Donors’ Gift Sparks New Student-Faculty Research Opportunities

Stephen Campbell ’75 credits his Merrimack experience with playing a key role in his career success.
Dr. Lisa O'Brien, Stephen Campbell '75 and Mona Kristoferson Campbell

Stephen Campbell ’75 credits his Merrimack experience with playing a key role in his career success — and now looks to encourage opportunities for faculty and undergraduates to work together on research initiatives, much like he did as a student.

During his time as a Merrimack psychology major, Steve was invited by Professor Brian Morgan to collaborate on a research project. “That project exposed me to research methods and analysis of complex data that I’ve drawn upon my entire career,” he said. Most importantly, it was a vote of confidence for a young student.”

Post graduation, Steve worked in the mental health field before pivoting to establish a successful career in business. Now retired, he spends much of his time working with his wife, Mona, on their family-owned and operated farm in Camano Island, Washington.

Inspired by his experience working with Morgan, Steve and Mona established the Campbell Research Fellowship to fund research opportunities for Merrimack faculty and undergraduate students, for projects within the Winston School of Education and Social Policy and the School of Arts and Sciences.

Lisa O’Brien, assistant professor of education, is the current recipient of the Campbell Research Fellowship. Her research seeks to find ways to promote educational equity by helping teacher education students develop racial literacy.

Thanks to the fellowship funding, O’Brien recruited a Merrimack senior to help complete key components of the research process.

She shared, “I couldn’t do this work without the support of the fellowship. I need student collaboration not only to assist with the work but for the unique perspective they bring to the project.”

O’Brien added, “Steve and Mona’s support also helped lay the groundwork that allowed me to apply for a substantial grant from the Institute of Education Sciences.”

Research, like O’Brien’s, is a key component of Merrimack’s Agenda for the Future.

“As the College continues to make progress toward our institutional goal of achieving R2 status, support for research initiatives will ensure that faculty and students have plentiful opportunities to contribute to fields of knowledge and inquiry,” said Dr. John “Sean” Condon, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Reflecting on his decision to donate to research, Steve said, “Through this fellowship, I wanted to support Merrimack and its growth plans. I think an even greater focus on research will raise the bar in a very significant way for Merrimack College.”

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