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Tomlin Family Application Lab

Fourth graders set up movie scenes to film in the Tomlin Family Application Lab

STEAM Skills for the Future

With cutting-edge technology, traditional tools and a rich natural environment, the Tomlin Family Application Lab provides an innovative and collaborative space to inspire beyond-the-box thinkers.

The App Lab is the centerpiece of Corbett Prep's STEAM program and builds upon what students learn in their classrooms by connecting the curriculum to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and design concepts. The state-of-the-art facility, dynamic faculty, and experiential lessons cultivate the skills that students need in our ever-changing world.

The App Lab was renovated and expanded in 2021, moving into a 4,000-square-foot facility that combines elements of maker spaces, technology labs, and old-fashioned wood shops. The layout establishes zones for virtual reality, programming and computer design near the front, with construction tools for manual design, building, and creative experimentation along the back wall.

Glossy tables that interlock in different configurations and rolling chairs encourage collaboration in groups of all sizes and cast students’ work from their laptop screens onto one or more of the surrounding screens.

Its new space launched a learning experience that benefits all students in PreK3 through 8th grade. Students visit as part of their regular schedules as well as for after-school robotics programs and electives such as video broadcasting and 3D printing.

A girl reaches up to hang a cup on a zipline in the App Lab.

Meet the App Lab Team

STEAM Specialists

The App Lab team of STEAM specialists work with classroom teachers to develop interdisciplinary lessons for all grades to encourage students to think critically and creatively as they delve into design-thinking structures.

Director Jessica Wallen has 20 years of experience as an educator and excels at helping teachers enhance their existing lessons with hands-on projects and trips that combine formal learning with meaningful educational experiences. She has taught and created curriculum in multiple subject areas including English, science, robotics, STEM and environmental science. She leads a team of teachers with specialities in different STEAM subject areas.

STEAM Specialists

  • Anna De Jesus
  • Robert Johnson
  • Matt Melnick
  • Gery Morey
  • John Palmer
  • Aimee Popalis
  • Ben Hodges

Contact Director Jessica Wallen

Greg, Ali, Holly and John Tomlin stand in front of an illuminated Tomlin Family Application Lab sign

History of the App Lab

The App Lab began as a maker space in 2016 for special class activities, small group enrichment and after-school clubs. In 2018, Corbett Prep expanded the lab’s reach and renamed it to honor an alumni family, the Tomlins. Part construction zone, part technology hub, the App Lab continued to grow and needed a facility that could accommodate more students and more projects.

The Tomlin family, whose three children graduated from Independent Day School/Corbett Prep in the 2000s, cut the ribbon to officially open the new facility on Aug. 5, 2021.

"The Tomlin Family Application Lab establishes a brain-friendly and globally minded setting for students to become empowered as learners." 

Mike Johnson, Associate Head of school