20160917_145855.jpgI am a educator at Mercy High School in Middletown, CT. I have written courses in Astronomy and Cosmology, Neuroscience, and Medical Botany for the High School level. My educational experience includes a B.A with a double major in biology and chemistry and minor in the humanities, an M.S. (ABD) in Neurophysiology with an emphasis on marine zoology, an M.A. in Consciousness Studies, and an ED.S. in Educational Leadership Management and Policy from Seton Hall University. I have teaching experience in higher education at the University of New Hampshire, Quinnipiac University, and Albertus Magnus College. I worked for 6 years in the museum education department at Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum, and I am a registered herbalist. I am currently involved on projects in education with the Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and the Vatican Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. These projects are aimed at a dialogue between science and faith traditions which promote interdisciplinary work.

The courses that I write and teach are designed to help students to think critically and imaginatively within a learning community that values collaboration. I teach in an inquiry-based model that utilizes technology, online databases, and social media to connect students with the best and most current resources.

I am a single-mother with three high school and college age boys. I home-schooled my children for varying lengths of time in the Montessori tradition. Being an advocate for the natural world (which includes the human person), I believe that people thrive when engaged in a healthy spiritual practice (in any religion) within community. I promote STREAM education (Science Technology Religion Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) and the liberal arts for the development of the whole person.

Being a parent and a teacher in different capacities over the past twenty-five years, I have become firm in my dedication to empower young women and men to see the magnificence of the natural world, to have confidence in their abilities and gifts, and to succeed in authoring their lives with grace.

50 thoughts on “About

  1. I’m always glad to find a fellow teacher, especially of science. I retired from the classroom 9 yrs ago. As you found, I continue with my blog. Thank you for your recent visit and follow. I hope you will find things of interest to you.


    1. You are welcome. I used to live in Old Saybrook, CT! What a wonderful website you have, and books as well! I am honored that you liked my writing. I am still tentative about it, except for the fact that it brings joy. I look forward to reading more of your work.


      1. Thanks. I think I detect that you too live along the CT shoreline, i.e., within meeting distance. Looks like we have much in common; perhaps we could grab a breakfast, lunch or an end of day glass of wine together some day. if you would like, why don’t you send me an email at jumpstartjoy@gmail.com?


    1. I would not say I live a large, open life but I suppose teaching puts me in contact with many people. I am quite an introvert and writing is a huge leap! Your painting have a living quality which I like. I am trying to get people to realize that you can be an artist and understand science too! It is wonderful to find kindred spirits!


  2. Dear Maria,
    I wonder how you came upon my blog…but I’m glad you did! I love “Reflections on Existence.” I was recently reminded of Socrates’s statement that “an un-examined life is not worth living.” You seem to have said it in another way. I’m looking forward to your posts.
    Most Sincerely,


    1. I had been searching for blogs about hiking and walking and yours came up. I found it so relaxing to read about the places you visited. It was delightful. I am happy to have found your blog and to participate in a virtual adventure!


  3. Why did you homeschool your boys? If you have already written about that in a post, please link it. I’m curious because although I enjoyed school very much as a child, I do believe public school had much to do with drifting away from God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wanted my children to be free to think for themselves. I used Maria Montessori’s method. She was a Catholic physician. They were in and out of school depending on what they needed. I stayed home with them as long as I could. You blog is nice, and your daughter beautiful!


  4. Thank You for your generosity!

    As someone who is now too unwell for accomplishments: I am amazed you manage to fit so much into your life.
    And, on top of all that, you still find the time to put “Likes” on my newbie blog, when no-one else has bothered.

    Best Wishes from Ken

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You have quite the fascinating life history! I like how you are able to embrace both science and religion without dismissing either one. The science vs. religion debate is wholly unhelpful, and turns potential allies into enemies. I’m also impressed by the fact that you teach science at the high school level. As I progress in my science education, I’m finding it harder and harder to communicate what I’ve learned in an easily accessible fashion. It seems to me that an important part of being a high school teacher is learning how to simplify complex concepts, and that is an important skill!

    Lastly, I see that you’re interested in Cosmology. Do you know much about Mayan Cosmology, or where to find reputable sources on it? I’d like to learn more about Mayan belief systems before embarking on a study abroad program in Belize in late May, but I’m skeptical of the majority of what I read/hear about the ancient Maya. Their civilization has been so appropriated by popular culture that I’m not sure what’s fact and what’s just embellishment.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for visiting & following my blog, I enjoy your way of writing and expressing things. Also I get more and more motivated, to translate my own poems in English language and publish them biliungual. Again thank you and have a beautiful day! Wally.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In life we have great opportunities- in meeting all sorts of wonderful people. Albert Einstein expressed this-” No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong” Science isn’t about why ! it is about why not………Grazie per aver scritto……. Great to have met you- Cagnetta family………

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Maria Montessori- a great Italian educator indeed. I can see why you chose this pathway. She endured much in life- and set the bar for many to come.. We have always educated our two daughters- one now attending university- absolutely shines through. And the other in preperation for this coming year. I have learnt that we are judged mainly by what we do- and our back grounds. What we achieve in life. I show my daughters the love of a father- this is the reflection I share with them. Then they are free to study and become confident in life- simply because they are loved…… Not what they have to do to please……… The Lord bless you as you continue to write… Ciao.

    Liked by 1 person

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