Career Development

National Youth Leadership Forum: Explore STEM

Enrollment for Summer 2015 is now open.

ENROLL Reserve Your Space Now!

About NYLF Explore STEM

National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Explore STEM is an interactive experience that introduces high-achieving middle school students to innovative and rewarding careers in engineering, environmental science, medicine, and technology.

At NYLF Explore STEM, you “discover by doing” as the six days of activities, workshops, and special site visits are all hands-on and interactive experiences that will put you on the path to success in high school, in college, in a career and in life. You will learn how to apply your science and math skills to join the next generation of leading doctors, scientists, software developers and other analytically minded professionals.

Virtually all career fields today require a solid foundation of STEM, and that’s precisely why these are the fastest growing areas of study, and the reason that STEM professionals are in the highest demand in the United States and throughout the world.

You may choose to attend the NYLF Explore STEM program on any one of these prominent college campuses:  Emory University in Atlanta, GA; Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering near Boston, MA; Loyola University in Chicago, IL; University of Texas at Dallas in Dallas, TX; Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA; Westtown School near Philadelphia, PA or Menlo College near San Francisco, CA.

Each campus is carefully chosen to ensure the safety and security of our attending students.  Faculty advisers are with students at all times throughout the program, and students are never permitted to be on their own.

Activities & Benefits

Explore STEM students experiment with science, technology, engineering and medicine exhibits

Are you ready to experiment, discover and innovate? At NYLF Explore STEM, you will:

  • Take part in a broad range of interactive simulations, hands-on workshops and educational site visits, as you discover the real-world frontiers of 21st century science and technology.
  • Interact with STEM professionals from fields in engineering, health care and environmental science as you explore future career paths.
  • Create a personalized success plan and pave the way to your future success with the skills, knowledge and behaviors you will need to choose the right high school options, prepare for college and, ultimately, make the transition to a rewarding career.
  • Experience campus life in a safe and secure environment, while building your independence and self-confidence.
  • Make lasting friendships with like-minded students from around the U.S.

"My daughter can't stop smiling! What a wonderful first experience away from home! I can tell her self-confidence has grown - she was thrilled to be learning, laughing, and making memories with other high-achieving students." – Parent of 2014 Explore STEM Alumna

Featured Speaker

Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph, MD, Professor, Rush University Medical Center and Head Team Physician for the Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball Club. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Explore STEM summer program students experience technology exhibit
Explore STEM Careers and Academics

Apply the engineering design process when you build a robot in the robotics challenge.

  • Assume the role of an engineer, public health official or scientist to address a growing concern in a town or community through a role-playing, real-world simulation.
  • Get an introduction to public health and critical care, and practice medical techniques, such as checking vital signs, triage, CPR training and other life-saving techniques.
  • Take part in Guided Field Study experiences, and help to lead an interactive team project using cutting-edge technology, and in our Nature Center site visit you will explore sustainability and examine how our well-being depends on the natural environment.
  • One of the most important areas of study in the 21st Century is sustainability, and in our Sustainability Project, you will create a proposal on how to use technology to make your home, school or community more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
STEM summer program students with instructor, Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph
Thrive in STEM
  • Learn important success skills to help you excel in high school, in college and in life, including time management, goal setting, conflict resolution, information analysis, collaboration and public speaking.
  • Do more to get ahead: 4 in 5 college students say that K-12 education alone does not adequately prepare you for STEM college courses.
  • In the Understanding High School Options workshop you will define your college admissions and career goals and learn the high school landscape and what diplomas, classes and tracks are available
  • Work with a faculty advisor to build a Personal Success Plan for future success in college and career.
Explore STEM summer program students learn science and technology
Catch the STEM Wave
  • Increase your self-confidence and creativity, and learn how to turn your academic achievements into solutions for a society driven by scientific and technological innovations.
  • STEM-related jobs are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs in other fields. Gain the experience necessary to succeed in the future.
  • 80 percent of jobs in the next decade will require a solid foundation of technical skills, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

2015 Dates & Locations

Summer Engineering Programs for High School Students - Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, GA
Emory University
  • Jun 20 - Jun 25
  • Jul 13 - Jul 18
Summer Business Programs for High School Students - Boston, MA
Boston, MA
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  • Jul 13 - Jul 18
Summer Business Programs for High School Students - Chicago, IL
Chicago, IL
Loyola University
  • Jul 5 - Jul 10
Summer Medical Program for High School Students - Dallas, TX
Dallas, Texas
The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Jun 20 - Jun 25
National Young Leaders State Conference - West Coast
Los Angeles, CA
Occidental College
  • Jun 28 - Jul 3
National Young Leaders State Conference - Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Westtown School
  • Jun 28 - Jul 3
  • Jul 5 - Jul 10
Advanced Summer Medicine and Health Program for High School Students - San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
Menlo College
  • Jul 12 - Jul 17
  • Jul 19 - Jul 24

Tuition & Financial Assistance


Tuition for NYLF Explore STEM includes accommodations, instruction, meals, program activities and materials, site explorations and transportation during the conference.

