Leslie Lima ’21
A Lawrence native, Leslie, regularly drove by Merrimack College and her mom would say,
“One day I hope one of my children will go there.”
On Martin Luther King Day in 2017, Lima had all of her college applications submitted, but not one to Merrimack. She resisted it. But on that day, there was a prospective student open house, and she went with both her parents for a last-minute look. She hadn’t had that “aha” moment at the schools where she had applied, but she got it almost immediately at Merrimack.
And that has changed her life.
With a high school background in STEM, Lima arrived at Merrimack and immediately connected with Dr. Cynthia Carlson, associate professor of civil engineering. According to Lima, Dr. Carlson didn’t just teach about engineering, she told stories about life and how it was impacted by engineers. She spoke of her work and research across the globe and the importance of women being active in the field. Dr. Carlson became a role model and mentor and helped Lima see the connection between engineering and the environment while encouraging Lima’s membership in the Society of Women Engineers.
Lima’s dedication to her academic studies – she has a rigorous major, two minors, and is in the Honors Program – has been matched by her commitment to internships and extracurricular involvement. She had the good fortune to participate in a cooperative program in high school, which gave her the skills and confidence to explore three different internships while at Merrimack, all examining different aspects of engineering. At the O’Brien Center for Career Development, she served as a “Get Hired Up” intern. She became a leader on an Alternative Spring Break trip to Costa Rica themed around environmental justice, which enhanced her desire to serve others and solidified her interest in environmental engineering. Leslie is now completing her internship at Woodard & Curran remotely this semester and hopes to work for the company full-time after finishing her degree at Merrimack. All along the way, there were exceptional Merrimack advisors and mentors who helped her on her path.
Merrimack has more than lived up to that “aha” feeling Lima got during her campus visit in 2017. As she puts it, “I knew that day that Merrimack was just exploding with opportunity and promise. But, more importantly, I could tell it was the right community for me. The growth of the College wasn’t compromising the ideals of it being a small school and community. It’s so much better than I could have imagined, and I’m so glad my mom was right about this place,” Lima concluded.
Leslie Lima has embraced every aspect of her Merrimack experience. The opportunities provided to her and her peers are the result of generous investments in the College by alums, parents and friends. You, too, can support remarkable student opportunities with a gift to The Merrimack Fund.
Hometown: Lawrence, MA
Major: Civil Engineering
Minors: Mathematics and Environmental Studies