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Welcome to SOAR!

The SOAR program is a new student support program created for you, the NECC student. SOAR provides opportunities for students to strengthen their academic skills, explore career and transfer choices, express their identities, and grow their leadership experience.

We know you are busy, so we will be hosting our events in person, virtually and we will be recording them (when possible) so that you will have access to them on your schedule. We strive to uplift our students to achieve their own version of success. We seek to create a familial, trusted community focused on empowering students through care, challenge, and celebration.

For more information about becoming a SOAR Scholar email or stop by the SOAR Center in room ??? in the SC building.


SOAR will uplift historically underrepresented students to achieve their own version of success.


SOAR staff, in collaboration with participating students, will promote increased persistence of academic and career goal completion by creating a trusted, familial community through forming connections, empowerment, and holistic, individualized support.

Meet Our Staff!

Meet Our Staff

Sarah Cooper (She/Hers)

Hello, I am so excited to be your new Director of SOAR. Helping students define and achieve their version of success is my professional passion and the vision of SOAR. I have some degrees, a master’s degree in the Art of Teaching from Johnson and Wales University in Providence RI and a Master’s in Interior Design from the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk, and they have certainly opened doors in my profession. However my partner has nicknamed me “the professor”, because I am a teacher at heart. From helping the person at the grocery store figure out what a gooseberry is, to guiding our children through the many choices of life, I love seeing people harness the power of knowledge to make informed, right choices for them. So whether it’s how to succeed at college, or pick a gift for a loved one, I will always listen, ask question and help you find the best solution for you! I look forward to meeting you soon.

Travis Carl Karas (He/They)

Willkommen, Bienvenue, and Welcome! I’m Travis Karas, a theatre geek and a Ravenclaw, and I’m ecstatic to be here for the opening curtain of the SOAR program! I’m from Waterbury, Connecticut and hold a Bachelor’s in Human Development from the University of Connecticut as well as a Master’s in Higher Education from Merrimack College. I am, at my core, an advocate for educational access and equity. I believe in the value of integrity, random acts of kindness, and the impact a good laugh can have on a tough day. My furry co-pilots, Chewbacca (labradoodle) and Leia (meow machine), have taught me what it means to have someone truly rely on me. As we begin our journey together, know that I want to be a reliable resource for you here at NECC. My role is to guide you, but my aspiration is to know you. Stop by, grab some tea, take a load off! We can chat about your preferred transfer destination, the possibilities of the Marvel Multiverse, or you can tell me about your abuela and I can tell you about mine. I look forward to working with you, to learning from you, and to growing with you.

Michael Ryan (He/Him/His)

Hello! My name is Michael Ryan. I have a Master’s degree in Higher Education in Student Affairs from Salem State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Merrimack College. I am originally from Marshfield, Massachusetts, and recently relocated to Lawrence. I like to golf, I’m a huge Boston sports fan, and I love all things Harry Potter, Disney, and Star Wars!

Our Services

Peer Ambassadors

Peer Ambassadors

Student Ambassadors are here to assist students in becoming acclimated to Northern Essex campus and culture. They work collaboratively to en- gage students in activities that increase their peers’ success and involvement in a positive college experience. Their mission: to make connections with an accepting, supportive SOAR staff and peer community!



SOAR plans a variety of workshops to set our students up for success in a variety of areas, such as informative financial, personal health and wellness activities, as well as academic skills and tips workshops tailored to SOAR students. Specific topics we have planned include study tips, financial literacy, self-care, career planning, and more! don’t forget the FUN – Add more here

1:1 Assistance

1:1 Assistance

Whatever you need, our team of SOAR staff are here for you; providing individualized, holistic assistance in eliminating barriers with a common goal of helping you succeed. Our friendly, caring staff members are here to help! Whatever assistance you may need, we are here to talk, and provide guidance. When you don’t know where to go, come to us and we can help you! Just a few of our many services include:

  • 4-year college visits and transfer assistance.
  • Career and academic exploration with a focus on your personal values, skills, and interests.
  • Assistance connecting with useful campus resources.
  • Academic coaching and individualized homework help, including after hours.
  • Meeting and connecting with your peers and having fun!
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