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A photo of a group of graduates from the SOAR program, taken outside at NECC

Welcome to SOAR!

SOAR Project Logo

The SOAR (Seize Opportunities, Aspire to Rise) program is a student support program created to help you succeed! 

We provide opportunities for you to strengthen your academic skills, explore career and transfer options, express your identities, and gain leadership experience.

Our goal is to create a familial community that fosters trust and provides personalized and caring support that empowers you to overcome obstacles and achieve your version of success. Whether you need help or someone to talk to, we are here for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out whenever you need us.

For more information about becoming a SOAR Scholar email or stop by the SOAR center in room 209 in the SC building, Haverhill Campus.

Back this Spring 2024: SOAR After Dark!

Feeling stuck with an assignment?

Our Academic Fellows are available Monday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. virtually and in-person. Our Fellows can assist you with assignment planning and completion! Just have a quick question? Our Academic Fellows are here to help. 

All locations are open Monday – Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST)

Want to join virtually?

Click HERE

Want to join in person?

Bentley Library in Haverhill until 8:00 p.m., when the library closes, they will move to the Student Center Cafe area on the 2nd floor from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (EST)

Dimitry Room L146

STEM Tutoring

 We have two STEM tutors available Monday through Friday. The online tutoring will be available via the SOAR After Dark zoom room for the hours below. 

Haverhill/Online Hours:

Monday: By appointment only 

Tuesday: Available in Haverhill Library and online from 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (EST)

Wednesday: Available in Haverhill Library and online from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (EST)

Thursday: Available in Haverhill Student Center Room 209 and online from 1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (EST)

Friday: By appointment only 


Lawrence/Online Hours:

Monday:  Available online 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EST)

Tuesday: Available in Lawrence Dimitry Building L146 and online 5:00-9:00 p.m. (EST)

Wednesday: Available in Lawrence Dimitry Building L146 and online 3:30-8:00 p.m. (EST)

Thursday: Available in Lawrence Dimitry Building L146 and online 9:30am-3:30 p.m. (EST)


New SOAR Student Interest Groups

These are student interest groups meant to build community among students. This is a safe space for students to participate in group activities, create friendships, and connect.

B.U.D.S. (Brothers United Defining Success)

This is a men’s identifying student group.

W.U.S.A. (Women United Supporting Another)

This is a women’s identifying student group.

GSA Collab

We are also working on a collaboration with the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

For more details on the next meetings stay tuned to our events section below. For any questions about the groups, please email Faniel Adames at

SOAR Services

SOAR Coaches: Academic Success Learn academic tools, Manage commitments, Stay on track

SOAR Tutoring: Tutoring Services Problem solving skills, Build confidence, Understand assignments

Ambassador Mentors: Personal Growth Discover new interests, Connect with peers, Utilize technology

Academic Fellows: SOAR After Dark Assistance after hours, Assignment planning, Supportive workspace

Support Coordinator: Sense of Belonging Advocate for yourself, Community resources, Explore NECC community

Academic Advisors: Navigation Prep for career or transfer, Find your major, Plan your courses


Who We Are

SOAR Staff
headshot of Jacques Morrow

Jacques Morrow (He/Him/His)

Hi! My name is Jacques Morrow and I am an Academic and Transfer Advisor for SOAR.

I hail from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Idaho, and have been teaching, tutoring or advising in some form for the last 15 years. I have a B.A. in Theatre and a Masters in Theatre Education, and my graduate thesis delved into how attitudes between students and teachers affect information retention. I believe teaching is ultimately a position of service, so I am here to help, even if that just means a cup of coffee and a sympathetic ear.

My passion is yoga, which I began twelve years ago in conjunction with work as a mime, clown and acrobat. I am the quintessential geek, consuming everything from Marvel to Harry Potter, to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Earth: Mostly Harmless). I am also the father of three precocious children and the husband of one long-suffering wife.

headshot of Jordan Ellis

Jordan Ellis

My name is Jordan Ellis, and I am an Academic and Transfer Advisor for the SOAR Program. I was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, in a big family (I have six siblings). I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. I earned my Master of Arts in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Before joining SOAR, I was an instructor in the Sociology Department at UMass Lowell for nine years. I also served as an academic advisor for Middlesex Community College’s TRiO Student Success Program, a student support service program for first-generation students.

In my free time, I love to read, listen to live music, socialize with friends, and go on bike rides with my wife.

