifications which would provide for better jobs/better lives. This year, despite not meeting because of COVID, we reached another $50,000.00 goal.”  QVCC Director of Institutional Advancement, Monique Wolanin stated, “QVCC is made better thanks to our long relationship with LiR as part of our learning community. In addition to their course offerings, LiR Members volunteer at College and Foundation events, serve as QVCC Foundation Members, and thanks to the generosity of many members, provide annual scholarships to both credit and workforce development students. LiR has endowed two funds totaling over $100,000!”.

More information:

To register for an open house event: January 13 OR January 20    January 18 In -person
Learn more about workforce development programs
Application for the application for tuition assistance and payment options

Questions and Contact Information: 860.932.4005 or Email

Released January 7, 2022