Mary Pat O’Connor is a science teacher at Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis. With a passion for providing opportunities for her students to make real-world connections with science, Mary Pat has specialized in ecology, working with the Department of Natural Resources on the Hoosier River Watch Program. She has additionally partnered with the Hoosier Environmental Council to pilot place-based education projects and with environmental lawyers with the goal of increasing environmental awareness.
Under Mary Pat’s guidance, Cardinal Ritter students have cleaned up litter in Indianapolis while participating in the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful program. This program made a significant impact on the students and the community. The students were able to build relationships with local business owners as they helped to clean and beautify the city. Her motto is, “environmental awareness through education, and with education, change.” A lasting change in her students’ lives is her success.