“Back then, everything was very interconnected,” says Elizabeth Catuccio, assistant in the Office of Community Engagement and a key player in the current resurgence of the NVCC Alumni Association. Catuccio is describing the historical progression of job placement opportunities available for NVCC graduates.
“When I graduated from NVCC in 1984, people came looking for you. Being an NVCC graduate lent a lot of credibility. And it would get you a job.”
Catuccio, a Waterbury native and resident, believes in the power of an NVCC degree with an urgency that fellow alumni have come to truly appreciate.
While NVCC has a significant number of workforce partners, perhaps even more than it did 30 years ago because of programs in manufacturing, healthcare and behavioral health and science fields, Catuccio hopes to strengthen and build upon connections with the College around the City.
“We’re doing so much, but do our alumni know?” she asks. “In these tough economic times, the opportunity to reconnect with your college, even just to network, is so important.”
After several stalled attempts to energize the association in recent years, there’s a sense of momentum building among the group’s core contributors. The Association has entered the social media realm on Facebook, is planning upcoming events and is working across the campus to build awareness with students before they graduate.
“I love NVCC - I love how I feel when I am at the school,” says Eugenia Magill, an active member of the Association. Magill got her associate degree from NVCC in 2007 and continued earning transferable credits while working toward a bachelor’s degree at Quinnipiac University.
“I have and will continue to recommend NVCC. Both my children graduated from NVCC. I want to give back and be a part of developing the Alumni Association so all graduates can stay connected to the place their higher educational journey began.”
Fair warning: if you graduated from NVCC, or Mattatuck or Waterbury State Tech. before the merger, it's not far-fetched to envision a phone call from a fellow alumnus in your future.
NVCC’s own recruitment guru, Linda Stango, has joined the association in a return to her Waterbury roots, like Catuccio.
Stango, a first generation college student, came to Mattatuck without any idea what to expect from “college life.”
“It’s kind of ironic that I see this place as giving me my start, and now it’s my job to give people theirs, it is very rewarding” says Stango, who has served as admissions director for nearly six years.
“I want the community to know that we are here for them and can help them to realize their dreams and goals. I want to connect with former students who share my belief that NVCC is a “Smart Choice” and are willing to help others break through the barriers that keep them from attending college.”
The first official Alumni meet-and-greet will take place on April 3 in the Technology Hall Dining Room from 5:30 – 8 p.m. To get the Association off the ground, NVCC Professor Peter Cisek will donate his expertise as the national director of education for the American Wine Society in a “Wines of the World” tasting, featuring an international palette of reds and whites. The wines will be paired with specially crafted hors d’oeuvres by New England Flare LLC, owned and operated by 2011 graduate and distinguished student recipient Jonathan Miller and his sister, Sarah Miller, a 2012 graduate and President’s Circle member.
And in the meantime, if you want more information about the event or the Alumni Association, Catuccio will be more than happy to collect your RSVP at email@example.com or 203-575-8045.
“I have no problem going door-to-door,” she playfully jokes to all of the hidden alumni out there. “I’m so happy to be back here and doing this. This is my stomping ground. This is my home.”