Dr. Mauer, Collegiate’s Newest Biology Teacher

By Jake Darling

Dr. Karin Mauer is the latest addition to the already-talented Upper School science department. Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Mauer feels she was fortunate to have strong friendship and family relations, claiming her childhood had “lots of friendship” and was “very family-oriented.” At the age of four, Mauer moved to Ludwigshafen, Germany, due to her father’s work in the field of chemistry for the company BaSF. She lived there until she was six years old, when her family moved back to Mexico City. There were lots of open and free areas to explore as a child and very few worries due to the supportive environment she grew up in.

She attended a majority German-speaking high school in Mexico City, where she studied with a group of 13 German-speaking students. Her school used a discussion-based learning process similar to Collegiate. Due to her different linguistic surroundings growing up, Mauer can fluently speak Spanish, English, and German. After high school, Mauer continued to live in Mexico City while attending a private university called La Salle, where she studied medicine. After studying medicine, Mauer went into the field of research while also working at pharmacies. She later went on to receive both her Master’s and PhD in molecular bio medicine while studying at Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico City.  

Photo credit: Heritage Hall School.

Mauer decided to continue her medical studies. However, this time she traveled to the United States. Mauer spent a year at Cleveland Clinic, an academic hospital, and then attended Case Western University for a year. After finishing her post-doctoral studies, Mauer paused her education to work in the pharmaceutical industry for MERCK. While there, she worked as a research manager and helped in the development of drugs such as Gardasil, a vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV). She returned to her home in Mexico City for a while.

In recent years, Mauer returned to the United States, where she earned another post-doctorate at the University of Oklahoma. The university allowed for her to set up a lab based around platelet research, where she studied the effects of different medicines on the blood. After several years of work, Mauer decided that it was time to take a break, so she took a couple of years off to start a family. After having two children, Mauer rejoined the workforce as a teacher at the Upper School at Heritage Hall, an independent school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where she taught Honors Biology and forensics and discovered her love for teaching these classes.

Mauer first discovered Collegiate School a little over a year ago after moving to Richmond. She found the school while searching for an elementary school for her two children. She and her husband decided that they wanted to first try public education before sending their children to Collegiate. In late April, Dr. Mauer received an offer for a teaching position at Collegiate and saw that as an opportunity not only for her children to attend the school, but for her to have the opportunity to teach the classes she loves.

After accepting the job, she has found so far that the community has been open to her and that she is really enjoying her time at Collegiate. When asked for her thoughts, she stated that “it has been a good decision for me. It has been a really good fit.” Something she noticed about Collegiate is that the students enjoy their studies and want to continue to learn. Matthew Barbieri (‘19) says, “Dr. Mauer is extremely knowledgeable, invested in her students, and excited to teach about biology and forensics. I am excited to be in her class this year.” Overall, Mauer has felt welcomed at Collegiate and feels that it is a pleasure to be here and hopes to continue her work as a teacher.

About the author

Jake Darling is a junior at Collegiate