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Improvisation for Scientists

Improvisation for Scientists

Friday, December 16, 2011

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by Science Alliance


This innovative program, pioneered by Alan Alda, uses improvisational theater games to help you improve your public speaking skills. You will learn to speak more spontaneously, connect more directly and be more responsive to your audience. Workshops in improvisation have been held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University’s Medical Center, UCLA and are now being requested across the country. Reports from graduate students say the workshops helped them in teaching, defending a thesis, and simply explaining their research to people outside their fields. A few rave reviews:

"It was as if the three-hour improv session finally, after many years, broke something in my brain loose. I gave the best presentation I have ever given and felt very 'present' and in control as I gave it."
William Gordon III
President and CEO, Tetragenetics Inc.

"The scientists spoke in a much more audience-focused way. You really felt after these exercises like they were talking to you, and it made a huge difference."
Jeanne D’Ascoli
Manager of Community Relations, Brookhaven National Laboratory

This workshop will be offered twice on December 16 to accommodate more participants:

Afternoon: 12:30 pm–3:30 pm
Evening: 5:00 pm–8:00 pm - Evening session full, registration closed.

Registrants must choose one session during registration.


Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, MFA

Stony Brook University

Steve Marsh

Stony Brook University

Registration Pricing

Student / Postdoc / Fellow Member$25
Student / Postdoc / Fellow Nonmember$35


Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, MFA

Stony Brook University

Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, MFA, is a Lecturer in the School of Journalism. She serves as the Center for Communicating Science workshop coordinator and teaches improvisation in workshops and credit-bearing courses. She has been a theater professional for the past 25 years as an actor, director and playwright. At Stony Brook University, she has directed, taught acting at all levels and served as both the the director of acting and undergraduate acting advisor for the Department of Theatre Arts. She has led Improvisation for Scientists workshops at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stony Brook. Val also serves as the artistic director of Asylum Theatre Company, is a professional headshot photographer and video editor, and founded a summer camp in theatre arts for teenagers. Her recent adaptation and production of The Tempest was chosen as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages Festival.

Steve Marsh

Stony Brook University

Steve Marsh is the graduate program director for Dramaturgy and Theatre at Stony Brook University’s Department of Theatre Arts. He also works in the School of Journalism’s Center for Communicating Science teaching improvisation to scientists. Steve recently directed Brecht’s Galileo for the dedication of the Simon’s Center for Physics and Geometry where he will perform in QED by Peter Parnell in the spring.

Steve will also act in Ibsen’s Ghosts in March of 2012. He is a founding member of Asylum Theatre Company on Long Island. Steve has taught workshops for the CCS at Brookhaven National Lab, Cold Spring Harbor Labs, UCLA, at the Stony Brook Summer institute and for Pop Tech.

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