NECC Impact Awards
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Northern Essex Community College is proud to recognize those who have made lasting contributions to the college and its students with the 2nd Annual NECC Impact Awards.
Learn more about tickets and sponsorship opportunities by contacting Lori Smerdon.
The 2nd Annual NECC Impact Awards will be held on May 1, 2024.
This award honors an individual, group, or organization who, through their support, has made a lasting impact on Northern Essex. This year, NECC is proud to recognize Lloyd L. Hamm, Jr. and Newburyport Bank. As president and CEO of Newburyport Bank, Hamm has been instrumental in promoting the NECC Foundation and in making critical community connections. This includes facilitating a major investment from Newburyport Bank into the new Seacoast Promise program, which will allow students from area high schools participating in NECC’s Early College program to continue their education at NECC for little to no cost. Hamm is a current member of the NECC Board of Trustees and of the NECC Foundation, Inc. board.
The Outstanding Alumni Award
The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus/a who has achieved career-related success, is active in the community, and/or has exemplified active support for the college’s efforts. This year’s recipient, local immigration lawyer Zoila Gomez ‘97, has dedicated countless hours to helping current students and their families with the immigration process. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Gomez graduated from Northern Essex in 1997 with a degree in paralegal studies, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from UMass Lowell, and her juris doctor degree from Massachusetts School of Law. She founded her law office in 2006, and in the fall of 2011, she returned to NECC as a professor of Immigration Law and Policy. She recently joined the Lawrence Partnership Board of Directors.
Philanthropy & Volunteerism
This award is given to a member of the Northern Essex community who has demonstrated commitment to NECC through financial support, volunteering, and leadership. Northern Essex is proud to give this year’s award to current NECC Board of Trustees Chairwoman Jennifer Borislow. Borislow, founding principal of Borislow Insurance of Methuen, has served on the board since 2017 and was named chair in 2020. In that time, she has provided invaluable connections to the local business community, championed fundraising efforts, advocated for the creation of new, inclusive programs, and assembled a strong and diverse board.
Public Service & Advocacy
The Public Service and Advocacy Award honors an individual who has greatly impacted the lives of Northern Essex students through public service or advocacy. With his continued advocacy for community college students, this year’s recipient is Representative Andy Vargas (D, Essex 3rd District). Rep. Vargas has championed affordable and accessible higher education since taking office in 2017. Most recently, he helped secure a $100,000 matching grant for the Haverhill Promise program and is advocating, along with NECC President Lane Glenn, to make completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) a requirement for high school graduation in the Commonwealth.
Equity and Social Justice Award
This award recognizes individuals, organizations, or initiatives that have impacted the NECC community through values such as a commitment to equity, diversity, and the advancement of human rights and social justice. Governor Maura Healey is this year’s honoree for her Administration’s historic investment in higher education. The FY24 budget includes funding for MassReconnect, Community College Nursing Scholarships, and an increase in SUCCESS Programs. Governor Healey also created the new Tuition Equity Law, which provides access to in-state financial aid and tuition to many undocumented students in the Commonwealth. These, along with many other programs and initiatives, have made higher education affordable and accessible to thousands of individuals across the state.
2023 Inaugural Recipients
Covanta, Community Partner Award
This award honors an individual, group, or organization who, through their support, has made a lasting impact at Northern Essex. Covanta has long been a partner for Northern Essex, supporting numerous causes, initiatives, and projects. In 2011, the energy company established an endowed scholarship for students pursuing an associate degree in natural, laboratory, or engineering science. Most recently, Covanta matched a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth for the Haverhill Promise Program. The program allows Haverhill High School students who have participated in early college at NECC to complete their associate degrees tuition-free following graduation. Covanta’s Business Manager, Mark Van Weelden, serves on the NECC Foundation Board.
Jouel Gómez, Outstanding Alumni Award
This award recognizes an alumnus/a who has achieved career-related success, is active in the community, and/or has exemplified active support for the college’s efforts. Jouel Gómez is a senior manager at Massachusetts General Brigham: Newton-Wellesley Hospital. After graduating from Northern Essex in 2015 with a Business Transfer Degree, Gómez earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University in management and an MBA from Bentley University. He became involved in alumni association efforts in NECC in 2016, becoming the vice-chairperson and president and chairperson in 2021. Gómez also serves on the NECC Board of Trustees as the alumni representative.
Jeffrey Linehan, Philanthropy & Volunteerism
This award is given to a member of the Northern Essex community who has demonstrated commitment to NECC through financial support, volunteering, and leadership. Entrepreneur Jeffrey Linehan graduated from Northern Essex in 1977. After earning his bachelor’s and MBA, Linehan returned to his roots, serving as a long-standing member of several local and college boards, including time as the chair of the Board of Trustees. Currently, Linehan serves as the secretary for the NECC Foundation Board.
Diana DiZoglio, Public Service & Advocacy
The Public Service and Advocacy award honors an individual who has made a tremendous impact on the lives of our students through public service or advocacy. Diana DiZoglio was recently elected as State Auditor. As the former State Senator from the First Essex District and the Representative for the 14th Essex District, DiZoglio has been an advocate for Northern Essex, its students, and its efforts in Lawrence, Haverhill, and surrounding communities.
Vilma Martinez Dominguez, Equity and Social Justice Award
This award recognizes individuals, organizations, or initiatives that have impacted the NECC community through values such as a commitment to equity, diversity, and the advancement of human rights and social justice. Vilma Martinez Dominguez is the COO of the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC) and the former Community Development Director for the City of Lawrence. GLCAC partners with hundreds of local organizations to provide wraparound services for area residents living in poverty, including numerous collaborations with NECC. This year, GLCAC partnered with NECC to expand the availability of high-quality ESOL instruction in the Greater Lawrence region, addressing the expansive waitlist of more than 2,000 people.
Sullivan Bille, P.C.
NECC Tax ID# (EIN) 04-2759634
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NECC Foundation, Inc.
Northern Essex Community College
100 Elliott Street
Haverhill, MA 01830
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