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St. Mary Academy-Bay View opens state-of-the-art science center

New Barbara A. Papitto Science and Innovation Center immerses students in hands-on, advanced 21st Century learning

As more women pursue careers in the sciences, STEM still remains a male-dominated field with limited leadership positions held by women. Bay View is working to change that.

Made possible by more than $3 million in generous donations, St. Mary Academy – Bay View has officially completed and opened the Barbara A. Papitto Science and Innovation Center, the school’s new state-of-the-art science facility.

“We’re hoping to continue sparking new interests and passions in our students in the STEM field, and motivate more of our students to pursue limitless careers in the sciences,” said Bay View President Sister Marybeth Beretta. “We intentionally built our new state-of-the-art science center to better support the advanced 21st Century learning needs of our students and the top-notch teachings offered by our faculty, all while attracting new students who wish to pursue a promising career in science.”

The new Science and Innovation Center is well-aligned with the needs of the growing STEM industry, along with the school’s strategic initiative focused on innovation in curriculum and technology. Importantly, the new science center can better support the school’s ultramodern science equipment that requires a temperature-controlled environment, like its Anatomage Table – a groundbreaking scientific device that exposes students to 3D images of human and animal systems while utilizing the hands-on functionality of a tablet. 

“Access to the scientific technology embedded in the Anatomage table is a privilege usually reserved for medical and graduate students as well as organizations such as the Mayo Clinic,” said Bay View’s Science Department Chair, Dr. Janell Johnson. In response to the recent laboratory renovations, Johnson replied, “To run any controlled experiment with confidence, the temperature must remain constant. Our laboratory instruments such as our PCR machine, microbial incubator and UV/Light spectrophotometer also require – or will have a longer lifespan – if they are maintained in a temperature-controlled environment. I feel so fortunate that our students have access to this incredible science center and technology.”

Pairing its top-notch equipment with a new science center and advanced-level science classes, such as Gene Cloning and Molecular Biology, Bay View is giving students a head-start academically, and better preparing them for top-tier higher educations and job opportunities in the sciences. Further, to engage younger students, Bay View’s middle school students can also now utilize the new science center and access new mentorships with high school students – all with the intent to further cultivate an interest in advanced sciences among more girls.

The school’s new science center was desperately needed. Mercy Hall, constructed in the 1940s, housed Bay View’s now-former science classrooms –an old library space that was retrofitted for Biology Lab and Lecture, Physics Lecture, Physics Lab, Chemistry Lab, Chemistry Lecture, STEM Lab, and STEM Lecture. Among the many donors who made the new Science and Innovation Center possible, the Class of 1972 recently raised funds for three feature walls in the space spotlighting women in science, and continue to raise money to provide student financial aid.

Families interested in exploring the possibility of Bay View enrollment for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year, including its new state-of-the-art science center and classes, are encouraged to visit


St. Mary Academy – Bay View is an independent, Catholic School for girls open to all faiths, Preschool through Grade 12. Located in East Providence, Rhode Island, Bay View is a member institution of the Mercy Education System of the Americas, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1874, Bay View endeavors to provide a quality education preparing girls and young women for the challenges of the global community. St. Mary Academy – Bay View is a college preparatory school accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.


The Sisters of Mercy—an international community of Roman Catholic women—dedicate their lives to God through vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and service. For more than 180 years, motivated by the Gospel of Jesus and inspired by the spirit of their foundress, Catherine McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy have responded to the continually changing needs of the time.

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