International Human Rights Lawyer
Tanya Henderson, MxCC 1989-1991, is now an international human rights lawyer and the Public Policy Director for Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At Middlesex, she served as President of the MxCC Student Senate and was instrumental in the creation of the Human Rights Park which stands at the entrance to Snow Hall. She went on to major in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts and earned her JD from Suffolk University Law School.
“I will always be grateful to Middlesex for giving me the ‘second chance’ I needed in my younger life,” said Tanya. “Those years in community college helped me to develop confidence as a learner; they were critical in my journey.”
See MinasList.org for more information.
MxCC Mother/Daughter Pathway
Mary Cavallo, MxCC 1998, and daughter Emma Palmieri, MxCC 2011, applaud Middlesex for providing the perfect pathway for achieving their Bachelor’s Degrees from Trinity College’s Individualized Degree Program in Hartford. Emma, who graduated from MxCC Phi Theta Kappa and was the first recipient of an MxCC Honors Society Scholarship, praises the solid background she received from Middlesex, particularly in history, with “thanks in particular to Professor Triay.”
“The amazing diversity I found in every class at Middlesex was a valuable and memorable part of my educational experience,” recalls Emma’s mother.
Mary, who graduated Cum Laude from Trinity in 2004, is now the CEO of ViBergman Real Estate, serving the tri-state area with offices in Manhattan, Greenwich, and Boston.
Daughter Emma plans to complete her Bachelor’s Degree at Trinity in Educational Studies in 2015. Both alumnae live in Middlefield, Connecticut.
Formerly of Middletown, now living in Indiana, Jeff Turco, who studied at MxCC from 1989-1991, is Assistant Professor at Purdue University (German, Comparative Literature, and Medieval Studies), He first found his love of learning at Middlesex. After earning his B.A. from Connecticut College, he received his PhD from Cornell University, 2009. Jeff is the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships to Germany and Iceland.
“I’ve often looked in vain for teachers as good as the ones I had at MxCC: Tom Melbert (Shakespeare), Bill Nagle, and the late Dick Srb. I became a German professor because of Tom Melbert’s class on Goethe’s Faust which still sets the standard I try to live up to as a teacher. MxCC is the academic affiliation of which I am most proud.”
Janet Suquilanda ‘13
When I moved to CT in 2003 from NYC and left my job of 15 years I was unable to land a full-time job here in CT as an Administrative Assistant. Most jobs available were only on a part-time basis. That’s when I decided to change my career and after having my third son.
Once he was in preschool I started to volunteer, then I was hired to substitute while attending college. My new career was Early Childhood Education. While I went to school I landed a job in the computer lab on campus, where I was given the opportunity to study and complete my assignments while working and helping out other students.
I had the pleasure of meeting wonderful staff who helped me achieve my goals, especially Landi Hou, who was the staff assistant in the computer lab. Dr. Ijey was also a wonderful coordinator to the program and teacher. I would not have done it without any of these wonderful people.
I graduated in 2013 and now I am a teacher assistant for Community Renewal Team doing exactly what I wanted to do. Believe it or not, when I was a child I always pretended to be a teacher and I achieved that dream. And now my son is attending MxCC. Thanks, MxCC, for this opportunity, especially at my age.
Teacher of the Year
Greg Marrone, MxCC Class of 2002 and resident of Wallingford, Connecticut, was chosen Teacher of the Year 2013-2014 by Connecticut Regional School District 13. Greg earned his B.S. and M.A. from CCSU in Sports Performance and has taught Physical Education and Health at Memorial Middle School in Middlefield, for the past nine years.
“The caring faculty and staff at Middlesex were an exceptional part of my experience there. Ever accessible, they were always willing to go that extra mile for their students.”
Music School Owner
Frank Natter, who studied at MxCC in 2003-2004, owns and operates a music school in Deep River, Face Arts Music. He is an Alfred Publishing Author of several works on music, including The Total Acoustic Guitarist. Frank is also Enrichment Teacher for the Middletown Adult Education Program.
“I began my endeavors as an author and teacher before completing my degree in Music Theory at CCSU (2009). This was most certainly due to the education and encouragement I received at MxCC, which gave me the confidence to take on these challenges soon after finishing my experiences there.”
Frank thanks many professors for helping him reach his goals at MxCC including Professor Bynum, Professor Triay, and Professor Burstein.
Dmitri D’Alessandro, MxCC Class of 2000, says he’s been leveraging everything he learned at MxCC to run his business at Middletown Framing. “As a small business owner, had I not received that toolbox of skills in my Multimedia studies, I would have had to spend thousands of dollars to learn what I needed to know—from the creative to the traditional, it was all there.”
