March 5, 2017

Inbox [March 5]: Becker panel to talk refugees and immigration, Assumption adds addiction counseling certificate, MassDiGI Game Challenge a hit, Bravehearts sign six

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Courtesy Jaime Flores Photography

The Bravehearts are lining up a big week for fans at Fitton Field.

Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about.

Panel discussion on refugees and immigration Monday at Becker

What are the practical implications of the Trump administration’s immigration measures? What impact do foreign-born workers have on the economy at the local, regional and national levels?

Deborah Becker

Courtesy WBUR

WBUR-FM (90.9) senior correspondent Deborah Becker

WBUR-FM (90.9) senior correspondent Deborah Becker will moderate a panel of community leaders who span higher education, international relations, health care and refugee assistance. The event is 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, March 6, in room 210 of the Weller Academic Center, 61 Sever St. on the Worcester campus of Becker College.

The panelists are scheduled to be Becker College President Robert E. Johnson; David Jordan, president and CEO of Seven Hills Foundation and professor of practice in social innovation at the Yunus Social Business Centre at Becker College; Dr. Olga Valdman, family medicine physician at Family Health Center and assistant professor at UMass Medical School; and Meredith Walsh, executive director and co-founder of the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project.

This event is presented by the Becker College Center for Global Citizenship.

Read the entire story on the Becker College website

Assumption announces grad certificate in addiction counseling

Assumption College has announced that beginning in fall 2017 it will offer a new Certificate in Graduate Studies in Addiction Counseling, which aims to raise the standard for the educational preparation of addiction counselors. The new certificate program is a one-year, six-course curriculum that consists of four content courses and two addiction counseling internships.

“In Massachusetts and elsewhere, addiction has become a public health crisis that destroys lives and families,” said Leonard A. Doerfler, Ph.D., professor and director of Assumption’s Counseling Psychology program.

“Assumption has created this program to train individuals to provide effective treatment to those who have succumbed to addiction to help them regain control of their lives and make meaningful contributions to their communities. One unique aspect of this program is that the curriculum was developed in collaboration with community partners who are treating those struggling with addiction. In order to create the best program that fills the needs of well-trained addiction counselors, the courses and syllabi were shaped, revised, and endorsed by leaders of four nonprofit substance abuse and behavioral health agencies in Worcester.”

In addition to the community-endorsed curriculum, there are three defining aspects of Assumption’s Addiction Counseling certificate:

  • The curriculum emphasizes evidence-based interventions. Currently, the most common treatments when it comes to substance abuse have not met the minimum scientific evaluation, however, the new CGS breaks that mold; interventions students will learn to use are based on research that has examined what is likely to be helpful or effective.
  • The CGS curriculum is a skills-based model. Students will develop practical skills to provide treatment to assist individuals who struggle with alcohol or drug abuse problems.
  • The curriculum is designed to prepare students to “treat the whole person.” Individuals battling substance abuse often struggle with a number of other challenges including anxiety, communication difficulties, and depression, among others. The CGS curriculum will prepare students to recognize these challenges so that they can assist individuals in overcoming issues connected to alcohol or drug use.

‘May’s Journey’ takes grand prize in sixth annual MassDiGI Game Challenge

“May’s Journey” by Small Squares won the grand prize in the sixth annual Massachusetts Digital Games Institute Game Challenge last weekend in Cambridge.

Worcester Games, only in the Sun

In “May’s Journey,” an educational game that teaches programming through puzzle solving and storytelling, the hero, a girl named May, finds herself trapped in a broken game world. She wants to escape but in order to do so she must find her friend. There is only one way to get out: coding. “May’s Journey” aims to interest middle and high school-aged girls in computer science by teaching them the basics of programming through play.

The game, which also won the Serious Category at the contest, will be released on PC later this year. Chaima Jemmali, a native of Tunisia and former Fulbright scholar, began working on the game in 2015 with her colleague Jonathan Yang as part of their interactive media and game development master’s degree program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The MassDiGI Game Challenge helps independent, startup and student game developers and entrepreneurs shape their ideas and products for launch. This year 33 teams from across the northeast competed in front of a packed room at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center in Kendall Square.

“MassDiGI’s focus on fostering new, creative, business-savvy talent is exactly what the New England game industry needs. Game Challenge alumni have opened their own studios or found jobs at larger studios,” said contest judge Rick Cody, a past Game Challenge winner.

Since the MassDiGI Game Challenge began six years ago, more than 200 different teams have pitched games and taken home prizes valued at more than $100,000.

Among the winners was a team from Millbury High School who won the High School Category with a game named “Green Ninja.”

Read the entire story and see the complete list of winners on the MassDiGI website

Bravehearts sign 6 from New England, including 4 from Central Mass.

Having already signed 11 returning players from the 2016 team that advanced to the Futures League championship, the Worcester Bravehearts announced six more New England players will join the team when the season opens on June 2.

More from the Sun: Bravehearts have spring in their step

The team has signed three Central Mass. pitchers from Division I collegiate programs. Former Algonquin High standout Matt Geoffrion (Northboro) of the University of Maine, Shrewsbury resident Kendall Pomeroy (The Loomis Chaffee School) of UMass-Lowell, and Dudley native Sebastian Gruszecki (Shepherd Hill) of Florida Gulf Coast University have all signed to join the 2017 Bravehearts.

Another familiar name will take the field this summer when Mariano Ricciardi (Worcester Academy / West Boylston) joins his brother Dante. The younger Ricciardi is a 5-foot-8, left-handed hitting second-baseman who will begin his college career at Florida Atlantic University in the fall. Ricciardi competed last fall in the 2016 WWBA World Championship, where he was named to the All Tournament Team. Locally, Ricciardi played Legion baseball for the East Side Post 201 Raiders in 2015 alongside another Worcester Braveheart, 2016 pitcher Peter Bovenzi.

The University of Maine will send two more players to join Matt Geoffrion on the 2017 edition of the Worcester Bravehearts. Kevin Doody (Berkshire Academy / Canton, Mass.) and Cody Laweryson (Upper Kennebec Valley High School / Bingham, Maine) will be the newest Black Bears to come to Worcester after finishing up their freshman campaigns in Orono.

Read the entire story and see the current roster on the Worcester Bravehearts website

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