Alumna Alexis Brickner Is Focused on Entrepreneurial Success

Story by Marcya Roberts


West Windsor, NJ – When Mercer County Community College (MCCC) alumna Alexis Brickner made a conscious effort to turn her life around in her twenties, little did she know she would eventually be the owner of a successful business called Alexis Marie Photography + Designs in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Brickner, originally from Princeton, was neither an A student nor barely even a B student at Lawrence High School. And her first semester at Mercer was even worse. 

But Brickner fooled everyone, including her former self, when she graduated with a handsome transfer scholarship from MCCC and headed to Rider University where she graduated cum laude.  

“Throughout high school I was a terrible student,” explained Brickner. “I didn’t like to study and I didn’t like doing school work in general. I never was one to hand in homework on time if at all.” 

Often late to class and more interested in her social life, getting good grades was not top of mind for Brickner.

“My weekends revolved around hanging out with my older friends and going to parties,” said Brickner. “I just wasn’t serious enough about my educational life.”

Brickner’s aversion to learning began when she was young. She was diagnosed with an auditory processing issue that made learning a challenge. Depending on the subject, at times she found herself placed in special education classes. Her struggles caused her outlook on school to be vastly different from that of her peers. Her condition led to more test taking and more anxiety as well as more apathy. “It did not help that I just, in general, did not study and put my best foot forward,” she said.

After high school graduation in May 2003, Brickner had no specific academic interests or plans so she enrolled at Mercer the following fall. But rather than study, Brickner, who was living with her parents, got a job in lieu of attending classes. “I had gotten a full-time job at CVS, which was where I was during the day. My parents thought I was going to school but I was really going to work,” said Brickner. 

Then one day a notice from Mercer came in the mail saying that Brickner’s GPA was plummeting and that she would be dropped from her classes if she did not start attending. That was when she confessed to her parents (who were paying the tuition) that she hadn’t been going to class.

Winter, spring and summer passed. It wasn’t until the following fall that Brickner started thinking seriously about her future. “I came to realize that I was no longer a kid,” said Brickner, “And I didn't want my life to have no direction. I knew I had to turn my life around.”

Re-enrolling at Mercer in 2004, Brickner was determined to focus. “At Mercer, there were a lot of kids who weren’t as fortunate as I was. For me to see how they were applying themselves and not taking their education for granted helped me to open my eyes,” explained Brickner. 

Ready to buckle down, Brickner made the most of her second attempt at MCCC. She chose a liberal arts track and eventually concentrated on graphic design while taking advantage of various internships along the way. “Mercer gave me the opportunity to explore different majors and come to terms with who I really was as an adult, as a student and as my future self,” said Brickner.

In 2010 not only did Brickner graduate from MCCC with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, her grades were so good that she received a transfer scholarship to Rider University and started there as a commuter student in the spring of 2011.

It was then full-speed-ahead for Brickner, “When it came to my academic life, nothing was going to get in my way,” she said.

In the spring of 2013 Brickner graduated with honors from Rider with a bachelor’s in communications and graphic design and landed a job at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish Game and Wildlife as a part-time graphic designer overseeing the monthly newsletter. Within a year, Brickner accepted a full-time position in Abington, Massachusetts working in marketing and public relations. But new challenges awaited her. Twelve months later the entire marketing department was let go, and Brickner found herself unemployed. However, her planning, steadfastness and her photography background from Mercer helped Brickner segue into a position with a real estate photography company based out of Denver where she travelled to places like Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Newport and Boston to photograph million dollar properties.

“It was then that I realized photography was my calling,” said Brickner. “I knew I  wanted to have my own photography business. It was just a matter of how I would set up shop and where I would finally launch it.”

In May 2019 Brickner’s dream became reality. She opened her photography business, Alexis Marie Photography + Designs in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where she specializes in real estate, event, corporate and family photography.  

Brickner has been featured in television documentaries on PACTV, a local station in Plymouth, and was recently awarded “Best Family Photographer” from luxury lifestyle magazine “South Shore Home, Life and Style.” She has also earned several 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards from community news website

If you want something that badly you can do it, you just have to be focused and driven,” explained Brickner. “You can turn your life around and you can do whatever you want. It’s just a matter of setting your mind to it.”


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Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Alumna Alexis Brickner, originally from Princeton, started Alexis Marie Photography + Designs in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2019. Brickner specializes in real estate, event, corporate and family photography. (All photos courtesy of Alexis Marie Photography + Designs.)



Brickner, who credits her photography background to her years at MCCC, has been featured in television documentaries on PACTV, a local station in Plymouth, for her work.



Recently awarded “Best Family Photographer” from luxury lifestyle magazine “South Shore Home, Life and Style,” Brickner has also earned several 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards from community news website


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Brickner was featured in a documentary about her photography business on PACTV in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 2019.