Accounting Professor Kristen Quinn says accounting is always in style.
Think of a business…any business. That business needs an accountant. That nonprofit organization? Sports Team? Furniture designer? Yup, they all need accountants and always will, says accounting Professor Kristen Quinn.
Whether it is fashion, finance, fitness, forensics, or pharmaceuticals, she says accounting has a role.
“Accounting is the language of business,” she says.
And it is a language Quinn speaks fluently and shares with her students. She teaches a number of accounting courses from beginner to advanced. Now as department chair, in addition to teaching, she works on course development to strengthen and grow the program.
“When you have an accounting degree,” she says, “You have a specific set of skills that employers love.”
Quinn is living proof that even academia needs accountants, both in the classroom as well as the business office. With a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Assumption College and a master’s in accountancy from Suffolk University, Professor Quinn worked as a public accountant for several years before she began teaching at NECC 10 years ago.
Accounting is currently a high demand field. That is good news, Quinn says, noting that the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, with a median salary of more than $69,000. NECC grads can transfer to a four-year program or enter the work force as a bookkeeper, accounting clerk, or auditing clerk.
Whatever their path, accounting students can expect an associate degree with holistic applications.
“I like that what I am teaching the students can apply to their everyday lives as well as the business world,” she says. “I like working with the students and seeing them succeed here as well as once they have moved on to either four-year institutions or a professional career.”
She encourages her students to take advantage of the tutors in the Center for Business & Accounting as well as the advisors who can help with resume writing and job interviewing skills.”
Accounting students receive a quality education at NECC, she says. Someone interested in an accessible, affordable, accounting education in small classes that builds a strong foundation need not look any further than Northern Essex.
Professor Quinn keeps her students engaged using group assignments as well as an interactive homework manager.
While accountants must enjoy working with numbers, there are other skills needed too, she says.
“In order to succeed in the accounting field an individual must possess three key qualities,” she says.” The individual must be professional, hardworking, and a good communicator.”
Does studying accounting interest you? Would you like to explore this field? Contact Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the accounting program page.
Dave Rattigan, a member of the NECC faculty, also happens to be a writer and a comedian.
As a professional comedian, Dave Rattigan can’t help but interject a bit of fun into his interpersonal communications and public speaking classes.
For the last 15 years, this writer turned stand-up comedian has been helping Northern Essex Community College students find their voice while standing in the most terrifying of places – in front of an audience.
“I enjoy teaching interpersonal communication, but public speaking can become a transcendent experience for some people,” he says. “It’s nice to see that happen. Very often I see it happen right there in the class, over the course of a semester.”
With a public presentation course now a core requirement for graduation, Rattigan works to make the experience enjoyable as well as educational.
“I try and keep the class loose, but still engage with the subject. Public speaking can be intimidating, so the goal is to keep it light and get people to drop their defenses,” he says. “I want the students to work, but have fun and be engaged.”
When Rattigan’s students gain the skills and confidence to become better communicators, they grow personally and professionally. During his years as an adjunct professor, students have confided in Rattigan that lessons learned in his class have led to new careers, successful company speeches, membership in student-professional organizations, and the delivery of thoughtful sermons.
Like a proud parent, he has witnessed “dozens” of public speaking students evolve from “nervous wreck to competent speaker”.
Like so many of his students, Rattigan’s path has been a circuitous one.
After enrolling in more than one private and public university and college, he, earned a bachelor’s degree in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College and a master’s in management from Cambridge College. He has more in common with his students than they know.
“As someone who dropped out of college more than once, I identify with many of my students,” he said.
While admittedly his path has been somewhat nontraditional, Rattigan believes he is exactly where he is meant to be. He credits the unlikely trilogy of Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, and Leigh Montville with his love of the written word. It was the television comedians of the 60’s and 70’s who drew him to funny business.
His professional life has been an eclectic mashup of writing, comedy, and business. He has written for The Boston Globe, People Magazine, and other publications, performs stand-up comedy two to four nights a week, and produces comedy shows under the moniker Scamps Comedy Productions. He also teaches professional communications at UMass Lowell.
From his combined experiences he has learned one lesson that he imparts to his students.
“Communication skills are important for success, so when students leave my class with strong interpersonal communication knowledge, good fundamentals for speaking in a real-life environment, and sharper critical-thinking skills, I know it will make their lives better….they are here to improve their lives. I like that I can play a small role in their journey.”
Rattigan’s own happily complicated life is the result of taking chances and he encourages his students to follow suit.
