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QCC 50th, Celebrating Students: Ato Howard

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Ato Howard, a Biomedical Engineering Major at Quinsigamond Community College

To celebrate Quinsigamond Community College's 50th anniversary, GoLocal is profiling current QCC students who are sure to make a splash once they graduate. This week we're profiling Ato Howard, a Biomedical Engineering Major at QCC.

Ato Howard, a Biomedical Engineering Major at QCC

Ato Howard, a Biomedical Engineering Major at QCC, was recently accepted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s new i-Trek program (I Turn Research into Empowerment and Knowledge).

The 20-year-old Worcester resident, who moved to this country from Ghana in 2012, is excited to have an opportunity to study coral reefs and be part of a research team. He will spend two weeks in Key Largo, Fla., with M.I.T. Ph.D. candidates, doing underwater research.

“I am very excited to be able to travel to other parts of the country and get my scuba diving certification,” Howard said. He said he was searching for an opportunity to conduct research and gain additional skills that would give him an edge as a transfer student.

He is not sure where he will be attending school next fall yet, but hopes to get his final acceptance letters in May.

The i-Trek program provides under-served and under-represented students with the skills and resources necessary to succeed in STEM undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The new program was developed to address the lack of diversity among STEM degree recipients and provides opportunities for conducting and applying research, which may not be readily available to students at smaller institutions. In addition to research opportunities, the program requires that participants fund their research projects collaboratively beyond MIT’s initial 50% funding allowing them an additional learning opportunity in grant and proposal writing.

After completing the project, teams will be responsible for final presentations of their work that will include all results and findings. After this formal presentation, participants (called Trekkers) will present their project to local high schools with the specific goal to stimulate more interest in STEM fields among under-represented and under-served groups.

Howard is a Phi Theta Kappa International Honor society member, a Psi Beta Psychology Honor Society member and an on-campus math tutor. He is also a first-generation college student in his family, who is originally from Ghana.

He said he has had a very good experience at QCC. “To go straight into a four-year college would have been hard for me,” he said. “Here I was able to adjust and overcome many challenges.”

He said initially meeting people and making friends was difficult, but through joining different clubs and organizations he has met other students with common interests.

He is a participant in the TRIO Student Support Services Program at QCC – a federally funded program that provides first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students, and students with disabilities the support and services needed to achieve academic success.

Joseph Adams, Project Director of QCC’s TRIO Program is proud of Howard’s recent acceptance into the i-Trek program saying, “Ato is a very goal-oriented, hard-working young man who couldn’t be more deserving of this opportunity. We wish him well.”

Howard hopes to transfer to M.I.T. after he graduates this May from QCC with an Associate degree in Science - Engineering, Biomedical Engineering Option.

Quinsigamond Community College celebrates 50 years of serving the community with high-quality, affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.


Related Slideshow: New England Colleges With the Best Undergraduate Teaching

U.S. News & World Report released a survey conducted in 2013 of college administrators on the best schools for undergraduate teaching. Several New England made their lists for best National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, and Regional Universities. See which schools made the lists in the slides below: 

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National Universities

9. Brown University

Providence, RI 
Students: 6,435
2013-14 Tuition: $45,612
Admissions: 9.6% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

National Universities

5. Yale University 

New Haven, CT
Students: 5,405
2013-14 Tuition: $44,000
Admissions: 7.0% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

National Universities

1. Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
Students: 4,193
2013-14 Tuition: $46,752
Admissions: 9.8% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

National Liberal Arts Col

18. Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, MA 
Students: 2,322
2013-14 Tuition: $41,456
Admissions: 42.1% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Liberal Arts Colleges

9. Amherst College

Amherst, MA
Students: 1,817 
2013-14 Tuition: $46,574
Admissions: 13.0% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Liberal Arts Colleges

5. Williams College

Williamstown, MA
Students: 2,052
2013-14 Tuition: $46,600
Admissions: 17.0% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Regional Univ. - North

4. Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT
Students: 3,879
2013-14 Tuition: $42,920
Admissions: 71.2% Acceptance Rate
Prev Next

Regional Univ. - North

2. Providence College

Providence, RI
Students: 3,810
2013-14 Tuition: $42,206
Admissions: 61.0%

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