What is The Junior Academy?
The Junior Academy is a virtual community of problem solvers made up of talented students aged 13–18 and STEM experts dedicated to designing innovative solutions to global challenges. With support from graduate students, postdocs, and professionals working in STEM fields, Junior Academy members compete in innovation challenges sponsored by industry-leading companies. Through Launchpad, an online collaboration platform, students develop advanced research and innovation skills with best-in-class learning resources, and apply those skills during 10-week challenge periods.
STEM experts can engage with The Junior Academy community in a number of ways.
Ten-week challenges begin in October and February, and are preceded by four-week bootcamps. Bootcamps provide opportunities for students to build relevant skills in advance of a challenge. During this time, STEM experts may choose to help lead learning activities, including lectures on challenge-related topics, lessons on research methods and design thinking, and team-building exercises.
During challenge periods, STEM experts can choose to engage in two ways. First, experts can become mentors by working with one or more teams for the duration of the challenge, guiding them through the process, and providing in-depth feedback and individualized support. Second, experts can make themselves available to all challenge participants by answering questions and providing expert feedback upon request.
The next challenge will begin in October.
What are the goals of the program?
- Excite and inspire exceptional students to pursue STEM careers by showcasing real-world applications
- Connect STEM-interested students with a network of peers and professional role models around the world
What are the qualifications for becoming a mentor?
Qualified mentors for The Junior Academy are:
- Graduate students, postdocs, or professionals working in a STEM-related field
- Able to access at least one communication device with internet capabilities
- Passionate about engaging and inspiring the next generation of STEM innovators
- Able to communicate clearly in spoken and written English
- Experienced in conducting original scientific research (preferred but not required)
How are students selected?
Student participants are referred to The Junior Academy through a network of educational and nonprofit organizations around the world, and can apply directly at www.thejunioracademy.org.
How much time is involved?
All experts accepted to the program will be asked to complete a 1–2 hour training.
Once a challenge begin, experts should generally expect to spend 1–2 hours per week answering student questions and providing input on student projects. The timing of this is flexible based on your schedule.
Experts who choose to mentor a team should expect to dedicate up to 4 hours per week during the challenge period. The scheduling of this may be less flexible depending on the availability of your team.
Throughout the year, we may ask experts to participate in focus groups and surveys. These are optional, and can range from a few minutes to a couple of hours. All mentors are required to attend a final debrief session at the end of a challenge.
Application Process and Program Participation
- Submit application (reviewed throughout the year)
- Conduct interviews & background checks
- Complete program training and onboarding
- Participate in bootcamps (starting in September or January)
- Participate in challenges (starting in October or February)
If you have questions concerning the Global STEM Alliance or The Junior Academy, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org