AVU PhD Student Launches STEAMKITX To Teach Kids Science


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (WVIR) – Thanks Best, a doctoral student at the University of Virginia, says her love for science was overlooked by teachers until she joined a research lab as a college student.

“By the time I got to college, I already knew I wanted to get a degree in neuroscience, so I was pretty much on the STEM path by eighth grade,” Best said.

She was invited to work in a research lab at the University of Richmond before high school.

“I was working on fruit flies which was disgusting at first, but being able to use them as a model for the human brain really fascinated me,” Best said.

It was then that a personal experience really helped him develop his love for science.

“Around the same time, my grandmother was actually showing signs of dementia and memory loss. So I’m studying the brain of a fly, but I also see a brain change in someone who was very close to me, ”Best said.

This passion led Merci to found STEAMKITX, a company that manufactures STEM and Arts kits. The name uses the acronym STEM with an “A” added for the arts.

Then the pandemic started.

“Parents needed certain things to do with their kids when schools were virtual or even some schools were closed at the time, so STEAMKITX came at the perfect time,” Best said.

Kids learn the science behind making ice cream in just one STEAMKIT. The instructions guide them through mixing sugar, water, and ice cream while noting the change in temperature. He teaches a chemistry lesson while keeping the kids interested.

“Kids are naturally interested in science and technology, but you just have to make them fun and engaging,” Best said.

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