William & Mary

Merci Best '17

Merci Best '17"As a freshman, I took Professor Anne Charity Hudley's African American English seminar. I began conducting research on the Leaky STEM pipeline and analyzed causes for the underrepresentation of females in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Alongside this research I volunteered twice a week with local second grade students during their math lessons. I wanted to find ways that teachers could encourage girls in STEM (ed: careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), combating the negative gender stereotypes that make female students less likely to pursue their STEM interests.

This research project has continued to develop to this day, as I aim to find ways to combat summer learning loss by encouraging minority and female students to get excited about and pursue STEM.

The Sharpe Program provided me with a platform for community engaged scholarship and helped me to experience research as a freshman that will continue to shape my undergraduate experience at the College."

- Merci Best, '17