Please feel free to stop by to see me in the SOAR space.

headshot of Faniel Adames

Faniel Adames (He/Him/His)

Hello, my name is Faniel Adames and I am the Student Support Coordinator for the Liberal Arts and STEM. I graduated from the University of Massachusetts of Amherst with a theater degree and a minor in psychology. I’m a first-generation college student, so I understand how confusing it can be in a new environment, not knowing what to ask or expect. That’s why I’m here!

Don’t be shy to reach out with any concerns, questions, or even if you just want to chat about movies and shows. I’m a resource that NECC wants you to have, and part of my job is to connect you to the other resources you’ll need. If I know, then you’ll know. If don’t know, then I’ll find out. So, don’t hesitate to stop by!

headshot of Kelley Biedermann

Kelley Biedermann (She/Her/Hers)

My name is Kelley Biedermann and I am an Academic Coach with the SOAR program. If you need support or are feeling overwhelmed with your classes, I’m here to listen and help you get back on track. I want to help you reach your success goals.

Prior to joining NECC I was a first-grade classroom teacher. My prior work experience also includes working at a non-profit organization, helping young children living at homeless family shelters. I also have extensive experience in consulting & training.

A fun fact about me is that I love to decorate for the holidays, my office will always have various decorations. I am the owner of what many might describe as ‘tacky yard blow-ups’ – which will be proudly on display in our front yard during Halloween and Christmas! Please stop by my office in Haverhill in the Student Center/SC209 to say Hi.

headshot of Lisa Walters

Lisa Walters (She/Her/Hers)

Hello. My name is Lisa Walters, and I am an Academic coach at SOAR. I love the title “Seize Opportunities, Aspire to Rise”, as I am excited to help make this happen for our students! In my previous role at Northern Essex I worked as the English as a Second Language Placement Specialist, evaluating students’ level in English and then placing them in the appropriate classes. I have a Ph.D. in French Studies as well as a background in ESL and Spanish. I have taught at numerous colleges including UMass Lowell, Salem State, Merrimack College, Tufts University, and Brandeis. I like yoga, travel, crochet, music and dance (merengue, salsa, bachata and more!)

headshot of Maha Nassar

Maha Nassar 

Hello, my name is Maha Nassar, I am a SOAR Coach. I am here to support you through your college journey, listen to you, provide you with the supports, tools and resources needed to enhance your success. Guided by my motto “how can I help” I am very excited to empower you to achieve your goals.

I have a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Merrimack College. During my time at Merrimack, I worked at the Graduate Student Center as a Program Coordinator, supporting students to enhance their academic and social engagement in their college. Previously I worked as a medical and academic interpreter/translator and Arabic teacher for middle and high school students.

I like watching movies, biking, decorating, cooking, and spending quality time with my family and friends. I also love cultural events, music and dance. My favorite music is salsa, merengue, Middle eastern, and Greek music. Feel free to stop by and ask questions!

headshot of Kellie Schroeder

Kellie Schroeder (She/Her/Hers)

I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to collaborate with NECC students and help them polish their writing skills. The 11 years I have spent at NECC as a professional writing tutor and a Writing Instructor have deepened my passion for empowering students on their academic journeys. Before joining NECC, I worked as a communications consultant, public relations manager, and professional writer and had the privilege of interviewing well-known figures ranging from the former Secretary of State Colin Powell to the singer/songwriter Gloria Estefan to the best-selling author Mary Higgins Clark. During my time as an ELL instructor in Madrid, Spain, I became fluent in Spanish and as the older sister of a Deaf sibling, I am proficient in American Sign Language. Please pop into the Writing Center to discuss your next writing project –whether it’s a scholarship essay, a short response or a research paper, I am eager to help with every phase of the writing process! 

headshot of Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper (She/Her/Hers)

I’m excited to be your Director of SOAR. Our passion is helping students define and achieve their version of success. My partner nicknamed me “the professor” because I am a teacher at heart: From helping a fellow shopper find gooseberries to guiding our children through life, I love to help people harness the power of knowledge to make informed choices. I have a master’s degree in the Art of Teaching from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI and a Master’s in Interior Design from the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk, and they have certainly opened doors in my profession. I look forward to meeting you soon!

headshot of Martha Mazeika

Martha Mazeika (She/Her/Hers)

My name is Martha Mazeika and I am the Assistant Director of SOAR! I have been working at community colleges for 25 years in Massachusetts, Virginia, and Illinois with my main focus being advising and student success. Like all of you, I’m in school as well, to add to my collection of degrees. I am a quilter and love sewing (especially hand sewing!) with friends. Please stop by my office in the Dimitry Building L134 if you need help, want to share your story, and/or have ideas of how the SOAR program can help you!!!

headshot of Dermot Luddy

Dermot Luddy (He/Him/His)

Hi! I am the Assistant Director of SOAR for Academic Support, and I look forward to helping you plot a smooth course forward in your journey here.

