STEM to STEAM – The “A” is for Acting

Irondale’s STEM to STEAM program uses the skills of theatrical improvisation to help science researcher students learn to become better presenters. Students learn to understand and engage their audiences, craft the story of their research, and use their voices and bodies to create truly compelling presentations.

Improvisation is one of the essential tools of Irondale’s approach to theatre and has become a hallmark of the company’s education programs. Through it, students in STEM to STEAM workshops learn how to demonstrate what they know and how they know it, and are being prepared not only for formal, program-based presentations, but to present themselves and all of their work and interests eloquently and compellingly in the world.

This wide-reaching program was born out of a collaboration with a middle school robotics team and is taught by some of New York’s finest Teaching Artists.

Just released!

STEM to STEAM White Paper: click here to view

Photo Credit: Eileen Barroso

“We have seen Irondale teaching artists help teens in science research programs become more comfortable public speakers and better explainers of their science research. The skills they learn – improved stage presence and increased confidence and focus – are transferable to whatever career paths they end up pursuing.”

-The Pinkerton Foundation

What they Say

“During the Irondale workshops, I learned important technical aspects of presenting, such as planting one’s feet, speaking loudly and clearly, and engaging the audience. I’m sorry, I can’t think of any way to improve the program. It was already pretty nice”.


"Irondale really helped me to become more comfortable in front of everyone and to relax when giving a presentation and be relatable/personal so as to engage the audience."

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance Student

"I found myself noticing my body language more than normal. Many of the games we play require us to have our body open and ready to receive an impulse. While presenting I started to cross my legs and my arms, lean more on one leg, avoid eye contact. After this summer, I am able to detect when my body language is more closed off and fix it."

Woodland Ecology Research Mentorship Student

“Irondale got our some of our quietest students to really break out of their comfort zones and express themselves! It was so great for us to see the transformation of the student from the beginning of a session to the end. I think the work Irondale did with them really supported the student’s growth this summer.”

Genspace Program Administrator

“I particularly enjoyed the theater games that we played. It taught me that it is okay to stand out. During the upcoming school year, I plan on being a more active member in group discussions in my classes.”


"During my presentation I was able to convey my ideas clearly to other colleagues and mentors. The games helped me build my focus and memory because when you are presenting there are many others presenting as well, therefore you must remain focused."

Columbia University BRAINYAC Student

Photo Credit: Eileen Barroso

Our current STEAM partners include NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Wave Hill, Rockefeller University, Mount Sinai’s Center for Excellence in Youth Education, CUNY’s Remote Sensing of the Earth Science and Technology Institute, DNA Learning Center of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, American Museum of Natural History, Columbia University’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, City College of New York, Hypothekids, Genspace, Baruch College, and Brooklyn College. Through these partnerships, we are currently reaching over 600 students annually. Many of our partner programs are members of the NYC Science Research and Mentoring Consortium.

Read more about Irondale’s STEM to STEAM work at and NYU’s STEM Education Blog.

If you are interested in setting up STEM to STEAM workshops for a program or group, please contact

Support for this program is generously provided by The Pinkerton Foundation and Con Edison.

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