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Family Man Overcomes Obstacles to Earn Degree

Submitted by on July 30, 2012 – 12:49 pm
Andres Guzman

Andres Guzman

Five years ago, Andres Guzman could have come up with a lot of reasons why a college education was out of his reach.

First, as a recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic, he didn’t speak English. Second, he had a wife and family and needed to work full time to support them. And lastly, as a diabetic, he was dealing with a chronic health issue.

But Andres didn’t let those “small” obstacles get in his way, and, in May, he graduated with honors and an associate degree in Criminal Justice and a Certificate in Computer Forensics from Northern Essex.

At NECC, Andres started with English as a Second Language courses, enrolling in Basic Reading and Basic Writing. After building his English skills, he was ready for college-level courses and selected Computer Applications and Introduction to Criminal Justice, a serendipitous choice since it is where he discovered a passion for the criminal justice field.

While a student, he interned at the Lawrence Probation Department — “I loved it,” he says — and worked in the Student Success Center in Lawrence. He also served as a supplemental instructor in Professor Gorzka’s human biology course, leading tutoring sessions for students.

Andres credits the support of his family as well as college faculty and staff with helping him to succeed. “The people that I found at this college said ‘you can do it.’ I learned how to open the right doors.”

He is planning to transfer to UMass Lowell for a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice this fall.

“My future is bright and I can see the light at the end of the road.”