August 24, 2018 Melissa Lamar

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Tunxis Community College has announced that its project “Connecticut CLICKs: The CT Community Colleges’ International Education Initiative,” has received a second one-year $20,000 grant from the French Embassy in the U.S., this time to the CT College of Technology (COT), one of CT CLICKs’ partners.

CT community college students and faculty from the CT CLICKs Explorers trip visit the CESI campus in France. L to R (front row): Professor Amely Cross (Asnuntuck CC); Professor Karen Wosczyna-Birch, Ed.D. (Tunxis CC/COT); Sara Kelly; Monica Lamberti; Dhrumil Shah; Elena Bolotova; Michelle McMillan; Breanna Felt; (back row) Professor Angelo Glaviano (Middlesex CC); Cameron Danalis; and Matthew Tuttle.

CT CLICKs is the first initiative of its kind in Connecticut to create systematic study abroad opportunities for students of the CT Community Colleges, and ultimately aims to widen paths to international education for the over 70,000 credit-enrolled students of the 12 CT Community Colleges. Other current CT CLICKs partners for the initiative are Asnuntuck, Middlesex, and Northwestern Connecticut Community Colleges.

The grant awarded, called “Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative: Partnerships for Innovation and Collaboration on Study Abroad,” aims to strengthen the historic ties between the United States and France by doubling the number of students studying abroad in the two countries by 2025.

“The CT CLICKs program provides community college students and faculty with the unique opportunity to participate in international learning experiences that prepare them for the global workforce,” said Karen Wosczyna-Birch, Ed.D., Tunxis professor and state director of COT. “The inclusion of collaborative research projects among the partner institutions in France and CT provides a diversity that can produce results that might be impossible to achieve individually.”

The award comes on the heels of eight Tunxis and Connecticut Community College students attending a nine-day “CT Explorers” trip to France at the end of spring semester sponsored by CT CLICKS with some of its 2017 grant funds.

Students from Tunxis, Asnuntuck and Middlesex Community Colleges, most of whom had participated in the initiative’s learning modules with international students, were chosen to participate through an application process and were accompanied by faculty. The “CT Explorers” student travelers were:

Asnuntuck Community College:

Cameron Danalis (North Granby)

Lizbeth Monica Lamberti (Suffield)

Matthew Tuttle (Willington)

Middlesex Community College:

Breanna Felt (Middletown)

Michelle McMillan (Meriden)

Sarah Rowe (Middle Haddam)

Tunxis Community College:

Elena Bolotova (East Berlin)

Dhrumil Shah (Newington)


During the trip, students visited CESI Nanterre campus in Paris, and IUT campuses in Lannion, Rennes and Montreuil, where they met students and faculty, toured the facilities and learned about different technologies on the campuses including robotics, manufacturing, mechanical engineering, computer science, telecommunications, fiber optics, and cyber security. The group was featured in two French newspapers during their time in Lannion, and in Paris they met up with a Tunxis business administration graduate who is living there and pursuing his master’s degree. All students received credit for their participation, and shared their experiences with their community colleges upon returning.

“One of the most impressive facts for me was that IUT Lannion, IUT Rennes and many other colleges in France have partnered with large companies such as Renault, Airbus, and others, to provide students studying engineering and technology with hands-on internships,” said Tunxis graduate Dhrumil Shah, who helped mentor participating students during the trip with fellow Tunxis grad Elena Bolotova. Shah will attend UConn this fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Related to the initiative, CT CC students were accepted for the second summer in an Energy and Environmental Bootcamp workshop sponsored by n + i Institute and the French Embassy in the U.S. Shah and Bolotova had attended this STEM workshop in summer 2017.

For more information on “CT CLICKs: the CT CCs’ International Education Initiative,” contact Leigh E. Knopf, Tunxis director of institutional advancement, 860.773.1356,[email protected].

Tunxis Community College in Farmington offers over 60 associate degrees and certificate, and is the recipient of a $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant that established the CT College of Technology’s Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, an NSF Center of Excellence. To learn more about Tunxis, visit

The CT College of Technology at Tunxis Community College is a consortium of all 12 CT Community Colleges and eight public and private universities that was formed through CT legislation in 1995 to establish seamless pathways in engineering and technology. It also provides seamless career pathways for students to earn certificates, associate of science and bachelor of science degrees in manufacturing, engineering, and technology disciplines with no loss of credit upon transfer. For more information on the College of Technology, contact Karen Wosczyna-Birch, Ed.D., at 860.723.0608, or [email protected].