The Experiment Digital

Leadership in STEM

Connect virtually with high school students across the U.S., Middle East, and North Africa! Develop your civic engagement, leadership, and intercultural communications skills while learning how to implement a service project in your local community.

  • Certificate

  • Community Service

  • Leadership

  • STEM

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Designed to connect hundreds of young people across the United States with peers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, such as Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Palestinian Territories, and Yemen, The Experiment Digital Leadership in STEM prepares participants to be more civically engaged and lead change. This fully funded six-week summer virtual experience teaches high school students to formulate and implement STEM projects in their local communities.

Students come away from the program with:

  • An enhanced understanding and practice of leadership
  • Increased knowledge on STEM career paths
  • Mutual understanding between youth from different cultures

The Experiment Digital, a pioneer in virtual exchange programming, launched in 2016. Our programs draw upon best practices in experiential learning accumulated over decades of Experiment programming. Originally launched to connect Experimenters with students in countries to which travel and traditional programs were not possible, The Experiment Digital Leadership in STEM is now providing a critical outlet for global intercultural exchange.

Upon successful completion of the program, participants receive a Certificate of Completion in Leadership in STEM, access to the U.S. Department of State’s International Alumni Network, unique project funding opportunities from the U.S. Department of State, and a $400 scholarship toward participation in one of The Experiment in International Living’s summer 2025 programs around the world.

Read and share our program flyer here.

APPLICATION INFORMATION

PROGRAM DATES

  • June 24, 2024 to August 3, 2024
  • Program orientation takes place the week of June 17, 2024, and is a time commitment of one hour.
  • The time commitment is 2-4 asynchronous hours per week, and 1 hour per week is optional synchronous online meeting time.

APPLICATION DEADLINE

The Priority Admissions deadline is February 23, 2024, and the final Admissions deadline is May 13, 2024We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis after the priority admissions deadline, so students who submit applications by the February deadline will receive an earlier admissions decision.

INFORMATION SESSIONS

Please join our upcoming information session with our staff and recent alumni about the program!

PREVIOUS INFORMATION SESSIONS

Why We’re Different

The Experiment Digital Leadership in STEM retains The Experiment’s longstanding model of experiential learning and emphasis on forming meaningful relationships and moves it into the virtual space. Using popular digital platforms for teens like Canvas, Padlet, Flipgrid, and Zoom, our virtual program model gives young people the opportunity to build international friendships online. Peer-to-peer engagement, combined with carefully designed activities, allows students to learn from one another and develop knowledge and attitudes that foster cultural understanding.

Virtual exchanges diversify the learning experience through accessible digital means, enabling an increasing number of young people to enjoy a meaningful intercultural experience as part of their education. 

Experiential Learning Online

  • Learning with The Experiment Digital Leadership in STEM is challenging and fun. Participants learn how to facilitate digital discussions, lead online dialogues via video chat, and formulate and implement service projects in their local communities. Activities center around bringing students together to navigate scenarios that test their abilities and reflect on lessons learned through collaborative dialogue. Students practice collaborative problem solving, intercultural communication, and digital etiquette—all of which are important in our increasingly globalized world.

Safe and Intimate Small Group Spaces

  • The participant to expert facilitator ratio is 5:1. This allows for small group conversations with authentic engagement. Students share their hopes, fears, and discuss important topics such as gender norms and stereotypes. 

Program for Youth Led by Youth

  • Our facilitators are program alumni with experience in cultural exchanges. Community Facilitators manage “Neighborhoods” and were selected because of their experience working with youth and facilitating intercultural exchanges. They undergo an intensive month-long training for online facilitation. Peer Mentors, alumni of our previous digital programs, offer another layer of support to participants.

Robust Curriculum to Prepare Future Digital Citizens

  • Through interactions with international peers, students practice collaborative problem solving, intercultural communication, and digital etiquette—all of which are important in our increasingly globalized world. 

Program Modules

The Experiment Digital Leadership in STEM community is split into “Neighborhoods” of about 35 participants and are led by one Digital Peer Mentor and one Digital Community Facilitator. Within those neighborhoods are small groups of 8-10 participants called “Families.”
The Experiment Digital includes three modules, each of which is two weeks long and includes a variety of activities, discussions, and tasks—some completed independently and others in a team, with family, or neighborhood groups.

