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Northeast student wants to serve his country by helping others

Northeast student wants to serve his country by helping others

NORFOLK, Neb. – A Northeast Community College student aspires to serve his country because of a desire to assist others.

Yovany Duran, Madison, is a criminal justice major who plans to graduate in May 2023 with an associate of science degree. Following graduation, he would like to enlist in the United States Navy where he is interested in strengthening his criminal justice background by adding military experience to his resume. Once he concludes his military service, Duran plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. His goal is become an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, stationed along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I want to give back to my community, by helping and serving others,” he said.

Duran has had a wish to enter the law enforcement profession from a young age and credits his mother, Emma Duran, with inspiring him. He calls her as his “number 1 fan.”

“No one inspires me more than my mother. Since I was a young child, I have witnessed her work hard; I’ve seen the blood, sweat, and tears she has put in. She is the reason I am where I’m at today.” 

Duran wants to be the difference maker in his family’s trajectory. He wants to serve as a positive role model for his family and friends and serve as an example of success. He is the first in his family to graduate from high school and is a first-generation college student (a student who comes from a family where neither parent/guardian earned a four-year degree).

Duran said a college education is not only very important for the benefits it will afford him, “but more importantly, I want my family to see that a different path can be taken and also show them the opportunities that are out there.”  

While at Northeast, Duran has invested his time and efforts wisely to ensure he is receiving the best educational experience possible. He has a cumulative GPA of 4.0 and was recently honored with being named to the President’s List. He is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa (Tau Chi Chapter) honor society and is a very active member of the TRIO Club.

TRIO is a federally funded program that assists income-eligible individuals, first-generation college students and those with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline to post-baccalaureate programs. It also focuses on career exploration, cultural and social enrichment and self-awareness.

For his attitude, hard work and dedication, Duran was named the Northeast Community College TRIO Student of the Month for January. Each month, a participating TRIO student is selected for the award based upon their work in TRIO and in other activities on campus or in the community. Duran and other TRIO Student of the Month award recipients receive a plaque and have their photo placed on the program’s Achievement Recognition board in the TRIO office, which features the theme, True Leaders.

Duran has a strong support system he can rely on, many of whom are on Northeast’s Norfolk campus – friends that he has met through TRIO and across the college community, as well as his TRIO Advisor Josh Becker. 

“My friends and I push one another to succeed and help each other however we can,” Duran said.

Becker has made a positive impact on him as well, with Duran saying “Josh gives me the self-confidence to seize opportunities - and without TRIO, I don’t know where I’d be.”

“Yovany is one of the most dependable, hardworking, and positive students I have ever worked with. His desire to seek opportunities and gain knowledge is like nothing I have ever witnessed,” Becker said. “He works his tail off every day to better his future, and I can always count on Yovany to show up and show out. I am very proud to have the opportunity to be a small part of his journey.”

One of Duran’s teachers at Northeast has also been impressed with his work ethic and compassion to help others. Mathematics Instructor Ashley Cooper is looking forward to seeing him achieve his goals.

“I have nothing but great things to say about Yovany. He would stay after class and help other students with their math, and he made my classroom such a welcoming environment. I’ve taught for 11 years, and he is definitely one of the most hardworking, focused, and motivated students I’ve seen,” Cooper said. “I’m confident he will achieve all of his goals.”

To learn more about the TRIO program at Northeast Community College, go online to