Dr. Ann Marie Macara - 2024 Chevron Fab STEM Fellows – SCOPES-DF
Fellowship

Dr. Ann Marie Macara – 2024 Chevron Fab STEM Fellows

“I believe in the potential of bioart to establish authentic
connections between students and the natural world.”

Meet 2024 Chevron Fab STEM Fellow Dr. Ann Marie Macara

 

Dr. Ann Marie Macara attended the University of Toronto, Canada, earning an Honors BSc in Animal Physiology with a minor in Visual Studies. She then pursued graduate school at the University of Michigan, US. After getting her Ph.D. in neuroscience, She decided to leave academia to pursue my dreams of science museum exhibit design and science education. Joining a marine science institute in San Francisco, Dr. Macara discovered a joy of teaching that led her to her current role as a high school science teacher. With seven years of formal teaching experience, She has taught a range of grades, including 5th and 6th graders for three years and currently 11th and 12th graders at Wildwood School in Los Angeles. At Wildwood, Dr. Macara teaches courses in ‘Advanced Biology and Biotechnology’ and ‘Neuroscience.’

Dr. Macara has always been interested in both art and science. But it was only until she began teaching that she realized she could finally combine these two interests and started making bioart with her students. Bioart is a collaboration with the natural world. It requires familiarity with organisms, biological processes, and biotechnologies in order to create a work of art. Bioart informs her approach to teaching which is centered on establishing genuine connections between students and nature. Digital fabrication is a recent addition to her curriculum where it has been incorporated into student-driven research projects based in bioart.

Notable Work

Dr. Ann Marie Macara recently finished the 6-month long Fabricademy program where she learned how to use digital fabrication to enhance her bioart curriculum. Her final Fabricademy project is titled, ‘Living BioLibrary: Student-driven initiatives in biomaterials, biochromes, and bioelectronics.’ The Living BioLibrary is a sustainable and dynamic student-led collection of physical materials and digital resources. The aim of the project is to foster a cycle of student-driven innovation and research by curating and showcasing samples of student work.

The Living BioLibrary is integrated within Dr. Macara’s Advanced Biology and Biotechnology course curriculum. In this course, students embark on a Bioart project where they design, develop, and create a piece of bioart that they showcase in a culminating open house event. Students are given the freedom to choose from different paths, including biofabricating materials, exploring natural dyes, or building organism-interfacing electronic devices. Students are encouraged to innovate designs and develop new methodologies. All of these student-driven experiments contribute to the growth of the Living BioLibrary. Students add their research, trial and errors, and procedures to the digital collection. Additionally, students provide material samples of their innovations into the physical library, ensuring ongoing student involvement drives the library’s growth over time.

Welcome to the Fellowship, Dr. Ann Marie Macara!

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