John Mertens, pictured here in a promotional photo for his campaign, is an independent candidate seeking the senate seat held by Christopher Dodd that is up for election in 2012. Mertens is a tenured professor of engineering at Trinity College in Hartford. Mertens began teaching at Trinity College in 1990 and has done volunteer work with Hartford public schools for more than 18 years. Mertens completed his undergraduate at California State University, Chico and received his masters and PhD from Stanford University. Mertens has lived in West Hartford since 1996 and has four children.