About the Project

Photo credit: Kevin Salemme

The COVID-19 pandemic has been among the most world-altering events of our age. At the time of this site’s publication, it is estimated that almost 850 thousand Americans have lost their lives to the virus. Globally, the death toll has surpassed five and a half million. Beyond those staggering and still-growing numbers, of course, are the hundreds of millions more that have been directly impacted by illness or loss. The pandemic has reached everywhere. It has touched everything, transforming daily life in a thousand different ways—including in our own community at Merrimack College.

Experiencing the Pandemic was created by students in the Merrimack College Department of History‘s fall 2021 course, HIS 3325 (“History Outside of the Classroom”). Our guiding question was this—how did the Merrimack community experience the pandemic?

In taking on this question, we sought to get beyond the numbers and policies and protocols so well documented in official records to leave our own record of what it was like to live through this time of crisis. The students of HIS 3325 themselves have created this record, gathering artifacts and conducting interviews throughout the fall 2021 semester that speak to the experiences of our community.

We have not been alone or unique in these efforts—across the country, across the world, others have been doing the same—but we have undertaken them in the understanding that global events have always been experienced locally. Our part of this story matters. And here at least a little part of it will be told.

Thank You

We would like to extend a special thanks to Kevin Salemme, who photographed the artifacts gathered by the students (and is otherwise responsible for just about every photo on this site), and Matt Giordano, who resolved a number of Zoom crises over the course of this project.

We would also like to thank the following individuals for generously giving of their time and their memories to be interviewed: Traci Alberti, Gayle Ardito, Laurel Barbosa, Cecelia Barron, Marissa Broome, Julianna DeLuca, Sarah Dionne, Mack Emery, Katie Donnell, Nicole Frisch-Scott, Joshua Heath, Maxanne Holman, Michael Hyman, Megan O’Donnell, Katie O’Neil, Ashton Savage, Diane Shaw, Sujatha Thiruvengadathan, Kyle Templeton, Nikala Tuffanelli, Sarah Ward, Jordan Wentworth, and Gwyne White.

And we give our sincere thanks to those who donated artifacts to the collection (or otherwise helped students track artifacts down): Eileen O’Donnell (a super-donor), Suzanne Adams, Lisa Garcia, Colby DiMaggio, Sarah Allen, Jeremy Blake-Johnson, James Petty, Tayler Evans, and the OnStagers.

This project was created by the fall 2021 students of HIS 3325:

  • Michael Abdoo
  • Morgan Barker
  • Jenna Bednarz
  • Ryan Cayton
  • Gianna Cioto
  • Alexa Connell
  • Erin Drew
  • Antonio Ferreira
  • Emma Gorski
  • Joanna Kandaras
  • Patrick Krol
  • Nathan Leclaire
  • Megan Lyons
  • Kennedy MacAlpine
  • Baylee Metcalf
  • Claudia Mishak
  • Alexander Moore
  • Allyson Patrikis
  • Gabrielle Paulding
  • Grace Russo
  • Rowan Salhi
  • Ana Maria Serratos Vela
  • Katie Tully
  • Melanie Turano
  • Thomas Wilson

Instructor: Dr. Walker Robins

If you have any questions or comments about the project, please contact Walker Robins at robinsw@merrimack.edu.