To protect an elderly population known to have fragile immune systems assisted living facilities quickly enacted strict no-visitor policies amid the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in February. With 260 residential communities, Five Star Senior Living knew they had to do something to help their residents stay connected to loved ones. They charged Jean Merisier ’20 to lead the urgent project - to program and deliver hundreds of Apple iPads across their facilities, which span 33 states.
An Information Technology major, Merisier began his role at the Five Star headquarters in Newton, Mass. as an IT Telecommunications Specialist/System Administrator Level II in September and describes it as “the best job I have ever had.”
Though the team had allotted a month for the project, Merisier built 400 iPads – with tasks that included setting up remote management profiles, establishing rules and restrictions, and managing tracking and distribution – in just seven days. “I worked pretty fast, and I never took a break,” he says. The young alum knew the work was important. “With the pandemic, our residents can’t see their family members, and some don’t have access to a cell phone. The new iPads enable us to help these families to see and talk to each other every day, which is more important now more than ever.” Connected to a network, the iPads allow both residents and the Five Star caretakers to share photos, videos, and messages with family members at home.
For Merisier, the transition from student to professional was seamless, and he credits the comprehensive curriculum for his early success, citing direct connections between his class projects and the work he leads today.
“The Information Technology major teaches students to be attentive to all areas of technology and determine how the different elements of technology work together to form a comprehensive plan,” says Applied Technology Professor Deanna Gordon. “Jean easily observed what was happening in class and quickly adapted to changing situations. He has certainly found his niche in the tech industry, and we expect his future to be bright.”