#FacesofNECC: a “Snapshot” of Northern Essex’s Students
Welcome to the #facesofnecc, an evolving photo project that offers a “snapshot” of some of Northern Essex’s students and alumni. These subjects are randomly selected to be interviewed and photographed by NECC alumna Alejandra Chandler. She sporadically visits both the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses to capture members of our community doing what they do best – being themselves. This project was originally started by alumnus Jose Garcia, a professional photographer. Recently he recommended handing the project over to Alejandra. We think you will like her work.
Marina Duffy“I’m in general studies. It’s a good major. I’m taking gen eds…classes that transfer. I do know what I want to do. I want to go into middle school health teaching. I’m in my third semester…I’m getting there taking it one thing at a time. Right now I’m taking four classes. My sister came here when she graduated high school. We (family) heard about all the support and resources they had here. (Parents) thought why not send both of them there. I definitely take advantage of all the centers…like the accommodations center…I’ve been very successful…I like it here a lot. Besides being a student I am also a swim teacher at the Merrimack Valley Y in Andover…I love teaching swimming. I love my kids. We are definitely the eyes and ears and support system for kids more and more. Salem State has a really great teaching program. I’ve been looking into their bachelor’s of sport and movement science. It’s definitely at the top of my list.
Alberquis Abreu “I’m from the Dominican Republic. I’ve been living here for about eight years… maybe nine… right now I’m studying engineering and liberal arts…I would like to study aerospace engineering. What semester am I in? It’s complicated. I’ve been taking classes since I was in high school. I am 18. I have taken a lot of classes. I’m almost done with my liberal arts degree…in the spring. Eventually I would like to transfer to a UMass school. I like to read…anything…I like romance…”
Peter Rodriguez“I started as an engineering science major…now I’m in computer information science…I’m also a work-study student…I deliver mail…I’m gaining experience and earning money to help buy books…I deliver mail all across the Haverhill campus. I became interested in technology because of my shop in high school. I’m also a student advocate…I’m a little bit nervous…It’s more responsibility, but it’s great experience…I will learn how to become a leader and organize myself better. This will help me as a person and a family member. I will be helping new students feel comfortable, happy, and safe.”
I’m actually a double major in civil engineering and CAD Design. I was the program chair in student government. As program chair my biggest responsibility was planning events on campus that student government runs. We’ve done a lot of good. We collaborated with the Farmers’ Market for an 85-foot obstacle course and inflatable mini golf course. Everything was free. We also did a sexual assault panel…Valentine’s Day fundraiser…my biggest obstacle coming to NECC was not being aware of the availability of resources … people don’t realize…there’s a whole computer lab with the latest Microsoft office and it’s free if you are a student. There are tutoring centers for all subjects. You can ask for the help you need instead of struggling on your own. The second is Student Life. I joined from watching students playing football. I was lured into the Sports Building and I realized there’s a lot of fun stuff going on around campus. It’s not just classes, sit around, study, and go home. There is always something going on around campus.
“I’m studying music. Originally, I came here for theater, but I knew I wanted to be a sound designer so I asked about music and they introduced me to the music program. I’m hoping to do something with live theater…my goal is Broadway. I want to do something like control the microphones while the show is going on and play with the levels. I like the classroom setting (here) Obviously you get the homework and the lectures, but mostly it feels super personal which is super nice because you get to hang out with a bunch of people who love music too and you are all learning about it. They care about your education.”
“I’m a biology major. I want to be a naturopathic doctor. I’m going to go to school for neuroscience first then study naturopathic medicine in Canada. I want to open my own clinic…have my own practice…I think Canada has better health care. I want to help people. I lost my father…I think because of western medicine…he was on a lot of medications with lots of side effects. That’s what inspired me to go into holistic medicine.”
“I’m a liberal arts major, but I’m involved in multiple things. As of now, I think the plan is going toward writing. I’ve taken a creative writing class. I’ve taken a poetry class and journalism class. I’m just trying to see what I like best…what I do best. I like my journalism class, but I also like my creative writing class…writing fiction. I just like writing in general. The programs here are amazing. Honestly, I’m such an advocate for Northern Essex. I struggled a lot in high school with picking where to go for college. I did pretty well in high school and people kind of judged me for going to community college…they would say ‘You can go to a university’…I just wanted to save money and figure out what I want to do. There is constant support here…I underestimated the community aspect…I really like the environment…I didn’t think I would adapt so quickly…Everyone seems unified…and there is diversity which I love…I always say if I could stay here for four years, I would.”
