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NECC Hosts “Lawrence Under the Stars”

Submitted by on June 10, 2014 – 7:45 pm

Joshua Abreu (far right), NECC retention specialist, with Rosa Talero, Evelyn Friedman, and Tracey Chalifour of Lawrence Community Action.

On Thursday, June 5, Northern Essex Community College hosted “Lawrence Under the Stars”, a social networking event designed to introduce professionals in the city to the college.

Held in the college’s new El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center on Common St, the event included a welcome by Dr. William Heineman, Northern Essex’s vice president of academic and student affairs, who invited the crowd of over 100 to partner with the college.

“We would love to have more Lawrence professionals teaching in our classrooms,” said Heineman, who also shared opportunities to serve on college boards, attend events at the college, and hire college interns.

Joshua Abreu, retention specialist at the college, spoke on behalf of the college’s Culture and Equity Committee, which organized the event. “Our committee focuses on initiatives that will contribute to the academic success of underserved students of diverse backgrounds,” said Abreu. “We know that expanding the diversity of our faculty and staff contributes to a more inclusive college environment and positively impacts student learning.”

Abreu highlighted two Lawrence professionals under the age of 30 who demonstrate the powerful potential of city residents. Carlos E. Perez graduated from Lawrence High School in 2006, received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Mass College of Pharmacy, and is now the director of clinical pharmacy at Baldpate Hospital. Marquis Victor, who graduated from Central Catholic High School in 2004 and received his master’s in education from Lesley University, is now the dean of students for the Roger Clap Innovation School in Dorchester.


Jill Hrubes, Follet Bookstore; Laurie Dimitrov, NECC; and Marquis Victor, Elevated Thought.


He also introduced Mary DeJesus of Lawrence, who graduated from NECC’s Nursing Program in May, and is now working as a nurse for hospice.

“Education is a powerful tool,” said Abreu. “And many Lawrence residents are using it to achieve great things.”

Northern Essex offered its first credit course in Lawrence in 1971 and 20 years later, thanks to a generous gift from the Prudential Insurance Company, the college opened the Dimitry Building, 45 Franklin St. The college has been growing its presence in Lawrence and there are now five buildings in Lawrence offering a wide range of educational opportunities. There are now 3160 students studying in Lawrence.

Based on the success of this event, the college plans to host more opportunities to connect the college with Lawrence professionals.

Anyone interested in learning more about this event or opportunities at Northern Essex is invited to contact Abreu at or 978 738-7452. To learn more about job opportunities at the college, contact Mary Chatigny, director of human resources development, or 978 556-3925 or visit the college’s employment website,, where you can sign up to receive an RSS feed with job postings. To learn more about the college, including programs offered in Lawrence, visit the website at