Karen Desjeans, of Holyoke Community College (HCC), was named President-Elect of Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education (MWPHE) on June 10th at the MWPHE Annual Spring Conference in West Dennis, Massachusetts.
With a passion for helping women achieve greatness, Desjeans, Staff Assistant in Administration and Finance, joined MWPHE in 2009 as a Campus Coordinator. Since joining MWPHE she has met women from all over Massachusetts who share her ideals and are motivated by building confidence in women. At the annual conference, the organization was excited to learn that they have recently received 501(C)(3) status.
"With our recent success receiving 501(C)(3) status, I am extremely excited about the new opportunities," Desjeans noted, "this is a turning point for women in higher education."
She is particularly fond of the MWPHE scholarship program, awarded in 2011 to HCC student Laura Hurler, a single mother of three children. Desjeans said the committee of judges were deeply moved by Hurler's stirring essay about her struggles and achievements. The Scholarship Committee reviews nominees from each of the 15 community colleges, nine state colleges and UMass, and awards one applicant in each sector a $750 scholarship.
Desjeans will serve as President-Elect for a one-year term, and assume the role of President for fiscal year 2013. HCC's Carol Patterson, Staff Assistant to Vice President Jeffrey Hayden, also sits on the 13 member executive board. "These is such an exciting time for HCC, and we are so proud of Karen," she said. "She is going to accomplish great things as President!"
Desjeans received her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Elms College in 2008. Prior to coming to HCC, Karen worked at Rock-Tenn Company in Chicopee for 14 years. While at Rock-Tenn she rose through the ranks from Administrative Assistant to Office Manager and Acting Controller. She and husband, Glenn, reside in Chicopee with their son, Christopher.
MWPHE is comprised of 29 institutions of higher education throughout the state of Massachusetts, including community colleges and state universities. The mission of the organization is to "strengthen the status of women as professionals and to enhance the quality of public higher education."