Multiple Grants Support Innovative Programs at Middlesex Community College

Jan 29, 2018 – Middlesex Community College has recently received $183,824 in several grants to support a variety of academic and civic engagement projects during the 2017-18 academic year. Steven Minkler, dean of Academic Affairs and lead campus administrator, announced the awards in a memo to the college community on January 19, 2018.

students in magic food busThe Community Foundation of Middlesex County Board of Directors approved a $2,000 grant for the purchase of food items for the Magic Food Bus.

students in magic food bus

The Magic Food Bus, opened in September 2016, seeks to alleviate the challenges of food insecurity faced by college students and their families. Operated by Middlesex students and volunteers, the food pantry served nonperishable food items, toiletries, and other items to 1,071 students and their families in the Fall 2017 semester. Since the food bus operates without any direct allocation from the state or MxCC budget, its continued success depends on indirect support from grants and donations. The food pantry is located in the lower parking lot in the summer and in Founders Hall during the winter months.

MxCC@Platt entrance

The CUNO Foundation of Meriden approved a $2,500 grant to support a new initiative called the MxCC@Platt Student Ambassadors Program.

Because high school students are ineligible for traditional student labor and financial aid funds, this grant allows Middlesex to hire several high school students while they are taking college courses at MxCC@Platt during the spring semester. As ambassadors, their responsibilities include:

group of people at MxCC@Platt

  • Greeting students and faculty as they arrive for classes.
  • Assisting the evening coordinator with faculty/student classroom needs.
  • Helping staff with office-based tasks during registration and advising sessions at Platt High School.
  • Serving as representatives during open house events.
  • Assisting tutors and library staff by scheduling appointments and providing peer tutoring.
  • Serving as mentors with high school peers by encouraging them to get a jump-start on their college education and take a no-cost evening class at MxCC @Platt.

The Connecticut State Department of Education awarded $102,497 for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Post-Secondary Education Grant.

Perkins funds are available annually through a semi-competitive and rigorous application process, supporting a variety of projects through June 30, 2018. These projects strengthen partnerships between Middlesex and local high schools in specific career fields as part of the state’s College Career Pathways program. Specifically, funding will support campus events including Experience College Day, Manufacturing Awareness Day, and the Middlesex Chamber Career Expo Day. The Perkins Grant also supports the supplemental instructor educational assistants in the Center for New Media and veterinary technology programs, as well as implementing the innovative visiting expert program.

In September, the Connecticut State Department of Education awarded $76,827 as a special, one-time competitive Carl D. Perkins Supplemental Grant.

Middlesex is one of only two state colleges approved for this grant, which provided programming together with local high schools prior to November 30, 2017. The theme for this programming was 360-Degree Learning, which focused on collaborative experiences with high school and college communities in virtual reality media production and also virtual learning by using a SynDaver (synthetic canine cadaver) in veterinary technology clinical labs. More than 200 high school students visited MxCC to participate in these projects. MxCC also obtained cutting-edge equipment that will provide 360-degree learning experiences for years to come.

Students Using Virtual Reality 2017Digital Media Pathway: Virtual and Augmented Reality—The virtual reality media component exposes students to the latest virtual and augmented reality technology used in existing and emerging professional occupational settings. Cutting-edge technology and hands-on production experience are key to providing students with the skills and knowledge to compete in the global economy.

students working on synthetic dogVeterinary Technology Pathway: SynDaver Canine Cadaver—High schools and colleges are often limited in immersing students in authentic learning experiences in anatomy and physiology due to the cost and ethical concerns associated with using actual animal and human cadavers. With this fund, MxCC purchased a synthetic canine cadaver, a futuristic animal model designed to replace live animals in veterinary clinical training. Veterinary technology students are currently using the SynDaver canine in clinical lab space at Pieper Veterinary Hospital, and the SynDaver will be leveraged again with area high schools after the grant period ends.

Many thanks to Trent Wright, coordinator of institutional advancement, for working with faculty and staff to submit proposals to these agencies and secure the funding for Middlesex. For more information about the grants process, please email