Merrimack Alumni Return to Campus as Faculty

Three alumni turned educators speak on their love for Merrimack and why they chose to come back.
Jared Peterson ’16, M’17; Amanda Cremone-Caira ’12; and Colleen Mearon ’21, M’22 are just a few of the alumnus recently hired at Merrimack College.

Once a Warrior, always a Warrior. In recent years, Merrimack College has hired several alumni to its faculty ranks.

“The joke is that I never really left,” said Jared Peterson ’16, M’17, who recently started his second year as assistant professor of practice in the Civil Engineering department. 

Peterson received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Merrimack College. From there, he did a combination of public and private industry work for nearly five years. 

All the while, Peterson was still involved with the Merrimack community. Each year, he would advise students participating in the AISC/ASCE New England Regional Student Steel Bridge Competition

“My engagement with the College before I was hired was substantial, and it still is,” he said. “Whether it was mentoring students or being active in our alumni group, I never went anywhere.”

When he was offered the job, Peterson said he was ecstatic to work with faculty and staff in the School of Engineering and Computational Sciences who helped him get to where he was in his professional career. 

“I wanted to get industry experience to sharpen my skills and build my toolbox,” he explained. “It proved invaluable when I came back here, as being able to bring that real-world experience into the classroom is priceless, especially in a field as problem-solving focused and applicative as engineering.”

Amanda Cremone-Caira ’12, recently hired as an assistant professor of psychology, also returned after her graduate training and a few years working at other academic institutions. She earned a bachelor’s in psychology and biology from Merrimack as well as a doctorate in neuroscience from UMass Amherst in 2017.

Cremone-Caira’s career ambitions became more clear as she worked on her post-doctoral research fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She is currently building on that experience in her research lab where she studies neural correlates of behavior in children with ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.

“I knew I wanted to teach,” she said. “I primarily trained with human participants, and usually that aspect of neuroscience falls under the discipline of psychology. Merrimack’s psychology department is where I received most of my undergraduate training and it’s where I feel most comfortable teaching.”

Before coming to Merrimack, Cremone-Caira taught psychology courses at the College of the Holy Cross and Assumption University.

“To see that Merrimack is investing in research opportunities for both students and faculty is exciting to me,” she explained. “You don’t see that kind of emphasis on research at comparable programs. I think there is a need for undergraduate students to train in research to be better prepared for a variety of careers.”

Unlike Peterson and Cremone-Caira, Colleen Mearon ’21, M’22 never ended up leaving Merrimack. After graduating with a bachelor’s and master’s both in communications, she was hired through her graduate fellowship as an undergraduate marketing specialist. She now serves as a marketing manager for the undergraduate enrollment marketing team, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Communication and Media.

“My fellowship was my favorite part (of my Merrimack experience) because it gives you that experiential learning side,” she said. “In the classroom, there’s a lot of theory and research, so it was nice to have a mix.”

This fall, Mearon will teach television production. During her time at Merrimack, she helped get MCTV, Merrimack’s television network, off the ground. In its founding year, she served as the club’s treasure before eventually moving up to executive producer. 

“It’s guiding students in their first experience in television studios,” she described her course. “What I’ll be doing with students in the fall is giving them the basics of what it’s like behind the scenes of producing a live show. It’s pretty fast-paced and it takes a lot of focus.”

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