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Three Local 2021 Grads Named to PTK All-Massachusetts Academic Team

Submitted by on April 22, 2021 – 8:04 pm

Jay Anaya, Lawrence, PTK All-Massachusetts Academic Team

Three Northern Essex Community College students, Jay Anaya of Lawrence, Michelle Colbert-Mason of Haverhill, and Cathalina Eisan of Rowley, were named to the 2021 Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) All-Massachusetts Academic Team based on outstanding academic achievement and exemplary student service. All will be graduating from Northern Essex on May 15 with high honors.

Each spring, the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges (MACC) honors students selected for the academic team at a ceremony at the State House. This year, students will be honored virtually during “PTK Community College Excellence Week”, which runs from Monday, April 26 to Friday, April 30.

“It’s been a stressful year, and all three of these students deserve special recognition for having achieved such high levels of academic success despite all the challenges,” said NECC President Lane Glenn. “If they can excel like this in the midst of a pandemic, I can’t wait to see what they will do in the future.”

Jay Anaya, a Lawrence, MA native, is graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA and an associate degree in criminal justice. She has already begun taking courses at UMass Lowell, while enrolled at Northern Essex, and she anticipates that she will graduate with her bachelor’s in criminal justice with a legal studies minor in just one year. A master’s degree is definitely in her future.

Anaya’s short term goal is to be a juvenile probation officer and long term she plans to become a criminal justice professor.

Michelle Colbert-Mason, Haverhill, PTK All-Massachusetts Academic Team

She says that because of her experience growing up in an urban area, she would most like to work with youth who may be troubled or at risk.

Anaya has volunteered in her community in the past, and, most recently, she has committed 400 hours as a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line, helping those in need.

Michelle Colbert-Mason had to drop out of high school for health reasons. After getting her GED, she has excelled academically at Northern Essex, earning her associate degree in liberal arts: journalism/communications with high honors.

She also has been active on campus, serving as a student ambassador, helping other students with online learning; as a member of Phi Theta Kappa; and participating in the PACE (Pathways to Academic and Career Excellence) Program, a federally funded program for first generation college students.

A Haverhill resident, Colbert-Mason gives back to her community as a volunteer and member of Junior Board of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.

Her goal is to be a journalist and she has applied to bachelor’s programs at Northwestern, Northeastern, Simmons, UMass Amherst, Boston University, and Emerson.

She has been selected to the student speaker at the Liberal Arts Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 15.

Cathalina Eisan of Rowley, PTK All-Massachusetts Academic Team

Eisan’s goal is to be an interpreter for the Deaf, and her passion is working with Deaf children.

After earning her associate degree in American Sign Language studies in May, she plans to return to Northern Essex for her sign language interpreting certificate, an intensive program which will help her hone her signing skills.

When she graduates with the certificate in 2022, she plans on pursuing her interpreting license and eventually landing a position in a school system.

Eisan has a 3.71 GPA and she’s been working part time at TJ Maxx to pay for her schooling.

A resident of Rowley, she spent her early years in Derry, NH and graduated from high school in California.

Here is a link to a video featuring President Lane Glenn honoring the three scholars.

For additional information contact Professor Lisette Espinoza at

Northern Essex Community College has campuses in both Haverhill and Lawrence. It offers approximately 60 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  Each year, 6,000 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 2,000 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  For more information, visit the website at or call 978-556-3700.