“I’m studying electrical engineering…I don’t know what I will do with it. I just switched from physics because of the job market…I’m keeping my options open. I would like to go into electrical design…I do electrical design in my free time. I got so sick of the snow that I’m trying to build a robot that will melt snow. I’m thinking a burn solution boiled to a hot temperature that a robot could hose the driveway with…it will take lots of prototypes. I’ll will probably transfer to UMass. I’m trying to get out of school with no loans or as few loans as possible.”
“I’m an accounting major. My dream job was to be a physician’s assistant, but I had to switch my major moneywise for (college) to be more affordable. (With accounting) I do have opportunities with an accounting firm in Boston. One of my favorite things about Northern Essex would definitely have to be the athletic center…I run cross country…three-mile…I started last fall…the meets have been good four of us qualified for nationals. I wasn’t expecting to come here…it was kind of a last minute choice…so for it being a last minute choice and working out so well, I’m happy about that.”
“I’m a biology major. I do love animals. That’s probably what got me into biology. I actually want to go into teaching eventually. I’m hoping I can teach high school level or even college level eventually. I grew-up in South Carolina pretty much all my life and I did go to school there for a little while, but it just wasn’t working out for me. So, I moved up here and decided I might as well pick up from where I left off with school .So, I’m here at Northern Essex and I thought it would be just like a stepping stone just to get to UMass to get my bachelors, but I actually like the school here…I work for the tutoring center…I tutor both chemistry and biology, but biology is more my passion. I love how everything has been very flexible and there are so many resources…everything is very dedicated to making sure students have what they need. I’ve been at a big school before…University of South Carolina…it’s very easy for you to get swallowed up by the system. The professors are like I have 200 students. I haven’t felt that way here… professors are really courteous and helpful. I thought I was going to get a few credits and move my way to UMass, but now I’m looking toward graduating with my associate’s in biology and them I am going to go to UMass. I have one more semester. I think I would make the most impact with high school age children. They are making that transition to adulthood. I had a pretty rough high school life growing up and wouldn’t be doing as well as I am right now if weren’t for the good teachers I had who helped me out and I’m hoping down the line I can do the same for some students. I work two jobs…I live with my boyfriend…we support each other…this is the most settled I’ve been in my life in a very long time.
“I’m a music major. My goal is to be an artist/musician…I’m transferring to either Endicott or City College of New York… the music I’m into is whatever music I’m listening to…the music I make is hip hop, alternative, a little everything. I’m trying to make my own sound…I’m trying to be something different. I started playing in the 7th grade and stopped. I started back this year. I’m definitely surprised at how much I’ve learned. I did not think (the program) would have so many versatile talented musicians. I’m learning so much from my peers…my professors…much more than I anticipated. I’m very grateful for that.”
“My major is lab science. I just always liked science…and when I found out NECC had lab science I knew I wanted to take it. There’s a lot of hands on which I really like…I want to be a lab technician. I actually have an internship right now at a medical marijuana research lab mostly analyzing products to see how much THC or CBD they have in them…I consider (the work) as a contribution to the wellbeing of others. (I’m surprised) at how friendly everyone is at Northern Essex…Everyone enjoys being here…it’s like one big family.”
“I’m majoring in chemical engineering…I’ve been coming to NECC for four years…about two years in I started failing classes…doing badly…gaining extra weight…then I hit the gym here…hit the books…changed my life. I’m a whole new person. After multiple failed attempts at losing weight I learned everything I needed here…I’ve lost 105 pounds. The biggest surprise about NECC is all the new friends I’ve made. There are a lot of things you would not know they have here…there are a lot of opportunities…lots of clubs…you have to constantly check your email.”
Yaimer Leon Ortiz
“I’m a work-study in the library…right now I’m shelving books…my major is photography…I like to take pictures of nature and people and capture moments of people in the streets or inside a building or of extraordinary things…(I admire a lot of photographers) in the National Geographic Magazine…I love those. They inspire me so much. I want to get my associate degree (at NECC) and then go on to get my bachelor’s in photography. I like the program…right now I’m in film photography…we are learning to develop and print using chemicals in the dark room…the facilities are perfect.”
“My major is liberal arts…after NECC I’m going to try and transfer to Salem State University…my goal is to major in art…when I was like 15 or 14 I started painting…I like oil, acrylic, watercolor, graphite …I would have to say I like (Vincent) van Gogh…I want to sell my art…I would like to display in galleries like the Artist Café in Haverhill.”
