NECC Observer

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

PACE helps students succeed

Pathway to Academic and Career Excellence also known as PACE is a Student Support Services program funded by a TRiO grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The PACE program began at NECC in 1980 and it is still expanding. While attending NECC students can be eligible through four ways. One is if neither of their parents have a bachelor’s degree. Another way is students who are first-generation college students. They also look at a student’s financial aid status to see if students meet the financial guidelines. Lastly is If a student works with the CARS office at Northern Essex they may also be eligible.

Kristen Arnold PACE Director who has been working in PACE at Northern Essex for almost 14 years and has been the director for almost five years says, “I would encourage students to work hard because if they can be successful at NECC they can be successful at a four-year school too.”

Along with Arnold the PACE program consists of three other members. Jessica Rocker, PACE Transfer Adviser offers her service for a seamless transfer. S

heila Corsaro PACE Academic Adviser sets students pathways the minute they enter NECC.

Christine Carbone PACE Data Specialist completes the team by exerting her skills to further the program.

The program also has two mentors who constantly check up on students making sure their needs are fulfilled.

Every year they accept 258 students — they currently have about 30 openings and are looking to fill those spots for this year.

The program has a lot of beneficiary factors that help students further their academic achievements.

One activity they offer is weekly workshops.

“Every week we offer a new workshop with a different topic that is relevant to what’s happening at that time of the year at the college,” Arnold says.

These workshops are built in to keep students on track during the school year.

Workshops provide students with tools that can help her/him successfully in transferring and in his/her career.

The program also offers field trips. They pick 10-14 schools in the year for field trips, mostly four-year colleges and universities that include on-campus tours and transfer information sessions. Trips are 100% free and the only requirement is that students are an active PACE participant.

Since PACE is a federal funded program one of its best tools is scholarships. They offer a variety of scholarships that are awarded based on academic performance, financial need, demonstrated commitment to a field of study, volunteer activities support for transferring to a four-year school compelling personal essay, and military service.

“I have had many students over the years who got their start at NECC and are now are doing some amazing things at their four-year colleges and in their careers,”Arnold says. “It is unbelievable the places you can go and things you can do after leaving NECC.”