Katie Merrill

Katie-WEBKatie is passionate about art and ET awareness. Having essential tremor has forced Katie to think creatively, to develop innovative solutions to her own artistic problems. As a digital arts student at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, KS, Katie had to figure out how to film and photograph her subjects, despite her shaky hands. She uses plastic shopping bags to hold her camera, using its own weight to steady the lens. “You hold the handles of the bag and the weight of the camera helps steady it,” Katie explains, “I call it the Dillon’s-Bag Steady Cam”.

And through her art, she strives to create awareness. She has already completed one project that offered viewers a photographic representation of how ET impacts daily activities and wrote an editorial article for the school newspaper during National ET Awareness Month. Earlier this year, she even gave a humorous yet informative speech on ET and was awarded first place at the National Pi Kappa Delta Speech and Debate finals in Kentucky.

Essential tremor can cause a fair amount of frustration for anyone, but Katie refuses to let it get the best of her. “I run into an array of problems,” she said, “but there is no problem that has been thrown at me that I haven’t been able to solve yet”. This is Katie’s second IETF scholarship. With her can-do attitude and creative thinking skills, she will definitely go far.