Rothberg Catalyzer

Promoting confidence, problem-solving, and creativity through Coding, Engineering, Robotics, and Biotechnology

Through the generosity of the Rothberg Catalyzer program, The Country School offers coding, engineering, and robotics across all grade levels to enhance our well-established, integrated STEAM curricular offerings. Students learn programming languages such as Scratch, Snap, and Python while using technology like Sphero, Lego WeDo, drones, Lego EV3, Makey-Makeys, and Birdbrain Hummingbirds. This, along with our inspired, creative teaching, involved school community, and Mission-based commitment to honoring our students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity, make a Country School educational experience unparalleled.

- Stephanie Johnson, Science Teacher and award-winning Robotics Coach

The Country School gratefully accepted a $50,000 gift from Drs. Jonathan and Bonnie Rothberg to encourage the growth of coding, engineering, and robotics in students from as young as three through 8th Grade. Jonathan Rothberg, Ph.D., is a scientist and entrepreneur who invented high-speed, “Next-Gen” DNA sequencing, a National Medal of Technology and Innovation awardee, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Bonnie Gould Rothberg, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., is an Oncology Hospitalist in the Oncology Extended Care Clinic at the Smilow Cancer Hospital and earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Cancer Epidemiology. The vision for their gift, according to Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, is to “focus on programming and robotics that will prepare students to lead in a technology-driven future.”

The Country School, a national leader in STEAM education, is proud to join Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Choate Rosemary Hall, where the Rothberg Catalyzer is already established. As parents of Country School children (Noah ’13, Elana ’15, Gabby ’23, Jacob ’25), Drs. Rothberg confidently presented their gift to educators committed to delivering cutting-edge curricula.

Their donation is a natural extension of the STEAM work that began here in 2011. Already, PreSchool through 8th Grade students participate in coding, engineering, and robotics as a part of their advanced coursework, extracurricular clubs, or summer enrichment experiences.The gift will allow these programs to flourish and become more comprehensive to inspire other schools.

It will also support the work of Country School teachers, who have been shaping our STEAM curriculum and sharing their learning with the broader public since the program was introduced on campus nearly a decade ago. Recently, Stephanie Johnson, a longtime Country science and STEAM teacher and robotics coach, was recognized for her leadership in the STEAM and robotics fields. This winter, she was named a finalist in the Connecticut Technology Council's Women of Innovation award for her work to advance STEAM learning (learn more). Last fall, she was named Best Mentor at the regional First Lego League Robotics tournament, where the Wise Guys Owls, one of two Country School robotics teams, qualified once again for the state championships.

Coding, Engineering, Robotics, & Biotech