Salem high senior to graduate college the summer after high school Student explored future criminal justice career through Early College courses Kalyn Khachadourian is a senior at Salem High School, and within striking distance of earning her certificate in Criminal Justice after taking a series of Early College courses.

“I started this whole process sophomore year when I took a criminal justice class,” said Kalyn. She noted her high school didn’t have all the law and forensic science-related classes she wished to take, so she was able to fill in the gaps with Early College courses online and on her high school campus.

“Since I was young, I knew this was the field I wanted to go into; solving mysteries and crimes,”

“Since I was young, I knew this was the field I wanted to go into; solving mysteries and crimes,” she said. Starting out as a sophomore gave her plenty of time to keep exploring Early College classes before graduating high school. While most of her first Early College class at Salem High School comprised juniors and seniors, sophomores are eligible to enroll as well. 

Kalyn first heard about Early College from her ELO (Extended Learning Opportunity) staff at Salem High School while she was taking Salem’s forensics class.

The first Early College class she took as a sophomore was through the ELO department. “It was basically seven of us in an office space, since there wasn’t enough of us to use a classroom. Three days a week we ‘Zoomed’ with Janice Coughlin, a criminal justice professor from Nashua Community College. One day a week we went to the police department and did hands-on activities, and one day per week we would Zoom with other professionals in the field,” said Kalyn, adding that an FBI agent came to speak to the class, and one of the video calls was with a personal investigator.

Professor Coughlin has now been teaching Early College “Introduction to Criminal Justice” course at Salem High School for four years.

“As Kalyn mentioned, I held Zoom sessions with the class three times a week.  The other two days were spent working directly with the Salem Police Department and also hearing from an array of guest speakers. I cannot say enough about Stacey Kallelis who facilitated the program at Salem High School,” said Coughlin. Kalyn was part of Coughlin’s second group of students at Salem High School and the Early College program, and Coughlin recalled Kalyn’s work was “outstanding.”

“Last semester Kalyn took two of my in-person classes at NCC.  She was one of my most communicative students in the class and her contribution to both classes was amazing,” Coughlin said, adding Kalyn excelled in her assignments and was a leader in the classroom.  “I have no doubt that she will succeed as she furthers her education.”

Kalyn said while she didn’t find the Early College class more difficult than her high school classes, she said time management became a challenge. “The difficult part was balancing the class with high school, my social life, and I’m also a competitive dancer. So, the balance became difficult, but not the work itself.”

NCC’s Dual Enrollment Coordinator Michelle Grimm said Kalyn was able to make good use of two Early College programs. “She earned college credit for some of her the regular high school courses – courses taught by high school teachers and built right into the normal high school day.  That’s our Early College at Your High School program.  Kalyn also took courses with us at NCC.  The program that enables high school students to do that is the Early College on a College Campus program.  The Salem Criminal Justice program, where Kalyn got her start, is really a hybrid of the two programs.  NCC was able to offer a college course – taught by an NCC professor and following the NCC academic calendar – right at Salem High School,” said Grimm.

This summer, Kalyn will finish her criminal justice certificate at Nashua Community College, and graduate college with her certificate weeks after earning her high school diploma.

“After graduation, I’m going to apply to different colleges, but I’m not positive where to go yet. I’ll have my certificate from Nashua Community College, and I’ll be close to an associate degree by then, so I’ll transfer credits back to get my associate degree.”

Transferring credits back is also known as “reverse transfer” which allows students to transfer in credits from another school, to complete an NCC credential.  The student has to earn at least 15 “residency credits” at NCC, 8 of which need to be advanced courses in the students major, in order to graduate.

Eventually, she hopes to earn her four-year degree potentially as a dual major in criminology and psychology.  

“I want to do behavioral science specifically, but a lot of schools don’t offer it, which is why I’m looking at the double major. There will be a little gap time after college, but eventually I want to get into the FBI and study behavioral science.”


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