I studied philosophy, computers, and theology in Ireland, then studied at Fordham University in the Bronx. I’ve taught at Fordham, Stonehill College, SNHU, Curry College, UML, Bridgewater State, Northern Essex, as well as fifteen years at a high school. I’ve worked in the Center for Liberal Arts here and continue to advocate for liberal arts as a critical part of any curriculum.

I live on the edge of a swamp with my wife and life partner, our brood of young adults, in addition to two dogs and three cats. I am never happier than when pontificating on the state of American politics. I enjoy movies, live music, and spending time with friends and family.

headshot of Eudania-Chucha Aquino

Eudania-Chucha Aquino (She/Her/Hers)

Hello, my name is Eudania Aquino but everyone calls me Chucha. I have been with NECC on and off since 2009, and I recently completed my Associates Degree in Human Services. I just became a part of the SOAR team after being one of the students in the program. I seized the opportunities and look forward to seeing you all SOAR! Hope to meet you all this semester!

headshot of Anne Mbuga

Anne Mbugua (She/Her/Hers)

Hello there! I’m currently serving as the Data Manager and Analyst for the SOAR program, where I focus on using data to enhance student success outcomes. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Information Technology from Strathmore University, Kenya. My professional journey has been quite diverse, encompassing roles in Software Development, Human Services, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and, most recently, Higher Education. Beyond my work, I have a deep passion for cooking and fashion competition shows on Food Network and Bravo TV. These programs offer me both intellectual stimulation and the chance to appreciate the striking parallels between data analysis and the artistry of culinary and fashion realms. Additionally, I cherish spending quality time with my family. Feel free to say hello if you see me around!

Alex Revi 

Bio coming soon.

headshot of Jazmine Scamman

Jazmine Scamman (She/Her/Hers)

Hello, my name is Jazmine and I am the Administrative Assistant for the SOAR program. Welcome! I am currently working on an MBA at UMASS Lowell and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Salem State University. I love the arts – music, dance, theatre, etc. I love Disney, and I also love to travel. If you visit campus, please stop by to say hello.

SOAR After Dark Staff
headshot of Dalante Castle

Dalante Castle (He/Him/His)

Hey, my name is Dalante Castle and I’m a SOAR Academic Fellow for Business & Professional Studies. Currently, I’m working on an MBA at Southern New Hampshire University and have a Bachelor’s in English from UMass Amherst. My long-term goal is to study Sociology at the Ph.D. level. In my free time I like to play video games, read, travel, play soccer and go to music, arts & cultural events. I think SOAR is a great resource for students to get academic support and hopefully the ability to envision themselves succeeding academically and professionally. Plus, there’s free snacks, so it’s an all-around win.

headshot of Andrew Venditti

Andrew Venditti

Hello, my name is Andrew and I’m a SOAR Academic Fellow. In 2022, I got a degree from Northern Essex Community College in Journalism & Communicaton. Now that I work here, I’m excited to help NECC students thrive on their journey here! 

In my free time I like playing guitar, Dungeons and Dragons, and board & video games (as it turns out, I’m a huge nerd). I like all kinds of music, but love writing metal and indie stuff.

My job as an Academic Fellow is to help you do your best here: from helping you schedule study time around your busy life, to working on completing an assignment, to getting you in touch with the right resources on campus. As a recent NECC graduate myself, I understand that school can be a real challenge – so I would love to help you excel however I can. I look forward to working with you!

headshot of Ashley Wheeler

Ashley Wheeler

Hi there! My name is Ashley Wheeler, and I am a SOAR After Dark Academic Fellow! My job is to help assist you in course work and assignments, and help you find the resources you need! 

I have previously graduated from NECC with 2 degrees, Medical Assisting and General Studies with a focus in Secondary Education! I also have my B.A. in Special Education and have a full-time job as a special education teacher/case manager at a middle school!  

