Humans of Saint Francis

Humans of Saint Francis: Jewel Merriman

by Sophia Tran (’24) | February 14, 2022

Photo by Ava Hennen (‘22)

From the thrum of the drums to the triumphant blow of the trumpet, Jewel Merriman (’22) represents the essence of the Lancer Marching Band. Marching band has always been a prominent part of Merriman’s student life, and her passion for music started from a very young age with the piano. However, it wasn’t until she was inspired by her cousin that she began considering joining marching band: “I was just talking to my cousin, and she was the drum major of her band. She was like, ‘Oh, you should totally do it… you can take it as your art elective.’ It just turned into something way bigger than I thought it [would be].” 

Her interest was sparked, and Merriman started developing the passion that would guide her to the leading role in the Saint Francis marching band. As a sophomore, she became an apprentice drum major, and after returning in-person, she strove to incorporate opportunities for team bonding. Even though she now feels more confident as a leader, this wasn’t always the case. “It was hard being in authority compared to seniors who obviously are older than you as a sophomore, but you begin stepping into that role,” she said. “[This year] was kind of completely on me to choose what traditions we wanted to keep and what we wanted to drop… that’s how I would say my senior year was really special.”

In addition to marching band, Merriman has a zeal for medical technology research. Merging her interests in computer science and health ethics, she hopes to create a more accessible form of medical technology for all communities, especially those that face barriers to healthcare due to their backgrounds. “My Japanese grandma had a bad experience in the hospital with language barriers, and we learned the medication my Black grandma was given was not the right fit for her. If I’m able to design at-home technology, or just more accessible technology where people don’t necessarily have to interact, we can have more accurate and ethical results in medicine,” she shared.

Whether it’s through the Lancer band or medical technology, Merriman believes that her experiences have made her a better person. She’s confident that she will continue to realize her goals through music and technology, especially when applying them to real-life issues: “It’s a way for me to go from feeling helpless to doing something to give back to the community.”

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