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Honoring a career milestone

Candy Martel, director of student services in the College of Engineering, has called Northeastern “home” for more than 25 years.

“I’ve been blessed with the good fortune to work with a staff that’s absolutely amazing,” said Martel, who joined the Northeastern community in October 1986. “It’s like a family.”

Martel was one of more than 20 faculty and staff members honored for completing 25 years of service to the university at a reception held on March 12 in the Curry Student Center Ballroom. Honorees received a certificate and a watch emblazoned with Northeastern’s logo.

Philomena Mantella, senior vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, thanked honorees for their contributions to the university.

“This is an important milestone in your career at Northeastern,” said Mantella, who joined the university in 2001. “Your longstanding achievements are the foundation of our success.”

Many of the honorees started working at Northeastern in 1987, the year in which the university established the honors program and began building Snell Library.

Carey Rappaport — Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and deputy director of the university’s Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT) Center — joined the Northeastern community as an assistant professor that year.

He has enjoyed guiding students through their “aha” moments. “Students in my classes or doing research with me will suddenly reach an epiphany where they will understand why their work is important,” Rappaport explained. “To see the look of satisfaction on their faces and to be that vehicle for producing that joy is practically a spiritual experience.”

Martel draws inspiration from students, who, she said, “ask me for answers to everything.” She formed a close bond with former student Greg Montalbano, a star baseball player who lost his courageous battle with cancer in August 2009.

“He ended up being a good friend, and I got to know his family,” she said. “He was an inspiration to me in terms of how I lived my life.”

Martel’s son, Cullen, is a Northeastern freshman. “Ever since he’s been 3 years old, he has wanted to go here,” Martel said. “He’s wearing a Northeastern sweatshirt in every photo I have of him.”

For his part, Rappaport feels like an entrepreneur running a small business. “You sell products of intellectual labor and build your reputation based on your research,” he explained. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s also rewarding when you succeed.”

Does he want to be part of the Northeastern community for another 25 years? “Another 50 years,” he quipped. “You’re going to have to pry my hands off the keyboard.”

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