NECC Observer

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

What it means to be an honors student at NECC

The Honors Program at Northern Essex Community College, run by Professor Ginger Hurajt, is a program put in place for NECC’s brightest and most motivated students.

Graduating with an Honors degree at NECC means you have taken Honors Seminar and completed two other Honors projects in other classes, alongside the high GPA and educational dedication. Students love being a part of this, or want to, and seem to join and enjoy it for a myriad of reasons.

April Richer is a student currently enrolled in Honors Seminar who has returned to her education after 20 years.

For her, her start in the Honors Program was with an email.

“Quite honestly NECC does an amazing job giving all students opportunities to be successful, to have a full and rewarding experience, to support those students who have a diverse amount of need. I experienced so many amazing opportunities in my academics, and I was encouraged by my professors to seize on many opportunities. It may have been the second email from the Honors Program that I looked harder at this (Honors Program) as an option.”

Richer even says how she wished she had taken the class sooner, but is still very grateful for this opportunity.

Another student says that Honors Seminar is the best course she has ever taken. “The reason that this course is the best is because we can choose our own topic, and on top of that we get to do an in depth research project. This keeps the class engaging and always enjoyable, it starts to not even feel like a class.”

She said she was required to do an interdisciplinary topic. She chose to study the ethics behind medical engineering. “It is the job I want in the future (genetic engineering). This class is preparing me for the rest of my life in a way no other class ever could.”

The research she has been doing has not felt like labor. She recommends joining the Honors Program to everyone she meets. It is hard work, but it becomes a lot easier when you are passionate about your topic.

Another student said she is not in the Honors Program, however she is heavily considering joining it. “I plan on applying to a four year college after I get my associates. I want to join the Honors Program to stand out on applications. I also hope to get experience in a class where a harder work ethic is needed to prepare for my future”.

She  wants to study math and biology when she moves on. When asked about what she would do her project on, she said she would likely study the direct connection between the two: how math can be applied to the study of biology. She knows how competitive college admissions are, so anything that can make herself stand out. Not only that, but she also knows that four year college will be very hard for her if she is to study biology and math. This course will help her prepare for that work and know what to expect out of an average class. Given, of course, that Honors Seminar tends to be harder and more work than other NECC classes.

Finally, Nancy Evans, like Richer, got an email saying she was eligible for the Honors Program. After having a tough time in high school, she decided to make her comeback strong. “I emailed Ginger asking what it (the Honors Program)may be like, and she was helpful and reassuring. I decided to give it a go and was happily surprised”.

So far from her experience, the best thing is how small the classes are. It gives a really good personal feel with your professor and peers which helps in a class as intensive as seminar.

“I am glad I received the encouragement despite my past because this is an education experience that I am truly enjoying. I enjoy how individualized and personal the classes have felt. I am also interested to see what other Honors classes are in my future”. Evans’ story is moving, but she is also inspired by all the amazing work her peers are doing alongside her.