Andover Resident & Tufts Student Erica Nork Seeks Your Story for Her Research

I know Andover resident Erica Nork through the research she did on Abbot Academy while a student at Philips Academy. Founded in Andover in 1828, Abbot Academy was an independent boarding preparatory school for women, until its merger with Phillips Academy in 1973.

Erica is now a senior at Tufts University. We recently met at the Andover Memorial Hall Library to discuss the fascinating work she is doing now for her Senior Honors Thesis in Sociology. Erica is researching how the Merrimack Valley Columbia Gas Disaster struck a major blow to —and continues to impact — the communities of Andover, North Andover and Lawrence.

Goal Is To Capture Individual Stories by The End of January

Erica is doing a listening tour this month — collecting personal stories from local residents and business owners on how the gas disaster affected their lives and their livelihoods. As well as what they thought of how Columbia Gas and local government reacted to the catastrophe. She also hopes to connect with public employees. She is seeking first-hand accounts of how they managed responding to the disaster, getting timely and accurate information from Columbia Gas, and communicating what they knew to the public.

Research Is Aimed At Producing a Broader Community Perspective

Back at school, Erica will spend months compiling and reviewing the individual stories — identifying patterns and extracting actionable data. Next, she will synthesize it all into a comprehensive and insightful narrative from the perspective of our larger community. That narrative — her Senior Honors Thesis — will be published in April and I’m eager to discover what it reveals!

How You Can Help

Share your story with Erica. Your story can remain anonymous. Contact Erica at or fill out this form to express your interest in the research. Erica will be very responsive in getting back to you.

You can share your story in person or by phone. I know Erica will be excellent at asking the right questions to jog your memory about the Columbia Gas disaster, its aftermath, and in getting you to think more about its impact. I truly believe she is doing the Merrimack Valley a service with this work.

More about Erica

Erica is a senior at Tufts University, majoring in Sociology and holding a part-time position as Senior Research Assistant. She hopes to be a teacher after graduation and was a Teaching Assistant at Phillips Academy this past summer. She grew up in Andover, attended South School, The Pike School, and Phillips Academy. A Brace Fellow her senior year at Phillips Academy, Erica presented on Abbot Academy’s artistic and cultural influence on Andover.

Erica Nork at the Andover Memorial Hall Library at the end of our meeting

Andover Resident & Tufts Student Erika Nork collects data for her Columbia Gas Disaster Research Project

Linda Lecomte, REALTOR® serves the Burbs-to-Boston and is based in Andover.

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