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Meet Mason Science STEM Accelerator Director, Mary Crowe

The College of Science welcomes its new STEM Accelerator Director, Mary Crowe. She joined the college in July.

Why come to Mason, to the College of Science and why now?
It seems like everything I have done over the course of my career has prepared me to direct the STEM Accelerator. As a faculty member I know how challenging, and rewarding, it can be to develop and try out a new active learning technique in the classroom. When it works and you see the "aha' in your student's eyes, it is the best feeling. As an administrator, I know how crucial it is to provide faculty with resources (information, time, space) to create the best learning environment they can.  I have experience in building programs, in bringing individuals together around a common goal.

As my rotation at NSF was coming to a close, I identified core interests and directing the STEM Accelerator hit every single one of them: a public institution enrolling students with varied pathways, an institution whose faculty and staff have a sincere interest in improving the student experience and a focus of work in STEM. 

Who is your role model? (in science or life in general) And why do they inspire you?
For the past 15 years I've gotten together with the same group of six different women STEM leaders for a long weekend. Each of them differs in their personalities, their professional paths, the ways in which they lead and the challenges they have faced and overcome. We use that weekend to have the difficult conversations, to support each other, to help each other see the blind spots in the mirror and to connect each other to resources (books, professional development, other individuals in our network).  

What are you most looking forward to doing in the next 30 days?
I look forward to meeting and connecting with the abundant faculty and staff who have interest in ensuring the learning environment at Mason helps students succeed. I look forward to finding ways to pull the right folks together to help tackle a problem and in developing initiatives to overcome that barrier (i.e., such as improving the high DFWs in some introductory courses).  I look forward to using an intersectional lens to examine the work of the STEM Accelerator.

I want to be abundantly clear- the STEM Accelerator's success is tied to student success here at Mason. To become a national leader and gain external recognition for great work, we have to walk the walk—we have to demonstrate that the work we undertake with our Mason colleagues improves our student success. We have an amazing group of STEM Accelerator faculty who are adept in best-practices and I have been fortunate to see it in action in the STEM and FOCUS camps the last two weeks. I can't wait to do some strategic planning with them about positioning the STEM Accelerator to help College of Science departments meet their goals for undergraduate student STEM success.  

What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?
That I am happiest when I am riding my bicycle.