Louis Wells, NJIT
South Orange, NJ
Louis Wells specializes in AI for STEM based learners and educators. He offers keynote speeches on Improvisation in STEM, Listening, and Storytelling.
I had Louis Wells for 3 out of my 5 years at NJIT. When I had first entered into the Theater Program, I initially had him as a professor of Improv in my third year at school. It was evident in that class that this professor was able to connect with student in a way other professor were un-able to, and its because he throws out any assumed structural or hierarchical relationship between teacher and student. He empowers students to generate their own class content, guided by the teacher but driven by each student's unique approach to an activity, exercise or discussion. In this way, he allows student to construct knowledge relevant to them, instead of delivering content to be memorized and regurgitated. - Gretchen Von Koeing
Louis Wells is a storyteller. Originally from St. Louis, MO, Louis traveled to NYC and first discovered improvisation at the New Actors Workshop, founded by Paul Sills, which made such an impression that, upon return, Louis set on to kick off his college’s first improv troupe (Rancid Paint Improv). Louis graduated with a BFA in Theatre from The University of Central Missouri and moved to Austin, TX. There, he became a founding member of The Heroes of Comedy at the Hideout, where he trained and performed for five years. Louis left Austin for New Jersey to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in directing from the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Louis divides his time between directing in the NYC/NJ area, being the Artistic Coordinator of the Rutgers-Newark/NJIT joint theater program, and advocating for improvisation as a tool for innovation and creativity. In this last capacity, he has developed several college improv classes; has also founded I.T. (Improv Technicians), the current improv troupe at NJIT, which has been invited to several festivals; and curates the Newark Improv Festival, now in its fifth year.
Louis is also invested in the use of improvisation techniques for education and is working on tracking improvements on GMAT scores on students who participate on his improv training. He regularly conducts sessions for high school students and has helped local high schools set up their own programs.
As part of his work around improvisation, Louis has led workshops with faculty, coaches, staff, and STEM students using improvisational techniques. In 2018, Louis co-authored, “The Freedom to be Heard: How the Language and Labor of Improv Can Transform the Writing Classroom,” at The Conference on College Composition and Communication. For his work bringing applied improvisation to the campus, he was given an Innovation in Teaching award.
His latest project involves creating and developing a research center for applied improvisation, for which he has received a grant.