Contact Us

For Membership, billing or scholarship questions, please contact:

Michael T. Tasto, PhD
Professor of Economics
Chair – Department of Finance and Economics
Treasurer – Northeast Regional Honors Council

For information about the 2020 NRHC Annual Conference contact the Conference Chair:

Irina Ellison, PhD
Mercy College


For information about NRHC contact the 2019-20 president:

Professor Kathryn MacDonald

Monroe College


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 2020 Conference Co-Chair

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.

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.

She is excited to serve in the role of President and provide support as the 2020 conference co-chair. As President, Kat hopes to continue to build the participation of our region by having staff, faculty, and students alike serve on various committees, contribute to the inaugural edition of the NRHC Journal, and more. She also hopes to work with NCHC and the other regional honors councils in creating long-lasting partnerships so we can work together and learn from each other.

Kat believes that honors is all about the students, and NRHC is here to help make that experience unforgettable. Kat can be reached at

President Elect and 2020 Conference Co-Chair
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

Immediate Past President
Dr. Anthony DeLuca, SUNY Old Westbury

Anthony L. DeLuca, Ph.D. has been a member of the Northeast Regional Honors Council since 2012 when he began serving at SUNY College at Old Westbury, in Old Westbury, New York, as Director of its Honors College. He has more than 30 years of experience in higher education—15 years as a professor of English and 15 years successively as an academic director, as an assistant dean and as a dean of Academic Affairs. He has taught primarily at senior colleges and universities and served as an administrator at junior and senior colleges. He returned to a director’s position at SUNY Old Westbury out of a desire to help students excel academically and to create an educational environment that meets the needs of the world they will enter after college. He regards himself as strong proponent of a Liberal Arts education, but also has great respect for the latest developments in Civil Studies. To that end, he has begun the Social Media Project and the Social Entrepreneurial Incubator at SUNY Old Westbury’s Honors College. Through these two projects, students gain real world experience immediately without waiting for an internship in their sophomore or junior year. They educate themselves about a problem that needs to be addressed on campus, in their local community, in New York State and in the U.S. Then they educate others, contacting local government, philanthropic, and business professionals to raise seed money where needed. Most importantly, students use their education, skills and good will to help others and make the world a better place for all by disseminating important information in effective ways and by starting businesses that contribute to the good of society.

Vice President
Chris Brittain, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Chris Brittain is the Assistant Director of the Ramapo College of New Jersey Honors Program. 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. Richard Cohen, Nassau Community College

Richard Cohen, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Sciences at Nassau Community College in Long Island, N.Y. where he specializes in teaching courses in weather and climate. He has served as the Co-Coordinator of the Honors Program since 2015 and is the advisor for the Honors Club. Prof. Cohen holds a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology from Penn State University, a master’s degree in Secondary Education from Adelphi University, and his Ph.D. in Science Education from Stony Brook University. His research is focused on the connection between science and mathematics coursework and the graduation and transfer rates of Community College students. Prior to working at Nassau, Richard was a high school teacher in Long Island and New York City for eight years.

Richard believes the NRHC provides an incredible opportunity for students who are just beginning their academic careers to get experience presenting at conferences and he is excited by the opportunity to serve the organization.  Richard can be reached 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

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.  Her love of service-learning led to GreenEriePA, a project started in 2011 and launched in 2012 that has students and community partners collaborating on professional writing projects.

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

Faculty Representative
Dr. AnnMarie DelliPizzi, Dominican College

AnnMarie DelliPizzi is an Associate Professor of Biology and the Director of the Honors Program at Dominican College.  She also holds adjunct positions in the Department of Pharmacology at New York Medical College and the Department of Nursing at Lehman College, where she teaches pharmacology to both undergraduate and graduate nursing students.

Dr. DelliPizzi earned a B.S. in Biology from Manhattan College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from New York Medical College.  She has co-authored two anatomy and physiology lab manuals and has published many peer-reviewed articles.  At Dominican College, she is the Health Professions Advisor, Faculty Advisor for the Nu Psi Chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the National Honor Society for Biology, and mentors undergraduate research for biology students.

Dr. DelliPizzi first became involved in honors education in 2007 when she joined the Honors Committee at Dominican College.  She was appointed as Honors Program Director in 2016 and has made many changes to actively engage students and faculty and increase student retention.  Many of these changes were based on ideas from the NRHC conferences.  In 2019, Dominican College graduated the largest cohort of students from the Honors Program in the history of the college.  In recognition of her work with the Honors Program, Dr. DelliPizzi was the recipient of the 2019 Academic Dean’s Award for Faculty Service.

