Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Hands on/Project-Based
Informal /Out of School
Work Readiness/Employment

Target Audience

All Students


Teachers/Educational Leaders




Pre-K - 5
Grades 6 - 8
Grades 9 - 12

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

Iridescent has engaged 21,000 children and parents in open-ended engineering design challenges. Evaluations show that the program boosts children's interest in challenging STEM activities, prompts parents to do more hands-on science with their children, and helps more parents believe their children could have a career in science or engineering.


Program Overview

Iridescent leverages two untapped resources, engineers and parents, to address the STEM achievement gap. Our engineers receive training to work with the same families year after year to help parents become successful participants, investors and leaders of the Family Science Program.

Iridescent's mission is to inspire and support children from underrepresented communities to become problem solvers, creators, engineers, scientists, and inventors. Our goal is to lift communities out of generational poverty by increasing access to technical careers.

We leverage technology and parent networks to achieve the necessary intensity and dosage of support. Our approach has three aspects:

  • Highly engaging, in-person, project-based program that inspires, wows and hooks the students and families.
  • Educating and empowering parents to develop strong cross-linkages within their networks to help them run hands-on science projects in their homes with a smaller group of families. 
  • Engaging, scaffolded online video curriculum and online community that supports self-directed exploration at home.

Engineers as Teachers: Engineers and technology professionals go through a science and technology communication training program through which they learn to communicate their passion to children.

Family Science Courses: Engineering professionals lead open-ended, hands-on, engineering-design courses with children and their parents.

Technovation Challenge: A project-based program combining computer science and entrepreneurship for high school girls and women professionals in technology.

How To Get Involved

Iridescent needs support to realize its bold vision to develop one of the world's largest collections of excellent, unique, open-ended,and cutting-edge engineering design challenges. What's more, it aims to bring this world-class curriculum to the neediest communities across the globe. In addition, Iridescent gives STEM professionals unparalleled opportunities to volunteer as teachers, mentors, or even consultants in fields such as software development or analytics.

Funders and Partners

Office of Naval Research
National Science Foundation
Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation
Leonetti/Oâ€(TM)Connell Family Foundation
Google RISE
University of Southern California
New York Community Trust/Hive


Tara Chklovski, CEO & Founder

Visit Website

Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.