Meredith Legacy Scholar Sierra Moorefield, ’18, brought a passion for learning to every opportunity that came her way in the classroom and the research lab while earning a double major in biology and chemistry.
“I try to always give maximum effort and take something positive away from every experience, whether it be from research I conducted at Meredith, internships at Burleson Research Technologies or the Environmental Protection Agency, professional development workshops at Meredith, or through the Networking and Leadership Training Organization at the Environmental Protection Agency,” Sierra said.
Sierra, who was also a Paschal scholar and GSK Women in Science scholar, said being a Meredith Legacy Scholar made a major impact on her life. The Meredith Legacy Scholarship, which is a full, four-year scholarship, is the highest honor available to freshmen entering Meredith College.
“Without the support of the Legacy Scholarship, I would only have been able to attend Meredith in my wildest dreams,” Sierra said. “There are not many moments in your life where you can look back and pinpoint the pivotal moment when your life began to change, but I can trace it all back to that phone call I received four years ago.”
Mentoring from Meredith faculty guided her toward her future goals. She called Meredith’s Science and Mathematics Building (SMB) her home and support system.
“Each relationship that I have cultivated with faculty at Meredith College has benefited me beyond measure, and I will forever be grateful to each and every one of them. My research and career mentor Dr. [Jason] Andrus sparked my passion for laboratory research and guided me to an internship opportunity at Burleson Research Technologies,” Sierra said. “Dr. [Karthik] Aghoram supported my endeavors into physician shadowing when I was a freshman, and when I realized that path was not for me, he continued to show his support by guiding me to a research opportunity at the Environmental Protection Agency.”
Sierra was active in student organizations, particularly those relating to her interests in sciences. A chemistry tutor, lab assistant and Learning Center tutor, she was also a member of the Meredith Health Professions Society (MHPS) and the American Chemical Society. The Honors scholar was inducted in several honor societies. She served as president of Alpha Lambda Delta, the honor society for first year students.
“These societies and organizations have allowed me to volunteer with many community organizations and businesses, and being ALD president allowed me to grow as a leader,” Sierra said.
Another activity was volunteering with the NC Science and Engineering Fair, which is held on Meredith’s campus.
“This past year, I was able to judge the Southeast Regional Science and Engineering Fair in Wilmington through connections I made while volunteering at the event at Meredith during previous years,” Sierra said. “These experiences have allowed me to realize the importance of volunteering in my community, helping my peers, and encouraging interest in the sciences in the next generation.”
Meredith’s location in the Research Triangle Park area was also beneficial to the scientist, who completed Ph.D. in toxicology at NC State in 2022.
“I have loved attending college in Raleigh because of the unique opportunity its location provides to budding scientists,” Sierra said. “Since Research Triangle Park and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences are just down the road, internships and research opportunities are abundant.”