Salem State University alumna Meredith George ’12 never guessed that majoring in education would result in frequent trips to Baker’s Island and an expertise in teaching about area parks.
The education and history double-major has spent the past two years working as a project coordinator for the non-profit Essex Heritage in Salem, where she runs an after school program for third to fifth graders, teaches in a professional development program that helps educators incorporate lessons about public parks into the classroom, and manages a host of other tourism and education-related efforts.
Meredith’s path to Essex Heritage was one of exploration in itself. A transfer student to Salem State, she found herself lost in her career direction, but benefitted from the inspiration and help of faculty mentors who took a an interest in her future. Through these relationships, she was led to explore an internship at the National Park Service, and she had a directed study created to optimize the experience.
The National Park Service internship led Meredith to realize the many opportunities to work in education outside of the classroom. With her newfound passion, she went on to receive a master’s degree in Museum and Field Studies from the University of Colorado.
Halfway through her master’s degree program, Meredith again found herself in need of an internship, and again utilized her relationships with Salem State faculty. This led to an internship at Essex Heritage the summer between her first and second years of graduate school. Before she walked on the stage to receive her master’s the following spring, Meredith had accepted a job working with this organization full time.
Meredith’s role allows her to utilize her expertise in curriculum development and historical analysis that she developed at Salem State to enhance students’ educational experiences and sense of civic pride. Alas, her job keeps her in close contact with the university, collaborating with Salem State scholars on educational events.
Her advice to current students? Ask as many questions as possible. “The more you ask, the more informed decisions you can make about your future,” she said. “At Salem State, I always knew there was an open door policy, and I made connections in and out of the classroom that put me on a career track I couldn’t have imagined.”