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Methuen Mom Makes Demanding Schedule Look Easy

Posted: September 16, 2017 at 8:57 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ellen Small Davis on August 4, 2017

Karina Calderon is a business transfer major at Northern Essex.

The only thing more impressive than Karina Calderon’s schedule is her persistence and work ethic.

The 35-year-old Methuen woman credits Northern Essex with helping her strike a balance between school, work, and family. Karina, who graduated in May with an Associate Degree in Business Transfer with high honors, attended Northern Essex full time, and worked full time, all while raising her 18- and 10-year-old daughters as a single mom.

“When something is important to you, you find a way,” Karina says. “When it is not, you find an excuse,” she says. “My desire to provide a better life for my daughters is so strong that I will work as hard as I can to make it happen. For me it’s about priorities and sacrifices; I know the hard work will pay off at the end.”

Karina’s life today is very different than the life she imagined growing up in the Dominican Republic where she studied architecture for three years. She immigrated to the United States at 21, moved in with a relative, and started planning a future here.

She worked a number of jobs, enrolled in college, married, and raised her family. When the recession forced her to place her college education on hold, she found a coveted position with a local pharmacy and medical equipment company. Karina, by then a single mom, again enrolled in college; this time in NECC’s Business Program. She took four courses each semester and when possible made her school projects relevant to her pharmacy job as a referral coordinator.

“I knew it was time for me to earn a college degree,” she says. “I thought I should draw on my work experience and enroll in a business program.”

Karina challenged herself and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. She begins taking business courses toward her bachelor’s degree at Merrimack College this fall.

To learn more about enrolling at Northern Essex, visit the website or contact Enrollment Services at, admissions@necc.mass.edu or 978-556-3700.