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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy: Resource Blog for Parents

Q&A with SA's New Senior School Science Teacher Mary Brayer


9 Questions with Mary BrayerWe are very pleased to welcome home Mary (Harbist) Brayer, Sewickley Academy Class of 2006! Mary went on from Sewickley Academy, where she was a star athlete and member of the Cum Laude Society, to the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.A. in History magna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. 

After serving as a Summer Science Teaching Fellow at Phillips Andover, Mary was awarded a Science Teaching Fellowship at St. Paul’s School (New Hampshire), where she taught biology. Subsequently, Mary was a member of the science faculty for seven years at the Pingree School in Hamilton, Massachusetts, where she taught biology, chemistry, and AP environmental science.

In addition, Mary coached varsity field hockey and was the head coach of junior varsity lacrosse. She was also regularly recognized by her colleagues, who routinely nominated her to mentor faculty new to Pingree. Mary is delighted to be returning to Pittsburgh and her alma mater!
SA: Why did you choose to work at Sewickley Academy?

MB: I chose to work at SA because the opportunity presented itself and I wanted to move back to Pittsburgh to be closer to my family. I also want to give back to the community that gave me so much as a student many years ago.
SA: What motivated you to become a teacher?
MB: There are many teachers in my family and I never thought I'd be a teacher, but here I am! What motivates me the most about teaching is interacting with my students and seeing their progress throughout the school year. In my opinion, nothing is more rewarding than having a student apply the concepts and skills they've learned in my class to an unknown problem and come up with a solution on their own. I live for my students' "a-ha!" moments! 

SA: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
MB: I enjoy sharing my love and passion for science with students. I hope to inspire them to find and pursue their own passions while instilling in them a curiosity about the natural world around them. 
SA: What is the most important life lesson you want your students to learn in your class(es)?
MB: One of the most important life lessons that I hope my students learn is: be true to yourself. It's a simple concept, but at times it's really hard to do and takes a lot of courage. 
SA: How do you keep current with the subject areas you cover?
MB: I like to listen to podcasts such as Science Friday, Radiolab, and this American Life in order to stay current in my subject areas. I also LOVE watching nature documentaries - Our Planet on Netflix is amazing! Most recently I've done much traveling to National Parks, where I've been able to experience and learn about science firsthand in the amazing world around us. 
SA: What was your favorite book as a child?
MB: "Where the Wild Things Are."
SA: What is your favorite book as an adult?
MB: It's forever changing! This summer I just read "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah and it's currently my favorite. It's made me desperately want to explore Alaska! 
SA: What are some of your interests/hobbies?
MB: I enjoy hiking and being outdoors. 
SA: What are you looking forward to this school year?
MB: I am looking forward to joining the SA community and sharing my passion for learning with others. 

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Topics: Faculty