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Contact Us

For membership, billing or scholarship questions, please contact:

Michael T. Tasto, PhD

Southern New Hampshire University
Treasurer – Northeast Regional Honors Council

For information about the 2023 NRHC Annual Conference contact the Conference Chair:

Marcella Mc-Coy - Deh, PhD

Thomas Jefferson University

For information about NRHC contact the 2022-2023 president:

Darryl Peterkin, PhD

Morgan State University

For suggestions, submissions, or questions regarding this website, please contact the web coordinator:

Tanya Radford, PhD

Dominican University New York

About NRHC

The Northeast Regional Honors Council (NRHC) is an organization of students, faculty, and administrators dedicated to the encouragement and support of undergraduate honors learning. The NRHC provides its members with opportunities for the exchange of information, ideas, and assistance through its annual conference, its newsletter, and its scholarships. The NRHC encompasses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.


Currently almost 200 different colleges and universities are members. NRHC is a regional affiliate of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC).


President and 2023 Conference Co-Chair
Dr. Darryl Peterkin, Morgan State University

Darryl L. Peterkin, Ph.D. is Director of the Clara I. Adams Honors College at Morgan State University (Baltimore, Maryland).  Dr. Peterkin has a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University (1988) and a Ph.D. in American history from Princeton University (1995).   A specialist in the history of higher education in the Early Republic, Dr. Peterkin began his career in Honors as Assistant Dean of Honors at Dillard University (New Orleans, Louisiana) in 1998; and he has led the Honors College at Morgan since 2010.  He co-founded the Greater Baltimore Collegiate Honors Council (GBCHC), an initiative to promote collaboration between the Honors programs and colleges at several universities in the Baltimore area.   


Dr. Peterkin also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), and is on NCHC’s Advocacy Committee and Publications Committee.  He is the current Vice President of both the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council (MCHC) and the National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP).  Dr. Peterkin is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is excited to work on these issues as a member of the NRHC Executive Board.


A proud Southerner, Dr. Peterkin has devoted much of the last thirty years to learning the intricacies of his grandmother’s biscuit recipe and the pursuit of Carolina-style barbecue.  He is also an enthusiastic baseball fan -- especially of the Atlanta Braves -- and a devoted student of science fiction (particularly Star Trek) and its influence on literature, history, technology, and American popular culture. 


Dr. Peterkin can be reached at

President Elect and 2023 Conference Co-chair
Dr. Marcella McCoy-Deh, Thomas Jefferson University

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Vice President
Dr. Zachary Aidala, Bloomfield College

Zachary Aidala, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Bloomfield College, and has served as Honors Program Director since 2018. He earned a B.S. in Psychobiology from Binghamton University (SUNY), an M.A. in Psychology from Hunter College (CUNY), and a Ph.D. in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience from The Graduate Center (CUNY). Trained as a neuroethologist, his research focuses on the sensory ecology of avian brood parasites and their hosts, with a specific interest in the functional role of color vision. At Bloomfield College, he regularly teaches Statistics, Research Methods, and courses centered around the biology of behavior such as Biopsychology, Sensation and Perception, and Animal Behavior. The NRHC has served as a formative and invaluable resource for both Dr. Aidala and his students. Many changes to the Bloomfield College Honors Program have been initiated by conversations with NRHC colleagues. In joining the NRHC Executive Board as Faculty Representative, Dr. Aidala hopes to continue learning about best-practices in Honors administration while simultaneously paying it forward students and colleagues alike.

Past President
Chris Brittain, Rutgers University - Camden

Chris Brittain is an Admissions Officer at the University of Rutgers-Camden. He graduated from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Communication Media and in 2012 with a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. He has been working with Honors Programs in the Northeast Region for twelve years, and served as the NRHC Web Coordinator from 2016-2019. He founded the Lock Haven University Honors Coalition and co-created the Pennsylvania Honors Development Conference in 2012. In addition to his involvement with the Northeast Regional Honors Council, he spends much of his time pursuing interests in photography and event-planning.


