Merek grew up in Calgary and spent two years away from home playing hockey in Kelowna. He started at the University of Calgary majoring in biochemistry but switched to psychology, where he is now in his fourth year.
After dealing with chronic pain in his childhood, the topics of how pain can influence both the child and the parent is an area of great interest to him. During this time, he also had a first-hand experience with how psychology and pain come together, sparking his interest in the field. He would like to continue to focus on the effects of pediatric pain as he moves through undergraduate studies, with goals of eventually becoming a clinical psychologist.
As a recipient of the PURE Summer Studentship, Merek will examine how parental disturbed sleep and protective parenting behaviours are related to pediatric chronic pain, and will complete his Honours thesis with Dr. Noel in the upcoming year.