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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 2024 NRHC Annual Conference contact the Conference Chair:

Zachary Aidala, PhD

Bloomfield College

For information about NRHC contact the 2023-2024 President:

Marcella Mc-Coy - Deh, PhD

Thomas Jefferson 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 2024 Conference Co-chair
Dr. Marcella McCoy-Deh, Thomas Jefferson University

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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President-Elect and Conference Co-chair
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.

vice President
Dr. jessica mccort, point park university

Jessica McCort, Ph.D., is an associate professor of composition and rhetoric in the Literature, Culture, and Society Department at Point Park University, as well as the Director of the Honors Program. She earned her Ph.D. in English and American literature from Washington University in St. Louis, specializing in American literature and women’s writing. McCort's scholarship focuses largely on the appropriation of children’s literature, particularly Grimm’s and Andersen’s fairy tales and Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, by American women writers. She was also the editor of a compilation of essays concerning the intersection of the horror genre and children’s and young adult literature and culture, titled Reading in the Dark: Horror in Children’s Literature and Culture. Her favorite courses to teach are Honors College Composition, Haunted America, and Feminist Fairy Tales. 


From her first trip to the NRHC Conference in Philadelphia, Dr. McCort recognized what an important formative experience participating in NRHC events is for both faculty and students. Since that time, she has become increasingly involved in the NRHC, and she is very excited to work with the other officers in NRHC leadership this year as the organization's Vice President.


Dr. McCort can be reached at

Immediate past President
Dr. Darryl Peterkin, Macaulay honors college Cuny

Darryl L. Peterkin, Ph.D. is Associate Dean for Student Success and Equity at the Macaulay Honors College in the City University of New York. 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 led the Clara I. Adams Honors College at Morgan State University (Baltimore, Maryland) from 2010-2022.


Dr. Peterkin is Vice President of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), a member of NCHC’s Board of Directors, Programming Committee, and Publications Committee. He is also the current Vice President of the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council (MCHC), and Past President of the National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP). Dr. Peterkin is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion and loves working 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 late grandmother’s biscuit recipe and the pursuit of Carolina-style barbecue. He is also an enthusiastic fan of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, 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

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

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

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Web Coordinator
Dr. Tanya Radford, Dominican University Ny

Tanya Radford, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and the Co-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.


As Web Coordinator, Dr. Radford will strive to maintain and continue to improve the website as an entry point for information and contact with the NRHC. To that end, she welcomes suggestions from visitors to the site.


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

sponsorship coordinator
Chris Brittain, Rutgers University - Camden

Chris Brittain is the Operations Manager of the Workforce and Professional Education Department at Ocean County College. 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 thirteen years, and served as the NRHC Web Coordinator from 2016-2019 and NRHC President and Conference Chair in 2021. 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

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.

Dr. Kay's email address is

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Faculty Representative
Dr. Amy McMillan, Buffalo State university

Amy McMillan, Ph.D. is Director of the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program at Buffalo State University (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 second year 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

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Student Representative
hans mach, community college of allegheny county

Hans Mach is an international student from Germany pursuing a double major in Education and Psychology at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). He received a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences and plans to transfer to a four-year institution next year to do his master’s degree in counseling psychology with the ultimate goal of combining his passion for nutrition, exercise science, and mental health. Hans is the president of the World Cultures Club at CCAC and recently got elected to be the Honors Leadership Assistant at his campus, where he supports his fellow honor students. In his spare time, Hans enjoys drawing, painting, all sorts of outdoor activities, sewing, and traveling. After he presented his poster “Dual Language Learners in Early Education: Challenges and Strategies” at the conference in 2023, Hans is looking forward to being part of the executive board this term and is motivated to make this conference unforgettable. He can be reached at

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Student Representative
Olivia Gage, Southern New Hampshire University

Olivia Gage is a senior honors student at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). She is a Psychology major with a concentration in Mental Health with a Music minor. Olivia has been on the President’s list since her first semester at SNHU. In 2022 Olivia received the Transformational Award from her Honors Program. Ms. Gage has been working on her thesis “From Dark Days to Musical Ends” for the past 3 years and is excited to carry out her research study this year. Outside of her Honors Program Olivia works at her school library, co-directs her local food pantry, and runs Escape Rooms on the weekends. Next year she plans to attend Plymouth State University to earn her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Olivia has been attending NRHC since 2022 as an attendee, presenter, and moderator. She is looking forward to being a student representative at NRHC 2024 and presenting her completed thesis making this the best conference she has attended. Olivia can be reached at

Student Representative
anne guernie NÉÏSSA Marceus, monroe college

Anne Guernie Néïssa Marceus is a sophomore at Monroe College and a student from Haiti. In 2018, she placed in a national competition for a project about the political and social landscape in Haiti. Further, she oversaw an ambassador program that let multilingual students assist English-language learners with their assignments and academic work. A Criminal Justice major, human services minor and Honors Program member, Anne has been on the President’s list since her first semester. In 2022, she received the Attorney General’s Triple C Award. In her spare time she likes to read, watch movies, paint, go to comedy shows, and cook. Anne attended her first NRHC in 2023 in Pittsburgh, PA, and she is so excited to serve as a Student Representative.


If you have any ideas that you would like to share with Anne, she can be reached at

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