Recently, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts was able to catch up with Meghan Van Buren (Farrer), a 2006 graduate in Digital Design and Communications & Media. Talking all things then and now, we got a great life update on her time at Merrimack, where her career has taken her, and advice she has for current students.
Van Buren had a background in the arts, but really never considered it as a career. It wasn’t until her high school arts teacher suggested looking into graphic design that she said she “really started considering it, [later] applying for her BFA.” After transferring into Merrimack her Sophomore year, she continued her interests in the arts within the Department of VPA and declared herself a double major. Though not very involved in the department, she recalls her time in academics extremely enjoyable, with her favorite classes being “any class with either David Raymond or Kevin Salemme.”
Outside of academics, Van Buren says that her favorite thing about the college was the sense of community she experienced while attending. Her first introduction to this was meeting the women she met her first semester living on-campus, whom she now considers her best friends. Along with her closest friends, Van Buren says that he also was introduced to her now husband through her connections at the College. Spending time with them all, taking adventures to the Loop and the Rockingham Mall, or even doing nothing at all, are some of her best memories from college in which she’s incredibly “thankful and grateful.”
Now, Van Buren currently holds the position of Art Director for Hydrow, Inc., in which she leads a team in creating concept campaigns, which includes leading photo and video productions, concepting and visualizing marketing concepts, and designing brand communication through PR, social media, paid media, and e-commerce. Her past graphic design and marketing experiences include senior roles in Staples, Wayfair, and Tripadvisor. When asked about how Merrimack prepared her for these roles, she attributed it to her in-class student/professor critiques. Those allowed her to “take criticism well, listen, and interpret what needs to change in order to evolve the work.”
Her biggest advice to students now is internships: get them where and when you can. “While [they’re] great for resume building, it also allows you to figure out where and what you want to focus on once you leave school.”
Thank you, Meghan, for chatting with us!