Austin Scholar Testimonials

Austin Scholar Testimonials

What is it like to be an Austin Scholar? Hear from some of our Austin Scholars about their experiences working at service sites and participating in Merrimack’s oldest living and learning community. 

Austin Scholars Service Sites

As a scholar, you will have the opportunity to choose your service site from an approved list. The service is varied so our participating students can have a broad range of experiences. Please note that service site locations and details are subject to change.

Want to know what it’s like to volunteer? Read Austin Scholar testimonials.

Hope Salts ’22

Hope Salts ’22

Austin Scholar
Major: Political Science 

“As an Austin Scholar, I learned the power of compassion and what it means to empower others. Merrimack helped me build a community that I could truly call my own. The Merrimack community is one that was built upon a foundation of love – the love of friendship and the love for this place that we get to call home for just four short years.”

Connor Derderian ’25

Connor Derderian ’25

Austin Scholar
Major: Business (Marketing & Sport Management Concentrations) 

“I have grown in many different ways. One key improvement is that I have grown into a better version of myself primarily due to Austin Scholars. What makes Austin Scholars special is how well the community comes together. Being able to live, serve and learn together is something you won’t see at other colleges.”

Service Site Experiences

“I teach young women in the young parent program from the ages of 16-23 in order for them to receive their GED. I teach them reading, writing, math and social studies. All of the women I work with are absolutely amazing. They all have so much courage and determination. I could not picture myself going to any other service site. The women I work with have taught me so many valuable life lessons, and they have all helped me.”

― Megan, Austin Scholar & Catholic Charities Young Parent Program Volunteer

“The number of stories I’ve heard at Mary Immaculate and the connections I’ve been able to make are ones that I will never forget. I get the opportunity to do activities with the residents such as bingo, arts and crafts, nail painting, etc. During this time I get to meet and reconnect with residents and get to know them and their life. It will always put a smile on my face when I walk back into the building and I’m greeted by people who know my name and are genuinely happy to see me. The days when we come and volunteer are really special to the residents and you can tell how much our work there brightens their day.”

― Gabby, Austin Scholar & Mary Immaculate (former site) Volunteer

“Personally, I do not know what my Merrimack experience this past year would have been like without service. Although I had participated in frequent volunteering throughout high school, I had no idea of the ways in which my life and my faith would be transformed through my service experiences here. I engage in English conversation practice with primarily immigrant adults who are studying to learn English. By doing something as simple as engaging in conversation, I have been able to help others to improve their English and to enhance their lives.”

― Theresa, Austin Scholar & Notre Dame Education Center Volunteer

“I wanted to be a teacher once I graduated so this was the best experience I could have asked for. The teacher that I worked with was amazing. She not only gave me tips on what to do and not do when I have my own classroom, but she also gave me a job, where she would put my name on their everyday schedule. The environment at St. Louis School was so welcoming from the moment I stepped into the principal’s office to the moment I left the classroom. The teachers were all very nice to me and the students all adored me especially during recess when we could focus on anything but school work.”

― Sudha, Austin Scholar & St. Louis School (former site) Volunteer

“I tutored English to adults who have immigrated to America from various Latin American countries and I am helping one student study for the US citizenship test. I have acquired many experiences that I will always remember during my journey through college and into finding a career. The students I work with are extremely hardworking and inspire me to always do my best in my own academics. I learn just as much from them as they do from me.”

― Denis, Austin Scholar & Notre Dame Education Center Volunteer

“I’m familiar with working with children from my past experiences, but the children at Lawrence Catholic were unlike any I had met before. They were nice and friendly with a mix of loudness and hyperactivity. Being in Lawrence helped me see that there are places close to me where children are not getting the best education and I have to do something about it.”

― Tom, Austin Scholar & Lawrence Catholic Academy Volunteer