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 also grow intellectually through collaborative discussions and work with like-minded peers, college-level students, and professionals.
• What highly gifted students need most are good mentors to serve as guides as they navigate complex subject matter. (1)
• Mentorships are particularly effective in guiding the development of gifted young people through difficult formative years. (2)
• Through mentoring relationships, gifted students are able to mature, explore future careers and successes, apply classroom knowledge, and gain role models (3)
• Mentoring experiences help remove the barriers to advanced learning that schools can sometimes create.
(1) Fischer, Christian. Scientific American, Gifted Children: How to Bring Out Their Potential, September, 2008, http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=coaching-the-gifted-child,
(2) Gallagher, J.J. Teaching the gifted child. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1985
(3)Berger, Sandra L. Mentor Relationships and Gifted Learners. Reston, VA: ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children, 1990.
Imagine having an impact on young people who are just starting to explore the career and educational path you have already traveled.
You can make a difference by:
• Providing a forum for them to apply and strengthen their knowledge and skills in an area of study
• Increasing their understanding of the field
• Nurturing their passion for a specific subject
• Sharing your time and expertise
• Fostering their development of interpersonal, leadership, and creative problem-solving skills
Past mentors report the following professional and personal benefits from working with EXPLORE Externs:
• Helping young people gain real-world experience in the field
• Viewing the research or project from a fresh perspective
• Potential contributions to and assistance with one’s work
• Fostering personal teaching skills
• Staying in touch with new aspects of the field
• Having an opportunity to interact with bright high school students which provided perspective on personal experience
• Fulfilling a requirement for obtaining government funding by conducting educational outreach
Applicants submit a portfolio-based application which includes a letter of recommendation, essays, sample work, academic transcripts, standardized test scores, a professional resume, and rankings for their top 3 career fields of interest. Applicants also go through an interview with IEA staff.
• Commit to working with a student for 3 to 6 weeks over the summer (for 5 to 8 hours, Monday through Thursday)
• Design a hands-on project(s) or research work for the student which can be completed (or on which visible progress can be made) by the end of the program
• Provide support and constructive feedback on student’s performance and project development
• Openly communicate with the Program Coordinator regarding a student’s successes and challenges
Qualified Mentors for EXPLORE are:
• Passionate about continuous learning and self-development
• Interested in engaging and working with advanced and gifted youth
• Willing to actively participate and commit to fulfilling mentor responsibilities for the entire duration of the program
“IT PROVIDES STUDENTS WITH A VERY IMPORTANT EXPERIENCE OF WHAT AN EDUCATION OR CAREER MIGHT BE LIKE IN THE FUTURE. IT’S DEFINITELY A CRUCIAL OPPORTUNITY FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.”
-Mentor 2018, Southern California Institute of Architecture
“I really enjoyed seeing a young, hopeful, intelligent and hard-working student. It made me believe that our future is in good hands and minds!”
– Mentor 2017, UCLA
“STUDENTS BRING A FRESH PERSPECTIVE AND THEIR WORK BENEFITS OUR RESEARCH PROJECTS. THIS YEAR, I FOUND THE STUDENTS VERY PRODUCTIVE AND ENGAGED”
– Mentor 2016, USC
A gifted mind that is fed and fostered can achieve great things. By funding the IEA EXPLORE program, you will not only change a life, you might also spark a discovery that changes the world.
Hosting an Extern: Share your professional expertise, time, and support through direct mentorship.
Sponsoring an Extern: Help ensure that no child is ever turned away due to lack of funds. We’ll match you with an IEA Extern and keep you posted on his or her progress and the results of their efforts.
Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
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Burlingame, CA 94010