Merci Best '17 led a WMSURE workshop on June 12th about her college experience, research, post-grad life, company, and tips for students who may be facing similar situations and dilemmas that she faced. Best explained how dynamic her college journey was and how integral WMSURE was in her success. She joined WMSURE her first year as a pasrt of the Sharpe Community Scholars Engagement Program, and met her advisor, Cheryl Dickter, Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences and Co-Director of WMSURE. Under the mentorship of Dickter, Best began a study researching the effectiveness of K-12 STEM and arts curriculum implementation on increasing the self-efficacy of students. This innovative research has now blossomed into her own company, STEAMtrix, LLC, which provides opportunities and support for underrepresented students.
Merci's primary advice for college students is, "you are the bag, so you can secure yourself first. This can be done by participating in self-care in whatever way that best works for you."
How It Started
During undergraduate college, Merci Best '17, Neoroscience major and Community Studies minor, began research on the "leaky STEM pipeline," specifically the causes of underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. This investigation still continues through Best's company, STEAMtrix. LLC.
STEAMtrix, LLC is a summer STEM-based curriculum program that also incorporates the arts. The program empowers underrepresented students to pursue their passions despite limitations by providing innovative opportunities to participate in STEM outside of the traditional academic setting.
Best is currently pursuing a Pharmacology Ph.D. in the Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Virginia. She spends a considerable amount of time in the Bloom lab studying the cell biology of Alzheimer's Disease.