Mentor High-Achieving Diverse Teens With the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy

One group’s project involved documenting ways that schools and community organizations in the city retain and use rainwater.

IIT community members are encouraged to share the below invitation with any personal and professional Chicago-area contacts who may be interested in helping high-achieving, diverse high school students make a positive impact on their communities.

We invite you to dedicate five hours a month to mentor high-achieving diverse teens as they strive to positively impact their communities. We welcome young, mid-career, and seasoned professionals alike to apply for this opportunity.

The IIT Boeing Scholars Academy is a free, year-round academic enrichment program that inspires high-achieving diverse Chicago high school students to pursue and become leaders in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). As part of our program, teams of scholars propose leadership grant projects to promote positive change in their communities and awareness of STEM fields and issues. Projects developed last year involved starting school-based recycling programs; documenting ways that local organizations retain and use rainwater; mobilizing high-achieving peers to tutor or lead hands-on science projects with youth; and celebrating STEM professionals from underrepresented groups.

To support our scholars in this work, we recruit a talented and dedicated cadre of project mentors—adult professionals who volunteer to help a group develop and implement their leadership grant project over the course of 10 months (July 2012-April 2013). At minimum, project mentors should have a bachelor’s degree and two years of professional work experience, ideally including project management and public speaking. Experience in mentoring or otherwise supervising high school students is a plus.

Each project mentor is expected to volunteer an average of five hours per month, typically meeting with their group in person once each month (at a program-sponsored workshop or independently at a library or café) and remaining an occasional resource between meetings (via email, phone, and/or social media). Project mentors help their group identify objectives, create a budget and a project plan, mediate conflicts, and find outside resources. Throughout these interactions, project mentors draw upon their own experiences to play an invaluable part in fostering and inspiring scholars’ continued intellectual, academic, and personal progress and growth.

For more information, please see our website. Contact Connie Ma, Program Coordinator, at or 312.567.3005, with any questions or to set up an opportunity for us to present to your colleagues about this opportunity. Feel free to aid us in our outreach by sharing this information within your networks.

Your mentorship and guidance helps these young scholars develop as leaders and make a positive impact. Please consider joining us in this work!

The IIT Boeing Scholars Academy is a free, year-round academic enrichment program that enables access and exposure to STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)—as well as architecture, business, and psychology—for up to 100 high-achieving rising juniors and seniors per year from Chicago-area high schools. The academy, which is non-residential, takes place on IIT’s Main Campus, and provides four weeks of intensive, project-based summer programming; periodic workshops, seminars, and field trips during the school year; college and career advising; and leadership skills training and student grant competitions. Of the 100 students who will participate in the 2012-13 program, approximately 85% attend a Chicago Public School, 70% are from a population underrepresented in STEM fields, 50% are female, and 45% will be the first in their family to attend college. Founded in 2011, the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy is generously supported by a grant from the Boeing Company.