Inspiring High-Achieving Chicago-Area Teens to Lead and Serve through STEM and to Pursue Higher Education
In today’s rapidly changing world, science, engineering, technology, and critical issues related to our global environment are evolving at a dramatic pace. Yet the worldwide demand for college graduates prepared for careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is not being met. This is especially true in the United States, where many of our most promising youth do not pursue opportunities in these areas. One of the most important national resources in the 21st Century and beyond will be talent: smart, sophisticated young people who are technologically literate, globally astute, and operationally agile; who both understand the complexity of the greatest challenges facing our global society and have technical expertise in specialized areas; and who possess the abilities to collaborate, innovate, and lead.
The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Boeing Scholars Academy is a FREE, TWO-YEAR academic enrichment program that inspires high-achieving Chicago-area high school students to make a difference in their communities through STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and to pursue higher education.
We do this by offering:
- four weeks of intensive, project-based STEM programming each summer—in 2012, themed “Local Action, Broader Impact”
- workshops, field trips, and career exploration opportunities during the school year
- guidance and support in developing leadership projects (junior year only)
- college advising and application assistance (senior year only)
We admit students during their sophomore year for participation during their junior and senior years (enrolled Scholars make a two-year commitment to the program). We serve 100 total juniors and seniors at a time.
Founded in 2011, the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy is generously supported by a grant from the Boeing Company.
Learn about becoming a Scholar with our 2013-15 program brochure. (Recommended for prospective Scholars and parents/guardians, as well as teachers, counselors, and others who work closely with students.)
Learn about our current Scholars and their accomplishments with our 2012-13 program profile. (Recommended for representatives of colleges, high schools, and other organizations.)
What We Offer
IIT Boeing Scholars gain valuable exposure to STEM majors and careers as well as guidance along the path to college, through participation in the following components of the annual program:
4-Week Summer Session (Non-Residential)
in 2013, weekdays Monday, July 1-Friday, July 26, 9am-4pm
All 100 juniors and seniors come together to engage in a variety of hands-on group projects, lectures, labs, and field trips oriented toward an interdisciplinary theme, like “Local Action, Broader Impact” (2012) or “Cities of the Future” (2011).
Scholars investigate STEM problems in a social context, and are asked to consider both quantitative and qualitative factors when proposing solutions. Past projects have addressed such diverse topics as food deserts, mercury emissions, diabetes treatment, renewable energy, natural disaster response, sustainable land use, and the role of science in policy-making.
Through projects and dedicated workshops, Scholars develop essential problem-solving, communication, team-building, and leadership skills.
Academic-Year Session (August-May)
Scholars continue their involvement throughout the academic year by attending at least three program events (e.g., workshops, field trips, job shadows) each semester. In addition:
- Juniors collaborate in teams to develop and implement Leadership Grant Projects (LGPs) of their own design. Guided by Project Mentors, Scholars are empowered to create opportunities in their communities through LGPs.
- LGPs developed in 2011-12 involved starting school recycling programs; documenting ways that local organizations use rainwater; mobilizing peers to tutor, teach, and volunteer; and celebrating STEM professionals from minority groups.
- Juniors who demonstrate active engagement throughout the academic year continue on to the senior program.
- Seniors apply to college with support from program staff, participating in essay workshops, mock-interviews, a “live” admissions event with partner organization Chicago Scholars, and more.
- Of Scholars in the Class of 2012, 98% matriculated at a four-year university in fall 2012; the remaining 2% enrolled at two-year institutions with intent to transfer.
Our program places a strong emphasis on fostering community and valuing participants’ voices. We conduct brainstorming sessions and focus groups to ensure that our projects and themes are relevant and exciting to Scholars. By addressing the “so what?” (real-world problems and their significance to teens) before focusing on the “what” (STEM content and skills), we engage Scholars’ existing knowledge, inquiry, and motivation, as well as help them find their way forward (“now what?”) and develop a sense of purpose.
On our end-of-year survey, 98% of Scholars indicated that the program was overall a rewarding experience.
Applicants to the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy should:
- be current sophomores (class of 2015) at Chicago-area high schools
- have demonstrated strong performance (As and Bs) in a college prep curriculum
- be on track to take pre-calculus or higher by senior year
First-generation college students, women, and students from populations underrepresented in STEM fields are especially encouraged to apply.
