GCC Student Finalist in Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

Abigail Friel’s photograph of a young girl bottle feeding a lamb is one of 60 finalists selected from over 50,000 photographs submitted by photographers from 132 countries to Smithsonian Magazine’s 11th Annual Photo Contest. Friel’s photo, “Feeding time on Hettie Belle Farm” (Warwick, MA, February 2013, Nikon D5100), is one of ten finalists in the Americana category and is being considered for the Reader’s Choice award. Voting for the Reader’s Choice winner is until May 6 at 6 p.m. and Smithsonian will announce the Reader’s Choice, Grand Prize and six Category winners on May 15.

Friel, 36, formerly of Hatfield, works as a farmer and now lives near Portland, ME. Except for the GCC Art Student Exhibit, Friel had never exhibited her photography or entered any contests before entering the Smithsonian contest “on a whim.” She took the photo after studying digital photography (ART 151 Photography Foundation) with Assistant Professor Joan O’Beirne at Greenfield Community College. Prior to taking the course at GCC, Friel had taken several analog photography classes in college many years ago. Friel’s winning photo was exhibited as part of the GCC Art Student Exhibit in April 2013 and purchased by the GCC Art Department after that exhibit. The work is set to go on display in the college next year.

“Photography seems to come naturally to Abigail,” said O’Beirne. “From the beginning of class to the final project she was making beautiful photographs. I found it interesting that she often didn’t realize how good her images were!”

Friel appreciates what she learned at GCC, saying “I feel much more comfortable with my camera than I did at the start of Joan’s class and I really enjoyed her lectures and presentations on famous photographers. The critique sessions were also very interesting.”

Commenting on the subject of her winning photograph, Friel said, “The little girl in my photo is the daughter of a friend of a friend in Massachusetts. I had heard they had some newborn lambs and asked if I could go out to the farm and take some pictures. The mutual friend and I spent the afternoon with the two little girls and their dad. There were two lambs who were not gaining enough weight and had to be supplemented with bottle feeding.”

Looking ahead, Friel said, “I plan to continue taking classes and taking photos and see what happens. The GCC photo program is really outstanding, and I wish I could have taken more classes there.”

Photography Foundation (ART 151) is the first in a series of photography courses in GCC’s Art Department. It is an introduction to digital photography where students learn the visual, critical, and technical aspects of photography. They learn to use the DSLR, shooting, basic editing in Adobe Camera RAW, and ultimately produce a body of printed work. Students learn how to read photographs and become fluent in this form of visual language. Students generally possess a range of abilities in the foundation class: some come to the class with little or no knowledge of digital photography, while younger students may have studied photography in high school.

The 60 finalists in the Smithsonian contest are posted on the contest website at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/photocontest/photo-contest-finalists-11th-annual-180950372/

The GCC 2014 Art Student Exhibit, an annual exhibition and celebration of the work of current GCC art majors is open through May 9 in GCC’s South Gallery on the Main Campus. Information about the GCC Art Department is available at http://art.gcc.mass.edu.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

Why Study Art at GCC This Summer?

Curious about game design? Eager to get a jumpstart on a GCC art degree? Want to learn more about color? Planning to transfer from GCC to a BFA art program? GCC is the place to be this summer. The GCC Art Department will offer courses that provide five distinct experiences in art: Game Development, Color, Drawing Foundation, Visual Concepts I, and History of Modern Art. Four of the summer courses are 3-credit courses that can be used towards the completion of an AA or AS degree in Visual Arts at GCC.

Game Development, a new non-credit offering for GCC, is an intensive, competitively-priced introduction to 2D game design. Instructor Jennifer Gutterman works as a game designer, teaches 3D graphics and 3D animation at GCC, and really knows the game industry. GCC Dean of Humanities Leo Hwang, noting the importance of this new course, said, “Massachusetts is a game design industry hub where we have the technology infrastructure, skilled people, and creative capital to produce innovative and imaginative games that are distributed worldwide.”

Drawing Foundation and Visual Concepts I are an opportunity to try out a class or two, get to know GCC art faculty, and get a head start on working toward a degree. The scheduling of these courses is designed to accommodate early entrant and high school students finishing up their school year. The Color course is geared toward people interested in painting. Students in this course have space in GCC’s painting studio for the whole summer, learn color theory and mixing, and utilize that knowledge in painting. History of Modern Art is required for those studying toward a BFA art degree at UMASS. It is only offered at GCC in the summer and is useful for current GCC students who are considering transferring to UMASS or another art school.

Why study art at GCC this summer? Art Department Chair Paul Lindale said, “All of GCC’s art faculty are instructors and practicing/exhibiting artists. This is the first time we will have three full-time art faculty teaching over the summer. These courses serve a wide range of community needs and provide opportunities to experience art-making in diverse ways.”

