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 2022 NRHC Annual Conference contact the Conference Chair:

Darryl Peterkin, PhD

Morgan State University

For information about NRHC contact the 2021-2022 president:

Chris Brittain

Rutgers University - Camden

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

Ann Bomberger, PhD

Gannon University

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 2022 Conference Co-Chair
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

President Elect and 2022 Conference CoChair
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

Vice President
Dr. Marcella McCoy-Deh, Thomas Jefferson University

Past President
Dr. Irina Ellison, Mercy College

Irina Ellison (B.A., Biology, Vassar College; Ph.D., Pathology, New York Medical College) is an Associate Professor and Program Head of Health Science and CoDirector of the Honors Program at Mercy College. She is passionate about improving science literacy by guiding her students toward making meaningful connections between science and other disciplines. She co-founded and co-directs the Art in the Lab Workshops (, which give scientists and artists the opportunity to collaborate to create art based on active laboratory experiences. Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on public health of cigarette smoking as well as the intersection of hunger, education and violence against women. Dr. Ellison is thrilled to bring her passion about and experience with interdisciplinary education, service learning and building human connections to the Northeast Regional Honors Council as President Elect of the Executive Board. She may be contacted at

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). He 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

Web Coordinator
Dr. Ann Bomberger, Gannon University

Ann Bomberger has been the director of Honors at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania since 2014.  She also teaches writing, African American literature, and honors seminars which focus on global inquiry. She earned her PhD in English from SUNY Stony Brook and her BA in English from Allegheny College.

She loves big ideas and reading books as much as most academics, but also has a strong practical streak.  She combines those dueling passions through a love of service-learning and travel.  Both of those strategies get students thinking about big issues while giving them very tangible communication skills. .

She has learned a lot about honors administration through NCHC and NRHC and enjoys giving back to the honors community. She can be reached at

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Faculty Representative
Professor 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.

Faculty Representative
Dr. Stacia Kock, SAlisbury University

Stacia Kock is Assistant Professor and Faculty Director of the Bellavance Honors Program for Salisbury University’s Clarke Honors College. She coordinates the honors living learning communities, manages the honors first year seminar, and teaches courses related to her research area in gender and work. In addition, she works with faculty interested in honors course development. Dr. Kock currently serves as co-chair of the NCHC Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship Committee and was a 2019 recipient of an NCHC Portz Grant to fund a new outreach program at Salisbury. She holds a Ph.D in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University, and prior to her move to Maryland, she served as the Assistant Director for Women’s and Gender Studies at Illinois State University.  Dr. Kock is excited to join the NRHC Executive Board as the new Faculty Representative and can be reached at

Student Representative
Noah Brodsky, Thomas JEfferson University

Noah Brodsky is a third-year student at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, pursuing a major in Pre-Medical Studies and a minor in chemistry with the hopes of becoming a Surgical Oncologist. He has been a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology since 2019.  In addition to his studies at Jefferson, Noah has been a teaching assistant in the Chemistry department and an active leader in the Honors Institute since his freshman year. With a heavy background in logistics, Noah hopes to bring together his past experiences with NRHC in order to make the 2022 Conference as smooth and successful as the Board can possibly provide. Outside of his studies, Noah is an avid reader, self-described political junkie, and multi-instrumentalist who has performed at The White House and in Europe. He can be reached at

Student Representative
Charlee Henley, Mercy College

Charlee Henley is an award-winning pre-law student at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, who spends far too much time reading and writing fantastical stories between essays on constitutional law and policy. At her home institution, she serves in numerous leadership roles, including being a Resident Assistant and sitting on her honor program’s student council. With her involvement with NRHC, she hopes to make the 2022 Conference the best it can be! Her first NRHC Conference was going to be 2020—but we all know how that turned out—and so she’s excited to attend her first NRHC Conference in the spring. If she isn’t studying, she’s either writing or hiking Catskill Mountain trails with her creatively named Chocolate Lab, Hershey. She can be reached at

Student Representative
KeziaH Ann Thomas,  Thomas Jefferson University

Keziah Ann Thomas is an honors pre-med student at Thomas Jefferson University, East Falls Campus, Philadelphia. She is currently accepted into a 3+4 accelerated program with LECOM (Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine) where she will be completing her medical DO degree. Other than her academics she is also creatively inclined. She has spent her time working with the Mural Arts of Philadelphia in designing a mural in her high school as well as painting one near Temple University, Philadelphia. She enjoys her spare time by reading, singing, and writing poetry. The 2021 NRHC Conference this spring will be her first and she is beyond excited to learn, help out, and enjoy the experience. She can be reached at

Dr. Marcella McCoy-Deh 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 a PhD in American Studies from Bowling Green State University. 

She has been an active member of NRHC and NCHC over the past 19 years, bringing students to present at the annual NRHC conference, serving as a panel moderator, Consultant’s Corner participant, and Faculty Representative. At the national level, Marcella has presented talks and workshops at NCHC conferences, served on the diversity committee, contributed to the inaugural Diversity Monograph, completed summer development workshops including the Site Visitor training. Dr. McCoy-Deh also serves the campus Fulbright Advisor for the U.S. Student Program and has recently completed a Fulbright Scholar year in Ghana where she taught alongside Fellows in the Kwame Nkrumah Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana (Legon). She also serves on the Board of Directors for Hostelling International USA introducing a new generation to travel as means of building community.