“I would tell prospective students to ‘Do it. Do it now because life is finite and you want to live it to its fullest,” he counsels.
When Rattigan isn’t teaching, or on a writing assignment, or performing a gig, he plays dad to a 13-year-old girl.
“Because of my odd schedule and life priorities, I used to pick her up from school and spend every afternoon with her. She’s a teenager in middle school now, so I’ve become an annoying source of money and rides. Middle school is frightening for parents as well as kids, but she’s smart and funny and it makes me happy to see her developing into a good human being.”
Program director of the NECC Medical Assistant Program, and Department Chair of the Healthcare Technology and Ambulatory Services
Kathy Welch Hudson, director of the NECC Medical Assisting Program, worked for more than 20 years for a Boston Hospital before joining the NECC faculty. Medical Assisting Faculty
A medical assisting certificate can lead to an in-demand job now and possibly a health care career later.
Not only is medical assisting one of the fastest growing jobs in the country, says Kathy Welch Hudson, program director of the NECC Medical Assistant Program, it often leads to another health care career like nursing or respiratory care.
Hudson, who also serves as NECC’s Department Chair of the Healthcare Technology and Ambulatory Services within the Division of Health Professions, says medical assistants can work in a variety of health care settings including doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics, and wellness centers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Assisting is one of the top 20 fastest growing jobs in the country right now. Healthcare is shifting from inpatient-hospital care to performing procedures on an outpatient basis – sometimes even in the doctor’s office.
“You get to work hands-on taking care of patients with a team of health care providers from all areas. It is truly a great place to start,” she says. “I have many students who complete the Medical Assistant program at NECC, work in a doctor’s office, and return to our nursing, respiratory care, or rad tech programs.”
The nine-month Medical Assistant Certificate Program is offered days at NECC or evenings through iHealth@NECC.
For more than 20 years she worked at Beth Israel Hospital – first as a clinician and then moving into health care administration. She managed and operated several inpatient and ambulatory units before joining the faculty at NECC.
Naturally, Hudson’s vast experiences have provided her with lots of health care “stories”. Sharing these stories is one way she connects to her students.
“Everyone loves a good story,” she says. “The students can relate to a story.”
Conversely, she enjoys hearing her students’ stories as well.
“I enjoy working with students of all ages and helping them pursue their goals,” she says. “I like to hear about their lives and backgrounds and what their overall goals are.”
NECC provides the affordability, flexibility and work/ life balance students need, she says.
Students have so many great opportunities at NECC to get a great education and begin a new chapter of their lives as a health care professional, she says.
“There are no secrets to success,” she offers. “It is a result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
NECC Professor Mike Cross, author of “Francesca and the Genie of Science”
Try mixing the rhymes of Dr. Seuss and the enthusiasm of Bill Nye the Science Guy and you might have something that looks a lot like “Francesca and the Genie of Science,” a new children’s book by Northern Essex Community College’s own Dr. Mike Cross, professor of chemistry.
The book, created with the intention of inspiring young minds with scientific fun facts, covers the story of its title character, Francesca, and the microwave mishap that leads her to the Genie of Science and to a subsequent journey of growth and scientific inquiry.
A resident of Atkinson, NH, Cross says that the idea for the book resulted from his experience in reading stories to his own children.
“I have three kids and I’ve always loved reading to them,” he says. “After reading ‘Fox in Socks’ for the millionth time to my son, I thought of how much fun it would be for me to write a children’s book of my own.”
And so, with the help of illustrator James Goodwin, he set about doing just that, creating a rhymed 24-page story to entertain children and their guardians alike. The book, now available online, was officially published in June. Signed copies will also be sold during NECC’s annual Homecoming day on October 5, 2019.
Cross notes that all proceeds from “Francesca and the Genie of Science” will benefit the NECC Fund, which provides critical support for scholarships and academic programs on campus.
“I’m extremely grateful for the NECC Fund,” Cross says of the decision to allocate proceeds in this way. “Because of these funds I’ve been able to purchase the supplies that I needed to work on projects that have really helped my students…I felt that donating the proceeds of the book to the NECC Fund would be a good way to give back.”
The possibility of future publications is not out of the question. Cross is now working on his second book – a science fiction novel set in a dystopian future.
Mike Cross holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Utah, where he specialized in oxidative lesions in DNA and RNA. He teaches courses in chemistry and forensic science at NECC and is a member of the NECC Speakers Bureau, through which professional staff and faculty members have the opportunity to present lectures to public and private school systems, libraries, service clubs, and more.
