Meredith Triplet: Helping Others Through Faith and Science
For Meredith, information and how it is shared is critical to both her scientific research and her dedication to scientific outreach to teachers and young students.
In her scientific research, Meredith focuses on how cells get information from their environment. In her outreach, she brings an understanding, honed during her college years, that young students need to be exposed to scientific ways of thinking through science learning experiences in school.
Meredith grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, a relatively conservative Midwestern city known as the death place for Jesse James, the starting point for The Pony Express, and a rest spot on The Oregon Trail. She grew up in a Christian household where faith became an important part of her life.
Meredith was attracted at a young age to science because she saw it as something “successful people do.” Discovering she was “good at it,” Meredith studied science through high school and eventually at Wheaton College, a Christian, liberal arts school located outside of Chicago. Meredith notes that if you haven’t heard of Wheaton, that’s probably because it is “tiny,” with an enrollment of 2,500 undergrads. Meredith double majored in Chemistry and Mathematics, doing research on polymers.
At Wheaton, Meredith says that her worldview grew beyond her small town upbringing, and she was able to begin to understand needs of people in the world. She notes that Wheaton “is great at taking people from fundamentalist backgrounds and teaching them to listen.” Through listening, Meredith herself realized that many young students are not exposed to science or a way of scientific thinking. Motivated by her faith, Meredith realized that her “main goal is to raise up the people, and science is what I have to offer.”
Now as a graduate student in the Groves Lab at UC Berkeley, Meredith explores how cells get information from their environment, specifically studying the signaling proteins that bind to lipid bilayers. When she is not studying in the lab, Meredith leads the “Germs in Your Body” BASIS team and has taught this lesson for three years. She loves teaching each of the different stations to Kindergarteners, who delight in learning “mucus is the science word for boogers.”
Meredith enjoys teaching the same lesson to hundreds of students each year. She thinks that the best experience for the students is one that she knows well and can perfect teaching over time.
Meredith is on the BASIS Steering Committee, a group of seasoned BASIS volunteers who help with departmental recruitment, outreach, and event coordination. Meredith has a uniquely effective way of gathering volunteers to teach with her. Rather than trying to communicate how much fun she has teaching science, she instead focuses on teaching BASIS lessons as an equity issue. She appeals to her colleague’s passion for social justice and finds this to be an effective way to bring in new volunteers – and they discover on their own that it is fun too!
In addition to volunteering with BASIS, Meredith serves as a deacon at Christ Church East Bay where she leads the Direct Care Team. Her role is to be the “hands and feet of the Church,” serving those that need help in the community with everything from making meals to giving rides.
In her spare time, Meredith has many hobbies such as reading novels and opinion pieces, and listening to podcasts. Some of her favorite podcasts include “The Weeds” and “TED Radio Hour.” She also loves watching television, especially science fiction shows like “Star Trek: Next Generation” and “Firefly.” After graduating, Meredith would like to pursue something in science communication where she can “talk to people who are not in science about scientific issues.” We are thankful for Meredith’s others-centered faith that motivates her to share her science with the next generation.