Aspiring Surgeon Finds Success at Northern Essex
When Hygdrea Mathurin first stepped foot in a Northern Essex biology classroom, she was doubtful of her prospects for success. The Haverhill resident, originally from St. Lucia, arrived in Massachusetts three years ago, at age 16, with hopes of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon and limited means to back it.
“The transition to this community wasn’t easy,” she explains. “The U.S. has a much more individualized culture than what I was used to, and high academic standards. I knew I had to find and define my own success.”
And find that success she did. Now a graduating honors student of NECC’s biology program, Mathurin has transcended the various challenges that academic life has thrown her way. In the past two years, she has balanced a full-time class load with two part-time campus jobs and multiple extracurricular activities, including involvement with the NECC Science Club, Phi Theta Kappa, Student Leadership Development Program, and, most recently, the National Society for Leadership and Success, which she was inducted into during the fall of 2017.
Mathurin credits her successes in part to the guidance she received from members of the NECC tutoring center staff, as well as her professors and peers, who helped point her toward options that would make her education as affordable and accessible as possible.
“I didn’t know just how I would do in an environment that was so new to me,” she says. “But being persistent and finding a great like-minded community brought me to where I am today.”
A scholarship recipient, Mathurin is the third member of her family to attend a science program at Northern Essex. She has been particularly inspired by the path of her stepmother who, upon graduating from NECC’s health specialization program, went on to enroll at the Regis North (an NECC partnership program in Lawrence) and now works as a respiratory therapist and sleep technician. Her sister, Hygina, is currently enrolled in the college’s nursing program.
“All of us in my family have been touched by Northern Essex in some way,” she stresses. “That’s one of the great things about it – it’s opened its doors to all of us and helped us afford our goals.”
Mathurin will continue her studies this fall as an honors student at UMass Lowell, where she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree before moving on to medical school.