The Junior Academy is building a global community of problem-solvers by teaching teens how to turn their passion for STEM into real-world solutions. We invite all STEM professionals to sign up as mentors or experts in the program to support the next generation of innovators.

The program is open to students ages 13–17. They apply to the program with short essays, and are admitted based on creativity, motivation and perseverance.

Twice a year, the participants are invited to compete in a set of innovation challenges sponsored by leading companies. All interactions and work take place on Launchpad, the Academy’s virtual collaboration platform. Participating teens form teams and have access to coaching and guidance from STEM experts and mentors. This could be you!

Apply before August 31 to mentor teams October-December.

Apply before December 31 to mentor teams February-April.

Uncertain? Contact Maja Neiman.

Apply here (mentor/expert)

As a mentor you coach a team to reach it's goals!

  • You support a team during the 60-day challenge on the online platform Launchpad. 
  • Guide a team through the research process, providing in-depth feedback and individualized support. 
  • Spend about 2 hours per week during the challenge periods Oct–Dec and Feb–Apr.
  • You gain experience and certification of international mentoring.

As an expert you answer questions or host a digital lecture! 

  • You answer student and mentor questions related to your expertise. 
  • Are available to all challenge participants through the online platform Launchpad. 
  • Spend about 1 hour per week during the 60-day challenge periods Oct–Dec and Feb–Apr. 
  • Gain experience and certification of subject specific digital teaching.

Application process:

  1. Submit your application (reviewed throughout the year)
  2. Interview and background check
  3. 30 minute program training and onboarding
  4. Support students during challenges (starting every year in October and February)


Common questions

Why do you run this program?

We inspire and encourage students to grow their interest in STEM by showcasing real-world applications. The program connects STEM-interested students with a network of peers and professional role models around the world. We invite them to a platform to share ideas and perspectives with each other to design creative solutions to global challenges.

How can I contribute?

You can apply to become a mentor or expert in the program.

As a mentor you supervise one or two teams during the challenge. You are expected to be available for coaching for about 2 hours per week, during the 60 day challenge.

As an expert you are available in the platform to answer questions related to your expertise. You decide your level of engagement, dependant on your time availability.

How do I apply?

You apply to the New York Academy of Sciences, here, by filling out a form about your expertise and experience. You need to provide a reference.

If your applications meets the requirements for a mentor, you will be contacted for a brief inteview over phone of Skype. A background check will be performed to ensure that the students meet serious and competent mentors.  

Who is qualified to be a mentor?

  • You are probably working or studying in a STEM related area. (STEM = science, technology, engineering, math). It is an advantage but not a requirement to have worked on scientific research.
  • You need access to the Internet.
  • You need to be able to communicate clearly in written and spoken English.
  • You should have a skill and/or experience in teaching.
  • You should above all be engaged to inspire the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers!

What research process do you teach?

The process of scientific research is the core of the program. It contains the following phases:

  1. Team building, team norms and project plan
  2. Research, brainstorm, design, plan
  3. Build, test, analyze
  4. Iterate, refine, present

How much time does it take?

All mentors have to go through a one hour online training.

Mentors and teams agree on the format of the mentoring. A suggestion is one weekly video chat and availablity for questions. Experts answers questions on the platform according to their personal availability.

Does my employer have to get engaged for me to mentor a team?

No. You can be a mentor or expert in your spare time. If you want to do this during working hours, you of course need permission from you employer.

Will I get payed for my work?

No. As a mentor or expert you perform voluntary work.

My company wants to get involved. What do we do?

All companies are welcome to engage as sponsors of the Junior Academy. Please contact IVA for more information,