Starks said the military taught him “how to be a better organized person” and Northern Essex “provided an educational foundation.” “Harvard and Cornell would not have happened without first the service and then Northern Essex.”
Urena also enrolled at Northern Essex after his military service, which included a tour as a tank commander in Iraq. He still carries shrapnel in his cheek from a vehicle explosion in Iraq, an injury for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.
While a student at Northern Essex in 2007, Urena was named director of veterans’ services in Lawrence and in 2011 he was appointed commissioner of veterans’ service for the City of Boston.
Calling the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15, 2013, the day that “changed the city of Boston forever,” Urena described how he arranged to have two Marines, wounded warriors, visit the marathon victims, and share how they have coped with their own injuries.
Northern Essex offers a Veterans Services Club for students as well as a Veterans’ Writing Group which Professor Paul Saint Amand leads. For more information on the club, contact Merced at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the writing group, contact Saint Amand at email@example.com.
Veterans with questions regarding educational benefits, funding resources, and prior credit and/or transfer opportunities, can contact Jeff Williams, NECC’s veterans’ services coordinator, at 978 556-3631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.