“I study criminal justice…I wanted to skip out on most of the maths…I’m actually interested in criminal justice…less of the police and more of the justice…I like NECC and how everything is open…I thought I was going to be kind of like an outcast, but everyone’s pretty friendly and it’s easy to make friends…it’s very social. I’m enjoying my time here…I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“My favorite language is C+…my major is IT…end goal is to get a job in IT obviously…but I’m getting IT associate degree next semester…then take a break…find a job…then come back here for a security certificate and networking certificate. Security certificate would go a long way and really get you a great job. I got interested because everyone uses a computer…I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid…originally I was an accounting major…then I realized…I don’t want to do that…I want IT.”
Yuliana Sánchez“I am Dominican. I have been living here for seven years. I was 12 when I got here. I chose NECC because it is a great start and also because it’s really close to where I live. It is not really far. Since I’m doing this practically on my own, it’s kind of a good place to start and then transfer out. I want to be a nurse because I like taking care of people. That’s kind of where my passion lies. NECC is a great foundation. I’ve heard things about the nursing program. My mother…she works in the medical field and kind of takes care of me a lot and I feel like that has rubbed off on me…I’m like a mother figure to everyone else. I’m 19. I graduated two years ago. I’m not very open with people…people don’t know what I’m capable of…I’m trying to show people what I’m capable of…I want to do this for me. I love reading. I draw. I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. I love going on adventures. I live in Methuen.”
“I’m in deaf studies/sign language interpreting. My dream job? Actually I would love to graduate and come back here as an interpreter then it’s like you’re learning and working at the same time…I love being here. I love being in class and learning. I’m an older student. I’m a work-study student in the library. I love to read. I’m constantly reading. I’m a Harry Potter freak…so nerdy, but I just love it…life is hard…and it’s complicated and if you can escape into something else for a little bit then why not?”
“I take chorus and science…I’m not exactly in a major…I would like to find a class about coding…but my dream job would be voice acting for video games, movies, cartoons…I’m trying to be like the Tom Kenny of my time. Shows that inspired me to be a voice actor? Well, I’ve always loved cartoons…I hear a voice in a cartoon…I hear the same voice in a different cartoon…that’s cool.”
“I’m doing liberal arts for now …then I’m transferring after two years…I would like to go to the University of Miami…I would like to go around the world…I want to study sports, health, and medicine for my major, but after I graduate from college I’m going into the Coast Guard…I want to see what it’s like around…I’ve been in New Hampshire all my life…between high school and here is very different. You have a lot more freedom…you get to pick classes you like…”
“I’m majoring in mechanical engineering…I think I will probably be good at it. I like math. I like technology. It’s a good career path too. I would like to get a job with Tesla. I would like to help make better model cars or maybe be my own boss you know. You are doing well when it doesn’t feel like working, but you are making money. I’m taking three engineering classes…I’m doing the UMass Lowell transfer.”
“Music is my major. I’m honestly here to learn more about music. I’m sure a music degree will help with whatever I want to do afterwards. I’ve just always loved music and I just want to learn more about the technical side. My inspiration is definitely Hayley Williams from Paramore… I remember being at a Paramore concert and looking on stage and thinking that’s what I want to do…I learned about Northern Essex from my old dance teacher…I like the whole vibe here. I came from a really, really, small, charter school and then I came here and feel like I’m at college.”
“I’m studying computer science…I want to do coding and ethical hacking which means finding holes in a system for the sake of securing it…in criminal justice its finding, decrypting or recovering files or data that can be used as evidence from a suspect’s computer…so basically hacking, but legal because it’s used for the right reasons. NECC is the most affordable option…I have a twin and we were both ready for college at the same time. Not exactly easy…although my twin joined the Army so now it’s just me.”
“I’m an art major. As a kid I watched Looney Tunes…the golden age of cartoons. My cousins were bullies, but they would bring me Heavy Metal Magazine…in high school I got into indie films…that got me into art. I have a very abstract style. After I get my general studies degree I will transfer to Boston so I can pursue illustration…after that maybe commission work for bands and start my own comic book…I have ideas already going and outlines set up.”
“I’m from Colombia. I came here for vacations to spend here a couple of months…then I met somebody… I want to be a writer. I want to take pictures and travel the world … Let’s see how many of those I can accomplish… Already I have two blogs. I have a website for my pictures. I want to do work that matters. I like this place. I love this community. Everyone is really nice. The faculty are helpful. It’s very calm…”