Laura Mertens was born and raised in Columbia and is a Mizzou alumna, and she’s bringing that love for her hometown and alma mater to Mizzou Engineering as its new Director of Enrollment Management.
Mertens joined Mizzou Engineering after more than six years at Moberly Area Community College’s Columbia campus, where she most recently served as its director of site operations and student services. She earned her bachelor’s degree in international business from Mizzou and holds a master’s in organizational leadership from Lewis University.
Her passion for helping students succeed is why Mertens has made a career in higher education.
“I think students a lot of times have a hard time figuring out what they want to be when they grow up, and students really need a lot of guidance figuring out what’s the best path for them,” she explained. “There are so many different opportunities, and they’re just not aware of them. Different majors, different jobs, they just don’t know what all is out there.
“The best feeling for me is when a student comes in in a panic, and I talk to them and they leave and they feel much better, in a better mood and like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.”
The main goal for Mertens is to create and implement a strategic enrollment management plan in support of the College’s goal of growing the number of high-achieving and diverse students for both its graduate and undergraduate student programs.
“We have a hefty goal of doubling our graduate population, so that’s obviously at the forefront of my mind,” she said. “So thinking about how we can do that and what different programming we can do to support that, as well as growing our undergraduate enrollment.”
The strategic vision and the atmosphere of the College were what drew Mertens to the position.
“I admire the College of Engineering for how innovative they are, and so I want to be part of a culture of people who work hard toward new innovation, and again, being able to work with students and get them excited about coming to college.”