NECC offers an associate degree in chemistry, physics, and environmental science. For more information, please visit www.necc.mass.edu.
Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Jody Carson.
When Jody Carson was nine, the budding educator taught preschool to her two younger siblings. Today, this NECC professor teaches others to teach preschool.
“Teaching was a natural fit for me,” says the Early Childhood Education professor. “I spent many hours teaching (my siblings) letters, numbers, shapes, and colors.”
In addition to having eager and patient siblings, the Hampton, NH, resident clearly had a strong sense of personal direction.
“I started babysitting early. By high school, I was already taking courses in early childhood education,” she says.
After high school, Carson enrolled in the very program she has taught in for the past eight years.
“It was a life-changing decision…I made amazing connections …I knew from the time I was a student here that I wanted to come back and teach,” she says.
After graduating with her associate degree from Northern Essex, Carson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development from Lesley University and a Master’s of Education in Child Development from Southern New Hampshire University.
Before teaching at NECC, Carson taught preschool for eight years.
As a mother of two and preschool teacher to dozens, she knows that as much as children will be children, working with children is always changing.
“This field is filled with wonder, excitement, creativity, play, and learning,” she says. “No two days are ever the same. Early learning experiences lay the foundation for future learning.”
As federal and state governments place more of an emphasis on early childhood education and as the population of 3 to 5 year-olds grows, Carson notes that employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow 17% through 2022 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is good news for those who want to pursue teaching young children.
“The ability to inspire others has always motivated me – teaching young children allowed me to do this every day,” she says. “As a teacher of future teachers, I have the ability to reach so many more children through their teachers.”
Northern Essex offers three associate degrees in the education field: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Liberal Arts Middle/High School Teaching.
NECC Criminal Justice faculty member Scott Joubert.
Scott Joubert may teach tough courses in NECC’s Criminal Justice Program, but at heart he is really a “helper” teaching others to be “helpers.”
This may sound simple, Joubert says, but criminal justice is anything but simple.
“While the field from the outside seems to remain static, crime is still a facet of our society. The internal changes that are taking place are truly extraordinary,” he says.
“There are so many aspects of the field that I still to this day get excited about; just ask my students. I truly love teaching and discussing topics on Domestic Violence and the Path to Extremism with my students.”
By his own admission, Joubert says he was not unlike other children who dreamed of becoming police officers. When pressed, as a teen, as to his future plans, he told his mom he wanted to “do something that helped other people” True to his word, he earned his associate degree from Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) and trained as a correctional officer for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department.
“I knew then I was moving in the right direction,” he says.
During his 15 years is a CO at the Worcester County Jail, he learned valuable skills and information that continue to influence the way he thinks and what he teaches in the NECC classroom.
“I recognized that many of the offenders represented a segment of society that was lacking the proper attention,” he says. “With a national recidivism rate of 64% one year after release and 85% after five years, we have to be looking for qualified individuals committed to finding new ways to decrease crime and rehabilitate offenders.”
Once he began teaching at his alma mater, QCC, Joubert says he “discovered his true calling in life”.
“What better way to help and make policy changes than from within, by teaching empathy and understanding for both victims and offenders to the very people who would one day make the changes necessary,” he says.
Nationally, the growth is in the area of Homeland Security. So, it was no surprise to Joubert that when NECC began offering a course that he helped design titled “Response to Terrorism,” it was so popular an additional section had to be opened.
Joubert holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Worcester State College, a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Boston University and is enrolled in a Master’s in History program at Worcester State University.
His students find he enthusiastically teaches theoretical concepts coupled with the experience of applying those concepts in the field. What they won’t find is someone who lectures.
“I like to spend my contact hours engaging my students in open discussions, small and large groups, and debates on topics that I feel are the most critical to address each week; topics that will make them better criminal justice professionals.”
Dr. Sheila Pierre says she found the answers to life’s questions from studying sociology and says her NECC students can expect to do the same.
Young or old, rich or poor, it’s human nature to ask questions about the world around us including everything from youth and pop culture to health advancements to terrorism and social movements, she says.
Sociology, simply put, is the study of society. Or more exact, a social science involving the study of the social lives of people, groups, and societies, she says. Introduction to Sociology is one of the many behavioral sciences offered at Northern Essex.
