BioBuilder is growing, and we are excited to welcome our newest colleagues! These three incredibly talented individuals will contribute their unique skills to support and grow BioBuilder's programs, reach, and impact.

Meet our Director of Programs, Stephanie Ovitt

Stephanie joined BioBuilder in July to oversee, support, and grow BioBuilder’s programs.

She is a recent graduate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she earned her Ed. M. in International Education Policy and worked as a Teaching Fellow. She earned her bachelor’s degree in International & Global Studies at Vermont’s Middlebury College.

Stephanie comes to BioBuilder with extensive experience in US-based and international nonprofits aimed at expanding access to quality education — how perfect is that?!

Stephanie is originally from the Adirondack Mountains region of upstate New York where her father was a forest ranger. In fact, when she was a first grader, Stephanie proclaimed she would also be a forest ranger when she grew up!


Stephanie Ovitt

Now she is excited to be working at BioBuilder and helping to bring “modern and relevant science to students from all backgrounds, and helping students explore a future they might not have considered for themselves.”

Stephanie also likes reading, baking, and playing the piano (although not at the same time!).

Meet Michael Sheets, Part-Time Teaching Fellow

This year Michael will be leading our three-week sprint in biodesign called the Idea Accelerator as well as helping to coordinate and mentor BioBuilderClub teams.

Michael first became involved with BioBuilder WAY BACK, as a founding member of Tyngsborough High School’s 2011 BioBuilderClub team. That was when he “got really excited about the potential to apply biology to solve the world’s big challenges.”

After completing his undergraduate training in Bioengineering at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Michael returned to BioBuilder as a volunteer mentor for the Tyngsborough High team. That experience gave him real joy in “teaching students about all the exciting possibilities synthetic biology unlocks, and helping them research their own ideas and solutions to those big challenges.” 

Michaell Sheets_Headshot

Michael adds BioBuilder teaching, from running the BioBuilderClub program and to serving as a teaching assistant at the Learning Lab and in the Idea Accelerator programs, to his current work as a graduate student in the Dunlop Lab at Boston University, with research focusing on the development of light-inducible protein tools to study bacterial antibiotic resistance.

Some of Michael’s favorite things include crocheting small bacteria and plants as gifts (!), any dessert that includes blackberries and chocolate (yumm!), and his most recent read – “A Memory Called Empire.”

To learn more about Michael’s path, check out Life-Changing Science: the BioBuilder Podcast. He was our guest for Episode 5.

Welcome Dr. Hiroko Kaczmarek, BioBuilder's newest Teaching Fellow

Hiroko has joined us to develop BioBuilder’s new Biomanufacturing curriculum that will be implemented as part of the Worcester Public Schools Innovation Pathway program. She will also be teaching in BioBuilder’s new Learning Lab@ Ginkgo in Boston.

What drew Hiroko to BioBuilder is “the room that it leaves for creativity in science because it looks at science a series of tools in a toolbox that can be used in different ways and combinations to engineer something new.”

Hiroko credits her passion for cellular biology to her 11th grade IB biology teacher. She has gone on to earn degrees in Biology, Pharmacology, and Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Her post-doctoral work at UMass Medical School focused on CRISPR-mediated gene therapy for ALS.

Hiroko taught biotechnology for five years at high schools in Worcester and Cambridge, MA. During those years she also participated in several BioBuilder programs as a teacher and supporter, including co-teaching the High School Apprenticeship Challenge in Worcester and enrolling her Cambridge students in the BioBuilder Idea Accelerator program.

When away from the lab and classroom, Hiroko likes to volunteer at her local animal shelter where she adopted her cuddle-crazy kitty named Sam, reading (and rereading) her favorite – The Lord of the Rings, and fiber art including knitting and crocheting.


Hey, Michael, maybe you can show her how to make crocheted bacteria and plants!

With so much commitment and talent on the team, BioBuilder's positive impact can only grow!

BBC 2021-22 map

The 2021/2022 BioBuilderClub season is off to a great start. Thirteen teams are registered so far and are starting to plan their projects. The teams are located in 6 U.S. states, Canada, and the Netherlands

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