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Science and Arts Educator Mary Brooks Joins the Learning Lab to Help Integrate Arts into STEM Education
Meet Mary Brooks, the new Teaching Associate in the Thomas M. Menino Vertex Learning Lab. Mary brings her experience working in cancer biology labs and teaching middle and high school students to the Learning Lab. She has a passion for biology and is delighted to be able to share this with Boston Public School students.
Prior to coming to Vertex, Mary worked as a research associate in the laboratory of Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass. She has mentored graduate students and postdocs as well as high school student interns.
In addition to her work as a scientist, Mary is also an artist. She received her master’s degree in education from Lesley University where she focused on integrating arts into STEM curriculum – taking STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).
Mary was introduced to the Leaning Lab last summer when she guided the Vertex summer high school interns through a variety of arts-integrated projects that asked students to think abstractly about some of the science concepts they were learning in the lab.
“This process helped students better understand the science concepts they were exploring,” Mary explains.
“Bringing Mary into the Learning Lab was fueled by the intention to bring art into the Learning Lab curriculum,” says Melodie Knowlton, the Head of the Learning Lab. “STEAM projects allow an opportunity for students to be creative and utilize other key skills involved in science, such as the ability to collaborate, be imaginative and observe.”
Mary will continue to integrate art into more activities in the Learning Lab and is glad to have an opportunity to contribute to curriculum growth. Beyond her work at Vertex, Mary works with teachers and administrators to develop STEAM programs in eastern Massachusetts including the districts of Everett, Cambridge and Beverly.