Indiana University of Pennsylvania

12/06/2023 | News release | Archived content

Alida Merlo on Learning by Teaching—Meet Our Faculty

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Alida Merlo on Learning by Teaching-Meet Our Faculty

Posted on 12/6/23 4:00 AM
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Alida Merlo

Alida Merlo's first job was as a juvenile probation officer, but her thirst to know more led her to teach criminology at IUP. Learn more about the 2020-21 Distinguished University Professor in this installment of Meet Our Faculty.

What is it about the criminology field that initially drew you in-and ultimately keeps you interested?

As an undergraduate at Youngstown State, I registered for a Juvenile Delinquency course with Professor Jack Foster. I was immediately fascinated by the theories and the material that he covered that term. His course prompted me to learn more about juvenile justice and to pursue a career in that field.

Before graduation, I completed an internship in the Juvenile Court in Mahoning County, Ohio. After that, I was hired as a juvenile probation officer. That was the beginning of my career. In graduate school, juvenile justice and criminal justice policy continued to be my primary interests. Overall, criminology and criminal justice intrigue me. The research, theories, approaches, and trends are exciting. I feel fortunate to be involved in such a dynamic field.

Why do you enjoy teaching in this discipline?

The disciplines of criminology and criminal justice continue to evolve. There are new developments every day. Our knowledge and understanding of crime and how to prevent it or how to treat those involved in it motivate me to learn more. Teaching enables us to share. I endeavor to inspire students to ask questions, to think about various issues, and to try to make a difference in someone's life.

What advice would you give students about how to succeed?

First, do well in your courses. Attend class, take notes, and study. Second, register for courses in public speaking, oral communication, and writing, and practice. Third, as a future professional, keep current with the research and implement strategies and programs that are evidence based. Fourth, be kind to yourself and others. If we treat everyone with dignity and respect, we will succeed.