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Hi I'm Mary

I'm a Jersey girl, a teacher, an aspiring world traveler, and a physicist. And I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I was born and raised in New Jersey, somewhere between the concrete jungle of New York City and the sandy beaches of the Jersey shore. Though my roots are firmly planted in Garden State soil, I've had the opportunity to live abroad and can claim Italy, Scotland, Austria, and England as second homes. I am a college graduate, a high school teacher, and third generation physicist. Education is my passion, and I love both teaching and learning in equal parts. I graduated with my Ph.D. in physics in 2014, and for the time being I've traded in my teacher's cap for a postdoctoral research position, with the hope that doing so will open more opportunities for personal learning and growth while also providing greater opportunities to serve others through education and research.

Why I am a Mormon

In my family we have a longer history of physicists than we do Mormons. I am a third generation physicist, but only a second generation Mormon. The pioneering member of our family, my mother, met the missionaries in college, around the same time she met my father. She was baptized, and not long afterwards married my father. My father did not share her religious convictions, and, while a good man, does not to this day. As such I grew up with a heightened awareness of the choice I would make about what to believe -- or not believe. I applaud my mother's courage and determination in faithfully taking four small children with her to church on her own, week after week, year after year. I likewise admire my father's concern that we be aware of and educated in the choices we made regarding religion. I was fifteen when my father gave me permission to be baptized. While there is no question that both of my parents influenced the way I thought about and viewed the world and religion, I know that the choice I made to be baptized and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was completely my own, and that that choice stemmed from a conviction and testimony that I had cultivated through study and prayer. It is a choice from which I have not wavered. Though differing greatly in their opinions of religion, my parents are examples of "truth seekers", and they instilled in me a similar desire to seek out that which is good and true in this world. Ultimately, I feel as though I have taken the best from both of my parents, for they both -- my mother, as an individual of great faith and my father, as a successful scientist -- are always learning and are continually seeking to expand their knowledge and understanding in their individual and combined pursuit of truth. I see faith and science as not only compatible but complimentary paths that lead to the same truth, namely that there is a God, that we are His children, and that He loves us. My understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and my understanding of the physical world have grown congruently. As a physicist I find that I am continually applying principles of faith in my studies and research. Similarly, as an individual of faith I find that I am still very much an experimentalist. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma encourages us to "experiment upon the word". As I have exercised my faith and made the choice to live by the doctrines and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as contained the scriptures and revealed through ancient and modern prophets, I have seen the way in which doing so has changed my life for the better and helped me to live a happier and more productive life. In short, I am a Mormon because the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ make sense to me, and living them makes me happy. In trying to live them I have received a confirmation of their truthfulness through the power of the Holy Ghost. I have also come to know God, to recognize Him as my Heavenly Father, to understand His plan for me, and to see in myself my own divine potential as His daughter.     

How I live my faith

One of the most remarkable things about the gospel is the way in which it seems to permeate all aspects my life. I try to take time to increase my own knowledge and faith through scripture study and prayer. I also cherish opportunities to serve others and to share my beliefs. Living and traveling abroad, especially as a missionary in Italy, has given me many opportunities to answer questions about what I believe in places less familiar with Mormons and our beliefs. Also, as I've attended physics conferences and met others in my field, I am invariably asked questions about why I am a Mormon and what it means to be one. In addition to serving in the Church's women's organization, I also volunteer in one of the many beautiful LDS temples. Service to others is truly one of the key principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and one of the best ways I can try to live my faith.