Monthly Archives: August 2014

Goodwin College’s Manufacturing Program Grants Certification to its Inaugural Manufacturing Class

After a year of hard work and dedication, Goodwin College celebrated the inaugural class of its Manufacturing and Production and 18-credit certificate program at a presentation ceremony on August 27 in its main campus building on Riverside Drive in East Hartford. The recipients, their families, and friends gathered with faculty, administrators, and local business leaders for what was referred to as a “milestone moment” for the students as well as the College.

“As the first class of students, you had to be flexible, but you proved to us it’s possible,” Goodwin president Mark Scheinberg said. “You had faith in us when we showed you an idea. I’d like to return that faith and commitment to you.”

Goodwin began its manufacturing program as part of its ongoing effort to focus on growing — and keeping — jobs in Connecticut. These inaugural students earned nationally recognized, portable credentials from the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), an industry leader in workforce certification, as part of their academic program.

“There became a need for people to participate in manufacturing, but there were no bridges to the jobs being offered,” Scheinberg said. “The lack of trade people threatened the industrial base and union. Goodwin had the opportunity to be that glue.”

Goodwin began its manufacturing program after conversations with Congressman John Larson, who also attended Wednesday’s ceremony.

“Dignity comes from work and making things — engineering, designing, and tooling them,” Larson said. “Your ability to improve yourself and gain credentials will serve you, the state, and the nation well.”

Larson recalled the early meeting at which partnerships between government, business, and educational organizations were discussed. “ And that was only 28 months ago,” he said.

He offered that collaboration and commitment were the keys to launching the new Goodwin programs. “No one can do what Goodwin has done.”

Quickly correcting himself, he added “Anyone can do what Goodwin has done — if they have the extraordinary vision.”

Manufacturing Program Adminstrator Chip Thermer, Asst. Professor and Director of Manufacturing Management Al Pucino, and Asst. Professor Steve Socolosky handed the hard-earned certificates to the 14 inaugural graduates of the program. Along with the MSSC certification, the graduates earned 18 credits that can be used towards furthering their education and career aspirations at Goodwin College.

“You are not only pioneers, but ambassadors for the manufacturing industry,” Cliff Thermer, Assistant Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at Goodwin, said. “Tell your story. We are so happy to be a part of your career. Thank you for trusting us.”

Also in attendance were Elliot Ginsberg, president and CEO of the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, and Rick Warters, vice president of Industrial Relations at Pratt and Whitney.

The following individuals earned their certificates: Tomasz Banas (town), Derek Bylina (town), Daniel Corthell (town), Nicholas Cremonie (town), Ronald Gatchell (town), Richard Hill (town), Paul Mitchell (town), Doan Nguyen (town), Abner Pena (town), Nehemias Pena (town), Frank Quatrella (town), Edwin Vasquez (town), Anthony Vo (town), Rory Weaver (town).

Getting Engaged by Giving Back

At Goodwin, our volunteers, both student and alumni, willingly give their time and energy to create a bigger and brighter community.

The Crew, an elite group of passionate student volunteers, builds connections among students, the campus, and the community. Launched in October 2013, the Crew cultivates a sense of ownership and pride and empowers students to take a leadership role by creating lasting change.

Crew members conduct campus tours, speak to community groups and prospective students, and assist at ribbon cuttings, high school visits, orientations, graduation activities, ceremonies, and Goodwin College Foundation events. They help to recruit other students, promote campus activities, and provide support as needed by College administration.

“The Crew creates a sense of community at the College. Students no longer just come to class and go home. They invest their time, energy, passion, and love in the organization, which creates a shift in the identity and culture from a commuter school to a more traditional college,” noted Nicole Miller, Student Engagement Coordinator.

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The Crew is supervised by Vanessa Pergolizzi, Student Engagement Associate, and Marrie Ayub, Program Assistant for Student Services. Together they hope to create and grow a solid group of individuals who make positive changes within the College and beyond.

