NECC Observer

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

Greatnes begins at home: A conversation with Noelia Figueroa

It was to my honor and surprise when interviewing Noelia Figueroa did, I out find what great talent we had here on the NECC campus. Our initial contact was due to some issues I was experiencing when trying to register for my summer classes. It was very frustrating for me because I was contacting all the wrong people. 

When I spoke with Noelia via telephone after texting back and forth, she was not only professional, but she was empathetic towards my situation as well. As we discussed my concerns, she kept a peaceful and mild tone throughout the conversation, Noelia never allowed her voice to change or become elevated. Noelia then set me up with the right contact person for enrollment and she followed up with a text message and email to make sure that I had all the information that I needed for my Zoom call with my academic adviser.

Nevertheless, everything went off without a hitch and I killed two birds with one stone. Not only did I register for my summer classes but at that time I was able to register for my fall classes as well. 

But the Story does not end there. A few weeks later I decided to contact Noelia again and asked if I could do a story on her for my Journalism class, and she cordially agreed.

In the beginning of the interview, I asked Noelia what her position was here at NECC and she said, a College Navigator. Noelia then went on to explain what her position entailed and that she worked under the student support services which included working with the students one on one.

She said she loved working with the students one on one and helping the students with challenges. “I know what it is like to be a student and I know what I went through as a student, and I do not want anyone to have to go through what I went through. I want students to be successful,” said Noelia, “and this is the part of my job that I do not see as a job.” 

“When COVID-19 hit it was difficult transitioning because we had to figure out how to communicate with students without meeting with them face to face,” she said. “However, in the process of this I had a great support team, with great coworkers and supervisor and we worked together to come up with creative ways to accommodate the students. “The transition to online was difficult for students, it was about 50/50 especially the new students.”

Apart from the fact that not everyone can do online learning. Noelia went on to say that with the online classes she encourages her students with scheduling and managing their time that way they do not get behind in their work.  

I went on to ask Noelia in my interview with her if she thought that it was important to keep a positive attitude.

Noelia said, she was big on positivity and that positivity translates for her into the practice of never giving up.

eing positive is a coping mechanism Noelia went on to say, and that it is important to practice being positive. “I look for the positives every day despite the challenges with the COVID-19, I found something positive to hold onto every day,” she said. 

Tell me about yourself I said to Noelia, and that is when she let me know that she was inducted into the Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2019, here at NECC. 

“I was a two-time National Champion,” she said. “I was inducted along with the men. The school had never done anything like this before as far as a community college, this was the first ceremony. “

Noelia was excited about being awarded here at the school she felt that she was able to represent women at a high capacity 

Not only is she a talent in track and field but her skills with how she communicates and interacts with people will take her a long way. It’s also nice to know that as a student here at NECC we have faculty and staff that really care about the students.