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Hands on Academics

  • School of Science and Engineering

    John, Class of 2014

    Major: Athletic Training, School of Science and Engineering

    John knew from the first day of his freshman year that he wanted to work in Athletic Training. “I love sports and played high school football until I was sidelined with an injury. When it came to majors, I knew I wanted to help those with injuries return to the game.”

    At Merrimack, John serves as an essential member of the Athletic Training team - spending time rehabbing football players in the brand-new Sports Medicine Complex, as well as on the sidelines of many sporting events. “Athletic Training majors are required to have 1,000 hours of experience - with 900 of those hours being completely hands-on.”

    But the hands-on academics don’t begin and end at Merrimack. Last year, John traveled with a team of students to Haiti to help out with medical care. “It was an amazing trip. I met (and helped) so many incredible people. It was a life-changing opportunity.”

    As for John’s future? He’s preparing to graduate in May and says, “I feel well-prepared by all the field work. And that helps as I get ready to start applying to jobs and start my career.”

    Learn more about Science and Engineering at Merrimack.

  • School of Education

    Kelly, Class of 2015

    Major: Human Development, School of Education

    After working a steady babysitting job throughout high school, Kelly knew that she wanted to be in a career helping children learn and grow. Through her studies, she has been able to do just that - and gain hands-on experience through her work at local elementary schools.

    Kelly’s coursework included a position at the Emily G. Wetherbee Elementary School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where,  each week, she taught science courses to elementary students. “The first day I walked into the classroom, I was inspired. Each week after that - I looked forward to creating my own lesson plans, and adopting their classroom as my own.”

    Her practical knowledge gained from the classroom has made her better understand the curriculum and how her students adapted to it. “The students were excited to learn - and that was so encouraging for a first-time teacher. Plus, next year I will get to start over at a new school with new experiences.”

    Learn more about Education at Merrimack.

  • Girard School of Business

    Marketing students put ideas into action for local businesses

    In an ideal world, companies that solicit outside marketing advice usually have the financial resources to implement the recommendations and the capacity to properly prepare consultants before they come on board. Assistant Professor of Marketing, Maria Sannella, is not, however, preparing her students for the ideal world.“Usually we do projects based on case studies, rather than actual clients,”says Sannella. To give her students a chance to put their classroom concepts into practice in a real-world setting, Sannella sought out local companies in need of marketing assistance.

    Working with the local planning department, Sannella identified several “client” businesses. Next, she divided the class into small groups of 2-4 students. Each mini-consultancy was matched with a client, which included a cupcake cafe, tutoring and test preparation company, law firm, bank, nonprofit organization, fitness club, design firm, and pet care business. Merrimack students conducted initial interviews to uncover what their new clients hoped to gain from the engagement. Next, each group went to work crafting a custom marketing plan and branding collateral. Finally, they developed and delivered an oral presentation and provided a marketing plan to their clients, who came to class for the special event. The results, said Sanella’s students, were “better than any lecture or a textbook.”

    “It was not idealistic. We had the opportunity to deal with real clients and give both positive and negative feedback. It allowed students the chance to critique an actual client, rather than a case study,” shares Sannella. Participating students learned how to act in a professional environment and meet client expectations—all the while, gaining confidence in their abilities and skills. Their projects made a difference for their clients, too. Says Sannella, “Our students gave feedback and outside perspectives that these businesses can use in their future plans.”

    Learn more about Business at Merrimack.

  • School of Liberal Arts

    Ben, Class of 2014

    Major: Communication Studies, School of Liberal Arts

    Ben committed to Merrimack College without an idea of what major he would pursue or what his future had in store for him. At Haverhill High School, he was an involved student, but didn’t know if his extra-curricular involvement would continue in college.

    But, just a few weeks into his freshman year, Ben had already joined five campus-wide organizations and declared a major in Communication Studies.

    Combining his major and his social activism, Ben now leads American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Merrimack as the co-chair of the committee. 

    “Relay for Life was something I participated in throughout high school, but it was mostly run by the teaching staff. Now I get to make the big decisions and run the event with my peers –it’s a lot of fun.”

    Plus, through his Communication Health Campaigns course, he is designing and implementing a communication campaign, which he will present at the end of the course, to members of the American Cancer Society.

    “I never imagined my college courses would open the door to so many different career opportunities. I became a Communication Studies major because communicating was one of my strengths, but I didn’t really know how to translate that to reality. I am now leaving college prepared and excited for the real world – and I have Merrimack to thank for that.”

    Learn more about Liberal Arts at Merrimack.