Melodie Knowlton

Director, Thomas M. Menino Vertex Learning Lab

Melodie Knowlton is the Director of the Thomas M. Menino Vertex Learning Lab, a 3,000 sq. ft. classroom and laboratory space at Vertex’s corporate headquarters in the Seaport District.  The Learning Lab’s mission is to inspire and equip under-resourced Boston Public School students to become the next generation of scientific leaders and health care professionals. On a given day, Melodie can be found leading students through hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) lab activities, collaborating with Vertex’s seven partner high schools to maximize the benefit of Learning Lab programing, or working with local education, industry and government stakeholders to broadly enhance STEM education opportunities for Boston’s youth.

Drawing on her experiences from her graduate training at Harvard University, a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, and teaching at Harvard University Extension School and The Cambridge School of Weston, Melodie works to advance Vertex as a corporate leader in STEM education in Boston. Her scientific background allows her to understand the industry, expose students to careers in science and connect Vertex’s innovative culture to local schools, while her expertise as an educator and mentor provides students with an invaluable learning and skill-building experience.

Discussion Content

“Location! Location! Location!,” a Code Switch podcast episode

Also watch the video NPR created to accompany this podcast episode.


Brief Intro:

Code Switch is a weekly podcast from NPR that focuses on issues that impact people of color.  I listen on a weekly basis as they contextualize the news with a focus on how it will impact issues related to race.  Every week this podcast makes me think and examine the role race plays in the world around me.  I chose this particular episode because Housing is such a key issue as it relates to quality of life, education, wealth and the lasting impact of slavery on black Americans.  It provides a great historical background as well as a helpful discussion of the state of housing and housing regulations today.


Melodie’s Discussion Questions (PDF for Print)

    1. What is redlining?
    2. How does the history of housing discrimination impact racial equity in America today?
    3. How did housing discrimination lead to segregated communities in Boston and how does this legacy impact education in the city of Boston?