John Merck leading students in Alaska

Science and Global Change Associate Director John Merck (far right) has remained with College Park Scholars for almost 20 years because of the job's intellectual creativity and the program's impressive students. Here, he is pictured leading students on a hike in Alaska in August 2018. PHOTO: Harold Burgess

Why This Faculty Member has Stayed at Scholars for 20 Years

My first gig at the University of Maryland was an assistantship to Dr. Thomas Holtz, who at the time was creating the Earth, Life and Time program—the precursor to College Park Scholars’ current Science and Global Change (SGC) program. In the 19 years since, I’ve taken on many other responsibilities, including the director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Geology.

But my job with Scholars remains by far my favorite.

Commuter student Marlen Cruz looks up from her laptop

Scholars alum Marlen Cruz graduated from the University of Maryland this December, with a degree in public health science from the School of Public Health. She has served as a voice for commuter students through College Park Scholars, showcasing how commuters can get involved on campus.

A Day in the Life of a Commuter Student

Marlen Cruz has taken on many roles in her scant 20-some years. First-generation American. First-generation college student. And: a commuter student.

“My parents live five minutes away from campus. They were like, ‘There’s no way you’re living on campus,’” she relays, laughing.

‘All-in’ Alum Offers Lessons for Other Scholars

Katie Bemb hadn’t intended on becoming a Terp. As a high school senior, she applied to the University of Maryland (UMD) regular decision but was strongly considering another university in the Washington, DC, metro area.

That inclination began to change after her best friend—who had applied early action to UMD—got accepted into College Park Scholars. Students who apply early action are automatically considered for the living–learning program.