Stephanie Merrick: Creating a Lasting Impact at Fort Valley State

Stephanie Merrick’s fun energy is quick to bring a classroom to life, even over video chat. The Effective Team Dynamics Program is so lucky to have her as one of our facilitators. Besides being a certified strengths coach, Merrick holds a Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change, teaches a leadership course, and is an academic transition program instructor.

On October 3rd, Dr. Merrick brought this energy to a 3 hour, socially distanced facilitation at Fort Valley State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in the University System of Georgia. When looking around the classroom, it was apparent that these 30 smiling members of the Residential Leadership Community were so excited to be back in the classroom with their teams. Hands shot through the air as these juniors and seniors constantly responded and asked Merrick many questions. Unlike when sitting in on online courses, these students were delighted to incorporate technology into the classroom. They used our ETD mobile phone app to participate in exercises on team contribution, personal values, and their personalized Clifton Strengths reports. With her encouragement of students to “Share It, Aim It, and Claim It,” Merrick turned their attention to a phrase that truly clicked with them.

Dr. Merrick’s eyes lit up, even over Zoom, when she discussed her excitement about the engagement she had from students. The Effective Team Dynamics program thrives on student participation, and Merrick really enjoyed providing a somewhat “normal” classroom experience for a group that missed in-person learning. Merrick gave the residential leaders the opportunity to do most of the talking during the facilitation, encouraging bonding as a team and keeping the students interested in the lessons.

This facilitation was extremely well received by both the students and other faculty who attended. LuWanna Williams, the director for the Center for Student Engagement at Fort Valley State University, said that she “cannot think of another presentation so well organized, prepared and delivered.” Williams commented that the content and delivery of Stephanie’s presentation would have a long-lasting impact on Fort Valley’s residential leadership community. The goal of Effective Team Dynamics is exactly that, and our program could not be more thankful for Merrick’s bursting passion and determined commitment to sharing this goal.

The participants could not speak more highly of the workshop and Dr. Merrick’s performance. One student was eager to comment, “I learned so much about myself and I got to pinpoint my strengths that have always been there!” Another exclaimed how much they enjoyed Dr. Merrick’s energy when delivering the content and the overall opportunity to interact with their peers. Raven G. also added that the “entire presentation was great!” Dr. Merrick made a lasting impression on Fort Valley State University, and our program is so looking forward to seeing how she continues to greatly impact those she teaches.

The Effective Team Dynamics program is still hosting facilitations virtually and social distanced in-person. If you would like to have an amazing facilitator like Dr. Stephanie Merrick come and make the same impact on your organization, please request a facilitation via our request form.

Want to partner with us? To request curricular materials on strengths and teamwork for your online course, email

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