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Getting on Track: Marlene Grant ’07

Submitted by on December 18, 2019 – 7:36 pm

Marlene Grant ’07 walks the NECC track.

When Marlene Grant ’07 moved from Boston to Haverhill at the age of 25, she had already experienced a life full of challenges: she was born and raised in an area plagued by gang violence, drive-by shootings and overwhelming negativity; and was pregnant with her first child at age 13. She dropped out of high school but subsequently earned her GED on the third try.

In 2005, desperate for a change and a safe environment for her children, she moved to Haverhill. At the time, she had no money, no family with her other than her three children, no job, and a broken-down car.

That is when she enrolled at NECC – and quickly found her footing in the college’s social work program (now human services).

“I was mesmerized by the beautiful campus, supported by the helpful staff, and inspired by my professors… They were the catalyst for my success,” she says.

Grant emphasizes that one particular criminology professor, Mary Wilson-Tauson, was instrumental in giving her the boost she needed to succeed.

“Professor Mary Wilson touched my life, allowing me to confront my history in a safe and affirming environment. She believed in me and my ability to confidently move forward.”

The pieces all continued to come together for her as she devoted a portion of each day to walking around the NECC track, where she would mentally refine her goals after class.

Marlene Grant (left) and Mary Wilson-Tauson (right) recently reunited, for the first time in 14 years, on the NECC Haverhill campus, where they shared their journeys with us. “No role has brought me more satisfaction than that of professor and nothing brings me more joy than hearing from former students,” says Wilson-Tauson.

“I can honestly say that every major decision I made at that point in my life was made on that track,” she says. “The NECC campus truly gave me my voice, taught me to face adversity head on and embrace diversity.”

Grant went on to earn an associate degree in liberal arts: social work option from NECC (2007) and two degrees from the University of Massachusetts Lowell – a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts: psychology (2012) and a master’s degree in regions of economic development and social development (2014). Now actively working toward a juris doctorate degree, she expects to graduate from Massachusetts School of Law in the spring of 2020.

Grant currently serves as the Director of Operations at Companion Care Partners, LLC in Salem, NH, where she hires, trains, and manages caregivers for a wide range of clients.

And her journey is far from finished. She remains deeply passionate about education and eventually hopes to start a mentoring program in business affairs for NECC students. The NECC legacy also continues: her oldest daughter, now a nursing student at Northeastern University, is a proud graduate of the college and her youngest son is enrolled as a student.

“NECC is more than a community college to me,” she concludes. “It has made me who I am today…It is part of my family. If you are looking for a new start, I know your future can begin here.”

NECC offers an associate degree in human services, which prepares students for careers as social workers, counselors, and more. For additional information, please visit