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Honors Program Expands to Give Students More Options

Submitted by on May 6, 2022 – 2:33 pm

Haverhill, MA (May 2, 2022) – This fall, Northern Essex Community College students will have twice as many options for honors classes. Seven honors classes and one seminar will be offered, with in-person classes in Haverhill and Lawrence, and one that will meet entirely online.

Any student can register and take these classes regardless of their GPA. However, students who take three honors classes and maintain a GPA of at least 3.2 will be designated as members of the Commonwealth Honors Program. That means if they transfer to a state university, they’re automatically enrolled in the Commonwealth Honors program there, and their honors courses transfer easily. “MA is the only state that has this seamless transition from the community colleges to the state universities,” says Honors Program Coordinator Ginger Hurajt.

corner of the library building on a bright sunny day

Bentley Library, Haverhill Campus

Commonwealth Honors Program participants also get the chance to showcase their hard work at the state level. Four NECC students just presented their honors projects at the virtual Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference. Psychology student Emily Ellis’ project looks at how connections between brain function and the immune system can be used in the development of treatment plans for Alzheimer’s patients. “I have had a great time learning about this, though it was difficult, this research has intrigued me to study this for a career,” says Ellis.

Liberal Arts major April Richer of Dover, NH is working on two projects: the first is an oral history of Dover, documenting life during the height of the pandemic and the other examines the role of women during the January 6 insurrection. Avery Hochheiser is an Early College student, meaning she’s taking classes while still in high school. Her project looks at the use of CRISPR, a form of genetic engineering, and whether its use should be considered an ethical practice. “This is graduate level work. We’re asking a lot, and these are very ambitious students,” says Hurajt. April Richer agrees: “It has been challenging, and exhausting, however it has greatly increased my abilities as a student.”

Registration for fall classes is open now. Learn more about the honors program and class options here. Anyone with questions should contact Commonwealth Honors Program Coordinator Ginger Hurajt at