Support Services Lead to Successful Career for Lawrence Woman
In 2007, Jessica Castillo came to the United States from the Dominican
Republic looking for more opportunity. She found that opportunity at Northern Essex. When she first arrived at age 18, the Lawrence resident spoke no English and immediately enrolled in Northern Essex’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. To support herself, she worked three jobs, seven days a week, while she went to school.
She worked her way through the ESL program and then enrolled in the iHealth Business Management Healthcare Practice Management Program.
She also worked her way up the ladder at one of her jobs, Lawrence Dental Center/Dental Dreams in Lawrence, where she was promoted from working in child care, to the front desk, to office manager. She now works as office manager at Broadway Dental in Lawrence.
“I love my job, I love the people, and I love managing people. If I didn’t start at Northern Essex I wouldn’t be where I am today. The ESL program, the iHealth program, the Student Success Center, the writing center, the library … they all contributed to my success,” Jessica says.
Jessica graduated in May with an Associate Degree in Business Management Healthcare Practice Management and is transferring to St. Joseph’s College in Maine in September. St. Joseph’s accepts three years of credits from NECC, so Jessica will only need to take her senior year at St. Joseph’s online.
To others who may be considering college, Jessica advises, “Just do it. Even if you can only take one class at a time. Stay focused and keep moving forward. When I started, I spoke no English, and it was hard. Now I am graduating with my associate degree and am going to earn my bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s.”