“Crew members are more than just volunteers, they are student ambassadors,” Vanessa Pergolizzi commented, “They are armed with information on the College and trained to be influential leaders.”

Not only does the College benefit from the dedication of the Crew, but the individual members also benefit from becoming personally involved.

“I told myself I wouldn’t say no to any opportunities that came my way. When I was asked to volunteer, I accepted the challenge. Volunteering makes me feel like I have a voice,” Lester Castro, Business student and Crew member said.

Volunteering has given students the opportunity to network, develop leadership skills, create lasting friendships, and grow as individuals.

“Volunteering has increased my confidence and improved my public speaking skills and time management skills. The Crew feels like a family, just like Goodwin feels like a family,” explained Kaleigh Miller, Health Science student and Crew member.

While the Crew is a way for current students to get engaged, Goodwin also hopes maintain lasting relationships with them once they graduate — which is how the Alumni Leadership Committee was created.

The Alumni Leadership Committee is comprised of devoted and generous Goodwin alumni volunteers who wish to give back to their alma mater. The Committee supports the mission and values of Goodwin and promotes the role of alumni in strengthening and sustaining the life of the College.

Alumni volunteers help to make strategic decisions in alumni relations and volunteer their efforts at events. They connect with current students, share their stories, and inspire others. The Committee members provide a wonderful example of what students can aspire to become.

“Volunteering provides me with the opportunity to give back. Goodwin has given me so much more than I could possibly give back,” Merilee DeJohn, Alumni Leadership Committee member and Early Childhood Education graduate, said, “but I will continue to try.” DeJohn serves on the Board of Trustees as the alumni chair and a voice for alumni who truly care about the school and its students.

Goodwin greatly appreciates the time and effort that student and alumni volunteers put into creating a more engaging, dynamic community on top of juggling full-time jobs and family commitments. They are coming together to create lasting change and to gain a much more rewarding, enriching educational experience.

For more information, or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Vanessa Pergolizzi, Student Engagement Associate, at or 860-913-2160. For more information about the Crew, please visit

Members of the Crew

Desmond Batts, Environmental Science
Kerry Ann Campbell, Human Services
Lester Castro, Business Administration
Krislyn Donadio, Occupational Therapy
Denise Dufour-McAvoy, Nursing
Lorenzo Hemingway, General Studies
Kaleigh Miller, Health Science
Brianna Pavalone, Health Science
Travis Samuels, Human Services
Janelis Santana, Health Science
Asa Strambler, Manufacturing

Members of the Alumni Leadership Committee

Paula Abreu ’12, Child Study
Cherna Baten ’14, Organizational Studies
Odalisca Bautista ’12, Child Study
Dena Booker ’13, Child Study
Tiffany Chisholm ’11, Child Study
Cassandra Decoteau ’13, Child Study
Merilee DeJohn ‘07, Early Childhood Education
Lee Housley ’13, Business Administration
Lisa Mondani ’12, Nursing
Jennifer Shaw ’13, Health Science

By: Hannah Stacy

A Year of Firsts for Summer Bridge Academy

In her first year of coordinating the Goodwin College Summer Bridge Academy, Assistant Dean of Students Angela Skyers has overseen considerable growth to the program.

The Summer Bridge Academy, or SBA, is a program that seeks to bridge recent high school graduates into the collegiate atmosphere with a six-week schedule of college classes mixed with teambuilding and career preparation days.

The 2014 SBA cohort had a record-breaking 95 graduates, 87 of whom will be continuing on to Goodwin College for the fall semester, and many with three to six credits in hand. Overall, 96% of the 2014 graduates enrolled in a college for the fall semester.

Skyers attributes the success of the program to the combined effort of strong faculty and various Goodwin departments and facilities, including help from the library, IT, Academic Affairs, Applicant Advising, Communications, and Admissions.

“[Coordinating SBA] has been a great way to better connect with various departments within the College and understand how they contribute to the program,” she said.

In addition to the faculty support, the SBA recruited the help of 20 student mentors, mostly from the MOVE/WISE programs, to help the students transition into college life and classes. Fifty-six of the graduates were then selected to be a part of the MOVE/WISE programs.