Agreeing, Hwang said, “GCC’s art classes are nationally recognized as preparing some of the finest students for bachelor’s degree granting institutions. Summer classes at GCC have a teacher-to-student ratio that allows for lots of individual attention and compress a semester’s worth of work into a concentrated period of time.”

For information on these courses, contact Paul Lindale at lindale@gc.mass.edu or 413-775-1241 or visit http://art.gcc.mass.edu/gcc_courses.html. These courses will fill quickly – register now!

by Mary McClintock ’82

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Social Gaming Club Promotes Community

Members of GCC’s Social Gaming Club know there’s more to life than work and their goal is to help the GCC community have fun. “Social” gaming involves games where players sit at a table with other people, including traditional card and board games, as well as role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, collectible card games such as Magic the Gathering, war games using miniatures, and cooperative board games such as Pandemic. New this year, GCC’s Social Gaming Club was initiated by Chad Wright and others who regularly gathered in the Dining Commons to play Magic. The Social Gaming Club meets Wednesdays from noon to 12:50 p.m. in the MacLeish room (C307 in the Main Building). At meetings, students trade Magic cards and play brief games, introduce others to new games, or play Kung Fu or one of the cooperative survival games such as Forbidden Island. The club will hold a bake sale from noon to 1 p.m. on March 31 to April 2 on the first floor of the Core Building. They’ll use the proceeds from the bake sale to buy games to be stored at Student Life for students to borrow.

Chad, 40, is a liberal arts major with an emphasis on history and education. He lives in Greenfield and has been playing social games, specifically Magic the Gathering, since 1995. Chad said, “I wanted to create a club where like-minded people with a common interest could find new friends and player groups. The goals of our club are to recruit new members and spread the positive aspects of social gaming throughout the college. Every semester, we plan a social game day a week or two before final exams. With demonstration games, a Magic tournament, food, and prizes, the game day is a way we give to the GCC community and showcase the club.”

Many club members are also part of the gamer community that congregates at the game-playing space at Greenfield Games, a store in downtown Greenfield. Greenfield Games co-owner Seth Lustig said, “Our store motto is ‘we bring fun to the table.’ The whole point of this kind of game is people coming together around a table and having fun together. Community is as important to us as a store. We provide a welcoming, safe place to be yourself and encourage an atmosphere where people can get to know each other. We see a wide range of players at the store, from 10-year-olds to people in their mid-40s and players who are highly skilled and those who are just learning. Most of the players are 12-25 year-old men, although some women are involved. Greenfield Games has a lot in common with GCC, we’re both very community-oriented.”

Assistant Professor of English Trevor Kearns serves as the Club’s Faculty Advisor. A lifelong gamer, Trevor considers social games to be a healthy, rewarding hobby that uses people’s thinking, social, and communication skills. He said, “We live in a culture obsessed with work. Work in the modern sense does not define humanity, our capacity for play is what defines humanity. The whole breadth of arts, sports, and games are play and where people really live is in their play, whatever form it takes. What it means to be human is to imagine. Gaming affirms our essential humanity and our capacity for imagination.”

Chad agrees, saying, “Social gaming is about imagination, acceptance, and goodwill. Society in general could learn a lot from social gamers.”

For information about the Social Gaming Club, attend a meeting or contact Trevor Kearns at kearnst@gcc.mass.edu.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

New ! Office Administration certificates meet workforce needs

Want to manage a modern technology-based office but don’t have the needed skills and credentials? Check out the General Office Administration and Medical Office Administration Certificate programs at Greenfield Community College. Students in the General Office Administration program learn the wide range of skills needed to manage small business, non-profit, and other offices, including management, bookkeeping, computer systems, written communication, human resources, and more. New to GCC this fall will be a Medical Office Administration Certificate that includes courses in the record-keeping and office functions used in medical office settings, including medical coding, insurance, billing, and managing electronic medical records. Students studying toward a Medical Office Administration Certificate also develop a well-rounded background in medical terminology and a holistic understanding of medical procedures. After completing the sequence of courses required for the Medical Office Administration Certificate, students are prepared take the exams for private certification as a Medical Coder. Both Certificates are offered at night and are designed for those who are working. They are also “stackable,” meaning they count toward the requirements for an Associate of Science degree in CIS – Office Management.

Trista Perrea, 25, from Westhampton works full-time for VNA & Hospice of Cooley Dickinson and is studying Medical Office Administration part-time at GCC. After high school, she started work in an oncology practice office and enjoyed interacting in an administrative role with patients in a medical setting. GCC classes have helped Trista understand the big picture of what she sees at work, including what happens in the background to make health care function. She’s learned about management, billing, coding, and accounting. Before studying at GCC, Trista had seen code numbers in patient bills. Now, those numbers make sense and she has a context for understanding what she and her coworkers are doing. Trista has also taken elective courses in psychology and sociology to learn more about the patients she deals with, many of whom have different beliefs and cultural traditions that impact their experience in health care settings.

