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Mike Cross, a speaker in the NECC Speaker's Bureau, holding two chemistry flasks

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Deirdre Budzyna

Instructor, Early Childhood Education

Deirdre Budzyna received her Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Education from Mount Holyoke College and her master’s degree in creative arts in learning from Lesley University.

Prior to teaching at Northern Essex, Budzyna taught elementary school for eight years and opened a private kindergarten program in West Newbury, Massachusetts based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. She is the co-owner of Acting Out Productions, an acting studio for students ages 4-17 located at the Tannery in Newburyport.

Education Topics

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Amy Callahan

Professor, Journalism/Communication, Coordinator of Journalism/Communications Program, Interim Dean of Liberal Arts

Prior to being named interim dean of liberal arts in June of 2019, Amy Callahan was a professor in the English Department and the coordinator of the Journalism/Communication Program at Northern Essex Community College. Before joining the NECC faculty in 2000, she worked for more than ten years as a journalist and editor, including writing for the Boston Globe, the Holyoke Transcript-telegram, and the Vineyard Gazette, where she received honors from the New England Press Association. She is also the former managing editor of the Columbia University record, published by Columbia University’s Office of Public Affairs in New York City. She holds an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University and a B.A. in journalism from Northeastern University.

Communications Topics

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Lizzie Linn Casanave

Faculty, Philosophy

Lizzie has been teaching Philosophy for over 10 years. She loves lighting a spark in the mind of her students relating to the excitement of wrestling with big ideas, learning how to be better thinkers and thus living life more fully and consciously.  She received her BA in Philosophy/Religion and World Perspectives and her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking. Her classes include: Practical Logic, Introduction to Philosophy, Introduction to Ethics and Psychology of Success. Her curriculum includes a workshop on “The Science of Happiness” which looks at happiness through the lens of positive psychology. Lizzie also runs her own company that specializes in corporate training and focuses on topics such as happiness in the workplace, business communication, conflict resolution, critical and creative problem solving, mindfulness, embracing diversity, business ethics and time management.   

Science & Travel Topics

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Paul Cavan

Coordinator, Criminal Justice Program

Paul Cavan has 26 years of experience with the Farmington Hills (Michigan) Police Department, having served as a patrol officer, an evidence Technician, an investigator and a supervisor. Paul was also assigned to a Michigan State Police Narcotics Unit during his police career. Paul has been teaching at community colleges for 24 years, nine years in a full-time capacity.

Cavan has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from Michigan State University.

Criminal Justice Topics

Sarah Courchesne

Sarah Courchesne

Associate Professor and Coordinator, Biology Program

Sarah Courchesne was raised in Amesbury, earned her B.A. in English at UMass-Amherst, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Tufts. She directed the Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET), a citizen science project aimed at identifying patterns and causes of seabird mortality. Formerly an adjunct instructor at North Shore Community College, she joined the faculty at NECC in 2014, teaching chemistry and biology courses. She now leads a multi-year study on the ecology of Great Black-backed Gulls on Appledore Island in Maine, and is committed to creating access to field biology experiences for NECC students and members of the public. Sarah also writes a column for Merrimack Valley Magazine.

Science & Travel Topics

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Mike Cross

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Mike is department chair of Natural Sciences at NECC where he teaches chemistry and forensic science. He believes that education should be fun and exciting. He enjoys incorporating demonstrations and magic tricks into his teaching.

Mike holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Utah where he specialized in oxidative lesions in DNA and RNA.

Science & Travel Topics

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Noemi Custodia-Lora

Executive Director, Lawrence Campus and Community Relations

A native of Puerto Rico and a scientist with a Ph.D. from Boston University, Dr. Custodia-Lora was named executive director of Northern Essex Community College’s Lawrence campus and community relations in July of 2014.

She joined Northern Essex in 2003 as a faculty member of the Natural Sciences Department. She taught Nutrition, Human Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology before becoming the coordinator of the Applied Sciences Associate Degree of Science in Lab Science Program which welcomed its first class in the fall of 2009.

In 2011, she was appointed assistant dean of Foundational Studies and Liberal Arts & Sciences.

In addition, Custodia-Lora is a founding member of the ESL Social/Learning Club which is an initiative aimed at attracting more English as a Second Language students into the disciplines (and ultimately careers) of STEM.

Before joining the Northern Essex faculty in 2003, Noemi was a post-doctoral fellow at Tufts Medical School in Boston. She holds a bachelor’s in biology from the Universidad de Puerto Rico and a PhD in physiology-endocrinology from Boston University. She was raised in Puerto Rico but both her parents are from the Dominican Republic.

She has special interest in science and math literacy, creative cooking (for those with food allergies), and nature walks.

Science & Travel Topics

Jenny Fielding

Jenny Fielding

Coordinator of Library Services, NECC Lawrence

Jenny Fielding is the coordinator of Library Services on NECC’s Lawrence Campus. Before joining NECC’s reference and research librarian team in 2014, she worked for five years as a research and instruction librarian at Fitchburg State University. She has authored multiple scholarly articles/essays on information literacy, and holds a Master’s degree in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State University.