While the program was designed to help students achieve academic success, including allowing students to test into English 101 with their SAT scores, Skyers says it helps students form a community as well. On Fridays, the students were often engaged in community building activities, including the program’s first-ever Field Day and Health and Achievement Fair.

“Even though the Friday programs were largely optional, many students showed up just to see their friends and be around the campus,” she said. “This atmosphere created a safe space for the students.”

Though Summer Bridge now gives way to the fall semester, Skyers already has plans for next year’s program. From the Bridge is set to be the first newsletter created specifically for the program, and she is working with departments in the College to try to provide transportation for students, many of whom took between one and five buses every day to attend.

“I also want to make sure students become more aware of program selection through shadowing or one-day internships, to better promote the programs offered by the College,” she said.

As Skyers plans for her second year coordinating the program, she is determined that this year of dynamic firsts for the Summer Bridge Academy will not be the last.

Check out photos here:

Vice President Joe Biden Celebrates Goodwin College’s Manufacturing Initiatives

During an August 20 luncheon to discuss the future of the production workforce in the country, Vice President Joe Biden called the Manufacturing Program at Goodwin College an example for the nation’s schools.

“This initiative here at this college is actually the thing needed all across America,” Biden said of Goodwin’s Manufacturing Program and its partnership with local businesses.

The vice president met in one of the College’s manufacturing classrooms with state and local officials, manufacturing executives, Goodwin faculty, and students from the Manufacturing Program during an hour-long luncheon that featured a roundtable discussion on the development of the nation’s growing manufacturing workforce.

In response to the notion that other countries are taking the lead in this area, Biden asked, “Where is it written that America can’t be the leading manufacturer? Manufacturing is coming back to the United States of America.”

During his remarks, Biden said that the nation’s manufacturing industry had created 700,000 new jobs over the past six years. He added, however, that these new jobs require a new set of skills. “The jobs that were lost are not the [same] jobs that are coming back,” he said. “What we need here is technicians of a different nature.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, said that the state — thanks to partnerships like that between Goodwin and local manufacturers — was making strides towards growing the workforce of the future. “We have to do a better job in Connecticut of training our workforce,” Malloy said. “That’s why our relationship with a private, non-profit organizations like Goodwin is so important.”

The vice president said that while it might be difficult to make the leap to a new field, training programs like Goodwin’s are a great venue for change.

“You’re underemployed? You don’t like your job? Go back to school,” Biden said. “There’s always a way back. Take these courses.”

Four Goodwin College manufacturing students — Ron Gatchell, Derek Bylina, Roy Weaver, and Brittany Kannair — were asked to attend the luncheon to offer their perspectives on the need for skilled manufacturing workers, as well as the growth of Goodwin’s Manufacturing Program.

“From day one, they laid all the cards on the table to give the graduates federal, state, and local exposure,” Gatchell said about the College. “This is over and above what anyone expected. What other school have you seen that gives their students this kind of exposure?”

“At the end of the day, for the school to recognize our hard work is amazing,” Bylina said.

“The faculty cares about the program,” Kannair said, “and they recognize that we care about the program as well.”

The vice president praised Goodwin’s student representatives and the effort they’ve put in to pursue their careers.

He added that individuals can balance working a job with continuing their studies. “You can stay in the job you have [while getting] the skills you need to get a better position,” Biden said of the College’s Manufacturing Program. “These students did that.”

Following the luncheon, Goodwin’s Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Business Development, Cliff Thermer, stated, “We always hear when something goes amiss in manufacturing, but we never hear the positive stories about the resilience of the American workforce and the great careers to be found in this field. That’s the story we need to get out there. We’re hoping that the vice president’s visit today shines a light on these opportunities.”

To see photos from the Vice President’s visit, click here:

Remembering Lynnette Engman

lLynnette Engman, former Goodwin student and cherished member of the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church, passed away on July 12, 2014. An ordained minister and mission director, Engman was involved in many of the church ministries and dedicated her life to helping the needy around the world.