Trista said, “Studying at GCC has been a great opportunity for me. It is really important to feel comfortable and be supported in a learning environment and I’ve gotten that support from professors and staff at GCC. Health care is growing so fast and there are so many more pieces to health care than the work of frontline clinical staff. GCC’s program really prepares you to work in a career with a future. I think I have the best of both worlds, working with patients and having the job security of being in a field with high demand.”

Thom Simmons, Co-Chair of GCC’s Business & Information Technology Department and Professor of Economics & Business, agrees with Trista. Thom said, “The Office Management concentration is one of our biggest Associate degree programs. The Medical Office Administration Certificate will be particularly valuable for people who want to work in health care settings. And, the medical coding system is changing. People with previous coding experience can learn about the new system in these courses. The General Office Administration and Medical Office Administration Certificates are quality programs for a growing job market in western Massachusetts.”

For information about the Office Administration programs, visit http://www.gcc.mass.edu/academics/programs/computer-information-systems-general-office-administration/

By Mary McClintock, ’82

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Regional program grows new careers in precision machining

Just a few months after the end of a new 12-week training program, eight students are employed by area companies and one is launching his own precision machining business. Gerald Barsh and Nathan Beauregard have launched new careers in precision machining thanks to the Middle Skills Manufacturing Initiative (MSMI), a training program and collaborative project involving area manufacturing companies, GCC, Franklin County Technical School, the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, and the Career Center. Gerald now works at DuMont Company in Greenfield and Nathan works at Bete Fog Nozzle. They were two of 15 unemployed and underemployed students in the first of four cohorts that will attend the program.

“Students in the MSMI training learned hands-on skills on new CNC lathes and mills taught by a team of dedicated instructors from Franklin County Technical School and four precision manufacturers,” explained Alyce Stiles, Director of Workforce Development at GCC.

Gerald, 41, of Hatfield, had always worked as a cook and in the food industry, but had taken some engineering and AutoCAD courses at GCC. MSMI introduced him to the machining field and MSMI introduced him to the machining field and helped to place him as an intern at DuMont. Following graduation, he was hired full-time using On the Job Training (OJT) funds that encourage businesses to hire veterans and long-term unemployed workers. Gerald now works in an entry-level job in the production department, producing broaches, parts that are used to help cut and shape other material. He learned about metrology in the MSMI program and uses that understanding of precision and accuracy in measurements in his job.

Gerald said, “Prior to the MSMI program, I had spent about 30 seconds in a manufacturing shop environment. This program was one of the most tremendous experiences of my life. The MSMI helped me get the skills I needed to get a job in this field. The company I work for is expanding and many people in this field will soon retire. I have the skills to be able to move ahead in the field.”

Nathan Beauregard, 40, of Greenfield enjoyed his 20 years of work as a farmhand, but was looking for higher-paying steady work. He had taken several GCC Community Education courses as part of the Adult Educational Program with Franklin County Technical School, including Introduction to Machine Science. At Bete Fog Nozzle, Nathan operates a Haas lathe and is learning about testing nozzles.

Nathan said, “Along with helping me start a new career, I like that this program trains folks to do a job that this valley had MANY people doing, historically. I am glad to be part of the resurgence of this type of work in this area.”

Michael Baines, Project Coordinator for MSMI at the Regional Employment Board said, “Area precision machining employers realize their workforce includes many people who will retire soon and they don’t have the infrastructure to do their own training. The MSMI program is a great collaborative regional response to prevent a crisis. Precision machining is bringing jobs to this area, jobs with a bright future that pay a good wage.”

Students in the Fall 2013 MSMI cohort ranged in age from 22 to 59 years old. While all of the Fall cohort were male, four of the 14 students enrolled in the Spring MSMI program are women. The Spring cohort started Feb. 3 and recruitment for the Fall semester will start in June. There will be a strong focus on recruitment of qualified 18-24 year-olds without degrees for the fall program.

MSMI is funded by a Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund grant through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The grant program is administered at the state level by Commonwealth Corporation. The project funds training programs for four cohorts of students. Development of a new, project-based curriculum, including online instructional trainings, is provided by the MA Community Colleges & Workforce Development Transformation Agenda (MCCWDTA), which is 100% funded through a $20 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Employment & Training Administration TAACCT.

Lead Employers VSS, Inc. and Bete Fog Nozzle contributed to the training plan, and an additional 12 employers signed on to support the training program, including Amherst Machine, Applied Dynamics, Argotec, the DuMont Company LLC, Hassay Savage Company, Mayhew Steel Products, Montague Machine, Poplar Hill Machine, L.S.Starrett, Rodney Hunt, Sisson Engineering, and SmallCorp. Many additional employers contributed substantially to a fund to upgrade the Franklin County Technical School machine shop where the training takes place.

For more information see http://www.gcc.mass.edu/msmi or http://fhreb.org or contact: Michael Baines, mbaines@fhreb.org (413) 774-4361 x375 or Alyce Stiles, stilesa@gcc.mass.edu (413) 775-1607.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

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