Chris’s email address is

Dr. Michael Tasto, Southern New Hampshire University

Dr. Michael Tasto is a Professor of Economics and Chair of the Department of Finance and Economics at Southern New Hampshire University. His primary research fields of interest is urban and regional economics and has been an Excellence in Teaching Nominee at SNHU in 2009 and 2010.

He received his B.S. in Economics from St. John’s University in 2001, his M.A in Economics in 2006 and his Ph.D. in Economics in 2007 from Georgia State University. He has given numerous presentations at academic conferences, published peer-reviewed journal articles, and co-edited 2 books on entrepreneurship.

He currently serves as Treasurer for the SNHU Professional Employees Association and was one of the lead negotiators for the Association’s 5-year faculty and staff contract (representing over 1,600 employees).


Dr. Tasto can be reached at

Professor Kathryn MacDonald, Monroe College

Kat MacDonald is the Coordinator of the Honors Program and a faculty member in the English Department at Monroe College. She holds a Master’s degree in Mass Media and Communication from Fordham University and bachelor’s degrees in English, Communication Arts, and Women’s Studies from the College of New Rochelle. Before coming to Monroe College as a full-time faculty member (she was an adjunct first) in 2010, she served on the editorial team of Reader’s Digest. Kat just completed a four-year stint on the Executive Board of NRHC (she rotated through Vice President, President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past President). Kat is also a member of the NCHC Publication Board.


Serving the students in her college’s Honors Program has been most rewarding. She believes NRHC gives students the opportunity to present their research, collaborate with their peers, and become exposed to new ideas and places. She has had the pleasure of mentoring the Student Reps since 2013, when her first student served in Niagara Falls. Subsequently, two students from her institution served at Cambridge in 2015. Her students also served as Student Representative in Pittsburgh in 2017 and Baltimore in 2019. Watching the students grow and learn is extremely satisfying.


As Secretary, Kat hopes to streamline communications and create a lasting archive/repository of all NRHC documents. Kat hopes to continue to strengthen the NRHC Journal, Illuminate. Kat believes that honors is all about the students, and NRHC is here to help make that experience unforgettable. Kat can be reached at However, all NRHC-related business should be sent to

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Web Coordinator
Dr. Tanya Radford, Dominican University Ny

Tanya Radford, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and the Assistant Director of the Honors Program at Dominican University New York. At Dominican, she teaches children’s and young adult literature, Enlightenment literature, and early American literature. Dr. Radford holds a BA and MA in English from the University of Utah and a PhD in English from the City University of New York - Graduate Center. Her current research focuses on representations of readers and the act of reading in children’s literature and popular culture.


A relatively new member of NRHC, Dr. Radford attended the last two annual conferences where she served as a panel moderator and a Consultant’s Corner participant. She has also served as a reviewer for the NRHC’s student journal Illuminate. As a first-time member of the executive board of the NRHC, Dr. Radford looks forward to learning more about our region’s diverse honors programs and the exciting research being undertaken by honors undergraduates.


When she’s not reading about reading, she enjoys hammock naps (or hammock reading followed by napping), mushroom hunting, and gardening. Dr. Radford can be reached at

faculty representative
Gwen Kay, SUNY Oswego

Gwen Kay received her Ph.D. from Yale University, in the History of Science and Medicine. She specializes in 20th (and 21st) century American history, with a lens of science, medicine, and/or technology. She has been at Oswego State University since 2000, and involved in the Honors program since 2002. She has served as an Honors advisor, associate director, and currently serves as the director of the Honors program. In addition to Honors work, she has also worked in shared governance, representing Oswego at the SUNY level, and representing all 34 state-operated campuses at the SUNY level.

