Fund for Innovation

The Sr. Mary Jane Paolella, ASCJ, '65 Fund for Innovation

At Sacred Heart Academy, innovation begins at home. No one better exemplified this than Sr. Mary Jane Paolella, ASCJ, '65, who taught for more than 25 years at the Academy. A former Science Department chair, administrator, vice principal, and member of the Science Department, Sr. Mary Jane was a veritable trailblazer throughout her years here, from pioneering gene sequencing in the classroom to integrating the school's core values into scientific study.

Funding A New Era of Biotechnology

In 1998, the Human Genome Project launched and the race was on to sequence every basepair of DNA in the human genome. At that same time, Sr. Mary Jane Paolella, ASCJ, '65 and Dr. Wesley Bonds decided to bring the power of genetics education to the students at Sacred Heart Academy. An ABI Prism Single Capillary Genetic Analyzer was generously gifted to the Academy enabling the students of Sacred Heart to publish dozens of sequences in GenBank.

Twenty years later, the human genome has been sequenced and that old ABI Prism has served well beyond its years. In order to keep the rich tradition of the Biotechnology and Human Gene Discovery courses at Sacred Heart and catapult the technology forward, a new sequencer will be procured. The new Applied Biosystems SeqStudio functions on many of the same principles as the original equipment but is smaller and faster, enabling samples to be run in as little at 15 minutes! The integrated, web-based software allows students to interface with their data in real time from their laptops. Imagine all they might accomplish in a semester!

The cost of a new sequencer for the biotechnology classroom is approximately $50,000. We are eligible for $10,000 rebate for returning our current equipment, and we have received $20,000 from a generous, anonymous donor. We already have more than half of the funds needed to purchase the Applied Biosystems SeqStudio, but now we need your help! Make your gift today in support of our cutting-edge biotechnology programs. Thank you!

Make a Gift to the Fund for Innovation


Lindsey Shepherd Belman '03
Beth Iovanne Blazevich '75
Meghan Buckley '12
Deborah Capuano '68
Michael Celentano
Joyce B. Comer, PharmD, '70
Tiffany Conway '99
Maura Wilson Coppola '70
Ellen D'Agostino-McGuire '68
Alison Brandt Dewey '04
Andrew Dowling
Sofia Dowling
Sara Paolella Dowling '03
Emma Dwyer '11
Megan Dwyer '14
Caitlin Puklin Follett '03
Christina Grant '00
Kathleen Grant
Erin Hillis '12
Elizabeth LoPreiato '17
Ursula Mastrianni Martino '62
Karri-Leigh Paolella Mastrangelo
Rita Matta '12
Victoria Osborne
Gene Pari & Ann Criscuolo Pari '67
Julianne Perego-Mangini '68
Susan Holman Ryan '69
Joseph Ryzewski & Kathy Krugel Ryzewski '69
Peter & Lori Schommer
Colleen Seematter, MD
SHA Earth Club
Jenna Somma '07
Susan Lagerstrom Sullivan '65
Anjali Vasavada '14
Karen Yakabowskas
Angela Marchetti Yannes '04
Xenia Zueva '12

Thank you!

About Sr. Mary Jane

Sr. Mary Jane Paolella, ASCJ, '65 (1947-2018) was a dynamic and innovative educator who was renowned, highly respected, and loved by students, administrators, and faculty. With help from a research team at Yale University, she pioneered a program for Sacred Heart that introduced a new field to high school education — gene sequencing — bringing a national spotlight to our school. A trailblazer throughout her years here — with several of her own articles on biotechnology published in scientific journals — she was most proud that her students have 29 sequences published in GenBank, the U.S. national genetic database, and that so many have entered the field of science.