For Stephanie (Fielding) Marchetti ‘07, ‘10, her work supporting veterans hits close to home; both of her grandfathers served in the Korean War.
Marchetti has been executive director of the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center (MVOC) in Gardner since May 2021, where she went to work after 10 years working with student veterans at Mount Wachusett Community College.
“When the position at MVOC opened up, after COVID, we were all rethinking everything in our careers and our lives, and it seemed like a good time to make a switch,” said Marchetti, who learned the workings of the private non-profit organization’s scope while serving on its board.
The center was founded in the 1980s by the spouse of a Vietnam veteran who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and died by suicide. “She found there was no help for him or her family, so she created the help,” Marchetti said.
The organization serves hundreds of veterans annually in 27 cities and towns across North Central Massachusetts. It operates low-income apartments for homeless veterans, as well as transitional housing and supportive group homes as well as a food and clothing pantry. In addition, the center offers free mental health and wellness counseling and helps veterans navigate benefits.
Marchetti oversees all of it, including writing grant applications to keep the operation funded. She recently worked with another organization to secure $20 million in funding that will lead to 44 additional low-income apartments for veterans in Winchendon.
In May, Marchetti was recognized by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as a member of the Commonwealth Heroines Class of 2023. The commission has bestowed the honors for 20 years, recognizing women who make a difference in their communities utilizing their time, talent, spirit and enthusiasm.
Both of my degrees at Fitchburg State got me to where I am, because they immersed me in hands-on learning.
Marchetti said she was grateful for the recognition but is quick to share the credit with her team at the center.
“It was nice because the whole organization is recognized,” Marchetti said. “They see that we are working really hard all of the time to make an actual, noticeable difference.”
Marchetti credits her studies at Fitchburg State with building the foundation she still draws upon. “What I learned in my bachelor’s degree was the opportunity to be creative,” she said. “I tend to incorporate a little bit of art into everything I do. For the center, I run the website and design all of our publications. One of the things my degree taught me was comfort with the technology to do those things, and a lot of that is transferable. Both of my degrees at Fitchburg State got me to where I am, because it immersed me in hands-on learning.”
It’s also where she met her husband, Matthew.
Marchetti, who completed a doctorate in higher education administration at Maryville University of Saint Louis in 2021, has remained engaged with Fitchburg State. She has been a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors for three years, and is currently its secretary.
“Fitchburg State truly made a huge difference in my life,” she said. “Fitchburg State is the reason why I have the entire career and life I have right now, so it’s nice to be a part of it still.”