Father and Daughter Reflect on Benefits of Point Park University's Criminal Justice and Intelligence Programs Alumni Profile
Meet Nicole Merrick '16 '17
- Job Title & Employer
- Police officer, Peters Township Police Department
- Intelligence and National Security-traditional/certificate, Intelligence and Global Security-M.A.
- Criminal Justice
- Collier Township, Pa.
- High School
- Chartiers Valley High School
- Now Living In
- Washington, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Fitness, baking, reading and spending time with family and my fur babies, Master Chief and Drako
"There is so much value in Point Park’s criminal justice and intelligence programs. The subject matter is comprehensive, relevant and captivating. The faculty have a wide range of career backgrounds, from working in field operations to being highly-educated scholars. Students have access to endless volunteer, internship and career opportunities."
What have you been up to since graduating from Point Park?
The same month I graduated from the master’s program, I began my career as a criminal intelligence analyst at the Office of the Allegheny County District Attorney. I then transitioned into my role at the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police as a crime analyst working in the Crime Analysis Unit while also assisting in the Real-Time Crime Center and the Intelligence Unit. While still working full time, I attended the Criminal Justice Training Center, IUP’s police academy at Robert Morris University, part time. I graduated from the academy as president and valedictorian of my class. I am now a full-time police officer for Peters Township.
Describe your current role and what you enjoy about it.
I could give the general job description of a police officer, such as answering 911 calls, patrolling neighborhoods, investigating crimes, traffic control, making arrests, etc. Truthfully, the job is much more than that. All of those tasks together ensure the community has one of the few basic human needs – safety. That is what I enjoy most about my job – ensuring that the community has the ability to complete their everyday tasks without worrying about their safety and knowing that if they were to be victimized, we are there to help bring them justice.
Describe the value you found in Point Park's B.S. in Intelligence and National Security and M.A. in Intelligence and Global Security.
There is so much value in Point Park’s criminal justice and intelligence programs. The subject matter is comprehensive, relevant and captivating. The faculty have a wide range of career backgrounds, from working in field operations to being highly-educated scholars. Students have access to endless volunteer, internship and career opportunities. If you involve yourself in the Society for Intelligence and National Security, you can immerse yourself into the culture of the intelligence community. To top it all off, you get to have all of these experiences right in the center of Downtown Pittsburgh. There is no other program in the country like the one at Point Park.
The positions I’ve held have all been vastly different, spanning complex investigations, data and operations. I felt prepared for every role and challenge because of my time at Point Park. Even if there is a required course that is not directly related to your future career goals, it’s important to have an understanding of how the entire intelligence cycle works. Point Park's program gave me that.
Were there any faculty who had a significant impact on you?
Sean Martin, Ph.D. made an indelible mark on my education and career. You can learn so much more from him beyond his lesson plans. He is one of those educators who you think back to and say to yourself, "He truly made an impact on my life."
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s not the smartest person in the room that becomes the most successful. It’s the hardest-working.
Merrick's father, Bernie Merrick '18, is also an alumnus of the intelligence and global security program and earned a B.S. in Public Administration from Point Park. He recently retired as the chief of police and director of safety at Washington Health System. He shares his perspective on Point Park in the Q&A below.
What attracted you to the M.A. in Intelligence and Global Security?
Like everyone who enters into the public safety arena, I like helping people. Performing investigations and crime analysis are some of my favorite areas of law enforcement. Crime analysis is also a very useful tool in crime prevention.
How would you describe the coursework and faculty?
The coursework was extremely informative and enlightening. Point Park's faculty have working experience in the field. The faculty do an excellent job of working with you and challenging you to do your best. The program is extremely rewarding.
How did the intelligence program help you advance your career?
Not only was the program a great learning experience, but it was invaluable in terms of networking with others in my career field. The program has helped me with performing a number of operations with more efficiency.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Your Point Park degree will be a key to opening the door to many opportunities. My bachelor's degree in public administration helped me immensely in the administrative arena, while the master's program did the same from the operational perspective. Together they make for a great combination for someone who is in or planning to enter the criminal justice or intelligence field.
Learn more about Professor Sean Martin, Ph.D. in the video below:
More About: School of Arts and Sciences, public administration, Rowland School of Business, success story, criminal justice, intelligence and national security, M.A. in global security and intelligence, alumni