I have a passion for lending a helping hand, and that is why I’m here! Please stop by to see the other Academic Fellows and I, as we are here for you!

headshot of John Davis

John Davis

Hi my name is John Davis and I am a SOAR STEM Tutor. I transferred from NECC after my Spring ’23 semester and now am getting my bachelor’s in Physics at UMass Lowell. I’m here to help you with whatever you may be struggling with in your STEM class, whether it’s trying to solve a particularly difficult problem for your calculus class, helping format your lab reports to look more professional, or even just to act as a sounding board for your problem-solving process. Happy to help in any way!

In my free time I enjoy playing drums in my band and recording homemade music when I have a bit of free time. I love getting out into nature, doodling, playing chess, a good movie, and listening to music.

I understand how difficult and frustrating a STEM class can be, but even more so I know how rewarding it can be to solve a problem that has been stumping you for days or to complete a big project that shows one’s learning; I’m here to help you turn your frustration into motivation!

headshot of Daniel Keating

Daniel Keating

Hi I’m Daniel, I graduated from NECC in 2019, and UMass Amherst in 2022. Talk to me about: *Cities*: Urban Studies, Governance models, Public Administration, Arts and Culture led economic development, Cultural Plans/Planning, Participative Planning, Gateway Cities, Charter Cities, Public-Private-Partnerships, Placemaking, Community Engagement, Geography, Scenario Planning, Sustainable Urbanization, Heterodox Economic Development Theory *Organization Studies*: Organizational Culture! Interorganizational collaboration, Org. Design & Structure, Org. Learning, Org. Sociology/Ecology, Institutionalism, Org. Behavior/Human capital management, Decision-making, Innovation and change, Conflicts/Power/Politics, Succession strategies, The history of OT *Their Intersections/Overlaps*: Systems Thinking, Futures Studies/Strategic Foresight, Complexity Sciences/Emergent Phenomena, Uncertainty, Metatheory, Qualitative Research Methods, Ethnography, Theories of Culture and Norm Change! Ethics, Public Health and Human Thriving Yeehaw!

headshot of Mariela Cueva

Mariela Cueva

I am a proud AfterDark Fellow, starting on my second year in the SOAR program. I am also a graduate from NECC in the Business Transfer and Liberal Arts Associate program. Since I have graduated the second time, I enrolled in UMass Lowell to gain a bachelor’s degree. This has been a dream of mine and NECC has been a big contributor in my success.

I have been traveling a lot and hope to continue to see the world in 2024. I love books especially mystery ones and socializing with friends and family.

Being a fellowship helps me to give back to what many staff, professors, and advisors have given me. This is why I am a big believer and supporter of our SOAR program.

Seamus McManus

Hello, I’m Seamus McManus, I work as the SOAR STEM tutor here at NECC. I’d be glad to help those that are facing a difficult class or tricky problem. Come on down, we’ll mull it over, soak it in, and explore concepts that might help. I mainly deal in chemistry and some other of the sciences, but I can also assist in some of the math classes.  

On my free time, I enjoy a good book, a comedic movie, and making stuff with science and my 3-D printer. I like antique items, traveling, making and experiencing themes as well as thematic events or styles. I am also a massive nerd, so strike up a conversation, perhaps we could even make some of those tough problems fun for a while.  

I know that classes can give you a hard time and struggle, but that’s just the reason to ask for assistance. To assist in the hardship we all go through. I know, learning is difficult, but can be assisted in the people that have learned before, believe me, I had to learn it too. 

Ricardo Mora

Bio coming soon.

Wanda DeJesus

Bio coming soon.

SOAR Ambassador Mentors

Ambassador Mentors are here to assist students in becoming acclimated to Northern Essex campus and culture. They work collaboratively to engage students in activities that increase their peers’ success and involvement in a positive college experience. Their mission: to make connections with an accepting, supportive SOAR staff and peer community! 

SOAR Ambassadors:

We are looking for SOAR Scholars that would like to become SOAR Ambassadors. Please find this and other open positions for SOAR on Handshake: Click Here to Learn More

SOAR Program Assistants

Meet our Program Assistants:

Andrea Wall-Sanchez

Bio coming soon.

We are hiring! Please find this and other open positions for SOAR on Handshake: Click Here to Learn More

Our Services



SOAR plans a variety of workshops to set our students up for success in a variety of areas, such as informative financial, personal health and wellness activities, as well as academic skills and tips workshops tailored to SOAR students. Specific topics we have planned include study tips, financial literacy, self-care, career planning, and more! Don’t forget the FUN!

Sign up for our events HERE



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