Amy Schwartzbach is the co-founder of The Laboratory Collective with the mission of disrupting how students engage with STEM/STEAM subjects: learning creativity through science and math.
Growing up, Amy always imagined a world where math and science were as beloved as stories. Even though she was raised in a family of science professors and mathematicians who offered continual STEM learning opportunities, she often struggled with science and math in school. Amy loved reading and being creative, but she was always told that math and science and creativity did not mix.
When Amy left her job in the corporate world to teach reading to Diverse Learners (students with learning disabilities) in a low-performing/high-poverty high school in Chicago Public Schools, she realized her students’ struggle wasn’t about the subjects themselves, but about how the subjects were being presented. Amy dedicated her teaching career to engaging all learners, earning a M.Ed in Instructional Curriculum and Design, a M.Ed in Educational Literacy, and reaching the highest level of teaching excellence through National Board Certification.
Through an interdisciplinary collaboration with The Laboratory Collective’s co-founder, Dr. Edward Kang, they developed an Immersive Narration technique to teach creativity through math and science. Immersive Narration blurs the lines between academic subjects—seamlessly connecting literature, history, art and design, writing, role-play, and popular culture—in order to bring STEM to life. This technique pulls science lessons from classic literature, like Beowulf and Shakespeare, and from popular culture, like zombies and wizardry. Notably, through these engaging and innovative programs, nearly 70% of students at The Laboratory are girls, even without a specific Girls STEM/STEAM initiative.
In addition, Amy has been a featured presenter and a keynote speaker at both literature and STEM/STEAM conferences. Staying true to The Laboratory Collective’s goal to create innovative lessons that teachers can bring back to their own classrooms, she works with teachers, schools, and school districts to incorporate reading and literacy into STEM education.