Northeastern Junior College announces new RISE grant project team

Will help reduce barriers, create an inclusive campus environment.

July 13, 2021 at 3:34 p.m.

July 15, 2021
RISE Grant Team 2021

In January 2021, Northeastern Junior College received the Response, Innovation, and Student Equity (RISE) grant to support the institution and meet the needs of the community by expanding Spanish language programs, outreach to the community, adult basic education, and support for career programs in nursing and solar energy. Recently, Northeastern hired a RISE Grant Project Manager, two RISE Grant Outreach Coordinators, and a Nursing Aid Coordinator to spearhead the efforts and begin providing services for students to reduce barriers and create an inclusive campus environment.

Heather Reid is Northeastern’s RISE Grant Project Manager. Reid, her husband and three children recently moved to Akron in January 2021.

Reid is a Northeastern alum, graduating in 2011. While at Northeastern, Reid was part of the Livestock Judging Team and studied
accounting and agriculture business. She then went on to Colorado State University and received her bachelor’s there. She most recently worked for AgFinity and JBS. In her free time, when she is not ranching or working, Reid likes to sew and quilt.

She is very excited to start her new journey at Northeastern, saying, “I am a very determined person, there is no limitation to the challenges I want to take on in this position. Our team is ready to break down barriers for our students and help them succeed.”

Rene Nava is Northeastern’s RISE Grant Outreach Coordinator in the Admissions Department. Nava moved to Fort Morgan in May of 2020. He previously lived on the Front Range of Colorado and is originally from Texas. He was most recently a teacher in the Fort Morgan School
District and previously taught high school and middle school. Prior to that, he worked at a community college in Texas as a recruiter for CTE programs and enlisted in the Army. During his time in the service, he was a chaplain and recruiter, and studied religious education.

Nava has five children, three younger age and two adult age. In his free time, he likes gardening, landscaping and woodworking.

When asked what excites him about his new position, he says, “Networking with students and families. I am very passionate about helping people and families that need it most, the most at risk.”

Northeastern is thrilled to have Nava provide Spanish translating services on our campus for students and their families.

Sara Proano is Northeastern’s RISE Grant Outreach Coordinator in the Adult and Community Education Center. Proano previously worked at Northeastern for two years in the ACE Center teaching English as a Second Language and is a former Early Childhood Education student.

Proano is originally from Ecuador, South America, but grew up and graduated high school in New Jersey. She moved to Akron with her husband and five-year-old daughter to ranch with her husband’s family. Prior to working at Northeastern, Sara taught ESL at Cambridge in Ecuador, she also moved to Columbia and taught ESL there for a few years.

Proano is excited to help students at Northeastern facing barriers such as VISA issues, studying ESL and overcoming those struggles with support and guidance. She was separated from her husband for over five years attempting to move back into the United States and understands the process can be stressful and overwhelming. She is excited to continue her work in the ACE Center at Northeastern and continue to provide helpful resources for students.

Liz Krise-Thompson is Northeastern’s Nursing Aid Coordinator. She is from Yuma and is a Registered Nurse at the Yuma Hospital. She was an LPN for 17 years, attended Northeastern to obtain her RN Degree and continues to serve her community as an RN on the weekends. Krise-Thompson will also be teaching two nursing courses at Northeastern.

In what limited free time she has, Krise-Thompson likes to spend time with her daughter and two granddaughters. She also likes baking, camping, hiking and swimming. Krise-Thompson was inspired to be a nurse from watching her mother and mother-in-aw who were both nurses. Northeastern is thrilled to have her join the RISE Grant team and help our nursing students accomplish their educational goals.

“Northeastern is very excited about the opportunities now available to the college through the receipt of the RISE Grant. Closing equity gaps and serving a more diverse population has been a long term goal of the college and this funding will go a long way in helping us reach our student success and community service goals,” said Jay Lee, President of Northeastern Junior College.

The RISE Grant team is hosting a no-cost Career Exploration Summer Camp for high school juniors and seniors July 28–July 30 at Northeastern. Students will stay on campus; learn about careers in nursing, wind technology, emergency medical services, and agriculture. To find out more information, please visit the website at:

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