Founded in 2011 and generously supported by a grant from the Boeing Company, the Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program (GLP) 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 100+ rising juniors and seniors per year from Chicago-area high schools. Our current cohort of Scholars is composed of exceptional students from more than 60 different Chicago-area high schools, selected from almost 350 applicants for their outstanding commitment to academics, promise as future leaders, and vision for positively impacting their communities and the world through STEM fields. As a part of the admissions process, applicants submit transcripts, recommendations, and a critical essay, and attended an interview.
The four-week non-residential summer session provides interdisciplinary, "problem-centered," STEM enrichment programming, where students engage in forums, labs, projects, workshops, and field excursions oriented toward a single theme. Along with interdisciplinary STEM problem-solving, the program offers general skills training workshops in leadership, project development, communication, team-building, and other areas. The summer session also includes college and career planning experiences, such as college application and financial aid workshops, vision mapping exercises, and a mock-career fair. The summer program concludes with GLP Scholars working in teams to develop and propose Community Innovation Projects of their own design that could help positively impact their home communities/schools.
During the academic year, Scholars are invited to a number of events such as workshops,seminars, and field trips, of which they are expected to attend at least three per semester. A number of these events, such as our Job Shadow Days, are designed to help Scholars explore college and career options. Seniors are invited to participate in the Chicago Scholars Onsite Admissions Forum.
Each year, 100 passionate, innovative, dedicated students from all over Chicagoland enroll in the Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program, representing over 60 different high schools. Much as these unique individuals bring diverse perspectives to the program, they are affected by it in unique and diverse ways.
Though a Chicago native, Diana (a senior at Jones College Prep) said that participating in our "Cities of the Future" summer program helped her see her hometown--and the world--with completely new eyes. For instance, after learning about the reversal of the Chicago River, that engineering miracle of the early 1900s, Diana found it impossible to take clean water for granted, and by the end of the program found she could not see any aspect of Chicago the same way she did before. In the fall, Diana will be taking her love of critical inquiry to the University of Chicago, which she will be attending on a full-tuition QuestBridge Scholarship.
Javier, a junior at Perspectives-Calumet High School, cited one of the most valuable aspects of our program to be the opportunity for exposure to--and encouragement from--other high-achieving students. Coming from a community where he had peers discouraging him from achieving, he was tempted to give up on academia. Being admitted to the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy was a breakthrough for him, and showed him that if he stayed persistent and focused throughout life, he would eventually achieve his goals and become a general surgeon. Javier is thankful for the support of the program and his fellow Scholars, and is proud to be a positive and inspiring product of his community.
Charles came to us from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, where he had excellent grades in rigorous academic coursework. Throughout his year with the Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program (formerly "IIT Boeing Scholars Academy"), Charles continuously impressed staff and Scholars alike with his outstanding motivation and creative, team-building, and leadership abilities; he even organized peers to develop a Leadership Grant Project on collecting best practices for stormwater management. At the end of the year, Charles surprised staff by sharing how aimless he had felt in school before joining our program Ã?Â¢Ã??Ã?? that, though he had always had good grades, he had previously had no special passion or direction for what he wanted to do in life! Through the Global Leaders Program, Charles discovered his passion for engineering and, in preparation for his future major and career, will be taking THREE science classes (including two science APs) during his senior year of high school.
Together, Diana, Javier, and Charles exemplify why we provide access and exposure to STEM fields and careers: to help students become inspired to achieve at a high academic level, see their world from a different perspective, find something STEM-related they are motivated to pursue in college and beyond, and ultimately, unlock their potential to change their world.