by LINDA FRABL | photos by Soul of Photography

Science-Savvy Scholar

Liana Merk, a science-savvy Solana Beach junior at Canyon Crest Academy, wants to change the world for the better. She asserted, “My biggest motivation is to strive to learn more about the world around me. I want to find ways to improve the world around us.”

student_liana_3Her worldly awareness factors into many of Liana’s interests. She is the editor-in-chief of a student-run magazine called Global Vantage, which features articles on worldwide experiences. Liana also attended the International Conference in Iowa this past summer as part of her school’s Future Problem Solvers team. Competing against 54 other teams from around the world, Liana’s team placed third in their division. Liana elaborated, “The topic we worked to solve was Intellectual Property, and how it is becoming a larger issue in today’s increasingly digital environment.”

With science as her favorite subject, Liana spends her free time working at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where she researches the mechanisms of how different genes are expressed. Liana also enjoys reading and fundraising, and helped start up a Harry Potter Alliance chapter at her school in which fans of the book series raise funds for the local library. In addition, Liana frequently bakes for her family and friends, especially Rolo cookie cups and red velvet cupcakes.

“I want to find ways to improve the world around us.”

As a member of the National Charity League, a philanthropic mother/daughter organization, Liana also volunteers regularly. She has participated in beach cleanup days, served food at the downtown senior center, and assisted at the Helen Woodward Animal Center (where she recently adopted two pet kittens). Happy to show her support with other like-minded benevolent people, Liana professed, “I am inspired by those who work on making a change in something they believe in.”

Having lived in Solana Beach for just two years, Liana is already totally immersed in the community’s outdoorsy beach culture. She revealed, “I love the great weather here, and the beaches. I also love beach volleyball and am on my school’s team. I used to play indoor volleyball, but I prefer playing on the sand because I can jump into the ocean afterwards!”


After graduating, Liana hopes to attend MIT and study Molecular Biology or Biomedical Engineering. Liana added, “I would also like to travel, and I’m the biggest thrill-seeker around! I love roller coasters, ziplining, and laser tagging.” She also loves to amaze us with her commendable accomplishments.

Name: Liana Merk (16)
School: Canyon Crest Academy
Grade: 11
Parents: Leo and Nadia Merk
Favorite Local Spots: Fletcher’s Cove, Cedros Ave., Board & Brew