neighborhood groups,” said Zunino. “It’s just what we need: People who care about the city and what the downtown looks like.” Zunino became involved with the Historic Board in 2004 as a student volunteer through the Middlesex Community College Service-Learning Program. She had intended to pursue a career in interior design, but after taking several MCC western civilization courses, Zunino discovered she loved history. “I was always interested in interiors and period fixtures,” she said. “Volunteering at the Historic Board definitely influenced what I wanted to do and which classes I took.” In addition to her studies and time spent at the Historic Board, Zunino also worked at Middlesex’s registration sessions in Bedford and Lowell. “I got to help people like me, who wanted to make a fresh start,” she said. “I had been out of high school since 1997, doing odd jobs, before coming to MCC in 2002. I knew I needed a better education, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Then I enrolled in classes on the Bedford campus and absolutely loved it.” After earning a degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences in 2004, Zunino transferred — with a scholarship — to Wellesley College. She was happy to discover that Middlesex had prepared her very well for the more difficult classes she encountered there. Meanwhile, her involvement with the Historic Board morphed into a paid internship. After Zunino graduated from Wellesley in 2007, with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, the Historic Board hired her full time. Over the years, she has worked on projects such as Doors Unhinged, a benefit through which artists decorate doors with different themes. The doors are then auctioned off to raise money for the local artist community. During May, which is Historic Preservation Month, she will once again participate in Doors Open Lowell. evolved into a key project in her role at the Historic Board. “They are beautiful places on their own,” she said. “Burial grounds were meant to be places to go and reflect. They are outdoor museums. You can walk around and ‘read’ them. Sometimes the gravestones are the only record of early settlers.” Zunino, who is now certified in gravestone repair, has turned to Middlesex for extra help in cleaning up historic cemeteries. During MCC’s 2008 Day of Service, a group of student and faculty volunteers worked to restore Lowell’s overgrown Alcott Cemetery. Before they began their cleanup project, Zunino gave the group a tour of the Colonial-era burial ground and explained its history. The volunteers then spent hours locating and moving pieces of broken gravestones, taking down trees, and clearing out brush. “Kim's interest in historic preservation and the college’s community-engagement programs are a perfect match,” said Sheri Denk, Coordinator of MCC’s Center for Community Engagement. “By working with me to develop the Day of Service site at the Alcott Cemetery on Hunt Road, Kim provided leadership and resources to preserve and restore an important historic site.” Zunino also has had the assistance of a Middlesex Service-Learning student in her office at Lowell’s City Hall, and would welcome more student volunteers at the Historic Board. “I have different projects set up for those who are more interested in historic research, and those who want to get their hands dirty,” she said. Service-Learning opportunities are an ideal way for students to get a little more involved with the city, said Zunino. They also give her an opportunity to share her appreciation for Lowell’s intertwined past and future. Amy Magin Wong 4 MCC student volunteers, under Zunino’s direction, cleaned up Lowell’s historic Alcott Cemetery as part of Day of Service 2008. The weekend event features public tours of many restored buildings, showing how preservation and rehabilitation can work together. “I don’t think people realize that Lowell has such a rich history – immigrant, architectural – it’s all here,” said Zunino. “When we have these special events, visitors walk around downtown see the different neighborhoods and realize how the city has changed.” Zunino also has developed a zeal for the restoration and preservation of Lowell’s old, crumbling burial grounds. Her interest began in 2005, when she stumbled across the Hunt-Clark Cemetery in Lowell’s Belvidere neighborhood, an abandoned cemetery dating to around 1650. Zunino noticed how decayed and overgrown it was, apparently forgotten by the surrounding community. She soon discovered that the city’s other historic burial grounds were in the same state of deterioration. “I’ve kind of become an ambassador for graveyards,” said Zunino, explaining that her commitment to clean up the burial grounds and document the gravestones has Service-Learning and other community-engagement opportunities at Middlesex are coordinated through MCC’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE). The CCE’s mission is to enrich students' educational experiences, meet community needs, and foster civic responsibility by integrating service into the academic curriculum. Through participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences that address real community needs, students extend what they learn beyond the classroom. Courses with Service-Learning and communityengagement components are offered in a wide variety of courses at Middlesex. For more information, call 978-656-3159 or 781-280-3556. Profiles |19|