Communications Topics

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Lane A. Glenn, Ph.D

President—Northern Essex Community College

Dr. Lane A. Glenn is President of Northern Essex Community College (NECC), with campuses in Haverhill and Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Dr. Glenn is focused on student success and is passionate about finding ways to help students achieve their educational goals, especially students who are underprepared for college.  In addition, he is a strong advocate for colleges and universities as engines of economic and workforce development—particularly in Massachusetts Gateway Cities.

Dr. Glenn has been responsible for significant expansion of NECC’s Lawrence campus, including the opening of the college’s new $27 million El Hefni Allied Health and Technology Center, NECC Riverwalk, iHealth@NECC, “The Hub,” and expansion of partnerships with area high schools and four-year colleges and universities to expand educational opportunities in downtown Lawrence. 

He was the visionary and founding board chair for the “Lawrence Partnership,” a coalition of businesses and organizations committed to economic development in the city of Lawrence.  In its first few years, the partnership has launched a multi-million-dollar venture loan fund for small businesses, formed a training consortium to improve workforce development, created a “revolving test kitchen” for aspiring restauranteurs, and developed a citywide leadership program with the Harvard Business School.

As a researcher, author and consultant, Dr. Glenn has also helped advance community colleges through his involvement on numerous regional and national boards. He is the chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Task Force on Statewide Assessment; was appointed to the STEM Advisory Council by the Massachusetts governor; and chairs the International Advisory Board of the Chair Academy, an organization that provides leadership development programs for college and university leaders around the world.

Dr. Glenn has been described as “optimistic thought leader” who actively promotes the community college mission in a number of publications, on social media, and through his blog, “Running the Campus.”  In 2018, he was named the “Pacesetter of the Year” for his higher ed advocacy efforts by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.

He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Theater from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in Speech from Oklahoma State University, and a bachelor’s in English and Speech/Theater from Northeastern State University (OK).   He is proud to say he started his education at Rose State College, a community college in Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Education Topics

Business & the Workplace Topics

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Tom Greene

Assistant Professor, English

Tom Greene, Ph.D. a resident of Salem, MA, is a professor in the English department at Northern Essex Community College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Trinity University, San Antonio, TX, a Master’s of Fine Art in Creative Writing and a doctorate in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Prior to teaching at NECC he taught English at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY, and worked as a professional writer in the private sector. Dr. Greene specializes in Victorian Literature, Cultural Studies, and the history of secret societies. In his spare time he writes science fiction stories for magazines including Interzone, Strange Horizons, and Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

Theater, Music, Art & Literature Topics

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Lance Hidy

Professor of Art & Design, 1999-2017, Retired

Lance Hidy studied art and design at Yale University. He was co-founder and art director of David R. Godine, Publisher before starting his own design firm. He expanded his practice to include posters, illustration, and photography, incorporating his love of printmaking with his training in letter forms. He was a typographic consultant to Adobe Systems, for whom he designed the typeface Penumbra, a family of sixteen fonts. Hidy was the art director of Harvard Business Review, has designed three U. S. postage stamps, and specializes in corporate identity and logo design. In addition to running his design and illustration studio, Hidy’s writing on design history has been widely published. For 18 years he served as a professor of Art and Design at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where he continues to work part-time as an accessibility specialist.

Theater, Music, Art & Literature Topics

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Melissa Juchniewicz

Faculty, English, Elementary Education, Academic Preparation

Melissa Juchniewicz is an experienced classroom teacher and professional development leader, with more than twenty years in higher education.  A consultant in the development of education programs and an English professor, she continues to teach composition and children’s literature.  Nationally recognized for teaching excellence, she earned an undergraduate degree at Salem State College and master’s and Doctorate degrees at UMass Lowell.   She is a member of the Hyla Brook Poets in Derry, New Hampshire, the Library Foundation in her hometown of Chester, New Hampshire, and works in the archives at the Newburyport Public Library.  Prior to her education studies, Melissa worked in the professional theater in San Francisco and Boston, including a five-year residency at the Lyric Stage.

Education Topics

Theatre, Music, Art & Literature Topics

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Diana Mele

Professor, Human Services

Diana Mele, MA, LMHC, ICTC, CT, NIC, is a faculty member in the NECC Deaf Studies Program and the Human Services Program Division of Law, Education and Social Professions. Mele holds a Master of Arts degree and has worked professionally within two distinct disciplines, the field of Interpreting and the human services profession, for 30 years.

She is a tenured member of the faculty and has taught at Northern Essex since 1996. She has worked to train students in career paths in the field of sign language interpreting as well as human services and social work professions.

