Who we are:
Under the leadership of Ruth Catchen, Enhancing STEM: Exploring the Arts Effect, involves a collaboration with Blue Heron STEM Education, Carolyn DeCristofano, on the development of rigorous curriculum for STEAM education with integrated STEM at the core of the curricula. DeCristofano is known for her work with Engineering is Elementary from The Museum of Science, Boston. Other contributors include curriculum developers Anne Jolly and Dr. Susan Pruet, both known for their work on Engaging Youth through Engineering.
Ruth Catchen, B. Music, M.Music, MA, received her Bachelor of Music degree from American University and her Master of Music degree from The Catholic University of America, in Vocal Performance and performed with many distinguished opera companies, conductors and orchestras in the United States. Later in her career, she turned her direction to music education and founded a youth chorale with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in Naples, Florida. They performed with the orchestra as well as with well-known conductors such as Pops great, Erich Kunzel. After moving to Colorado, Catchen focused her attention to public education, hoping to better its quality and depth. She received her second master’s degree in 2007 from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in Curriculum and Instruction/Leadership. Since then, Catchen develops arts integrated, STEM/STE[a]M curriculum programs for school districts bringing educational opportunities to disadvantaged youth and other non-profit organizations. Her passion is to promote excellent instruction that supports teachers by connecting the arts to other core academics. Along with being the Artist-In-Residence at Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy in Colorado Springs, Catchen was recently published in the peer-reviewed The STEAM Journal and appointed to a National task force to create a protocol for STEAM education. She serves as the Co-Chair for The Girls' STEM Experience in Southern Colorado and on the think tank to create STEM standards for the Colorado Department of Education.
Carolyn DeCristofano, M. Ed., is a curriculum and instruction specialist and President of Blue Heron STEM education. For over twenty years, she has focused on creating STEM and multi-disciplinary experiences for various learners -- museum visitors, K-8 teachers, and their students. Her projects have included curriculum, exhibit, and program development and educational research; and she has initiated and implemented collaborative student and teacher programs linking STEM fields to each other, as well as to English/Language Arts, the arts, and social studies. This work has brought her into partnerships with school districts and educational institutions, such as the Museum of Science (Boston), Harvard’s Project Zero, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, TERC, and WGBH, Boston. The former Professional Development Director for the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) project, she served on the development team for EiE, and as a Blue Heron consultant, still works with the program. Also as part of Blue Heron, she works on the Engaging Youth through Engineering team, playing an editorial and developer role for its middle school STEM curriculum modules. She also works with other projects and provides professional development nationally. In addition, Carolyn is the author of nonfiction books for children, including the acclaimed A Black Hole is NOT a Hole (Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc., 2012), and successfully applied for and was designated a Creative Teaching Partner by the Massachusetts Cultural Council for her work.