Middletown Framing is located at 502 Main Street, Middletown.
After struggling through a few years of college 20 years ago, it never occurred to me that I could go back and actually finish what I started. A friend helped me take those first steps, and my MxCC advisors took it from there. They gave me the guidance and confidence to tackle the hardest part–getting started! The rest is history! The experience has taught me how to succeed in every aspect of my life. Best thing I ever did and I reap the rewards every day.
Archeologist & Professor
Nicholas Bellantoni, MxCC ‘73
Dr. Nicholas Bellantoni’s primary work has been as Connecticut State Archeologist and Associate Research Professor in the University of Connecticut’s Anthropology Department.
“MxCC was extremely important to my development because I did very poorly in high school. I spent four years in the U.S. Navy (1968-1971) and used the G. I. Bill to go to school. MxCC accepted me as a returning veteran after I successfully completed their required probation courses. I took my first anthropology course at the community college, and ended up making it my career!”
Graduating from Middlesex in 1973, Bellantoni attended Central Connecticut State College where he earned a BA in Anthropology and MA in Biology. He received his Ph.D. from UConn in l987.
Master of the Web
Tom Barton, MxCC ’93
Tom Barton earned his A.A. in Accounting and B.S. in Finance, graduating Summa Cum Laude from Quinnipiac College, Hamden, Connecticut, in 1995. He is founder and CEO of Web Solutions, Inc., a digital marketing firm with over 20 employees located in Meriden and serving clients throughout the U.S.
“At the starting point of my college career, MxCC gave me the foundation I needed. Thanks to dedicated faculty members such as Professor Nancy Kelly of the Business Department, my experience at MxCC fostered my passion for learning.”
Faith Jackson, MxCC ‘99
Director of the Human Relations Office for the City of Middletown since 1997, Faith Jackson is responsible for planning, organizing, and administering multi-dimensional programs to ensure diversity and inclusion in the use of City programs and services. She is past president of both the Middlesex County NAACP and the Middlesex United Way and currently serves as Corporator for Liberty Bank, Middlesex Hospital, and the Middlesex Community College Foundation.
“MxCC provides a positive means for anyone wanting to further his or her education. I highly recommend it. It does not matter how slowly you go—as long as you do not stop.”
Dale Griffith MxCC ‘89
Dale Griffith attended Middlesex in the 70’s and 80’s while raising her children through difficult marriages, graduating with honors finally in l989. Earning her BA at Wesleyan (l992) on scholarship, Dale was then hired by the York Correctional Institution to give writing workshops with author Wally Lamb to female inmates. She earned an MA from Wesleyan in 2005, became an adjunct instructor at MxCC, then full-time member of the English Department in 2007, and is now a full professor.
“Middlesex changed my life. When I enrolled for the second time, my personal life was in shambles. My self-esteem was low. While Wesleyan later polished the rough edges, it was MxCC and its wonderful teachers who helped me to find some treasure in the rubble of my life.”
Izzi Greenberg MxCC ’03
Izzi Greenberg graduated from MxCC in 2003 and earned her BS in Government at Wesleyan in 2005. She served on Middletown’s North End Action Tem (NEAT) for 12 years and as its Executive Director for the past eight. Izzi now leads the Middlesex Coalition for Children as its Executive Director.
“My experience as a student at the Community College was very positive. I have created lasting relationships with several of my wonderful Middlesex teachers.”
Civilian Dispatcher Trainer
David Boyce, MxCC ‘99
Graduating from Middlesex with an Associates Degree in Broadcast Communications, David Boyce then went immediately to work for the City of Middletown as a 911 Dispatcher. A lifelong resident of Middletown, David is the Civilian Dispatcher Trainer in the City’s Central Communications Center where he conducts quality assurance on police, fire, EMS, and 911 calls and provides preliminary and continuing training for new and current dispatchers. David is also an EMT, Justice of the Peace, and a Notary Public. He is Chairman of the City of Middletown’s Human Relations Commission.
“At Middlesex I enjoyed serving as Vice President of the Student Senate and appreciated the dedication given by so many of the professors there.”
Noah Golden MxCC ’10
Noah Golden, a life-long resident of Guilford, Connecticut, earned his Associate’s Degree in Broadcast Communications from MxCC in 2010 and, in 2013, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Quinnipiac University. He is a video producer for the Yale School of Medicine where he has produced over 30 videos. On the side, Noah is also an actor/singer/drummer both onstage and behind the scene with multiple local productions including Long Wharf Theatre, Vista Arts Center, and Swing Bridge Arts Alliance.
