Meet The Advisors

M. Cristina Fernández

Assistant Director, Career Advising; School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Cristina joined Merrimack in the Fall of 2020 and serves as the Assistant Director for Career Advising in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Her goal when working with students is to support them to cultivate and achieve their professional goals so that they take the next steps in their career journeys with confidence.

Before Merrimack, Cristina enjoyed a career in Human Services, supporting adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities to obtain and retain competitive employment. Cristina holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Florida International University and an master’s in community social psychology from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is a Certified Employment Support Specialist (CESP) through APSE and insists that she cannot get through her day without a cup of café con leche.

 What does Cristina wish she knew about career development when she was in undergrad?

In short – anything. I was an excellent student, but when it came to skill marketing and job search basics, I was a disaster. Accessibility of university services looked much different back then; not everything had migrated online, and FIU was a massive school whose two main campuses were separated by the entirety of Greater Miami. We were registering for classes on paper and then waiting in line at the registrar. It seemed like too much of a hassle to so much as figure out where the career services department was located, much less utilize any of their services. Besides, I was about to enter the working world with a bachelor’s degree from a top-rated university, which I assumed would be sufficient enough to launch me toward a lucrative career. Doors would swing open, the red carpet would roll out and I’d waltz right into the job of my choice. 

Spoiler alert: That’s not how it works.

The lack of vocational guidance meant that I made a lot of foolish, preventable mistakes early on in my job search. I had a resume, but it was poorly formatted and didn’t highlight my skills and education adequately. I landed interviews, but I was routinely late for them (“Cuban Time” does not apply to interviews – who knew?), wasn’t dressed for the part and didn’t give effective answers. I wasted a lot of time before finally being offered an opportunity. I wish I had taken advantage of career services as an undergrad, even if it was just a single mock interview or resume review.


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