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Special Maroon & Gray Issue
2021 Maroon & Gray Beneficiary:
The Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Student Opportunity Fund and Grant Program

Growing Readers at Radio Park

In 2019, a grant from the The Mardi Lowry McDonough ’87 Student Opportunity Fund and Grant Program helped Radio Park Elementary students celebrate March Book Madness. Created by second grade teacher Mary Robert in 2018, March Book Madness is a literature-rich, community-building activity.

“The children loved participating, and it really brought us together as a community of readers in our school,” said Robert. “We were connected across grade levels, classrooms, and subject areas — and we celebrated the joy of reading books together. Plus, we had a common theme that we could discuss with each book — diversity!” This March Book Madness theme in 2019 was “Brave and Bold.”

“We start with 16 books in the bracket and end with our final winner as the children vote for their favorites,” Robert explained.

Students not only get to practice reading and discuss literature, but also put their writing skills to use to convince others to vote for their favorite book. But that’s not all—the activity even incorporates math.

“We collect the data for the vote totals, we graph the results, and use the data for math talks,” Robert said. “The most important benefit of March Book Madness is that it connects us as a school building and as a community of readers.”

Read the original March Book Madness article here.

Honoring the 2020 Maroon & Gray Society

Every week we’ll feature our Maroon & Gray Society honorees. We look forward to formally inducting them at the banquet in 2022.

Jane Snowdon ’77: Excellent Education Leads to Exceptional Career

“I am truly honored to be recognized by the SCASD and the Maroon & Gray Society to benefit the Student Opportunity Grant program in 2020,” says 2020 honoree Jane Snowdon. “The talented and dedicated SCASD faculty afforded me many enriching experiences to learn and grow intellectually, creatively, and socially. I made many treasured and dear friends along the way through common interests in mathematics, science, Girl Scouts, dance club, home economics, choir, majorettes, and band. These friends have been with me through college, career achievements, family milestones, and travel adventures, and are an important part of my life to this day.” 

Jane attended Corl Street Elementary School for kindergarten through 5th grade, Fairmont Avenue School for 6th grade, Westerly Parkway Junior High School, and State High. She says she is thankful she had the privilege of obtaining an excellent education and learning many life skills and values from her teachers, and from her parents.

After graduating from State High, Jane received a B.S. from Penn State, an M.S. from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, all in Industrial Engineering

She went on to work for IBM and is now a renowned leader in the field of health and human services. Through her 38-year career, she has had the opportunity to work on a variety of challenging research initiatives and learn new industry domains.

“Solving complex business problems from manufacturing, to travel and transportation, to energy and utilities, to healthcare and life sciences, all rely on the same underlying laws of mathematics and physics,” Jane says.

Jane is currently the Associate Chief Health Officer in the Center for Artificial Intelligence, Research and Evaluation at IBM Watson Health, where she is responsible for the overall strategic direction and global leadership of designing, conducting, and disseminating results of rigorous scientific research related to Watson Health life sciences and genomics offerings. She also facilitates collaboration between IBM research scientists and academic institutions including Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt, whose research is then published in academic journals and shared at conferences.

Most recently, Jane led a corporate pandemic preparedness, response, and recovery core team to address COVID-19. She is passionate about her work and remains optimistic about the future of healthcare. She expects that artificial intelligence and precision medicine will help personalize diagnostics for patient, ultimately leading to prevention, earlier detection of disease, and improved prognoses.

Jane resides in Connecticut. Travel and experiencing new cultures are among her many passions. She also serves as a mentor at the high school, collegiate, and corporate levels. Over the years, she has provided guidance to university advisory boards — including CUNY, George Mason, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Stony Brook — and not-for-profit boards ranging from iGiant to Intelligence and National Security Alliance Council on Technology and Innovation.

Read the full profile.


Masi Asare ’96: A Rising Female Leader in Theatre

Masi Asare is a composer/lyricist, playwright, voice teacher, and performance scholar. She is assistant professor of theatre and performance studies at Northwestern University, and divides her time between New York City and Chicago.

Masi was named in the 2021 list of rising female leaders in the theatre from the Broadway Women's Fund, Broadway's first impact investing fund. The theatre professionals on the list were selected by the Broadway Women's Fund leadership and advisory board.

Her shows include: THE FAMILY RESEMBLANCE (book/music/lyrics; Theatre Royal Stratford East commission, Eugene O’Neill Center NMTC); RISHVOR, a new musical about racial passing (book/music/lyrics) commissioned by Barbara Whitman/Grove Entertainment; MONSOON WEDDING (lyrics), the London bound adaptation of Mira Nair’s film; MIRROR OF MOST VALUE (Samuel French), a one-act play for Marvel about super hero Kamala Khan; a new musical commissioned by Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre and the Toulmin Foundation; and the secret agent musical SYMPATHY JONES (music/lyrics/concept; NYMF; Playscripts). 

Her songs have been heard at venues across NYC from Playwrights Horizons to Lincoln Center can be heard on the streaming site Broadway on Demand. A voice instructor and coach with two decades of teaching experience, Masi specializes in popular vocal styles. Her voice students have performed in regional and touring shows, and on Broadway. 

Masi holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a PhD in performance studies from New York University. She is a member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild, and serves on the membership committee of ASTR and the advisory board of MAESTRA.