Tom Merrell graduated from Santa Clara University where he received his Master's degree in Special Education. Prior to serving as a Assistant Dean and Director of Disability resources for University of San Francisco, Tom worked as a special educator and teacher trainer for the Santa Clara County Office of Education in San Jose, CA., and Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA
How did you find out about the MA in Special Education program at SCU and why did you choose to apply and ultimately enroll?
I found out about the program through Brother Steve Johnson, who was my advisor, teacher, and mentor. I ended up working for him throughout most of my program. He was instrumental in my success at SCU (and helped get me an interview at USF!)
Did your experience in the program match your expectations?
Yes. Again, working for Brother Steve was an incredible experience that heightened my overall experience at SCU. I found all my instructors to be very talented, qualified, and skilled professionals.
What has been the value of your degree in your current work?
SCU not only prepared me for the job market after graduation, they helped me get a job! Brother Steve was a reference for me when I interviewed at USF for a disability specialist position, and I am sure he was instrumental in me getting offered the position. While I did have to learn a lot "on the job", I feel my SCU graduate education prepared me for that job, and subsequent positions, in many many ways. The Special Ed. program was demanding and at times very difficult, but the curriculum, faculty, and administration was top notch
Would you recommend the program to others and if so, why?
Definitely. For the reasons stated above I would recommend the program. Along with a quality education, SCU prepared me for a professional career through the special programs, trainings, conferences, etc. that were offered regularly for students. They also were very helpful with job placement.