How to Apply
To be considered for participation in the program, current sophomores must apply by Thursday, February 14, 2013. A complete application to the program includes:
- The program application form and required essay—apply online (preferred) or apply on paper (download and print)
- One official copy of the high school transcript, including fall 2012 grades
- Recommendation Form A (Teacher)
- Recommendation Form B (Adult of applicant’s choice [not a relative])
Prospective Scholars should plan ahead and obtain the transcript and recommendation forms (each in a signed and sealed envelope) prior to the deadline. These materials should be mailed or delivered—in ONE packet—to:
IIT Boeing Scholars Academy
c/o Illinois Institute of Technology
10 W 33rd St
Perlstein Hall 101
Chicago, Illinois 60616
Students selected as finalists will be invited to attend an interview at IIT’s Main Campus.
Juniors in the 2012-13 cohort of IIT Boeing Scholars will be asked to complete a shorter re-application form.
Students who are not yet sophomores but who may be interested in applying in the future, should fill out our online inquiry form.
What We Look For
During the admissions process, we consider each applicant’s academics, personal characteristics, and fit for the program. Questions guiding our evaluation include: Will the student enjoy, excel in, thrive in, and contribute to the program? Will they take advantage of the opportunities we offer and benefit from them? Will they extend the program’s impact and get others involved?
Any student who knows they will be unable to actively participate in the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy’s two-year program is encouraged to visit summer.iit.edu to learn about summer-only programs offered at IIT.
Why Should Students Participate?
Our program provides high-achieving high school students with the valuable opportunity and essential resources to:
- Expand their intellectual and professional options by advancing their knowledge of STEM majors and careers
- Build positive relationships with renowned IIT faculty and students from multiple disciplines, as well as with other outstanding high school students
- Develop and demonstrate their academic excellence, sense of innovation, leadership and teamwork skills, and motivation for success in a college-level learning environment—all of which can strengthen their applications to selective colleges like IIT
- Navigate the college selection, admission, and financial aid processes with guidance from program staff
- Collaborate with Scholars and mentors to create solutions to real problems in the real world
“As a Chicago Public Schools student, I attended a summer program very similar to the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy. During that summer, I met amazing students who inspired me and who have remained lifelong friends. The educational experiences at IIT that summer changed my life forever. New doors were opened and new possibilities were created — ones that I could barely have imagined as a high school student.
Today, I want to encourage you to strongly consider the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy, and I want you to know, on behalf of the entire alumni community, that you will have our support today, tomorrow — forever.”
— Andrea Berry, IIT Trustee and Alumna, Senior Vice President of Broadcast Operations, Fox Network Engineering and Operations, Los Angeles, California
Contact Marya Spont, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.567.5193, or Connie Ma, Program Coordinator, at email@example.com or 312.567.3005.
En español: Tanya Cabrera, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312.567.6943, 312.919.9411.
W języku polskim: Emilia Radkiewicz, email@example.com, 312.567.7984.
中文：Connie Ma, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312.567.3005.
Thank you for your interest in the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy!
About Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)
Illinois Institute of Technology is a national, technological, Ph.D.-granting research university, with world-renowned programs in engineering, architecture, the sciences, humanities, psychology, business, law, and design. Founded in 1940 and tracing its roots back to the 1890s with the foundings of Armour Institute of Technology and Lewis Institute, IIT brings a focused, interdisciplinary approach to education, including the Interprofessional Projects Program. With five campuses throughout the Chicago area and alumni around the world, IIT pairs the educational and cultural experiences of America’s Second City with the small feel of an undergraduate population of just over 2300 and total population of just over 7400.
IIT’s Commitment to Diversity
Illinois Institute of Technology is a community that values and respects its members. We appreciate that our faculty, staff, students, alumni/ae and trustees come from many backgrounds and many parts of the world. We embrace the contributions that differences offer. We are committed to providing a working and learning environment in which all students and all members of the faculty and staff are able to realize their full potential.
Although IIT has a long history of hosting academic summer programs, we would like to acknowledge the leadership, guidance, and/or inspiration in these areas that other universities — particularly, MIT, the University of Chicago, Rutgers, and the Johns Hopkins University — have provided. We are grateful for these and other university partners and celebrate our shared work with youth.