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Heather Merriman (she/her)

Professional photo of Heather Merriman

Current Name:

Heather Merriman (she/her)

Graduation Year:

1998  11th + 12th grade (back when it was a 2-year program)

Hometown/Sending School:

Harpswell, Mt. Ararat High School

Where did you go after MSSM?:

I attended the University of Maine, and graduated with a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. I stayed in Maine after college working for over a decade at a New England-based engineering firm (where I interned while at MSSM, and again in college) before changing course and going out on my own. During that transition I served as the general contractor overseeing the construction of my home in Harpswell--a move back to my hometown where Merrimans have lived for many generations, started a family and a new career path.

What are you doing now?:

I run my own environmental engineering business specializing in wastewater treatment and disposal. For me, it's work that is never dull. Each project is a unique puzzle, and I choose when, where, and with whom, I want to work (most of the time).

I don't think it's a bad thing to have more than one passion. I volunteer in support of innovative education across the state, including serving on the MSSM Foundation board. Becoming a parent is what sparked a calling to contribute to making the educational landscape in Maine the best it can be. Making space for kids to play in and study nature to find their sense of place and path to benefiting society is part of what gets me out of bed in the morning. Once I'm up, I also like gardening, hiking, working on a home improvement project, and being in a boat along the coast of Maine with my husband, daughter, and any other friends or family that want to tag along.

What is your favorite (or one of your favorite) memory from MSSM?: While the cafeteria was available for all the meals, I fondly remember cooking food with friends in the dormitory kitchen (which was much more basic than it is today). How about fresh avocado on top of that pizza with premade crust? While I've graduated to better cooking skills (and knives), being with friends and making them a meal has remained deeply satisfying in my life, and it's even more sweet when my classmates from almost 30(!) years ago are the people gathered at my table.

What class/teacher most sticks out in your mind?:

I enjoyed the contrast and connection that existed to the classes that were not the classic math and science courses. I will always be thankful that I took anthropology. In my undergraduate program, only 3 non-degree-associated elective slots existed over the 4 years, and I had an AP credit for one of them. My high school exposure to anthropology led me into some interesting upper-level courses that I would have never explored (or gotten into without the prereq) as my college electives if it wasn't for the chance to find out I was fascinated with anthropology. Shout out for the social science offerings at MSSM!

What role did MSSM play in who or where you are now?:

MSSM made space for me to find my interest in engineering. MSSM originally felt like a good fit for me because I had the early desire to pursue medicine. Dreams of internships at the NIH danced in my head as a 15-year-old. However, when that wasn't the right fit, the depth and breadth of the background of the faculty made it possible to explore other ways to immerse in science and head toward a career that I've enjoyed for over 2 decades. It also can't go unnoted that I made life-long friends at MSSM, some I am lucky to see on the regular, and others on more of a Haley's comet timetable, but when we do get back together, it's a bright light in my life.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your past self as you prepare for MSSM?:

These are the good old days. Truly take the time to be present and enjoy the experience, because they'll be the good old days before you know it!

What is the best book/movie/tv show you can recommend to your fellow alumni?:

Watch Ted Lasso. If Apple TV+ isn't currently part of your streaming portfolio, sign up and binge Ted! The hilarity and happiness the show brought into my household during the pandemic made it extra special and worth the time on the couch. And, to offset your couch comedy time with some science time, Breath by James Nestor was the first book I read to kick off 2024.