AnnMarie is the founder and director of the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas, which explores ways to encourage children, of all ages, to embrace playful learning. She and her students created Squishy Circuits, a method for using homemade conductive and insulating dough to sculpt electrical circuits. She is the author of "Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation." Recently, the lab has collaborated with musical group OK Go on the OK Go Sandbox, with the shared intention of creating engaging, fun-filled STEAM-focused videos for use in K-12 classrooms (and beyond).

AnnMarie earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech, and an S.B. in Ocean Engineering (with a minor in Music) from MIT. Additionally, she completed a professional certificate in Sustainable Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

AnnMarie co-founded and co-directs the University of St. Thomas Center for Engineering Education (CEE), which offers engineering courses for P-12 educators and conducts research on engineering at the pre-collegiate level. AnnMarie's teaching covers classes on topics such as Engineering Graphics and Design, Machine Design, Dynamics (with Circus Lab), Toy Design, Product Design for an Aging Population, Technology Prototyping (for Business majors), Environmental Sustainability/Innovation, and Brain Machine Interfaces (seminar).
The Work of Play

In the Playful Learning Lab our team looks at ways to bring joy and whimsy to learning environments in unexpected ways. I'll share our process and learnings, as well as some of the challenges of being a researcher who specializes in play.