In many ways, the Merrimack community’s encounter with the COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely well-documented. The college’s COVID-19 dashboard has published weekly statistics on tests administered and positive cases since the fall of 2020. The administration’s communications on the virus response can be found piled into email inboxes throughout campus. The COVID-19 Task Force’s protocols have been scrupulously detailed in digital handbooks and publicized across campus.
Such materials provide invaluable insights into life at Merrimack during COVID-19, but they do not tell the whole story. (Of course, they were not intended to!) Untold in the numbers and the policies and the protocols are the actual experiences of those who have lived through this pandemic–those represented in the numbers, those behind the policies, those teaching or learning or working in environments shaped by the protocols.
What was it like to be a remote student? To walk through dorms abandoned during the campus closure? To inform students of a positive test? To teach in person and on Zoom at the same time? To be an athlete when there were no competitions? The answers to these questions and many more–questions of the lived experience of the pandemic–can be found in the following collection of oral history interviews conducted by the students of HIS 3325 in the fall of 2021.
Dr. Traci Alberti is a family nurse practitioner and an assistant professor in the School of Health Sciences. During the pandemic, Dr. Alberti served on the Merrimack College COVID-19 Task Force and oversaw COVID-19 surveillance at the college.
Gayle Ardito is a registered nurse with Merrimack’s Hamel Health Center. She initially came to the college in 2020 to help with COVID-19 surveillance.
Laurel Barbosa is a junior at Merrimack and a member of the dance team. During the pandemic, she worked both on and off campus.
Cecelia Barron is a junior at Merrimack College and a member of the Merrimack soccer team. During the pandemic, she worked multiple jobs on campus in addition to being a student-athlete.
Marissa Broome is a political science senior at Merrimack College. During the pandemic, she worked with first- and second-year students in the Promise Center.
Julianna DeLuca transferred to Merrimack College during the pandemic, while also working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Sarah Dionne is the director of the Merrimack College Counseling Center and Office of Wellness Education. She came to Merrimack at the beginning of the fall 2020 semester.
Katie Donell is a Merrimack College alum and has worked in the Stevens Service Learning Center since 2009. She currently oversees the Lawrence Math and Science Partnership and Merrimack Academic Partnership programs.
Mack Emery is a psychology junior at Merrimack and a member of the hockey team. During the 2020-2021 school year, she was an on-campus student.
Interview of Nicole Frisch-Scott
Dr. Nicole Frisch-Scott is an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Merrimack. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she taught fully remote classes.
Kait Hollinger is the assistant director of the Promise Program at Merrimack College. During the pandemic, she also taught “First Year Experience” courses to first-year students.
Maxie Holman is an area coordinator with Merrimack’s Office of Residence Life, overseeing Monican Centre, O’Brien Hall, as well as the townhouses. During the pandemic, she both worked and lived on campus.
Megan O’Donnell is a human development and human services junior at Merrimack College. She was a first-year student when the pandemic began and moved to remote learning for the 2020-2021 school year.
Ashton Savage is a junior at Merrimack College. She lived on campus during the 2020-2021 school year and worked in student security during the spring semester.
Diane Shaw is the Associate Dean of Student Success at Merrimack College. She also teaches in the Department of Psychology. During the 2020-2021 school year, she taught both remotely and on campus.
Kyle Templeton is a senior at Merrimack and a member of Merrimack’s ultimate frisbee club team. During the 2020-2021 school year, he was an on-campus student.
Interview of Sujatha Thiruvengadathan
Sujatha Thiruvengadathan is an assistant instructional professor in mathematics at Merrimack College. During the 2020-2021 school year, she taught on campus.
Interview of Nikala Tuffanelli
Nikala Tuffanelli is a nursing sophomore at Merrimack, as well as a member of the tennis team. During the pandemic, she lived on campus and worked at the campus testing center.
Sarah Ward is junior at Merrimack, as well as a member of the dance team. She was a first-year student when the pandemic began. During the 2020-2021 school year, she was an on-campus student.
Jordan Wentworth is a senior at Merrimack. During the pandemic, he worked both on-campus as a resident advisor (RA) at Monican Centre and off-campus at a nursing facility.
Dr. Gwyne White is an assistant professor of psychology at Merrimack. During the 2020-2021 school year, she taught on-campus and hybrid courses.
Note: More interviews will be added as they are processed.
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