“Studying sociology can help foster your creativity, innovation, critical thinking, and analytic problem solving and communication skills, says Pierre. All of which are skills she says, the global and technology driven 21st century labor market demands.
As a child of Haitian immigrants, questions came early to Pierre, she says. From the time she was old enough to understand, she struggled to know why certain countries and groups continue to remain the poorest and least developed in the world.
“Haiti, for example, in recent years has struggled with problems ranging from near-constant political upheaval, health crises, a racially charged discourse, and severe environmental degradation,” Pierre says.
As an undergraduate history and sociology major at Emmanuel College Pierre thought her philosophy classes might shine some light on these dark issues, but she found only abstract answers. To her surprise it was her sociology classes which shone light, high and bright to reveal that structure and culture are the reasons why countries’ political, economic, and environmental climates continue to decline.
But is sociology exciting?
“What is there not to be excited about,” she says. “I get to explore, read, examine, and research topics involving the media, globalization, ethnicity, race, youth culture, pop culture, sexuality, gender, health, poverty and family.”
The field of sociology is overarching, she says.
“I have colleagues and close friends who have gone into health services, business, publishing, teaching, social services, community work, law, and even college communities.”
The oldest of five children, Pierre holds a master’s in sociology from Humboldt State University and a PhD in sociology from the University of Connecticut.
With four siblings who attended community college, she witnessed the impact community colleges made on their lives. She knew before she earned her doctorate that she wanted to work at a community college surrounded by students like her siblings.
A former competitive tennis player, Pierre devotes her spare time now to a social movement…she says enroll in her class and she will share which one.
Dr. Jennifer Mezquita is the new NECC assistant vice president of Student Affairs.
Dr. Jennifer Mezquita is as unapologetic about her academic title as she is about her dynamic personality. While the former was earned through hard work fueled by grit, the later came with her DNA.
As Northern Essex Community College’s new assistant vice president of student affairs, she hopes when Northern Essex students meet her they can identify with her and be inspired. For sure, Mezquita knows when she meets NECC students she sees herself in them and is inspired to help them succeed.
The new Haverhill resident knows well that community college students are a unique breed, often juggling family responsibilities with one or more jobs and a full class schedule. Mezquita knows because she was one.
Her story is their story.
Born in the Dominican Republic, she was raised by her grandparents until the age of 10 when she and her siblings joined their mom in Orlando, Florida, where she worked as a housekeeper for Disney. They arrived in the Sunshine state with their permanent resident cards and no knowledge of the English language – not even hello.
While she started her American education on the English as a Second Language track, by 10th grade she tested out of the program, resolute to attend college.
“Even though my mom only had a third-grade education,” recalled Mezquita, “She would tell me, ‘Your education is the one thing no one can ever take from you.’”
The first in her family to attend college, she earned a two-year scholarship to Valencia College, which was close to home. A work-study student, she worked a second job selling women’s suits and over scheduled herself with participation in campus organizations.
Mezquita earned her associate degree, but as a result of her over-zealousness at experiencing college, grades suffered, she said. When she told a counselor she wanted to earn a bachelor’s at the University of Florida, it was suggested that she was being “silly”. She ignored the suggestion, applied, and was accepted.
While earning her bachelor’s degree, she worked in banking, got married and started a family. A casual comment by a bank customer who worked in higher education had her dreaming about working in the very environment she thrived in – education.
Her GPA had improved, but, she suspected, not enough to wow the admissions committee at the University of Central Florida where master’s and doctoral programs in Education Leadership caught her attention. She talked her way into the program with the promise of retaking her GREs and completing two summer courses.
She did both and eagerly started the program where one day a professor wrote a quote that resonated with Mezquita then and now. Dr. Rosa Cintron wrote “Your desire to learn counts more than any other qualification and seriousness more than brilliance.”
“To me, that sums up what community colleges are here to do,” Mezquita said. “Students can learn anything under the right circumstances.”
After climbing the academic ladder herself, she arrives at NECC with self-imposed priorities. Whether it is her staff or the students she is here to promote inclusion and equity.
“I want to grow the culture with a focus on student engagement. There should be robust student engagement,” she said. “I want our students to know they have an advocate. I am here to champion our students.”
Here only a month and already she has created “Walk Through Wednesdays,” with her staff where she checks in with them and encourages laughter and positivity in the work place.
What she won’t do, she said, is “lead from the office.” “If you want to get a pulse of a community you need to immerse yourself in it.”
She recognizes that what works at other community colleges won’t necessarily work here and is prepared to grow as she goes.