After working as a substitute teacher at PHS for two years, Meryll Hansen has spent two years working in the Learning Commons, where she has many responsibilities ranging from checking out laptops to scheduling the use of the teaching space. Hansen grew up in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, and attended Albion College in Michigan, where she received her degree in English. Following college, Hansen worked for 25 years as an advertising copywriter for TV Guide magazine and then a marketing communications manager for two different electronics companies. When she is not working in the Learning Commons, Hansen enjoys singing, photography, reading, watching old movies, and playing with her two grandsons, who are six and nine.
She hopes that through her work at Princeton High School she can help students have a positive high school experience and put a smile on their faces.
What do you enjoy most about your job and how has it affected you?
The students. I like to make them laugh … I love to laugh and … interact with students so that makes my day. [Working in the Learning Commons is] the best job I can possibly think of to have … It keeps me active … and I get to interact with the kids, [Media Specialist Jennifer] Bigioni, whom I really like, and the other teachers.
How has the Learning Commons changed since you have worked there?
I think people are understanding more and more about the resources that … Bigioni has made available to everyone … She’s facilitating research projects, and that’s really important for students to learn how to … use and cite direct sources. Information is all around us … [and] we need to give credit to its origin. [Bigioni] is also ordering a lot of new books and fulfilling student requests … We’ve weeded out a lot of old books and are now adding great new books.
How would you recommend students take advantage of all the Learning Commons has to offer?
Well, they need to listen. [Bigioni] gives presentations about using the research facilities, so [students can pay] attention to those. [Students can also learn by] just sitting at the computer and practicing [and] going on to the Learning Commons homepage and looking. If you go on there and start clicking you’ll be amazed at what you can access. From the PHS site you can click on the links right from the homepage and also use the proxy and go into Artstor, the [Oxford English Dictionary], and all kinds of [other resources].
Do you have a book that you would recommend to students?
I do love to read … I love mysteries. My childhood favorites are Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie and all of those. I enjoyed Girl on a Train which [is] a mystery; it keeps you going, [but] it’s not very deep. I like going back and reading books I read as a student. I went back [and] I read Middlemarch by George Eliot, who was actually a woman, and people have called that one of the greatest American novels. And I loved it … she really is amazing [because of] the character and storylines she develops.