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NECC Providing Stipends for Internships

Submitted by on January 23, 2024 – 7:31 pm

If multitasking were an Olympic sport, Karen VanderMass, like many Northern Essex Community College students, would be in medal contention. The Haverhill resident was already busy caring for her two young children while her husband worked two full-time jobs when, in the fall of 2023, she decided to add going to college full-time into the mix. She enrolled at NECC as a nursing student, fully aware of the rigorous schedule, but determined to achieve her goal of one day caring for patients.

Karen poses in bright blue scrubs and white lab coat in hospital hallway

Karen VanderMass at her clinical at Holy Family Hospital, Methuen

“I was a special education teacher before becoming a stay-at-home mom about four years ago. After COVID, I started thinking about what else I could do, and I thought there are so many possibilities with nursing,” says VanderMass.

A key part of the nursing program is participating in a clinical class. Like internships, clinicals give students the opportunity to learn in real-life settings. VanderMass was excited to start hers at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. She was even more excited to find out she could get paid for her time through a new stipend program.

“At the time, I was really wanting to go to work and to contribute to the family. I was looking for part-time jobs at $15/hour, and it would have cost more for me to get a babysitter than I would have made,” remembers VanderMass. “This stipend really lifted the burden and literally put food on our table. I know there are others in my classes who can benefit in that way, too.”

VanderMass was one of the first recipients of the stipends, funded by a $25,000 donation from the NECC Fund. The stipends are designed to assist students in completing a for-credit, unpaid, or underpaid internship or other experiential learning. Eligible students receive either $2500 (for unpaid positions) or $1500 (for underpaid positions) stipends for roles that require at least 120 hours per semester. This semester, $1500 stipends will also be extended to students whose internships are less than 120 hours.

“Experiential learning provides great opportunities for students to apply their education, explore career possibilities, and build their network, connections, skills, and confidence,” says NECC’s Director of Career Services, Sandy Rochon. “While these are valuable experiences, we know that some students are challenged by expenses incurred to participate.”

“This stipend helps lessen the burden for students who may not otherwise take an unpaid internship because of additional costs for transportation, parking, childcare, or reduced paid working hours,” adds Katie Yeaton-Hromada, Coordinator for Career Services & Internship Programs.

The funding is open to students in any degree program, including all health programs with clinical, Criminal Justice students who have an internship requirement, and more.

Ten students received internship stipends during the fall semester. Students who plan to participate in an internship this spring can apply for a stipend until February 4. Please visit the application form for more information.

As for VanderMass, she’s on track to graduate in May of 2025 and hopes to go into either post-anesthesia care or mother-baby care. She’s encouraging others to take advantage of programs like the internship stipends at NECC to help them reach their goals.

“I’m investing all my time and money into my education; it’s great to know that Northern Essex is just as invested in me.”

About Career Services
NECC Career Services helps students and recent alumni with every stage in career development: from career exploration and internships to landing that first job or navigating career changes. To schedule an appointment, download the Navigate app or log into Navigate through the Portal. Visit the webpage for more information.

About the NECC Fund
NECC Fund provides critical support to the college’s areas of greatest need. Gifts to the NECC Fund are unrestricted, meaning they can be spent immediately and benefit a range of resources and programs that are crucial to the success of students, faculty, and staff. Historically, the NECC Fund has offered substantial support to some of the following areas: student scholarship, innovation, academic programming, career programming, and classroom resources.