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He Started without a High School GPA, Now Has Two Degrees from NECC

Submitted by on May 19, 2023 – 1:35 pm

Noah Rothgaber of Salem, New Hampshire, has big dreams, and they match his big heart and the big accomplishments he’s achieved at Northern Essex Community College.

“My dream is to build the medical technology responsible for assisting surgeons in major surgery. The medical field envelops some of the things most interesting and important to me,” he says. “Robotics, software engineering, and giving back to the medical profession are all things I dream about being a part of.”

Noah Rothgaber now holds two degrees from Northern Essex

It’s a noble and ambitious career that’s worthy of someone who Rothgaber’s professors have described as hardworking, kind, and determined.

But Rothgaber wasn’t always sure about his academic future. He struggled with health issues and was unable to complete his freshman year of high school. And despite earning a GED in 2017, he had no high school GPA, which made college admissions difficult.

That’s when he found NECC, which his mom also attended.

“They were willing to accept me as a student with only a HiSet (GED) and no GPA from high school,” he said. “The school provided an opportunity for someone like me to achieve the dream of higher education, despite my limited education.”

He’s certainly achieved that dream and more. As a NECC student, Rothgaber was a peer tutor in computer science and information technology, an intern with the school’s Accessibility Center/CIT, and a drummer in the school’s jazz band. He’ll also return to NECC as a supplemental instructor in the fall of 2023.

Rothgaber spent his time outside school working and volunteering, too. Through his job at Best Buy, he volunteered with Liberty House, a housing and assistance program for veterans in Manchester, New Hampshire, organized baskets for a charity raffle, and helped build bikes for the veterans.

Today, Rothgaber has not only graduated from NECC but has done so with dual degrees in Science, CIS: Information Technology, and Computer Science Transfer. Now, he’s planning to finish his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science with a robotics minor at UMass Lowell. He’ll also start a summer robotics internship at the UMass Lowell NERVE Center, an interdisciplinary robotics testing, research, and training facility.

Noah Rothgaber played drums in the NECC Jazz Ensemble following the commencement ceremonies in 2022 and 2023

“He has proven himself to have the determination, the perseverance, the teamwork skills, and the work ethic to be successful in that field,” according to his former calculus instructor, Liliana Brand.

He credits NECC for helping him to discover his love for robotics and computer science in the first place, pointing to two classes in particular that “fully gave me my career passion,” he said.

“Intro Computer Science showed me what the world of computers was like at a level I’d never seen before,” he said. “And Programming for IT showed me just how much I love programming, logic, and the computer.”

He also credits NECC’s faculty and extensive students resources, from receiving an out-of-the-blue text from the Computer Information Science department chair, who offered to help him register for classes at a time he was feeling discouraged and burnt out, to the tutoring, academic coaching, teacher office hours, and free meals that help support students.

Now, Rothgaber is eager to move forward with a solid foundation from NECC.

“The resources are here to support your success,” he said.

By Alexandra Pecci