Katherine Facenda '23: The Smile Architect
Katherine’s foray into biology might seem an unlikely one for a future dentist.
When asking secondary education and biology double major Angela Girodier '22 if she’s more passionate about research or teaching, she quickly and emphatically says “both.”
As an Emmanuel student, Angela has balanced her time between coursework, student-teaching and a research internship at Merck Research Laboratories-Boston, all with the goal of creating more STEM opportunities close to home.
“We see a lack of students in STEM fields who have come from backgrounds similar to mine due to the lack of opportunities and support. I want to transfer my knowledge and my journey in STEM education to students and inspire them to learn and to not give up. If I can do it, so can they.”
As a student, Angela noticed that her “a-ha” moments came from professors that ensured concepts were clear and understood—something she wants to model for her own students. “I want to ensure any student can have an ‘a-ha’ moment. There is no such thing as not being smart enough.”
For her student-teaching practicum, Angela returned to Brockton High School, from which she graduated just a few years before. “I had students who thought they would never be able to maintain an A for a term, but with the proper learning experiences and supports, they were able to do it. It made me truly feel I was making a difference in their lives.”
In addition to student teaching, Angela interned with the Molecular Interactions team at Merck Research Laboratories-Boston, just steps from Emmanuel’s campus. She felt prepared for this biochemistry-focused internship through her coursework and a past internship at Massbiologics, in which she focused on protein chromatography. At Merck, she used cutting-edge systems to perform in vitro characterization techniques, explore methods used to measure unbiotinylated proteins, and develop novel methodologies to optimize these methods. She also presented project data to the discovery biologics team and learned fundamental principles of label-free, bio-molecular interaction analysis and how it relates to the biotherapeutics discovery process.
“Although I decided to teach after graduation, I am beyond grateful for the connections I built with my team at Merck and the laboratory skills I gained,” she said. She plans on utilizing her lab skills and experiments to help her students connect the dots between their classroom learning and real-world scenarios.
Since graduating in 2022, Angela returned to Brockton High School as a full-time science teacher and also coaches the girls’ cross-country and track teams.
Emmanuel is a place where students broaden their sense of what’s possible and prepare for inspiring careers in an ever-changing world. Be here.