Top Stories: Dec 3 Campus Connections

The Beacon revamps its YouTube channel

SMCC’s student newspaper has revamped its YouTube channel and is encouraging all students to submit videos.

The Beacon YouTube channel has remained largely dormant for the past three years, but newspaper staffers have quietly posted a couple of videos in recent weeks in hopes of breathing new life into the channel.

The first video was an interview with SMCC alumnus Vincent Amoroso about his art in Hildreth Hall, while the second featured interviews with SMCC students asking them why they came to SMCC.

Newspaper staffer Daniele Amandolini said all students — not just those on the Beacon staff — are encouraged to submit videos from around SMCC, such as student activities, clubs or anything that would of interest to students. To submit an idea, contact the paper at

Amandolini said the paper is managed, written and designed by students.

“We thought, why not have students do videos as well?” he said. “The more students who take part, the better.”

Pink isn’t just for October

By Julie Chase, Interim Dean of Business and Community Partnerships, and Denise Reny, HR & Benefits Manager

You couldn’t escape the color pink in October. Pink for breast cancer awareness. That month of pink being everywhere has new meaning for us now. We’re not sure it will ever be our favorite color, but we do know it shouldn’t only be seen in October.

Now it is December and we want to be sure you are still thinking about breast cancer. About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, with most being diagnosed after the age of 50. Here on our campus, two of us UNDER the age of 50 were diagnosed in the spring of 2018 — just 51 days apart, but now forever linked and part of a club we didn’t want to join.

Neither of us had a family history of breast cancer, but we were both sent to have 3D mammograms after exams with our doctors. Following ultrasounds, biopsies and MRIs, there were many anxious days. And then we both heard those words: “You have cancer.”

Julie: On April 4, I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. A few days later I went to Denise’s office and though I didn’t know yet what I would be doing for surgery and treatment, I expected to need some kind of medical leave and I wanted to do the paperwork for FMLA.

I told her she had probably been through this before (meaning an employee going through breast cancer surgery and treatment) and she probably knew better than I on how it would work. Surprisingly, she couldn’t recall going through this with another employee. She has worked at SMCC for years, and I just couldn’t believe based on statistics that I was the first employee she had that was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Things moved quickly after for me. Trips to Dana Farber and local doctors. A double mastectomy and reconstruction. An extra hospital stay due to complications requiring two blood transfusions. Chemo. Hair loss. And now, back to work on a part-time schedule as I build up stamina and my immune system. They say the cancer is gone and I was “lucky” it was caught early at Stage 2.

Denise: I already had a mammogram scheduled when Julie told me about her diagnosis. I had no symptoms, no palpable lump, and no family history so I wasn’t overly concerned when they called me back for a repeat scan. However, after an ultrasound and biopsy, I got my invasive ductal carcinoma diagnosis on May 24 while at my son’s baseball game. Neither Julie nor I had much of a summer as we fought through the effects of chemo and numerous doctor appointments. We often texted each other to compare stories, scares, funny things (yes – even in cancer there are funny days) and things we’ll never confess to talking about! Thankfully,chemo did it’s job and just a few days after surgery I was blessed with hearing the words you’re “cancer-free.”

So, even though the month of pink has gone by, we want you to remember the importance of early detection and regular screening. If you are overdue for your mammogram, please call your doctor today. Ask your wife, sister, daughter and any important women in your life if they need to schedule their mammogram and then keep asking. We are asking you, too. Pink isn’t just for October.