NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Marie Phillips and Lukas Schmid take home Student of Month honor

Two Northern Essex Community College students were recently honored for being picked as students of the month. Marie Phillips was student of the month for February and Lukas Schmid was named student of the month for March.

Phillips, an early childhood education student, was nominated by professor Deirdre Budzyna. Budzyna wrote:  “Marie is certainly a strong student.  She has a grade point average of 3.9 and is the President of Phi Theta Kappa.  However, that is not what sets her apart from the others in her class.  Marie is an exceptional human being.  She spends her life working to make others’ lives easier. She juggles her academics, community service, parenting and work with apparent ease and is always looking for opportunities to make someone’s day a little brighter. “

Phillips was also recently named this year’s student speaker for commencement in recognition of her achievements and contributions.

According to Budzyna, Phillips has dedicated much of her time to helping children with limited resources.

“She has volunteered with the STEP program at the Emmaus House family shelter in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  The STEP program was designed to provide homework help and tutoring for school age children who reside at the Emmaus House.  Marie realized that there are many young children residing in the shelter and she has worked hard to design activities for them as well,” Budzyna wrote. “Marie is also a member of the Jump Start program which is a division of AmeriCorps.  Jump Start is a program that works with preschool aged children who live in low income areas to strengthen the children’s literacy skills and prepare them for academic success.  Marie has pledged to complete 300 hours of service with the Jump Start program this year.  She was promoted to the role of team leader in this program.  Marie leads the children in circle time activities, provides individual instruction, reads to children and assists during center time. She is warm, nurturing and creative when interacting with children who are in crisis.  Her maturity and passion for serving the underserved are truly remarkable.”

Budzyna said Phillips is also a student leader: “ She is an active member of the early childhood club. She is a member of PACE (Pathways to Academic and Career Excellence).  She is also a member of the Student Leadership Development Program at NECC.  She actively participates in leadership programs as well as community service.  Marie also volunteers her time as a student ambassador for NECC, a position that is only awarded to the strongest leaders on campus.  She also works as a new student orientation leader, welcoming new students onto campus and introducing them to all the programs NECC has to offer.”

Budzyna said Phillips was awarded the Pearson Prize this year and named a Pearson Prize National Scholar. “This honor is award to only 100 college students throughout the United States each year,” she said. “Recipients not only strive for academic excellence, but also work hard to make a difference in their communities.”

In conclusion, Budzyna wrote that “Marie’s commitment to her education, professional development, community service and leadership opportunities are exemplary …. She approaches every task and opportunity with a positive spirit and willingness to make the world a better place.  Anyone who comes  into contact with Marie is truly blessed.”

Engineering physics student Schmid was nominated by professor Chaitanya Hiremath.

Hiremath praised Schmid’s positive attitude, calling him a “friendly, respectful and conscientious student,” who is “a pleasure to have in class.”

“In the laboratory, Lukas not only works very well in a team and performs the experiments thoroughly but he also cares about the partners and helps them in understanding the concepts,” Hiremath wrote. “Lukas is a great Engineering Physics I student at NECC and I wish him the best in life.”