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

Welcome to SOAR! We’re here to help you.

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 soarstudentlife@necc.mass.edu or stop by the SOAR center in room 209 in the SC building, Haverhill Campus.

 

SOAR Services: This is how we can help you.

SOAR Coaches: Academic Success

Learn academic tools, Manage commitments, Stay on track

Academic Fellows: SOAR After Dark

Assistance after hours, Assignment planning, Supportive workspace

Academic Advisors: Navigation

Prep for career or transfer, Find your major, Plan your courses 

SOAR Tutoring: Tutoring Services

Problem solving skills, Build confidence, Understand assignments

Support Coordinator: Sense of Belonging

Advocate for yourself, Community resources, Explore NECC community 

Ambassador Mentors: Personal Growth

Discover new interests, Connect with peers, Utilize technology

 

 

Need Help with an Assignment or Tutoring?

Feeling stuck with an assignment?

Our Academic Fellows will be available this Fall 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. 

Tutoring

We will also have STEM tutors available Monday through Friday. 

 

All locations will be open Monday – Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EST) on both campuses. Stay tuned for details.

Connect with other SOAR Scholars

We have 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 fadames@necc.mass.edu

Learn, explore, and have fun at SOAR events

Events

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 using this form

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Who We Are

SOAR Staff

Lawrence Staff

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Jacques Morrow (He/Him/His)

Email: jmorrow@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-738-7421

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.

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Lisa Walters (She/Her/Hers)

Email: lwalters@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-738-7448

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!)

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Martha Mazeika (She/Her/Hers)

Email: mmazeika@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3453

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!!!

 

Haverhill Staff

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Jordan Ellis

Email: jellis1@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3741

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.

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Faniel Adames (He/Him/His)

Email: fadames@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3464

Hello, my name is Faniel Adames, and I am the Student Support Coordinator. 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!

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Kelley Biedermann (She/Her/Hers)

Email: kbiedermann@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3706

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.

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Maha Nassar 

Email: mnassar@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3467

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!

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Kellie Schroeder (She/Her/Hers)

Email: kschroeder@necc.mass.edu

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! 

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Eudania-Chucha Aquino (She/Her/Hers)

Email: eaquino@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3463

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 Associate’s 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 Jazmine Scamman

Jazmine Scamman (She/Her/Hers)

Email: jscamman@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3466

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.

headshot of Sarah Cooper

Sarah Cooper (She/Her/Hers)

Email: scooper@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3457

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 Dermot Luddy

Dermot Luddy (He/Him/His)

Email: dluddy@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3029

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 Anne Mbuga

Anne Mbugua (She/Her/Hers)

Email: ambugua@necc.mass.edu

Phone: 978-556-3791

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 

Hi, my name is Alexander Revi and I’m one of the Media Coordinators for the SOAR program at Northern Essex Community College. I am currently enrolled in Northern Essex Community College majoring in General Studies music. My goal is to transfer to a four-year to become a music tech or business major. I have been interested in music since I was 15 years old, and I have been doing it ever since. Working at SOAR has been one of the best working experiences I have ever had. When I saw a flyer for an open position as a Coordinator, I jumped for the chance to work on campus so I can stay closer to my classes and ever since it has been amazing. SOAR has helped me get out of my comfort zone to become more sociable and welcoming to others. I have been given a chance to explore different 4-year schools which I could transfer to. The “Nest” (SC 209) is a safe place to go to on campus if you need help with classes or it is a place where you could meet a future friend.

Diego Vargas

Bio coming soon.

SOAR After Dark Staff
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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.

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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 & Communication. 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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Mariela Cueva

I am a proud After Dark 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.

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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. 

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Luisa Arno Marte (She/Her/Hers)

My name is Luisa Arno Marte, I am a SOAR Academic Fellow, health specialization.
I was born in the Dominican Republic, I moved to the United States couples of years ago. I graduated from Northern Essex Community College with a Medical Assistant certification and Liberal Arts Associate’s degree, Psychology major. I transferred to UMass Lowell University to complete my Bachelor’s and Master’s program in Psychology. I am the first-gen student in my family.

I don’t have a lot of free time between work hours and school but when I do I love watching TV, going to the gym, or reading an interesting book or article. What I love most is watching movies, listening to music, or karaoke with friends.

When I was a student at NECC the SOAR program was a strong and beneficial support for me by helping me manage my time because it can be a bit challenging and overwhelming being a full-time student and full-time worker. As a Fellow from the After Dark program our main goal is support students and provide help to succeed in their academic career.

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Ricardo Mora

Bio coming soon.

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Wanda DeJesus

Bio coming soon.

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Eny Lopez 

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 (She/Her/Hers)

Hello, my name is Andrea Wall-Sanchez I’m from Haverhill, MA. I’m a music performance major on the Haverhill campus and I’m a Program Assistant for SOAR so you’ll see me a lot at the fun events with SOAR or other fun events that the music department will have as well. You can find me in the SOAR room or the TC building jamming out with music. I’m also part of the Dungeon and Dragons club.

Nathan Contorelli (He/Him/His) 

Hello, my name is Nathan Contorelli and I’m a student Programming Assistant for SOAR!

I’m from Methuen, Massachusetts and I’m currently pursuing an associate degree in Liberal Arts at NECC! After obtaining my associate degree in Liberal Arts, I plan to transfer to The University of Massachusetts Lowell to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. In my spare time, I like reading books, playing video games, and watching TV shows!

Vinny Schmidt (He/Him/His)

Bio coming soon

Melanie Esteban (She/Her/Hers)

Hi everyone, my name is Melanie Esteban, I am a nursing student here at Northern Essex Community College, this is currently my first year. I graduated from Salem High School I am proud to be a SOAR Program Assistant. I am also the secretary for Student Government Association, and I do the dance team here as well. I volunteer at Lawrence General to get good view of the hospital and I’m a Top-Notch scholar as well. I love meeting new people, if you ever need something I’m here for you ♥️

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

A group photo of SOAR.

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