Module 1: Know Yourself & Your Purpose

  • In this opening module, participants will introduce themselves to each other. To set the norms for online communications and ensure a productive space for the exchange, participants will discuss phrases and emojis that are polite and impolite to use in their cultures. They will also identify their purpose and create a mission statement that uses their passions to help their community.

 

 

Module 2: Know the Job Market & Professional Workplace

  • In this module, we will introduce participants to the science (including medicine/health), technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and explore the soft skills critical to these fields. Participants will use virtual career tours and research on various social enterprise businesses, non-profit organizations, and technology start-ups to explore the different business models used to address issues. The workshop explores how to create action plans that combine personal and professional goals. To aid their planning, participants will engage in a panel discussion on how to combine their passion for social good with STEM to create a meaningful career.

 

 

Module 3: Know Your Education Options & Career Plan

  • The third and final module of the program focuses on how to attain necessary skills through higher education, study abroad, and online learning opportunities. To apply what they have learned, participants will put together a STEM Project Plan, which combines their personal and professional goals to make a creative action plan that addresses a local issue using their passion for STEM. The module 3 workshop will focus on how to create Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based (SMART) goals to outline the steps they need to take to gain the skills needed to implement projects and eventually for their desired profession.

Sample Activities

  • Watch a video to learn how to analyze the root causes of an issue happening in your community (5 minutes).
  • Share your perspective on why homelessness is happening in your city and respond to what your peers have shared (15 minutes).
  • Post a photo of your favorite store in your city (5 minutes).
  • Discuss with your “neighborhood” (a group of 20–25) three of the best items to keep on a sinking boat in order to survive (1 hour).
  • Ask a community activist questions about implementing better street cleaning solutions during a live webinar. (1 hour)
  • Video chat with your “family” (a small group of 5) and your facilitator on the intersection between gender and peacebuilding. (1 hour)

Eligibility Requirements

You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Are between the ages of 14–19 years old
  • Are currently enrolled in or have not yet completed high school
  • Reside in the United States or the MENA region, including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Palestinian Territories, and Yemen
  • Have basic English language competency
  • Have regular access to the Internet*
  • Can devote 2- 4 hours each week to the program

*Internet support may be available upon request.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I get from completing the program?

  • By participating in The Experiment Digital, you will receive a Certificate of Completion in leadership and global issues analysis, access to the U.S. Department of State’s International Exchange Alumni network, unique project funding opportunities up $1000, and a $400 scholarship toward participation in one of The Experiment’s programs around the world.

How do I become a digital facilitator?

When does The Experiment Digital take place?

  • Programs take place for 6 weeks and will require 2–4 hours of time each week. Most of the work is asynchronous; however, there will be an optional 1-hour synchronous call each week.

How do you select your students?

  • During our application review, we look for participants who: (1) Demonstrate a commitment to the program and its goals; (2) Are passionate about developing their leadership and intercultural communication skills; (3) Have an open-minded attitude and are willing to learn from others; (4) Have a strong desire to create social change in their communities; (5) Have not had extensive travel experience.

FUNDER ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The Experiment Digital Leadership in STEM is supported by the Stevens Initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute.

AT A GLANCE

Program Availability

Filling

Program Date

Jun 24 - Aug 3

Time Commitment

2-4 Hours/Week

Prerequisite

None

Program Fee*

Fully Funded (Free!)

Countries

United States & the MENA region

Application Deadline

The final Admissions deadline is May 13, 2024.


The Experiment Digital was a one-of-a-kind experience! It helped improve my leadership skills, critical thinking, confidence, and ability to express my thoughts.

Experienced Group Leader

Photo of Djamila Azzouz

Djamila Azzouz

Djamila is a 2019 digital facilitator and master’s student from Algeria. Prior to serving as a facilitator, Djamila was a mentee in the Maharat Mentorship program with World Learning. She also serves as a communication manager for a community project that aims to help university students who live far from their homes during the school year to eat healthier and save more money.

“I believe that one thing I gained from being a part of the program is the people whom I had the chance to meet. In one way or another, they all left an impact on me. Some taught me lessons and gave me guidance; some inspired me and some I even learnt from their mistakes. By the end of the program, I found myself having a whole new group of friends from different countries and backgrounds with whom I am still in touch with today.”