There’s nothing like hands-on learning. We provide ways for highly motivated, high-potential young adults to explore a career field of interest and start applying their knowledge in an intellectually limitless and nurturing environment.
Externships Providing Leadership Opportunities in Research and Education (EXPLORE) Program matches high-potential and gifted high school students with distinguished mentors, hands-on research opportunities, and professional experience in their field of interest. With the support and guidance of volunteer mentors and IEA staff, students learn about working in a variety of professional settings and advance their skills through the pursuit of knowledge and exposure to optimally challenging learning experiences. Students not only experience growth intellectually and personally, but are able to make pertinent and lasting connections with their mentors and like-minded peers.
The Life of an IEA EXPLORE Extern
Before students begin their work experience, they will participate in a mandatory 2-day Professional Development Orientation with the goal of connecting students with a community of like-minded peers and helping them prepare for their placement. They will then work collaboratively with their Mentors’ teams during the workday, Monday through Thursday, for 3 to 6 weeks during the summer. Every Friday, students attend skill building workshops and educational excursions with their cohort so they can continue to build a bond with their peers and strengthen the skills they need to be successful at their externship and beyond. At the end of their externship, students participate in an in-person debrief session with IEA staff and a culmination ceremony where they will reflect on their experiences and present what they learned while working at their site.
IEA Externs will:
- Perform advanced research and apply their knowledge and talents to real-world problems.
- Immerse themselves in challenging and intensive learning experiences by working alongside leaders and experts in their particular field of study at some of the nation’s leading universities, research facilities, corporations and non-profit organizations.
- Learn in intellectually stimulating environments where they are challenged to discover their talents and are motivated to pursue their full potential.
- Develop leadership, interpersonal, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving skills that will translate to any career and area of study.
- Expand their horizons through hands-on work with preeminent professionals in their fields.
- Focus their personal vision and aspire to greater individual achievement.
Benefits You Can See
Here is how IEA’s EXPLORE Program is unique:
Optimal match: Each externship is custom-matched for each student to create an ideal learning experience. Distinguished leaders in varying professions are selected as Mentors based on the needs and interests of gifted and high-potential students.
Beyond academics: The program enables students to spend the summer immersed in advanced research, hands-on activities, and intellectual work.
Collaborative professional skills: Students are provided with opportunities for social interaction and teamwork within unique and nurturing work space cultures.
Safe place to grow: Guidance from volunteer Mentors, support from IEA staff, and collaboration with like-minded peers help foster students’ social and emotional development.
Expand Networks, Build Lasting Connections
Through the EXPLORE program, students will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience and build a strong support system that can last a lifetime.
Students develop positive, and often life-changing, relationships with Mentors and a diverse cohort of other highly motivated, high-achieving and creative people. Students work either one-on-one or in small groups with a team of professionals, creating personal connections through a cross-generational experience and in a collaborative environment. Our hope is for our students to build and maintain relationships with their Mentors long after the program is completed.
Our students forge bonds with their peers who share their drive, abilities, and interests. Students come from a wide range of high schools and have interests in a variety of fields, creating a diverse and unique community in which highly motivated students are encouraged to exchange ideas.
Students also develop positive relationships with IEA staff members. They not only work to place each student at the most optimally matched site, but also provide ongoing support throughout the duration of the program.