Mercedes Grubb ’09 arrived at MHS as a cautious second-grader. She found her path through athletics by joining the elementary soccer program, and playing softball and field hockey throughout high school. She also built connections with houseparents and elementary teachers who helped her stay motivated academically.
“I came to MHS with pretty severe learning disabilities, but by the time I was out of elementary school, I was actually accelerating in academics,” Mercedes explained. “I went from not being able to read to reading several levels above my grade level.”
Mercedes continued succeeding and enrolled in advanced math and business classes at MHS before attending Lehigh University. As a college student, she enrolled in a dual-integrated program involving bioengineering and business before embarking on the pre-med track. She now works in a unique position using all of her degrees and her original love for business.
“I started a neuro-physiology fellowship where I’m currently in a happy medium mixing science, medicine and mathematics,” Mercedes said. “I’m a quarter of the way through a health systems engineering MBA concentration, so I’m going full circle back into the business world.”
Mercedes is also a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion, which led her to connect with MHS alumna Julie Viera for a collaborative project. When they realized they both lived in Philadelphia and shared similar mindsets, it became immediately clear that they could work together to inspire change.
They joined forces to create Digital Diversity, a collaborative online movement that shares a universal message of absolute inclusivity through a YouTube channel, video blog, speaking events, and networking meet-ups. At the first event in October 2016, there was an interactive panel featuring first-generation immigrants and representatives of minority groups who are succeeding in the business world.
“A lot of [our panelists’] culture is wrapped up in their projects,” Mercedes said. “They brought their own culture into our event.”
Mercedes enjoys learning about other cultures, and she credits MHS for teaching her to hold others accountable and take action toward solving social problems.
“Milton Hershey didn’t just deal with symptoms of a problem— [he took action] and put us in the best position to succeed,” Mercedes said. “That gives me a lot of inspiration to follow his pathway. I want to get to the deeper meaning of the problem by giving minority groups education, resources, opportunities, and a larger voice.”