In 1994, she co-founded the World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, Inc., whose mission is to “furnish support to persons in need throughout the world and to attempt to make a difference in the lives of persons who, with support and training, can reach a better way of life and a greater degree of self-sufficiency.”

She co-founded this organization to make an impact locally and globally. Her desire to attend school stemmed from her passion for helping others and from her high hopes for the organization.

In 2012, the organization received an invitation to take advantage of a tuition discount from Goodwin for Non-Profit Management. Engman, who had been out of school for more than 40 years, took advantage of this opportunity and dove wholeheartedly into her studies.

Adrienne Lautenbach, friend and executive at World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, Inc., admired Engman greatly for her view on life and all that she had done. “She was the most selfless person I have ever known. She always lived her life to help someone else,” she commented. “The reason she went back to school was to gain better tools to accomplish the dreams and visions she had for the World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, Inc.”

While in school, Engman was diagnosed with cancer, but even in the midst of this extremely difficult time she kept her faith and sense of humor and continued with school, making the Dean’s List every semester. Her diligence and dedication did not go unnoticed.

Engman was well respected by her teachers and peers alike. “Even through her illness, she was very dedicated and insisted on completing her work. I was very fortunate to have her as a student,” said Michael Rotondo, Associate Professor of Business.

Engman was known for mentoring all those she came in contact with, offering support, advice, and inspiration. “Everything she did in class she would apply in real life. She would ask if she could tweak the projects to fit her church’s mission work. I learned from her as much as she learned from me,” Mike Wolter, Management and Leadership Program Director, noted.

There are many projects that have yet to be realized from her vision, and it is World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, Inc.’s desire to see these through in the years to come. To continue Lynnette Engman’s legacy, donations can be made to: WWLM, PO Box 5010, Manchester, CT 06045-5010 or you can click here to make an online contribution in her honor.

By: Hannah Stacy

Returning To School at Goodwin

Tracey DeMilo 


It wasn’t long ago that I had my review at work and my supervisor told me I needed to go back to school. I was absolutely petrified because I thought that I didn’t belong with all the young students and I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough. I decided to go to Goodwin and from the time I walked in the door to meet an admissions representative to the time I left I knew I made the right choice. The first class I took was math, which isn’t my best subject, but my professor was so patient and knowledgeable. He helped alleviate my fear of math and I knew after overcoming that, I could do anything else that was thrown my way. It is truly a challenge with school work, kids, and working full-time, but the professors at Goodwin are the best at what they do and really go the extra mile to help in any way possible. I’m not sure I would get the same treatment elsewhere. I still have a ways to go to obtain my degree, but I’ve had such an awesome experience so far. Goodwin has given me the confidence I didn’t know I had.

Navigating Goodwin

Saeed Moussa 


Goodwin College not only serves a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that will lead to strong employment outcomes, it also operates under an open-access model, which seeks to admit all students who have academic potential, regardless of their past performances as well. Goodwin College made my dream of accessing top-notch tertiary education here in “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” come to fruition, as they gave me the platform to rise from grass to grace academically. Thus, my experience as an international student at Goodwin College so far has not only been awesome, mind-boggling, thought-provoking, breath-taking, and above all, heart-warming, but it has also been one which I will appreciate for the rest of my life. I will forever remain profoundly honored and exceedingly humbled to be part of this one-in-a-million opportunity to “navigate” my way towards a promising future.

The Goodwin Experience

Robin Jennings-Bowen 


I love Goodwin because it serves a diverse student population and offers classes that are career-focused and will provide me with a strong foundation for entering into the workforce. Goodwin offers flexible hours, Monday through Saturday, three semesters a year, making it easier to finish at an accelerated pace. Non-traditional students, like me, are able to fit education into a busy schedule while juggling a family and job. The financial aid department has made it possible for me to afford school to achieve my educational goals. Most importantly, I love that the culture includes being a good neighbor. Goodwin believes in giving back and instills that value in its students. The College stands out from other schools because of the three magnet schools on campus: Goodwin College Early Childhood Magnet School, Connecticut River Academy, and the Pathways Academy of Technology and Design. There are few colleges that incorporate magnets schools into their community, which makes Goodwin so unique. My experience here has been wonderful. The staff is always willing to help and assist you with whatever you need. Goodwin has given me more than I can ever give back. Goodwin is now a part of my family.


