Flagship Programs

Robotics at St. Stephen's
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The Dr. Helen Pope Lyceum

Endowed through a transformational gift from Christina and Jeff Sagansky (Summer Sagansky, Class of 2012).

The Pope Lyceum exploits the School’s location in the historic heart of Rome in a variety of new and exciting ways - increasing and enriching our classics courses in the curriculum, harnessing unique opportunities to collaborate with prestigious institutions, taking advantage of the unprecedented access that the Classics Department has cultivated over a number of years with internationally renowned scholars, and establishing a Resident Scholar program to serve all sectors of the community.

Statue of Seneca, Roman philosopher (4BC - 65AD)

"That is never too often repeated, which is never sufficiently learned."


The 2016-2017 academic year saw the establishment of a new Institute of Roman Culture, the St. Stephen’s Lyceum, which exploits the School’s location in a variety of new and exciting ways - increasing and enriching our classics courses in the curriculum, harnessing unique opportunities to collaborate with prestigious institutions, taking advantage of unprecedented access that the Classics Department has cultivated over a number of years with internationally renowned scholars, and establishing a Resident Scholar program to serve all sectors of the community.

Classical Greek is once again being offered in the curriculum, as well as an SL IB course in Classical Greek & Roman Studies. More day and weekend field trips have been incorporated to deepen the classroom studies. Latin poets are studied in situ, at the Villa Vergiliana (Cumae), Horace’s Villa (Licenza), Sulmona (birthplace of Ovid). The Roman architecture unit of the new CGRS course has been enriched by an intensive study weekend at Pompeii, a full day (or more) at Ostia, and regular field trips within Rome.

The Lyceum has consolidated the Department’s academic collaboration with the American University of Rome, the American Academy in Rome, and the British School of Rome, as well as other institutes, while our exciting Scholar in Residence program provides students with unique access to distinguished scholars, who teach classes and give lectures. These professionals are also available to the wider community offering short courses, lectures and tours.

Our dynamic, ‘hands-on’ Enhanced Classics program is fully consistent with the School’s mission, which states, “St. Stephen’s draws on the strengths of both American and European education traditions to give our students a deeper understanding of the world grounded in western culture...” And in a world where global citizenship is a major focus, the study of Classics offers valuable paradigms for cultural diversity and internationalism. Our program will build on the past and unite with this new world of technology and globalization, giving students a solid cultural knowledge and experience and providing them with the tools they need to understand and to compete, communicate and thrive in a fast-paced, ever-changing, multi-cultural world.

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The Mary Lynn and Fred H. Gage

Molecular Biology Program 

Over the last twenty years, recombinant DNA, gene expression and genetic engineering technologies have become vital to enhancing our understanding of pathologies, providing a fundamental basis for enhanced scientific research. These advances have led to revolutionary treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses, and have also created improvements in healthcare, biotechnology, food, pharmaceutical and leisure industries.

Established in 2018, through a generous gift from Mary Lynn and Fred H. (Rusty) Gage (Class of 1968), the Gage Molecular Biology program exposes biology students to university-level research and hands-on experience with sophisticated equipment that develops inquiry-based lab skills. 

The program is run in collaboration with Adama Scienza, an independent didactic organization that is part of the European Molecular Biology Labs, Europe’s flagship laboratory for Life Sciences.

The aim of this collaboration is to:

  • boost students’ ability to plan, analyze, interpret and synthesize scientific observations
  • promote students’ individual and/or collective learning strategies
  • empower teachers and students with methodological and experimental skills on higher profile biotechnology topics
  • expand and deepen scientific literacy and competencies

The Project


Through this partnership, students will clone a fragment of DNA into a vector to create a recombinant DNA plasmid. They will transform bacteria with this plasmid and analyze the result using PCR or the polymerase chain reaction.


The recombinant bacteria will glow green under UV light.



St. Stephen's Innovation Hub

Digital literacy encompasses both our understanding of how the digital world works as well as learning these new literacies and becoming fluent in the languages and functions of the electronic world.

At St. Stephen’s, the Innovation Lab or iLab provides community members the opportunity to explore new technologies and equipment as consumers, but most importantly allows them to become creators and thus improving their digital literacy.

Since 2013, the iLab has grown quickly. Currently, students can learn to design, program, build and compete in robotics using EV3 Lego Mindstorm or Tetrix Java-based robots. Artists use Wacom tablets to design in 2D and digitally cut paper, vinyl, cardboard, cloth, leather, balsa wood or foam core to assemble various products and models.  3D design is explored via Google Sketchup, AutoDesk’s Fusion 360 or Inventor programs, as well as Unity, widely used for creating animations and augmented and virtual reality.

The iLab also houses several 3D printers and a small vacuum press for prototyping and mold making. Students can learn to create and program a myriad of problem-solving devices using Arduino, and a variety of drones, photographic and video equipment, and small robots such as Sphero are available to explore and program.  

Through the iLab’s HTC Vive and portable Oculus Go virtual reality equipment, community members can explore virtual reality experiences and learn to make their own Virtual and Augmented Reality applications using iLab programs and specialized cameras. With Cozmo programmable robots, IBM Watson to construct chatbots, and Google’s BigQuery for large-set data analysis, students will begin to learn about creating and using Artificial Intelligence.

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The bi-annual School-wide trip program at St. Stephen’s is an integral part of the curriculum which inspires cultural awareness and stimulates deeper intellectual growth. This fifty-five-year old tradition is a rich complement to a student’s educational experience and encourages each student to discover and participate in the world around them. The first excursion, the cost of which is included in tuition, is a three-day trip in-country to nearby regions. The second trip is for a full week in early March and offers ample opportunity to our adventurous trip leaders to design tours where the nether regions of the former Roman Empire and other countries are explored.

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Service Learning

Service is a fundamental part of school life and a core element of the IB program. Service learning combines community service with teaching and reflection to enrich students' learning experience, while encouraging civic awareness. At St. Stephen’s, service learning takes students to various locations throughout Italy, and to Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The program emphasizes:

  • the practical applications of students’ studies;
  • how to address the complexities of the modern world constructively;
  • a greater understanding of the importance of values and the need for culture and community;
  • an interest in students to be responsible and contributing members of the larger world community, as well as understand their role in it.

We currently offer summer service-learning activities in Rome, Senegal and Sri Lanka. Students who participate in the programs spend part of the summer teaching subjects such as English and math to children at local schools and orphanages and working within the community. It is important that students understand what their contribution can bring to a project and more specifically, to the lives of others.

Learning beyond the classroom also requires students to be involved in community-based fundraising for annual service trips, as well as local service activities, which include school-based events that raise awareness of global issues and promote cultural understanding.