The Northampton Community College campus is located in Tannersville and Bethlehem. (Barry Saturen)
The Northampton Community College campus is located in Tannersville and Bethlehem.

Barry Saturen

Award winning Northampton Community College provides accessible and quality education for all

October 29, 2018

You’re most likely in your room, preparing for SAT prep, ACT prep, sitting up at midnight, and doing homework for an AP class. In the midst of all the homework and practice tests, you are still wondering, “How do I know what I want to do in my life? What college do I choose, and how can I afford all of those expenses?”

Two facilities located in Bethlehem and Tannersville are waiting to transform your life forever: Northampton Community College (NCC). NCC is where more and more students turn to earn a degree, access workforce training, and learn new life activities.

“Out of every class I have ever taken, I don’t have a single regret,” said Jessie Garin, a second-year student at NCC. “With every class I have taken, I learned so much, and grew with each professor, some of them the very best in the state.”

Classes and extracurriculars at the Bethlehem NCC campus give students opportunities to really enhance and grow their passion. NCC has twenty-five student clubs, a musical program, and twelve intercollegiate athletic programs.  

“The classes offered a lot of hands-on experiences that required us to think, and to build a foundation of understanding between peers,” said Rachel Belka, a fourth-semester student.“Everyone was there to learn, people were motivated and passionate about their career.”

Meryl Kiyate, a second-year Muslim student at NCC, describes how her classes offered a variety of field trips that developed her interest in childhood education.

Outside of classrooms we talked with families, met children, and we provided hands-on experiences to the families. You never really grow and learn from those experiences, unless you actually experience it yourself.

Belka is also an aspiring major in early childhood education. Wanting to excel in her dream of becoming a childhood educator, Belka decided to join one of the extracurricular activities that NCC has to offer: the Monroe County Education Association. This is an association that is dedicated to hosting events and holding fundraisers for other organizations in regards to child services.

“It really supported me and helped me grow my knowledge and passion in childhood community education,” said Belka. “Even though there were some people that didn’t even major in childhood education, their passion in community service really influenced me as a person.”

Northampton Community College prides itself in twice being named the “Leader College” in the national student success initiative “Achieving the Dream.” They boast forty thousand plus alumni, including a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner, an Academy Award-winning documentary director, CEO’s, and many more impressive alumni.

“The vibrance of this college is access, excellence, diversity, and global engagement, and the belief we should encourage our students to be active members of this campus and the broader community,” said Dr. Mark Erickson, President of Northampton Community College.

Northampton Community College is a great place to help students excel in their passion, and to find their career path.

A lot of the professors and classes that I had, gave me a direction for what I want to do in life, and where I should start,” said Garin. NCC provides affordable education and opportunity for all, and their staff is committed to helping the students as much as possible.

“We pride ourselves in providing a very supportive environment, where students can build personal connections with their professors to find their passion,” said Dr. John Leisure, award-winning PA professor of the year. Leisure talks about how he remembers a student who planned to major in journalism, but who found inspiration through his Environmental Science classes. “Now, she is pursuing a major in biology, applying to a variety of schools, hoping to direct her career in environmental science,” said Leisure.

While being the least expensive college in PA, NCC has a ninety-one percent success rates for students graduating or continuing their education. Many of their programs have a ninety to one hundred percent student success rates, which include dental hygiene, funeral service, radiography, and many other majors.

In fact, while providing a very affordable education, NCC graduates have attended top-tier schools, with one of the most common being Lehigh University. Many of these elite schools also include Harvard, Columbia, Smith’s College, Swarthmore, as well as others.

The staff at NCC provide a caring environment on a personal level as well. “My adviser, Kelly R. Allen, made his presence well known from the first day at Northampton, and every day so on,” said Garin enthusiastically

Award-winning Hispanic PA professor of the year Dr. Javier Avila arrives with the goal to inspire his students to achieve great things and beyond. Dr. Avila strives to inspire Latinos, Hispanics, and ethnic minorities of all types.

Many students that come to NCC arrive with many challenges. These challenges include weak academic backgrounds, hunger, homelessness, troubled family support systems, and many other obstacles. Avila makes an effort to provide a welcoming environment to all students, especially those that face these challenges.

“My job is to dignify, to take away the appearance that literature is not approachable,” said Avila. “We inquire empathy, in appreciating literature. Generally, many students who are minorities are inspired to see other minority students succeeding.”

NCC boasts an ongoing list of success stories, students who accomplished their dreams regardless of their circumstances. This includes a student becoming a district sales manager of the largest steel producing company in the United States, having chef interns/majors work at award-winning restaurants, a general studies major who helped build a wind turbine that brought electricity to a remote village in Peru, as well as other success stories.

“This is a college that changes lives,” said Dr. Mark Erickson, President of NCC. “I see it every day as I am honored to engage with our students. They tell me how we literally change the trajectory of their lives.”

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