5th Annual Tee Off With Women in Newington Benefits CRT, Interval House

1A Goodwin College team including Nicole Miller, Megan Monahan, Sandy Wirth, and Janet Jefford joined more than 100 women golfers as they hit the links at Indian Hill Country Club on July 29 to show their support for domestic violence survivors and the programs that assist them. Together, golfers and sponsors brought in $33,000 during the event. Proceeds will be divided evenly between Community Renewal Team and Interval House programs that aim to prevent domestic violence and assist survivors.

The tournament happened to be played on the same day that the 2014 Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee report was issued. The Fatality Review report made a series of recommendations to strengthen communication among agencies like CRT that come into contact with victims. This year alone saw 10 deaths in Connecticut from domestic violence.

CRT President and Chief Executive Officer Lena Rodriguez called the statistics staggering as she stated that across the country three women are killed each day.

“Events like this allow us to raise awareness along with critical funds that allow us and Interval House to keep doors open to women who come to us when they face a crisis,” she said. “’Tee Off’ also provides a great opportunity for women to help other women. And when that happens -when we support each other – great things can be done.”

Key domestic violence advocates were on hand to help promote awareness of the issue, including honorary chairwoman State Rep. Mae Flexer who is chair of the Speaker’s Task Force on Domestic Violence at the Connecticut General Assembly. Flexer noted that one of four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. She said the public needs to stop asking why a woman stays with an abuser and start asking why that abuser thinks it’s acceptable to treat a woman in such a way.

“When someone gets robbed, we don’t ask why they didn’t donate all their money to charity. But when it’s about domestic violence, we blame the victim,” Flexer said.

The most compelling moments of the day came as Diana, a Farmington resident and a former client of Interval House, shared her story of escaping abuse, driving hundreds of miles with her three children and finding a safe place with Interval House, Connecticut’s largest emergency shelter for women and children victims of domestic violence. Today, she is focused on a pursuing a career, finishing her Bachelor’s Degree and enjoying a life with her children where she no longer feels afraid.

As golfers returned from the course they were treated to a great collection of raffle prizes, make overs, chair massages, handmade pottery and homemade cake balls and treats that were for sale before dinner was served.

Community Renewal Team’s domestic violence support programs help families leaving a shelter or violent relationship to establish safe and successful lives by providing transitional housing and support services through CRT’s intensive case management system. Assistance comes in many forms depending on the needs of the individual. Often times help offered includes: security deposit assistance, first month’s rent, subsidized food, clothing and transportation. Housing assistance continues to allow survivors to move in a safe, secure environment where they are able to function independently and at a higher capacity to meet their daily needs.

By offering scattered-site housing, the program empowers the individual to take control of their life back by allowing them to select the town or area within Hartford County in which they would like to live. Other CRT support services offered to participants in this program include job training, educational assistance, legal advocacy, safety planning, financial literacy training, support groups, crisis intervention, child care, and translation and transportation services.

Interval House runs a 24-hour emergency hotline. The hotline and their shelters are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Please see the Tee Off With Women webpage for photos and more information:

Community Renewal Team, Inc. is the designated Community Action Agency for Middlesex and Hartford Counties and is the largest non-profit provider of human services in Connecticut. The agency’s mission is Preparing Our Community to Meet Life’s Challenges. The mission is achieved each day by helping people and families become self-sufficient while making sure basic needs are met. CRT’s programs include Head Start, Meals on Wheels, energy assistance, supportive housing and shelters, and many others, serving people in more than 60 cities and towns in both our core catchment area and throughout Connecticut.