“Marlen’s approach in supporting people really helped me to develop my academic identity and get closer to my true interests.”

“Marlen’s approach in supporting people really helped me to develop my academic identity and get closer to my true interests.”

I met Marlen in Jyväskylä, Finland, 2010, when he was teaching an academic English course I took. Instead of having a regular boring English course, Marlen would make us all do a research project on a topic that would reflect both our personal and academic interests, which made the course both fun and very useful. Marlen’s approach in supporting people to find their interests really helped me to develop my academic identity and get closer to my true interests within research.

Marlen is an incredibly inspirational personality – which you will notice as soon as you meet him – and I always left his class with the feeling that the world is open, and that I can accomplish anything. Marlen genuinely cares about helping people to develop their ideas and skills, and find their passions. Later I also worked as a teaching assistant for Marlen’s course, which gave me important experience in trying to help others in finding their research interests.

​After the course I was admitted to present my research project at the annual congress of the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations (EFPSA). Without the confidence I got from Marlen’s course, I would not have seen myself doing such a thing, being only a bachelor’s student at the time, without having even done my bachelor’s thesis yet.

Marlen also offered me a great opportunity to co-author a manuscript about the bridging approach he used in our English course. The manuscript was published in an academic peer-reviewed journal, which felt great – I got my first publication, and important experience of the process on the way.

In 2013 I applied and got admitted to a prestigious and competitive research master’s program in psychology, at the University of Amsterdam. I can sincerely say that the impact Marlen had on my academic self-esteem and career contributed strongly to my admittance. Working with Marlen has brought to my CV a couple research projects, one of them presented on a congress and the other one both presented on a few congresses and published in an academic journal, and also experience as a teaching assistant.

Besides the purely academic side, I think the most important take-home message I have got from working with Marlen is the attitude that one can accomplish anything, if one just puts effort and passion to it. Rarely do you meet such a person who has the ability to motivate and inspire people so much, and change their attitude towards success. For me this happened.

– Annika, Master’s Student at the University of Amsterdam

“Marlen has made a huge impact on my life for the better and I do not think I would have chosen this path had it not been for his help.”

“Marlen has made a huge impact on my life for the better and I do not think I would have chosen this path had it not been for his help.”

I am so grateful to have had Marlen as a professor, mentor, and friend. As a college professor, Marlen pushed me beyond what I thought my potential was. Instead of allowing me to simply “get through” my studies, he challenged me to find the spirit in life and opened my eyes to a much bigger world.
As a mentor, he proposed challenging questions that were not easy to answer. I was used to answers being fed to me, but Marlen challenged me to find the answers myself. There were times when I was completely frustrated and angry. But I realized I was angry at nobody, but myself. I was angry that I was ignorant and I was angry at the challenges in life. The moment I realized this I was enlightened. I vowed to embrace challenges, I vowed to learn as much as I could about the world.
I recently moved to North Carolina to teach in a rural school district. Life here is much different than Pennsylvania. But I remember all the lessons Marlen has taught me. Every day I try to learn about the students, the parents, the people. I try to learn how each student can succeed. Marlen has made a huge impact on my life for the better and I do not think I would have chosen this path had it not been for his help. As a new teacher, I try to emulate the spirit Marlen had for his own students. I highly recommend Marlen as an mentor to any student who is lost and even to those students who believe they are not lost. Thank you Marlen.
Jena, Middle School Social Studies Instructor, North Carolina
“He cares deeply about students and helping people; he works hard to help you move along a path where you will reach your potential.”

“He cares deeply about students and helping people; he works hard to help you move along a path where you will reach your potential.”

As a motivated instructor, Marlen set the bar higher than any other professor in any other discipline during my college career. He has all of the experience and knowledge that I did not have about college, classes and preparing for a future, and at every turn was there to advise, guide and demystify the mess of college information and planning. He helped me when it was time to decide whether or not to push myself and take honors classes, what career path I would take after school and some of my biggest life decisions. He cares deeply about students and helping people, and as a result he works hard to give you his best experience and to help you move along a path where you will reach your potential.

In short, Marlen is not just good, he is THE best. I wish it were possible for him to help EVERY student navigate the challenges of applying for and getting through their academic experiences, no matter what level.
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“Dan”, Broadcast Journalist, US Air Force, Washington, DC
“The application process for any professional program is very rigorous; with his guidance I felt that I was submitting the very best.”

“The application process for any professional program is very rigorous; with his guidance I felt that I was submitting the very best.”

I have been honored to know Dr. Harrison personally, as a longtime family-friend and mentor. Throughout my career Dr. Harrison has advised and assisted me through standardized examinations, many career and academic applications, and goal oriented decisions.

Dr. Harrison first offered his help with the GRE, as he had taught preparatory classes for The Princeton Review a few years earlier. The strategies he shared were invaluable, my score improved and I was in a better position to continue my education. Once I completed my undergraduate degree I needed to organize my thoughts; Dr. Harrison and I discussed my desires and goals and he gave me that final nudge I needed to apply to veterinary school.

The application process for any professional program is very rigorous; with his guidance I felt that I was submitting the very best. His opinions and suggestions came with explanations, which has helped me correspond in a more professional manner.

After being wait-listed for a veterinary program I applied for a position at an elite hospital, again I had my reservations. Dr. Harrison led me in the right direction and helped me achieve a concise detailed circum vitae that paved the way for a job opportunity I may have never had.

I believe the amount of time Dr. Harrison spent helping me, has led to many successes in my professional career.

“Becky”, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Class 2015)

“The autoethnography was great to write and helped me to start thinking about my life and finding out what I really want and how I am going to do that.”

“The autoethnography was great to write and helped me to start thinking about my life and finding out what I really want and how I am going to do that.”

From a Dutch student who completed my English 101 writing course at The University of Tampa:

Dear Marlen,

bigstock_University_Of_Tampa_Florida__4249035-754dad-1600x949-549481The semester is over: most of the students went home and I am waiting in my room because my flight only leaves Saturday night. With all the silence around me I realize there has only been one class where I really learned something this semester. You are the only professor that understands that students learn most from doing new things, rather than learning about them. I have always found it hard to concentrate during boring classes when professors only show students their PowerPoint presentation, so I am really glad this class was focused on ‘trial and error’.

I have now experienced that I really like writing. Of course, this is mainly because we were allowed to write about whatever we liked, but still it made me feel much more enthusiastic about. The use of modern technology was also new to me: I had never had a blog before and I am not a huge fan of computers etc., but I realize that in these times knowledge of technology is essential to become successful.

As I might have told you before; I am only here for one year. After next semester I will go back home to the Netherlands and hopefully start studying medicine. My goal of this year was just to improve my English and, as my parents would say, ‘give my personality the chance to grow’. I don’t know if that’s correct English, but you will probably know what I mean. Finding out what I really want and how I am going to do that. I didn’t expect that one of my classes could help my with this choice, but yours did. The autoethnography was great to write and helped me to start thinking about my life and my norms and values.

I now realize how extremely lucky I am that the person who made my schedule chose you to be my English teacher. Although ’teacher’ might not be the right word, ‘coach’ may be better. I like how you are able to motivate almost everyone in our class. Come to the Netherlands and work at one of our universities. Most of them are ranked in the list of the world’s top 100 universities, because that is the kind of university where you belong.

Thanks a lot and best wishes,

“Otto”, study abroad student from the Netherlands