Heather Beem


Trained as an engineer and shaped by co-design experiences across cultures, I am interested in Unbounded Learning. The grand challenges of our time will not be solved within traditional bounds. What solutions can we reach by learning from nature? The masters of their own world, many animals have designed clever solutions for their survival. The same ingenuity used by the blind cavefish to develop navigation prowess can be applied to learning in resource-constrained settings. Indigenous creation of low-cost science materials and teacher training are key.

Using a combination of lab testing, fieldwork, and teaching (locally and in the field), I study the mechanisms underlying engineering feats in nature and I design solutions for resourceful science education in the developing world.

Heather completed her Ph.D. in Mechanical and Oceanographic Engineering through the MIT/WHOI Joint Program, while working at the MIT Towing Tank where she invented a new sensing technology. She is co-founder of the Practical Education Network, a train-the-trainers program for K-12 science educators in Ghana. She also co-founded and instructed the D-Lab: Education class.

                beem (at) mit (dot) edu                         @hrbeem                             download my CV