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Historic Resources: Teaching STEAM Heritage Preservation in Public Schools

HRC APR 2022

Image: Helena Currie

  • COST

    Free and open to the public

  • TYPE

    Knowledge Community



Two Sides of the Same Coin: Bringing Industry and Academic Professionals Together to Teach STEAM Heritage Preservation in Public Schools

For our April HRC program (marking our return to in-person meetings after two “Zoom” years!), we welcome Kate Carpenter Bernier, Helena Currie and Meika Hayles, dynamic industry and education leaders focused on teaching heritage preservation in public schools. The professionals will explain how professional preservation organizations can improve the diversity of the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (ACE) Industry by creating local partnerships in under-represented communities, eliminating barriers to access technical programming, and increasing academic outreach and sponsorship at the K-12 grade levels.

Kate, Lena and Meika will also help us understand how funding and curriculum training accreditation are critical in developing and implementing a heritage preservation education program sustainably, that not only engages students with current topics but also has the support (investment/partnership) of the academic community. Successful Heritage Preservation STEAM Curriculum Development is guided by the following tenets: 1) be community-based, 2) remain equity-focused, and 3) have facilitators who reflect the diversity of the students. The presentation will culminate with an implementation status progress report and a delineation of ways to help.

Meika Hayles is a structural engineer with Simpson, Gumpertz, and Heger. She works on a variety of projects but is partial to renovation and preservation projects and the unique challenges they present. Meika is a National Society for Black Engineers member and regional STEM Coordinator for Girl Scouts. Through these organizations, she works to partner industry professionals with young women and minorities with interests in STEM careers, as well as develop her own programming for youth. Meika is passionate about providing representation for women and POC in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry and is an enthusiastic supporter of initiatives aimed at generating more diversity in these fields.

Helena (Lena) Currie is WSP’s Boston building enclosure engineering division head, specializing in the evaluation, repair and rehabilitation of historic and architecturally significant buildings. Lena is the president of APTNE and co-chair of the APTI’s Committee for Academics and Research Committee. Lena routinely works in multi-disciplinary teams to leverage diverse skillsets and perspectives to develop innovative prioritized solutions. She is passionate about improving the diversity of the preservation industry through student outreach initiatives and building new, more collaborative, relationships between industry professionals and academic leaders in the field of preservation.

Kate Carpenter Bernier has served as a school administrator in district and charter schools, including as the founding principal of the Match Community Day Public Charter School, focused on English language learners. Kate continues to support such districts as Lawrence Public Schools through consulting, and she is founding a local organization dedicated to solving the suburban post-secondary achievement gap that exists for Black, Latinx, and low-income students; she is also active in Newton’s Families Organizing for Racial Justice. Kate earned a Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University and a Master of Educational Administration from UMass Boston.