“Middlesex provided a nurturing environment throughout my work in the BC Studio with Rich Lenoce, Pete Galgano, and Patience Hettrick; in acting class with Dic Wheeler; and on the Flying Horse Newspaper under the guidance of Terry McNulty and Dale Griffith.”
Emily Ward Shovelin MxCC ’11
Formerly of Middletown and now residing in Glastonbury, Emily was a Human Services major at MxCC, receiving her B.A in Psychology in 2013 from Simmons College, Boston. Continuing her education, she earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Southern Connecticut State University in 2015. Emily now works as an In-Home Family Therapist for the North American Family Institute in Rockville, Connecticut.
During her years at Middlesex, Emily rose to the position of Managing Editor of “The Flying Horse” student newspaper and thanks Professors Dale Griffith and Terry McNulty for taking her under their wings. “Professors and staff members at MxCC became like a family—they genuinely care about their students and thrive on their successes.”
Middletown Arts Advocate
Richard Kamins MxCC ‘68
Member of the first graduating class of MxCC, Richard was a wine and liquor retailer (1971 to 2005) and now teaches as an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University while also serving the community as a Middletown Arts Advocate. Following MxCC, he received a B.A. in English from University of Connecticut in 1974 and an M.A. in Liberal Sciences/Arts from Wesleyan University in 1993.
At Middlesex, Richard remembers meeting and learning from many fine educators and taking part in the College’s first dramatic production, Arsenic and Old Lace.
Health Store Manager
Steven Kovach MxCC ‘11
Steven Kovach discovered his interest in history at Middlesex. He credits he community college as “a fantastic transition period for me between high school and the university where I was able to develop academically.” Following MxCC, Steven earned a B.A. in History from Wesleyan University in 2013. Now a manager at It’s Only Natural, he also serves on the Middletown Zoning Board of Appeals.
Producer for Connecticut Network
Bill Flood MxCC ‘89
Portland, Connecticut resident, Bill Flood received his Associate’s Deree from MxCC in Broadcast Communications in l989 and now produces for Connecticut’s public access network, “the CSPAN of the Constitution State,” with events designed to encourage civic engagement.
“At MxCC, I enjoyed the small class size, the diversity of ages and experiences among my fellow students, and the teachers. When I took John Shafer’s Media Aesthetic course, something clicked. I started hanging out in the studio, where we got to play with all sorts of toys—tools, I should say. The same tools the professionals were using in live broadcasting at the time. That’s important. MxCC was a part of the real world. We were constantly encouraged through internships and other ways to work on real projects. People on the staff and fellow students had work and world experience they were living every day. MxCC connected me with WTNH where I got a job as a broadcast journalist. And I was off!”
Grace Cotnoir MxCC ‘10
Meriden resident Grace Cotnoir graduated from MxCC in 2010 and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of New Haven in 2013. She is an Engineer with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, where she currently supports a helicopter development project ass a member of System Requirements Development Group.
“One of my favorite memories of MxCC was math class with Professor Steve Krevisky. Additionally, I enjoyed my time as a Peer Tutor in the College Learning Center. Middlesex benefited me by giving me the chance to explore and decide what direction I wanted to go in for my Bachelor’s degree.”
“Young Optometrist of the Year”
Aarlan Aceto MxCC ‘95
Following his the completion of his Opthalmic Design and Dispensing Program at MxCC, Aarlan graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2003 from the University of Connecticut. He earned his Doctor of Optometry Degree in 2009 from the New England College of Optometry in Boston, Massachusetts. He is now Assistant Professor at Midwestern University, in Downers Grove, Illinois where he is Director of Externships while both teaching and practicing optometry at the University Eye Institute. He was named “Young Optometrist of the Year” by the Connecticut Association of Optometrists.
“Without question, the most positive experience of my time at Middlesex was the program instruction, particularly Professors Ray Dennis and Skip Rivard. There is more to any one program than simply attending class and passing tests. To really excel in a career, one must truly become involved and engaged. That spirit and passion was evident in the faculty of the O.D.D. Program, and they have served as role models for me in my journey to where I am today. The community college, the O.D.D. Program, and the profession of Opticianry are better because of Ray Dennis and Skip Rivard.”
Executive Vice President
Tim Ryan MxCC ‘78
“As one of 8 children, I took advantage of what MxCC offered: a sound, affordable education. I recommend the community college to everyone.”
After earning his Associate’s Degree in Marketing from Middlesex, lifelong Wallingford resident Tim Ryan transferred to Quinnipiac University where he became a Magna Cum Laude graduate in Marketing in 1989.