For the past three years, Dr. DelliPizzi has been taking students to the NRHC conferences, and she presented at the Idea Exchange in Baltimore.  She is one of the Faculty Advisors for the new NRHC Journal and is on the Steering Committee for a new organization called the International Nursing Consortium of Honors Educators and Scholars (INCHES), due to launch fall of 2019.  She is pleased to have the opportunity to serve as a member of the NRHC Executive Board.  She can be reached at

Faculty Representative
Professor Linda Kobylarz, Post University

Linda Kobylarz, M.Ed. is the Director of the Honors Program at Post University. Over the six years of her tenure, she has collaborated with faculty and administration to create and develop the program to its current size of 230 students. The program follows the benchmarks and guidelines of NCHC.

For the past five years, Linda’s students have attended and presented at the NRHC conferences. Linda has been a frequent presenter at the NCHC conferences. Watching her students have amazing experiences at the conferences has encouraged her to become more involved and to help NRHC further its mission.

Linda has served as President of the Connecticut Counseling Association (CCA) and on the Board of Directors for the National Career Development Association (NCDA). She was recipient of CCA’s Professional Development Award and CCA’s Leadership Award, as well as NCDA’s Outstanding Career Practitioner Award. Linda is excited to continue her service with NRHC. She can be reached at

Conference Assistant
Nathalie Waldschmidt, University of Ottawa

Nathalie Waldschmidt graduated with a BA in Business Management from Monroe College, New York in December 2017. She then worked for their Honors Program as an administrative assistant until August 2018.

Nathalie is currently pursuing an MA in Communication at the University of Ottawa (Canada) with a focus on organizational communication.

In 2016, she served as student representative for the NRHC conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since the summer of 2016, Nathalie has been supporting the Executive Board as conference assistant.

During her time as a student, Nathalie acted as president of the Honors Student Board, she was a member of the NCHC Student Affairs Committee, and she was also active as an editor for UReCA, the NCHC web journal of undergraduate research.

Her role as conference assistant includes supporting the president-elect in the planning of the upcoming conference, organizing room assignments, creating the conference program, and securing sponsorships. Nathalie’s email address is

Student Representative
Taylor Bennett, Gannon University

Taylor Bennett is a current student at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. She is studying for a bachelor’s degree of science in Psychology on the Pre-Medicine track. At Gannon, Taylor has had many opportunities to serve in different leadership positions in the Gannon University Honors Program, including Committee Chair of the Excalibur Newsletter and Vice Chair of the Honors Program.

The Honors Program has taught Taylor many new things and she is excited to bring and share new ideas with her program through the NRHC. Although the 2019 NRHC Conference in Baltimore, Maryland was the first she attended, she will also be presenting at the idea exchange at the upcoming NCHC. She hopes to use this position in the NRHC to further her experiences in leadership.

Taylor is so enthusiastic about her new position as Student Representative for the 2020 NRHC. Honors is so important to Taylor, through the many opportunities she has participated in at Gannon, her love for honors only continues to grow. She hopes to use her enthusiasm and love for honors to help create engaging and exciting events for the 2020 conference. New experiences create new memories. Taylor hopes to help other students have and create new experiences while at the 2020 NRHC Conference. She can be reached at

Student Representative
Bryan Pimentel, Westfield State University

Bryan Pimentel is currently a student at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree with a double major in Criminal Justice and Political Science. During his time at Westfield State University, Bryan has participated in a variety of leadership opportunities including being a Head Orientation Leader, a Head Resident Assistant, Class of 2020 president. Bryan has also been involved within his honors program and has had the privilege to present at the previous three NRHCs.

Bryan first attended NRHC in 2017 when he traveled to Pittsburgh and presented on “Bridging the Gap Between Policing and Communities of Color.” Bryan then presented in 2018 when he traveled to the NRHC conference in Providence and presented at a roundtable discussing “Challenging Stereotypes via an Honors Living Learning Community.” Bryan most recently presented in the 2019 NRHC conference in Baltimore and discussed “Generating Power through Community Policing.”

Bryan Pimentel is excited to be a Student Representative for NRHC 2020. Throughout his past years, he has truly enjoyed what the conference has had to offer. Not only is this conference an opportunity for students to partake in research and present it, but it also encourages the exploration of cities and interacting with peers. Bryan is excited to introduce more student engagement aspects to the conference and allow students to experience the same pleasure he has experienced in the previous conferences. Bryan’s goal as a Student Representative is to make NRHC 2020 a fun and engaging conference. He looks to go beyond the professional aspect of presenting an academic project to also allow students to make meaningful connections.  He can be reached at



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