Can’t View this email? View it Online

Beacon Newsletter


New normal Desk

Greetings from BEACON at Salisbury University


Happy New Year from BEACON!


As we reflect back on 2020, we are certain that it is a year we will never forget! While there were many challenges along the way, there also was much to be thankful for. 

We are thankful for all of our wonderful project sponsors who made it possible for our student researchers to learn from the many interesting and challenging applied business and economic research projects they sponsored. 


We are thankful for our amazing team. They have worked tirelessly, adapted to all the challenges 2020 has thrown their way and continued to produce impressive outcomes all year. 


We are thankful for our Salisbury University community for their amazing level of support for students, staff and faculty throughout these trying times. 


And, we are thankful for the Eastern Shore community that always comes together to support one another.


As we enter 2021, the BEACON team is already quite busy working on several interesting projects. We look forward to all the exciting experiential learning opportunities for our research assistants this new year will bring.

Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2021!


Memo Sarah

Dr. Memo Diriker, Director                                            Dr. Sarah Guy, Associate Director

BEACONite Perspective


The Reality of Remote Work: Kaitlyn Causey


The year 2020 was no doubt one of the strangest years we have had in a long time. Ten years from now, most of us will probably look back on this year, remembering it as the year that changed the way the world operates, In this new reality, it is the simple human interaction that I miss the most; being able to pass someone in the grocery store and not subconsciously wonder if they are a walking germ or if I perhaps pose a greater threat to them. The shock of the pandemic has worn off, and in a strange way, wearing a mask feels more normal now than not wearing one.


When I was offered a position as a graduate assistant for BEACON in January 2020, I had no idea that I’d be doing the position remotely. Prior to the pandemic, I was looking forward to having an “in-office” experience where I could build organic relationships with my colleagues and sit in on client meetings. It goes without saying that that is not exactly how this year has panned out.


From the day I started in August to now, BEACON has been completely online. It was a little tough at first to learn a new position via Zoom meetings and instructional emails. Due to the complex nature of BEACON, there were (and still are) many acronyms and job-specific terminology that have taken time to learn. Also, since the majority of our work is done for external project sponsors, there is pressure to ensure everything is done with extreme precision and excellence in order to deliver top-quality work.


After working for BEACON for about five months now, I feel much more adjusted to the position. My colleagues have worked hard to help me feel welcome and to acclimate to my new position. Zoom meetings have become the new “normal.” It no longer feels weird to see my own face on the computer screen during meetings. The BEACON team has done a great job at keeping our internal meetings friendly and interesting, and, although online, I feel that I have been able to get to know everyone on a personal level. Every Tuesday we have a Project Status Meeting where we update one another on project progress via Zoom. As a way of making the meetings more engaging and fun, our director, Dr. Memo Diriker, has insisted that we compete in various “challenges.” For example, a month ago, we had a crazy hat competition.

Meetings with project sponsors via Zoom are interesting as well. I feel myself being a little awkward over Zoom at times. Due to the occasional lag in the software or the lack of people having their cameras turned on at times, it can be hard to gauge when to interject in a conversation without accidentally cutting someone else off. I never realized how important it was to be able to view and read subtle body language cues in person. Nonetheless, I have learned a great deal attending these meetings. Dr. Diriker, our associate director Dr. Sarah Guy and our project coordinator Jessica Iacona are extremely knowledgeable and professional. Watching and listening to them interact with key external stakeholders and project sponsors have been a great learning experience.


Although the year has not gone how I (or anyone) planned, I am still very thankful to have been given the opportunity to be a BEACONite. Learning how to adjust to a new position remotely before applying for a job upon graduation in May is a great asset and will probably help shorten my future learning curves. Overall, BEACON has been wonderful, and I am really enjoying my experience.

From the BEACON Archives


In 2007, BEACON was given the charge to assist the Maryland Department of Human Services to conduct Service Array Assessments for the child welfare services provided by the Social Services Departments in all Maryland counties and in Baltimore City. In examining the effectiveness and efficiency of these services provided by each department, the team focused on:

  • Community/Neighborhood Prevention Services – Early Intervention Services
  • Investigative, Assessment Functions and Services
  • Home-Based Interventions and Services
  • Out-of-Home Interventions and Services, and
  • Child Welfare System Exit Services

During this project, the BEACON team administered pre-site-visit questionnaires, conducted site-visits and engaged in in-depth post-visit phone conversations with senior leaders in each department. By the time the project was completed, the BEACON team had developed a proprietary project and program evaluation tool that could be used in other BEACON projects. 


This tool, called the Three E (Effectiveness-Efficiency-Evidence) Approach, has become a major asset for the organization. Since 2008, over 60 BEACON projects were undertaken using this tool. The interactive dashboards that make up the “Evidence” portion of the Three E Approach have been extremely valuable as decision support tools for countless public, private and nonprofit sector decision makers throughout the state.

Meet Our Director

braeden Dahl

Dr. Memo Diriker is the founder and director of BEACON. In his 30 years at the helm, Diriker has led BEACON teams on over 500 applied business and economic research projects.

Diriker currently serves on the boards of TidalHealth-Peninsula Regional (chair), TidalHealth System, Leadership Maryland, Inc. (immediate past chair), Maryland Chamber of Commerce Foundation (immediate past chair) and Peninsula Ventures, Inc.

His previous board memberships include United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore (vice president), Network of International Business Schools (vice president), PAC-14 and Diakonia, Inc. Diriker is a past president of the Salisbury Sunrise Rotary Club and of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce. Prior to coming to the Eastern Shore, he served as the president of the American Marketing Association (AMA) in Boston.

Dr. Diriker is the recipient of many honors and awards, including an Influential Marylander Award, a Distinguished Faculty Member Award, a Diversity Award, a Visionary Award, the Jim Barrett Community Leadership Award, an Outstanding Public Health Leader Award, a Heart of United Way Award and a University System of Maryland Board of Regents Award for Outstanding Public Service.

url    url    linkedin    youtube

Contact Information

1101 Camden Ave.

Perdue Hall, Suite 100

Salisbury, MD 21801


Salisbury University Logo

SU is an Equal Opportunity/AA/Title IX university and provides reasonable accommodation given sufficient notice to the University office or staff sponsoring the event or program. For more information regarding SU’s policies and procedures, please visit .  


Click here to safely unsubscribe