During his 36 years with the Record Journal, Tim Ryan worked his way up from an entry level position to become the Executive Vice President of the corporation. He served on the Board of Directors, had oversight of the company’s out-of-state holdings in Rhode Island, and was President and Publisher of Sun Publishing Company. He also served as CEO of VS Publishing in Orlando, Florida. After retiring from publishing, Tim was offered the position of Economic Development Specialist for the Town of Wallingford.
Bartender / Marketing Assistant
Phyllis Gasperini MxCC ‘08
Old Lyme resident Phyllis Gasperini balances her day job with her night job. Formerly a marketing assistant with the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, now working with local consulting and design company, Spa Solutions, she tends bar at Chips Pub III in Clinton during the evening.
“The flexible schedule at Middlesex allowed me to continue working in hospitality at night while taking classes during the day. I found everything I needed at MxCC to begin building my bridge to a second career.”
Alina Gonzalez MxCC ‘98
“I struggled in high school in Meriden. Things didn’t start clicking for me until it was too late. I decided I needed to start anew. When I started Middlesex, it was like a breath of fresh air. I was able to receive extra support to help me in my writing. Teachers were available to talk and I met students who were also excited to learn. We met to help each other with our homework. When I admitted that I had not really thought about what I wanted to become in the future, a tutor suggested I take a personality test. Three of the top five results had something to do with teaching and I eventually realized that teaching was a passion of mine!”
Following Middlesex, Alina transferred to the University of Hartford where she earned a degree in Secondary Education in 2001. Now a resident of Branford, Alina teaches at Jared Eliot Middle School in Clinton.
Elementary School Teacher
Lisa Harlow MxCC ‘99
Lisa, a lifelong resident of Higganum, earned her Associate’s Degree from Middlesex in 1999 and, two years later, received her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Saint Joseph University in West Hartford.
“My coursework at MxCC laid the groundwork for a very successful college experience, which continues today as I work towards my 6th year degree. At the community college, I enjoyed serving as co-president of Phi Theta Kappa which provided an opportunity to foster my leadership skills.”
New School – New Start
Tol Butler MxCC ’69
I was one of Middlesex Community College’s very first students. I enrolled in the General Education Associates Degree program in 1966 and graduated in 1969. Prior to attending MxCC, I really felt I was adrift, with no goal or plan for what to do next in life. After I graduated from Cromwell High School, I spent the summer trying to envision what my future could hold, but I just couldn’t find a path. That September, when MxCC (then known as MCC) opened its doors, I saw an opportunity and took the first steps towards a better future. I honestly feel that the education I received at MxCC was the foundation for my career as a business owner and upper management in the commercial construction industry. For more than 45 years, I worked in construction, building a successful career that supported my family and that was a positive part of our local economy. As I think back on that summer after high school, I realize MxCC was just starting out too – and I’m glad that I was part of something special.
Laura Krueger '89
Laura Krueger MxCC ‘89
Laura earned her Associate’s Degree in Broadcast Communications from Middlesex in 1989 and now works as the Director of Public Relations and Marketing, Southern New England Division for The Salvation Army.
“I am continuously surprised at the ways in which MxCC has given me the tools needed to span the course of multiple careers. As a dance studio owner for 21 years, the broadcast training helped me put together the technical side of dance recitals. Everything from sound, lighting, video, and rigging, to directing, technical cues, and show production. I had all of these things in mind during the course of the year as I choreographed routines.
This experience carried me into putting together events and marketing at Westfield Shoppingtown in Meriden. As performing groups came in, I could speak the lingo of the equipment needed and if the sound system needed phono jacks, or 3-pin XLRs. I was able to work with radio and television stations for commercial advertising, news pieces, telethons, and radio-thons.
As a Production Manager for cable, I knew the ins and outs of putting together television commercials and programs – even creating and teaching a television production course for public access users, using one of my favorite books at MxCC. Having learned all the positions of broadcast news, I could easily jump from floor director, to camera operator, to teleprompter while working at FOX 61.
One of the things I enjoyed most at MxCC was disk-jockeying at the radio station. I continued this for Silver City Sound and Video for oldies cruises, weddings, car shows, and events, and was a videographer for these and corporate productions as well. Having worked with the media, I was asked to manage national advertising and media for Cecchetti USA, a national classical ballet organization.
All of this experience has prepared me for my work with The Salvation Army. I have a connection to television and radio technicians, reporters, and anchors. I know what they need on their end to make their news pieces come together because I have been there. It is that unique experience, learned at MxCC, that has made me marketable to one of the largest charitable organizations around – and I owe it all to my wonderful college experience.”