Kristen Merle ‘14
Religious Studies and Philosophy major
"I knew I wanted to stay local and in the back of my mind I always thought I would be a teacher so I couldn't imagine a better fit. I loved the close knit atmosphere at SJC where you were known by your name and not a number.
"Five months after graduation, I was hired to work as an Assistant Director in a tutoring company. I stayed there for about a year, gaining the experience I needed, and was hired to work for Stony Brook University as an Office Service Manager.
"When I was younger, I always thought I would be a teacher. I love working with children and I truly enjoy seeing them strive for success. As time went on, the vision I had for myself evolved and I took a different path. Even though I am not in a classroom teaching students every day, I am still in the education field, assisting college students with their every day needs.
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched; they must be felt with the heart."
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and why?
"My parents have been the biggest influences on my life because they have always given me the support and guidance needed to follow my dreams."
Who is your favorite professor and why?
"Dr. Phagan in the English department. She allowed me find my voice in my writing and provided me with the tools and skills needed to become a better writer. She was always there when I needed her and fully supported me when I decided to change my major."
What was the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
"One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome was changing my major in my junior year. I was majoring in secondary education with a concentration in English and double majoring in Religious Studies and Philosophy. The education classes that I was taking were not enjoyable for me anymore and I was uncertain of what to do. I always had this idea that I was going to be a teacher so when it finally hit me that I was not enjoying what I was doing, I knew it was time for a change.
I switched my major to English and double majored in Religious Studies and Philosophy. I did not know what type of career I wanted to pursue, but I knew I was enjoying my classes, and in that moment, I knew it was the right decision."