At age 37, I was a stay-at-home mother of three young children and in the midst of a divorce. I knew I needed an education or I wouldn’t be able to secure a job doing much of anything. I began a paralegal program at North Shore Community College with the intent of obtaining my associate’s degree, which was all I thought I was capable of doing. But soon I realized I wanted to attend law school, which seemed like such a far reach for someone who was older, didn’t do well in high school, and had financial challenges.
By luck, I found the 18-month Fast-Track program at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies. I applied, was accepted, and decided to pursue a bachelor’s in leadership. But there was another roadblock: How was I going to pay for this? I applied for every scholarship I could find and was fortunate to receive a Spirit Scholarship, which was the beginning of many opportunities for me. At the time, I didn’t know the origin of the Spirit Scholarship, but I’ve since learned that it was started by André Laus, UC’69. My goal now is to help fund future Spirit scholars, over time, in thanks for what was given to me.
Money was one obstacle; confidence was another. You have this fear—especially when you’re older and have no education—“Northeastern? I can’t do the work; there’s no way I’ll be able to keep up.” So I’ll never forget my first professor, John Sullivan, for English, who set the tone for the entire program. He was so compassionate. I had many wonderful professors, but he struck me as exceptional. I graduated from Northeastern with a 3.95 GPA at the top of my class.
In 2012, I earned my juris doctor from the Massachusetts School of Law. I passed the bar exam and have since launched my own practice. My passion is special education law and child advocacy.
It’s been an unbelievable journey. What keeps me grounded and focused is how I started, where I was. You have the attitude that this is what I’m going to do, and you just do it. I am where I am today because of Northeastern and my family, and I’m forever grateful.
Who Empowered You?
Behind every Northeastern graduate is a story of empowerment—often, a story about a formative personal or mentoring relationship. Please add your testimonial to the growing collection and share a favorite memory or anecdote about your empower source.
Bill Garvey remembers the “wake up call” of those first-quarter Cs, and a courseload so heavy that he “fell behind, overwhelmed.” But through co-op, he laid the foundations of a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Joe Fleming, PAH’70, MS’71, and Chris Ford, DMSB’73, are delivering a healthy dose of mentorship through the Health Sciences Entrepreneurs program in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences.
“My first co-op advisor, Corinne Reppucci—she was Miss Cianci then—was instrumental in getting me a co-op I loved. That was the start of a wonderful career, one that gave me the ‘global mindset’ so essential for our students today.”
“I’m the first college graduate in my family, thanks to the Northeastern supporters who funded my Torch Scholarship.”
For Carla Oblas, director of Northeastern’s Balfour Academy, helping young people in underserved schools has empowered students in their quest for a college education—and it has empowered her along the way.
“I worked in Northeastern’s dining services as a part-time dishwasher and server, and was eventually invited to be a co-op assistant manager. It was the start of an incredible opportunity that far exceeded the typical college experience.”
“Northeastern has been a part of my life from the beginning. My father, William Kneeland Jr., DMSB’67, worked at the university for nearly 30 years, and to me, he is Northeastern.”
“Due in large part to Dr. Heron’s guidance and belief in me, I finished my bachelor’s degree in finance and business administration while working full-time and later earned my executive MBA from Northeastern.”
S'73, MA'75, PhD'78
“I owe my career satisfaction to co-op and my adviser, Professor Nancy Caruso. As a Northeastern professor, I have hired many wonderful co-op students in the course of almost 25 years.”
“Growing up, I launched businesses from my parents’ basement. By the time I was a high school senior, I was running a thriving IT support company and building websites for dozens of customers.”
“If you haven’t heard of The Husky Ambassadors, you have definitely seen us—the tour guides who strut through campus with prospective students, parents shuffling behind.”
“My degree provided a new level of professionalism, required for advancement in nursing. Northeastern’s innovative Nursing Interim Program influenced my work as a caregiver, manager, and risk taker—and throughout my career, I encouraged creative thinking and educational opportunities for my staff.”
“Professor Adomdza has empowered me to take full advantage of global experiential learning and has helped shape me into the person I am today: a budding entrepreneur prepared through coursework, research, and co-op for whatever opportunities come my way.”
“When I arrived at Northeastern I had very vague ideas about what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to go into medicine but I had no idea where to go or who to go to about getting that kind of mentoring.”
“Balancing work and school, and being on co-op, has taught me how to live life as an adult. Northeastern’s career-oriented atmosphere changed me. It’s made me more mature.”
“My father-in-law said if I was ever going to marry his daughter, I’d better go to college. Things worked out! Because of the people I met at Northeastern, I had a great career, and I and my late wife, Nancy—also an alum—were married for 37 years.”
“I had been a senior vice president of human resources with a successful corporate career. The day my job was eliminated, in 2007, I looked at my husband and said, ‘I’m going to start my own business and go back to school!’”
“I can still picture her: a petite college grad, not much older than I was—my co-op advisor’s assistant. When I told her I wanted a co-op with a Big Eight accounting firm, she just laughed. ‘With your grades?’”
“I was a Torch Scholar in this incredible program’s second year. My mentor at Northeastern—James Stellar, then dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences—introduced me to research and took me under his wing.”
“As a junior at the business school, I managed to slip into an oversubscribed class on real estate finance taught by Steve Kursh. There weren’t enough chairs, so only the seniors were invited to enroll that semester. Somehow, I stayed.”
“It isn’t often that you encounter a manager who is both brilliant and extraordinarily caring, but that’s exactly what I got in Brenna McCarthy. I did a co-op at John Hancock Funds, where I assisted Brenna in marketing operations.”
“I was discharged from the Army in ’73, when the economy was faltering badly. I had no career direction. Joe Golemme convinced me to enroll at the Graduate School of Professional Accounting, which he both founded and directed.”
“I have wanted to attend Northeastern ever since I watched my dad graduate in Matthews Arena, when I was ten. It was my dream to follow in his footsteps.”
LI'59, UC'62, H'89
“After I received my engineering degree, I went on to University College and took a course in business law with Professor Victor Cohen. He was one of the toughest professors I ever had, but I must tell you, he would really put the law into you.”
“As a ‘double Husky,’ I’ve had some great teacher-mentors whose knowledge and solid advice have propelled my career successes. Professor James Ramos is one, though we’ve only ever met online.”