Merrill Keating’s lengthy checklist of actions and achievements would possible make any grownup wilt beneath the burden and dedication of all of it. However the Bainbridge Island, Wash., teenager retains charging forward, taking over extra and hoping her work forges a path for different younger women in her neighborhood.
Merrill entered the College of Washington as a 15-year-old freshman within the fall, and now at 16 she’s excited concerning the probability to main in mechanical engineering and synthetic intelligence. Her personal very actual intelligence makes her GeekWire’s Junior Geek of the Month for January. The month-to-month honor, introduced by Northern Trust, acknowledges gifted younger innovators, creators and entrepreneurs within the Pacific Northwest.
Except for the problem of coming into faculty at a younger age, Merrill can be taking over the expertise remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The transition to every little thing being on-line has undoubtedly been harder as a result of I at all times cherished with the ability to go to high school and work together with my classmates and lecturers, and with the ability to sit within the classroom and study,” Merrill stated.
Accepted as a part of a bunch of academically gifted college students by means of the UW Academy, Merrill referred to as the workload undoubtedly greater than she was used to when she wrapped up highschool after her sophomore 12 months, but it surely’s manageable. She credit organizational expertise she has perfected over time by means of every little thing she has been concerned in.
“Time administration and every little thing is unquestionably an enormous a part of that,” Merrill stated. “I don’t assume my age has actually affected my transition into the college. I’m glad about that.”
Merrill’s curiosity in science, know-how, engineering and math schooling might be traced to the affect of her mother and father, IT guide Charles Keating and enterprise guide Doña Keating. Merrill started mentoring at West Sound CoderDojo, launched partially by her mother and father, in 2015 when she was 10 years previous. For 5 years she’s been serving to adults and youngsters round Kitsap County discover ways to code at no cost.
On the ages of 11 and 12, Merrill wrote and revealed three books. Over the subsequent 4 years, she joined or began a variety of teams, together with:
- Bainbridge Island Girl Up: Merrill served as founder and president of the native membership of a United Nations initiative to advertise gender equality and encourage youth management.
- Reinvented Magazine: Merrill joined the operations crew for the nation’s first print journal by and for women and girls in STEM. She helped type strategic partnerships and carried out neighborhood outreach to lift consciousness and enhance the subscriber base, and represented the group at GeekGirlCon in Seattle.
- [email protected]: Merrill served as lead organizer for an occasion held at Bainbridge Island Museum of Artwork showcasing six younger audio system who had been making a distinction of their communities and past.
- The Power of 100 Girls: Merrill based the group and funding circle the place women from fifth although 12th grade make investments $100 yearly then collectively choose and award grants and scholarships to women, girls, or nonprofits that help them.
Alongside the best way, Merrill competed in FIRST Robotics in highschool (and has since joined the UW Husky Robotics crew); served as a teen council member of Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network; was one among 15 college students within the Bainbridge Island College District chosen to serve on the Committee for the District Enchancment Plan Course of; and extra.
Nearly every little thing she takes on is rooted in her want to offer again to her neighborhood and assist folks not directly. Her want to construct equipment — whether or not it’s within the aerospace business or astronautics or one thing else — may also tie again to serving to folks.
“That’s undoubtedly been one thing that’s at all times been on my thoughts every time I joined an initiative or began a company,” she stated.
And advocating for different women and girls in her neighborhood is an enormous a part of the mission.
“Gender equality got here up as a difficulty that I wished to handle due to the quantity of instances that I’ve handled the difficulty in my on a regular basis life,” Merrill stated. “Being a lady in STEM and completely different biases that I’ve needed to take care of … I believe that has undoubtedly influenced what I do and why I need to do it in order that I can arrange a greater pathway for future generations after me.”
Together with the educational achievements and neighborhood teams, Merrill’s Junior Geek submission notes that she has a black belt in combined martial arts, performs violin, piano, and alto saxophone, and has been talking Mandarin since she was 18 months previous.
GeekWire requested her if she ever simply likes to play video video games and take naps. She laughed.
“I do like each of these,” she stated. “It does typically nonetheless shock me after I look again in any respect I’ve accomplished. I’m like, ‘Wow, wait, I truly did that?’ It makes me really feel good that I’ve been capable of assist out the neighborhood a lot over time and hopefully been capable of affect different women, girls, and simply folks. I believe that’s actually superior.”
Nominate a Junior Geek
GeekWire will function a brand new Junior Geek of the Month in profiles meant to seize how they want to make a constructive affect on the world by means of their geeky pursuits. As well as, they’ll obtain particular recognition from our mission associate, Northern Belief.
Have you learnt an distinctive Junior Geek between the ages of 12 to 20 who’s going to alter the world? Submit a nomination.
Nominees should be residents of the Pacific Northwest, and parental info should be included for these nominees beneath the age of 18. Jr. Geeks could nominate themselves however please be sure you embody your mother or father or guardian’s contact info.
Examine our earlier Junior Geek of the Month winners.