Lisa Burgess ’12, Recreation Coordinator for City of Naples
Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Lisa hoped that her degree would help her get a job with a government agency. What ignited her true passion, however, was not her major, but her involvement on campus. Working with campus ministry, Burgess volunteered in the city of Lawrence at Cor Unum Meal Center and the Boys and Girls Club. These experiences paved the way for her career in humanitarian work post-graduation.
She went on to become a Team Leader for AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps, a full-time, team-based, residential national service program that focuses directly on disaster response, recovery, and relief. During her time with FEMA Corps, Burgess led a group of young adults on a variety of disaster relief projects, such as recovery efforts for super storm Sandy in New York City, flood damage assessment in Chicago, Illinois, and flooding and landslide response in Denver, Colorado.
“My time at Merrimack has helped to shape my career path in so many ways. If I had not spent time volunteering with Campus Ministry, I might have never joined AmeriCorps.”
Burgess continued work with AmeriCorps, and had the opportunity to work in conservation for Sequoia National Park in Sacramento, California.
“I learned the ins and outs of working for a state government agency, as well as where my true passion lies: conservation work.”
Lisa Burgess is now working as a Recreation Coordinator in Naples, Florida while she pursues a full-time career as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service in Florida.
How did your experience at Merrimack help you as a professional?
As someone who wants to work full-time for a government agency, my political science background has given me great leverage to pursue my goal. Additionally, the assistance of professors helping with resumes and LinkedIn profiles has made a huge difference in the job market.
Outside of ordinary schoolwork, the extracurricular activities I took part in, such as Merrimack Out Reach Experience (M.O.R.E), New Student Orientation, and intramural sports, have made me a well-rounded candidate for most positions I apply for.
What is the best advice you could give current Merrimack students?
The best advice I could give current Merrimack students is to stay in touch with one or two professors after you graduate. Having strong relationships with a professor can help when you’re looking for employment. Professors, like employers, know your work ethic, skills, and abilities and can be great references when trying to break into your field.
Why are you Merrimack Proud?
Merrimack is such a tight-knit community, and it makes me proud to see so many graduates still maintaining contact. Before attending Merrimack, I was drawn to the school because of the small class sizes. I’m proud because we are getting bigger and more recognizable, and especially proud because even though the school is expanding, there is still the feeling of camaraderie for all members of the Merrimack community.