WHO WE ARE
How did we start?
The Art in Science - a unique STEAM enrichment program was developed by Dr. Orna Kretchmer - a scientist and artist from the San Francisco Bay Area to instill love of science in young kids (ages 4-14) via an innovative curriculum. In this unique program, the kids learn various science topics with hands on activities that turn into interesting artworks pleasing to the eye and intriguing to the mind.
What is STEAM?
STEAM is an education approach that groups together several academic disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.
"The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts" - Aristotle
The powerful combination of STEAM is more than just learning the various academic concepts. The STEAM approach focuses on hands-on learning with real-world applications that helps develop a variety of skills like critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, creativity, and more. In addition, studies showed that the integration of art stimulates deep learning, and increases student engagement.
Studies show that exposing children to STEAM at a young age supports their overall academic growth and develops early thinking and reasoning skills. The real-life skills that children develop when learning STEAM help make them better problem solvers and set the foundation for better learning in all subjects including core literacy and comprehension skills. Even children whom their primary language is not English can benefit from STEAM education as they can participate in scientific explorations that do not demand a broad vocabulary.
The ability to think critically is the basis of innovation. It was shown that children’s chances of becoming inventors vary sharply with characteristics at birth, such as their race, gender, and parents’ socioeconomic class. Children from high-income families are ten times as likely to become inventors as those from below-median income families. These gaps persist even among children with similar math test scores in early childhood – which are highly predictive of innovation rates – suggesting that the gaps may be driven by differences in environment rather than abilities to innovate. In addition, exposure to innovation during childhood has significant causal effects on children’s propensities to invent (Bell et al 2018)
STEAM education will prepare children to be our future innovators and inventors but not just. The innovation mindset gives the kids an openness to adapt that will help them in the classroom and provide them the necessary tools to tackle the challenges of their future workplace by giving them the confidence and skills to continue to adapt.
Education in general, and STEAM in particular, is the gateway to children’s futures. Unfortunately, for some, this gateway is not accessible or inclusive, it does not meet their needs, and can have a long term negative impact on their future.
Providing equitable access to STEAM enrichment programs allows every student to receive the positive benefits and opportunities made available through STEAM.
Young STEAMers offers a unique STEAM enrichment program. It includes a variety of activities, events, and engagements with STEAM outside the curriculum and the traditional classroom setting. Our dream is to bring this program to every young child from at-risk, underserved, and underprivileged families. Our passionate instructors not only teach but are also role models that help kids realize their dreams and maximize their potential.
EMPOWER EDUCATE INSPIRE
Our Leadership Team
Dr. Orna Kretchmer PhD
Experienced scientist and educator with a demonstrated history of working in science educational curriculum development.
Holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biology, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, followed by post-doctorate research at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, conducting Bioinformatics research
Developed The Art In Science in 2010. Founded Young STEAM in 2022.
Before arriving at Young STEAMers, Shalini had a diverse career spanning over 20 years in project management and software engineering. She co-founded an online tutoring platform for K-12 students. Shalini holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Manipal University in India. She strongly believes that giving children a strong foundation will instill in them a love of learning will help them grow in the classroom and beyond.
Our Board of Directors
Dr. Christina Smith Melnarik PhD
Experienced project and content manager, fulfilling a variety of engineering, marketing, training development and management roles at Silicon Valley firms. Holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, a master’s degree in Engineering Management, and a Ph.D. in Applied Management. As a mom of two, became active in childhood education and development organizations.
Dr. Irene S. Landaw MD
Dr. Landaw studied Visual Arts at the High School of Music and Art in NYC. She received a BA in Biology at the State University of NY, and her MD at Columbia University, where she worked on set and program designs for musical theater productions. After Residency and Fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, she practiced Pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente in Fremont for 28 years. In retirement she serves on the Physician Well-Being Committee for the County Medical Society, trains Health Professionals in communication about HPV Vaccines for the American Cancer Society, gardens, & does beadwork.
Lilly Shrager is a veteran in the tech industry. She began her career as an engineer in electro optics in Israel and later transitioned into software development in multiple companies in Silicon Valley. She also served as a science and technology educator at the high school and collegiate levels.
Lilly holds a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technion in Israel, completed graduate-level coursework in Biomedical Engineering, and holds a state-level teaching credential, also from Israel, while raising her three children.
Dr. Talila Golan PhD
Scientist, naturalist educator. Holds a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and postdoctoral research in Plant Science at UC Berkeley. Since 2014 owns and operates a business as a naturalist, hiking and California nature-experience camping trips for children and adults.
Meet a Few of Our Passionate Instructors:
Leland is studying for his Kinesiology degree and always found science intriguing. He aspire to become a student athlete in the near future with hopes to play professionally.
"Teaching at Young STEAMer hardly feels like a job. Teaching science to these kids brings light to my week, and I absolutely love seeing these kids learn and retain previous lessons".
Tristyn is studying Human Biology and Art Practice at Stanford University. She is passionate about learning equity for all students, and aims to help students learn by becoming invested in their individual learning needs and goals. Drawing from previous tutoring experience with students with learning disabilities, Tristyn understands that everyone learns differently and has their own journey in education.
Tristyn has helped develop arts programming for students at the East Palo Alto arts center, and loves to work on personal projects like sewing and jewelry making. Tristyn has a long history with community organizing, which is part of why she is pursuing a career in the health industry to try and help bridge existing gaps in care for marginalized groups of people in the United States.
She enjoys working with others through both volunteering and tutoring.
In her free time, Tristyn enjoys beach trips, long walks in nature, going to concerts, and enjoying time with loved ones.
Marcos is currently studying at San Jose State University pursuing a degree in Engineering Technology and a minor in Business. He is looking to lead the manufacturing field into a more sustainable future. He has gained some experience in the medical devices manufacturing field through an internship he had just finished. Marcos has a passion for teaching and mentoring. He has been a part of a mentorship program for his old high school in the Central Valley and spent time tutoring as well. He hopes to teach later on in his life after he works in the engineering field. Marcos is very excited to be a part of Young STEAMers as he believes in its mission and values to help give everyone equal opportunities at education.
Becky is a sophomore in college studying to become a nurse. She is passionate about learning, teaching, and meeting new people. Becky loves to work with kids and appreciates all they have to offer. Growing up, Becky has worked as a swim instructor, a server in two senior living facilities, and a front desk employee at a sports complex. She is also currently volunteering at a hospital helping with basic patient needs and re-stocking of nursing floors. She is excited to join the Young Steamers team and build connections with all the students!