Arts and Sciences News & Events

See news and events in Merrimack College’s School of Arts and Sciences.


By: Kara Haase
Merrimack College recently hosted an engaging panel discussion with three accomplished alumni from the Master of Public Administration and Affairs (MPAA) program.
By: Michael Cronin
Andrew Cote, assistant professor of practice and assistant director of bands, also presented at this year’s National Association of Music Merchants Show in Anaheim, CA.
By: Michael Cronin
Under Andrew Cote’s leadership, more student musicians are enrolled at Merrimack than ever before.
By: Michael Cronin
The Revs. Terence Ayuk and Njuakom Romaric this fall will enroll in Merrimack’s Spiritual Direction graduate certificate program.
By: Michael Cronin
Over the past seven years, Laura Kurdziel has worked to expand Merrimack’s Department of Psychology and its curriculum.

Notable & Quotable

Laura Pruett, associate professor and chair of visual and performing arts, presented a research poster, “I Did It My Way: An Alternative Concept for Teaching American Music,” March 25, 2017, at the annual conference of the Society for American Musicin Montréal.

Michael DeCesare, professor and chair of sociology, delivered the keynote address April 27, 2017,at the State University of New York Voices Conference on Shared Governance in Suffern, New York. The conference examined the challenges facing governance leaders and members, and explore alternative solutions. DeCesare was also the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Kentucky AAUP (American Association of University Professors) Conference on April 8 at the University of Louisville, where he delivered a talk titled “Threats to Traditional Academic Governance.” DeCesare was invited to speak at both conferences due to his work as the chair of AAUP’s National Committee on College University Governance.

Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communication, was quoted in a May 16, 2017, post by technology blogger Richard Hartley about new measures taken by Facebook to root out “fake news.” Zimdars, who has gained national attention for creating a list of untrustworthy news sites, said it seemed Facebook was largely responding to bad press. “My initial read on it is it’s ultimately kind of a PR move. It’s cheap to do. It’s easy. It doesn’t actually require them to do anything,” she said.

Debra Michals, assistant professor and director of women’s and gender studies, was interviewed for a March 9, 2018, segment on WBUR radio about a new study that claims bones found on Nikumaroro Island in 1940 very likely belong to famed aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared over the Pacific in 1937 while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. Because the new study, by researcher Richard Jantz, relied on reinterpreting an original analysis of the bones more than four decades ago rather than the bones themselves, which long ago disappeared, Michals said his study is not likely to close the book on the case. “The mystique around the disappearance of Amelia Earhart will lead a lot of people to that conclusion — that without the real bones, how do we know?” she said.

Gretchen Grosky, adjunct lecturer in journalism and adviser to the student newspaper, The Beacon, completed two fellowships this summer — one at Columbia University’s Age Boom Academy, focusing on the international response to the aging workforce, and the other as a Journalists in Aging fellow at the Gerontological Society of America and New Media. As part of the latter fellowship, Grosky spent four days at the World Congress on Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Francisco, which attracted 6,500 experts in the field of aging from around the world. Grosky, who led a team of journalists in winning the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news, is a reporter at the Union Leader newspaper in New Hampshire, with a beat focused on the state’s rapidly aging population.

Michael DeCesare,professor and chair of sociology, was quoted in a Feb. 7, 2018, Boston Globe story about the ongoing search for the next president of Harvard University. DeCesare, who chairs a committee on university governance at the American Association of University Professors, said the school ought to pick an academic, to send a message to faculty that their work is important. “For Harvard to kind of reaffirm the importance of an academically oriented president would go a long way,” he said.

Ana Silva, associate professor of finance and chair of the accounting and finance department, was quoted in a “Ask the Experts” column about secured credit cards. Asked how the issuer of a secured credit card with no annual fee makes money, Silva responded, “Issuers charge high APRs on the unpaid balances each month. Late fees are also charged when a customer misses a payment. Some issuers charge a fee for setting-up an account. Issuers also charge the interchange fee on every credit card transaction. In addition, some banks cross-sell other products such as insurances.”

Dr. Michael Stroud, professor and department chair of psychology, and Dr. Kirstie Dobbs, associate professor of practice for the department of political science and public policy, have created assignments that expose their students to new educational techniques: Podcasts and TED Talks.
Stroud’s podcast, Curious Minds, is available via Apple Podcasts. Please click the link below to view the TED Talks. Kirstie Dobbs’ podcast, Voices of Gen Z: The Future of Democracy can be found via Spotify Podcasts.

Melissa Zimdars, assistant professor of communication, was interviewed by the grassroots media website Weave News for thefourthpartof its “Attack on Academia“series with academics who have endured sustained campaigns of threats and harassment from the alt-right. Zimdars made national headlineswhen a document she created to help her students practice analyzing the credibility of various websites claiming to share news went viral and incurred the wrath of far-right organizations and individuals.

Cristi Catt, voice instructor at Merrimack College, recently wrapped up a session at Berklee College’s renowned recording studio, Shames Family Scoring Stage. She was awarded a grant to record “All Over the Map” with her ensemble Blue Thread.


Student labeling a lab sample.

Graduate Student Celebration

Graduate Student Celebration is an exciting event where prospective and accepted students can get a glimpse into becoming a warrior through information sessions, campus tours, and opportunities to connect with faculty, staff, and peers!

Arcidi Welcome Center