She holds an Associate of Arts Degree: Deafness Communication–dual emphasis–Human Services Program from Northern Essex Community College, a Bachelor or Arts in Psychology from Flager College, St. Augustine, Florida, and a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

She is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in the State of Massachusetts, a member of the National Registry of the Deaf – Interpretation Certificate, Transliteration Certificate (1983, 1989), Mass. State Office of Deafness – State Screened Interpreter (1980).

Deaf Culture Topics

Sheila Muller

Sheila Muller

Assistant Professor, Business

Before becoming a college professor, Professor Muller was co-founder and manager of a full-service information technology company and worked as a freelance marketing consultant for small to medium sized businesses. She has a Master of Business Administration from Bentley University’s McCallum School of Business, where she majored in marketing and real estate management, and is a member of Beta Omicron (a chapter of Alpha Beta Gamma, an International Business Honor Society for two-year colleges).

Professor Muller teaches business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and finance courses at Northern Essex. Her marketing course focuses on social media marketing and her students actively participate in a Service-Learning project using Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Students conduct research to determine demographic and psychographic customer segmentation, develop messaging strategies to inform and engage the target audience while using social media best practices, and analyze statistical information on post reach and engagement to prepare positioning statements for the Business and Accounting Academic Center.

Communications Topics.

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Michael Penta

Instructor, Computer Science and Technology

Michael Penta joined the NECC faculty in the Computer & Information Sciences department in the fall of 2012. Previously, Michael was Associate Director of the Future Engineers Center, the K12 outreach arm of UMass Lowell’s College of Engineering (2007 – 2012). The FEC focuses on hands-on, design-based STEM education. Michael got his start with the FEC in 2006 as a lead teacher at DESIGNCAMP, teaching micro-controller programming and video game programming. Michael has also been a Lecturer in the Computer Science department at UMass Lowell, as well as a Computer Science and Mathematics tutor at Middlesex Community College in Lowell (2010 – 2012).

In December 2011, Michael completed his MS in Computer Science. His thesis, Video Game Creation as a Platform for Mathematical Learning (uml blog, defense video, pdf), focused on the role of video game programming in math education. In that same year, Michael was featured in a US News and World Report article on using game design in STEM education. A link to that article, and others, is available under the press area of this site.

His interests are computer science education, technology and recruitment, and how they intersect with other fields such as math, science and art.

Previous presentation: “Toy Engineering, the Science of Fun”

Technology Topics

Dave Rattigan, smiling and holding a microphone.

Dave Rattigan

Faculty, Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communications

Dave Rattigan is a Boston comedian by night, writer and college professor by day. His Dave Rattigan: Thinks He’s Funny CD has been played on Sirius Satellite Radio and other networks and he’s played in comedy clubs and in theaters such as the Cape Cod Melody Tent, The Palace Theater in Manchester, N.H., and others. He’s also an award-winning writer and teacher. As a writer, he’s been published in The Boston Globe, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and others. As an adjunct faculty member at Northern Essex Community College and UMass Lowell, he teaches public speaking, interpersonal communications and professional communications.

Communications Topics

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Ethel Schuster

Professor, Computer, Technology and Engineering

Colombian native, Ethel Schuster, is a professor in the Computer, Technology and Engineering department. Schuster holds a master and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in Computational Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence.

She has taught at Northern Essex Community College since 2000. Prior to that she taught at UMass Lowell, and Regis, Merrimack and Simmons colleges. Her interests are wide and include work on scientific writing for non-native English speakers, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and encouraging and enhancing the technology learning process in all age ranges, especially among women and young girls.

She speaks Spanish, Hebrew, Portuguese and can communicate in French, has a ServSafe certification, and enjoys running and Zumba.

Technology Topics

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Dr. Kenneth Thomas

Professor, Biology

Dr. Kenneth Thomas, has been at Northern Essex for the past eleven years. He earned his Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from Northern Essex, a Bachelor of Science in Biology from UMass Lowell, and a Master of Science in Zoology and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Rhode Island.

Prior to teaching at Northern Essex he taught for eight years at Hillsborough Community College in Florida.
His special interests include marine biology, student travel, science literacy, sailing, kayaking, and canoeing.

Science & Travel Topics

Marcy Yeager, smiling and looking down at a globe

Marcy Yeager

Executive Director of PK-12 Partnerships and International Studies

Marcy Yeager joined the college’s Natural Sciences Department in 2003 and soon after was named chair of the department, a position she held until 2010.

Marcy served as the director of cultural and international studies at NECC before transitioning to executive director of both International Programs and NECC’s K-12 Experiential Education Center. Over the past five years her work has focused on cultural inclusion on campus, experiential learning at home and abroad, and aligning the K-16 curriculum.

Her love of travel has brought her around the world but her favorite place is the South American rainforest (she teaches an NECC course there every other year with one of her colleagues) where she has spent several summers and breaks volunteering on a small farm/eco-tourism center in Ecuador.

Marcy is a graduate of Northeastern University (B.S.) and the University of New Hampshire (M.S.).

Science & Travel Topics.

 

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