Faculty Representative
Dr. Amy McMillan, Buffalo State college

Amy McMillan, Ph.D. is Director of the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program at Buffalo State College (Buffalo, New York). Dr. McMillan has a B.S. in Zoology from North Dakota State University (1988) and an M.S. in Systematics and Ecology (1991) and a Ph.D. in Entomology (1998) from University of Kansas. As a conservation geneticist, Dr. McMillan has spent much of her career on species of conservation concern including Hellbender salamanders, Common Loons, and Bald Eagles. She has worked with over 60 high school, undergraduate, and graduate students on research projects over the course of her scientific career. Dr. McMillan became the interim director of the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program in 2017 and the director in 2019. This is her first time serving on the Executive Board of the Northeastern Honors Council and she is excited to be involved at the regional level. Dr. McMillan is passionate about access, equity, diversity, and inclusion and providing students opportunities for growth – both academically and economically. She hopes her involvement in the Honors Program and NRHC provides those opportunities. When not reading or playing with her dogs or cats, Dr. McMillan loves to kayak, hike, or hang out with her daughter who lives and works in New York City. Dr. McMillan can be reached at

angela steiber 2023
Student Representative
angela stieber, thomas jefferson university

Angela Stieber is an honors health sciences student at Thomas Jefferson University, East Falls Campus, Philadelphia. She was accepted into the accelerated 3 + 2 BS in health sciences and MS in athletic training. After completing her Master’s degree she hopes to work for a professional sports team as an athletic trainer. At Jefferson, Angela is also involved in BridgeUSA where she is the vice president of marketing for the Jefferson chapter. In her free time she loves to read, paint, lift weights, and listen to music. In 2022, Angela attended her first NRHC conference where she presented a painting made to reflect the theme of “We the People”. She is looking forward to becoming more involved in the upcoming conference. Angela can be contacted at

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Student Representative
derek stuart, thomas Jefferson University

Derek Stuart is an honors Pre-Medical Studies student at Thomas Jefferson University, East Falls Campus, Philadelphia. At his institution, he serves multiple leadership roles, which include being his campus’s Interfaith Coordinator, as well as an Orientation Leader for incoming First-Year Students. He also pursues his passion for Chemistry by being a teaching assistant for chemistry labs and a peer tutor for general chemistry lectures. Derek previously attended the 2022 Northeastern Regional Honors Conference, where he was able to volunteer and interact with his fellow honors students from all different schools. Now, he has the privilege of being able to serve as a student representative for the 2023 conference and is very excited to put together an event that will be unforgettable! He can be reached at

Marcella McCoy-Deh, Ph.D. is the Director of the Philadelphia University Honors Institute at Thomas Jefferson University and an Associate Professor of American Studies. Dr. McCoy-Deh holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Morgan State University, MA in Mass Communication and PhD in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University.


She has been an active member of NRHC and NCHC over the past 20 years, bringing students to present at the annual NRHC conference and recently began a term as NRHC President-elect and conference co-chair. At the national level, Marcella has presented at NCHC conferences, contributed to the inaugural Diversity Monograph, completed summer development workshops including the Site Visitor training.  She lends her higher ed expertise on the Board of Directors for Hostelling International USA introducing a new generation to travel as means of building intercultural community.

Dr. McCoy-Deh can be reached at

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Student Representative
Natalea Hillen, point park University

Natalea Hillen is a junior who studies broadcast journalism, communications, and marketing at Point Park University, in downtown Pittsburgh. She has been on the Dean's list since her first semester of freshman year. Natalea is a very involved and dedicated student with a passion for motivating and helping others as a leader. She is the President of the Honors Student Organization, a hurdler, sprinter, and jumper on the PPU Track and Field team, host of the sports show, and lead producer of the entertainment show for her school’s TV Station, U-View, and is the Social Media Manager for Point Park University’s Rowland School of Business. Outside of school, Natalea loves to dance, listen to music, hang out with friends, and attend Pitt, Steelers, and Penguins games. A fun fact about her is she is a model signed with Docherty Talent Agency in Pittsburgh. Natalea is excited to be a student representative on the NRHC executive board this year and can't wait to positively contribute to making the conference fun and successful! Natalea can be reached at

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