Meet Education Director Melissa BrooksA key member of the Mariposa’s leadership team, Melissa Brooks is guiding the expansion of programs for schools, home school families, libraries, camps, and other special groups.
Melissa grew up in Peterborough and was exposed to many cultures at an early age. Her mother, Renee Pomponio, a stylist for over 20 years at Plaza Beauty Salon II in Peterborough and now at the salon in the Village at RiverMead, was born in Vienna, Austria and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 12, with her mother, sister, and brother shortly after WWII. She taught Melissa how to make Austrian foods and a bit of German and told stories of her childhood in Austria. Melissa’s grandmother also lived in Africa (Monrovia, Liberia), North Africa (Morocco), Thailand, the Philippines, and Greece and exposed Melissa to these cultures through storytelling and objects from these cultures.
Melissa’s father’s grandparents immigrated from Naples, Italy, and Switzerland. A fond memory of Melissa’s was when, as a child, she visited relatives from each side of the family and heard German spoken from her Mother’s side and Italian spoken from her Father’s side. Stories of Naples, Italy and the Italian language gave Melissa a sense of this European country.
Melissa’s own diverse heritage sparked a desire to learn about other different cultures. After earning her B.A. from Keene State College and having three children, she went on to graduate studies with the University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History in the U.K., where she studied the archaeology and history of Rome, Greece, Egypt, Nubia, and the Middle Nile, as well as Historical Archaeology, Archaeology of the Modern World, and Archaeology of Standing Buildings. She also began teaching and implemented a new curriculum in ancient history for sixth grade students at St. Mary School in Claremont, N.H. and taught U.S. history to seventh and eight grade students.
She recently earned an M.A. in teaching Secondary Social Studies at Rivier University in Nashua, where her studies included Modern China, Global Geography, and World History and Cultures.
“The intrigue and desire to learn more about different cultures started when I was a child and never left me,” Melissa says. “I took my children to the Mariposa many years ago to expose them to different cultures as this was very important to me as a mother. As a teacher, I feel the Mariposa Museum offers a significant resource through which children and adults can experience and become immersed in a culture or many cultures. This kind of learning experience can only promote peace and understanding.”
Melissa encourages inquires and communication from schools, home schools, and the community abroad on how the Mariposa can assist you in your cultural experience. She can be reached at email@example.com.