The Perry Hilltop resident is passionate about the STEM fields and is involved in her community.

By Sonu Babu

Photo courtesy of Destany Best

Perry Hilltop resident Destany Best has earned a full academic scholarship to Grinnell College, where she will pursue a career in a STEM-related field.

Best, who earned a proclamation from the City of Pittsburgh back in 2015 for qualifying for a national academic tournament as a then sixth-grader, has a variety of interests in the STEM field, including chemical engineering and computer science. Best applied to over 30 schools and said that through the process, she earned over $2 million in scholarships. 

The creator of Concrete Coding, an accessible outlet for children to learn how to code using a block-based, visual programming language called Scratch, Best is passionate about the importance of young people learning to code. 

“Children should be exposed to computer science, because they might love it… and knowing your dislikes is as important as knowing your likes,” said Best.

The Gates-Rawson Tower, located at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, serves as the centerpiece for six nearby campus residence halls. Photo: Aureliusxv, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Best did not always have an interest in coding, but since giving the field a try, she has learned CSS, HTML, Javascript, and React. 

Besides her passion for computer science, Best was involved with the Northside community during her high school years. She has volunteered at the Carnegie Science Center for four years, and worked inside of its Fab Lab, a digital fabrication laboratory featuring equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and embroidery machines. 

“It’s really important to be involved in the community, because that’s how you learn things about [it],” said Best.

She also attended Carnegie Mellon University’s Summer Academy for Math and Science. Best described the college application experience as overwhelming and said she wishes she started earlier, but feels nervous and excited at the same time to go to Grinnell. She is looking forward to seeing her college in person, and would like to study abroad in the future.

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