- National Park Service Legislative Affairs Specialist (Bevinetto). Adjunct Professor, TAMU.
- Undergraduate Education
- B.A Communication Rhetoric, Minor African Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
- Graduate Education
- M.A in International Training and Education from American University.
- Ph.D. in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University.
Dr. Merritt is a National Park Service Legislative Affairs Specialist (Bevinetto).
The Bevinetto Fellowship was established by Congress in 1988 to improve mutual understanding and cooperation between the National Park Service and Congress. It was named in honor of Tony Bevinetto, a former NPS employee who served on the staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1979 until his premature death in 1988. The fellowship is widely considered one of the most effective developmental programs in the NPS. Most of its graduates currently serve as park superintendents or program chiefs. By helping to build a cadre of managers with legislative and departmental experience, the program has increased the knowledge base of NPS leaders in their work with Congress and members of the Executive branch who impact our parks and programs in numerous ways.
Dr. Lavell Merritt has been a National Park Ranger since 1998. He was the manager of the Intermountain Region ProRanger Law Enforcement Recruitment Program from 2009 – 2020. He has worked in several parks around the country including Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site, Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, National Capital Parks-East, and Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historic Park. Through his career Dr. Merritt participated as a wildland fire fighter and has been a search and rescue team member. He was the Co-Chair of the Employee Empowerment Collective (EEC). The EEC is an African American Employee Resource Group within the National Park Service. He has also worked in the Washington Area Servicing Office in Youth Programs as the Recruitment Program Manager. Dr. Merritt was awarded the Clemson University Institute for Parks’ Robert G. Stanton Award recognizing his sustained and innovative achievement in promoting racial and ethnic diversity in the management of North America’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia in 1996 and 1997.
Dr. Merritt earned his PhD in Recreation, Park and Tourism Science from Texas A&M University in December of 2009. His dissertation evaluated the Negotiated Rulemaking Process at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. During his time working on his PhD at Texas A&M Dr. Merritt was on a six month detail with the Southeast Regional Office recruiting students to the NPS. He conducted lectures and recruitment presentations with hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students. He helped place five seasonal or permanent students in parks in 2008-2009, and continues to mentor and build relationships throughout the National Park Service system. He was also responsible for creating new partnerships between Texas A&M University and the NPS and has mentored graduate students conducting research in the National Parks.