Learn More


Envision offers a limited number of scholarships to qualified students each year based upon financial need, scholastic merit, leadership achievements and other factors.

Apply Now


Many students use fundraising and sponsorships to cover some or all of their tuition costs. Envision has prepared a fundraising guide featuring suggestions and activities to help you raise funds.

Get Started

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Eligibility & Nomination

Is the National Youth Leadership Forum: Explore STEM for me?

This summer STEM exploration program is for you if you are a middle school student interested in exploring all of the various career options available to you in science, engineering, medicine and technology. NYLF Explore STEM is your springboard to achieving tremendous success in high school, in college and in life.

To attend NYLF Explore STEM, you must be in grades 6-8 during the 2014-2015 school year. Most of our students are nominated by educators, leaders from youth organizations and participating institutions, but open enrollments are welcome from qualified students who want to make the most of this opportunity.

What happens after I enroll?

After you enroll, you will receive an enrollment confirmation email. A personalized URL will be created for you – your page – where you can find important program updates, the Mandatory Travel Form, the Student Information Form, a travel checklist, pre-conference assignments and a press release you can use to notify local media about your participation in this prestigious program. You will receive notification in the mail and via email with details about how to access your page.

What happens if the program is full?

NYLF Explore STEM is a very popular middle school summer program and the allotted spaces for each forum session fill up quickly. If your session is full, we encourage you to choose another session. You may also request to be put on a wait list to enroll in a full session. However, due to the popularity of the program, there is no guarantee that space will become available if you choose the wait list option. It is best to enroll in an available session to guarantee your spot for this exciting experience.

What is the dress code for this program?

You should plan to pack relaxed business attire for the program. When relaxed business attire is called for, ladies must wear dresses, skirts (no mini-skirts, short shorts or leggings) or slacks (no denim or capris) with blouses or polo shirts; gentlemen must wear button-down, polo or collared shirts and slacks (no denim or cargo pants).

There will be opportunities during the conference for you to wear casual attire, including jeans. Comfortable dress shoes are essential. You will be walking a great deal throughout the conference.

Note: Depending on the program, you may be required to wear a white shirt with khaki pants, shorts or skirt on the first and last day of the program.

For more detailed information about the dress code for this program, visit your personal Web page, which will be available to you after you enroll.

What is the code of conduct for this program?

Attending NYLF Explore STEM is fun, but it is also an honor. Like all meaningful experiences, you only get out of it what you put in to your time spent at this exciting summer forum. You are expected to conduct yourself as a mature and responsible leader as you represent your school and community. You must abide by the Student Code of Conduct. You must also abide by and uphold all conference rules.

What is the enrollment deadline date?

The deadline date is the date that enrollment closes for NYLF Explore STEM. It is important to note, however, that you enroll on a first-come, first-served basis. Since program space is limited, it is wise to enroll early for this popular summer program.

Organization & Affiliations

Who is Envision?

Envision Experience Envision is a leading experiential education organization dedicated to enabling students of all ages explore their interests and gain critical learning experiences beyond the classroom. Envision merged with LeadAmerica in 2012 to provide a comprehensive offering of programs to help students develop the leadership, scholarship and career skills needed to succeed in the competitive 21st century. See About Envision for more detailed information about Envision, its history of successful educational programs, its leadership and its partners.

All Envision programs are designed to align with Common Core State Standards and other national standards for education. See what others are saying about their Envision program experiences.

How is Envision funded?

Envision is a tuition-based, self-supporting organization, with many students securing financial support from local business, civic, community and leadership organizations. Scholarship funds are also available for qualified nominees. Learn more about scholarships and fundraising opportunities.

Is Envision affiliated with a political party or the U.S. government?

No. Envision is a nonpartisan educational organization.

Tuition & Financial Assistance

What does tuition cover?

Your tuition for NYLF Explore STEM includes housing accommodations on a university, college or school campus, instruction, program activities and materials, a Certificate of Completion, airport shuttle service, site explorations, supervision by professional faculty advisors and private motor coach transportation to all locations during the program. Your meals and snacks during the program are also covered (excluding lunch on arrival and departure days).

However, your transportation to and from home and the program location is NOT included in tuition. While attending the program, you will only need money for lunch on arrival and departure days, as well as personal spending on items such as souvenirs, additional snacks and other incidentals.

How do I apply for a scholarship or financial assistance?

You can visit the Envision scholarships page for more information. We are proud to offer a limited number of scholarships to eligible students, opening the door to young leaders from a variety of backgrounds. You should also know that many students fundraise to pay for most or all of their tuition costs. See the fundraising page for more information.

What happens if there are no spaces available by the time I am able to accrue the full tuition amount by fundraising?

If you intend to fundraise to raise program tuition, we encourage you to enroll using our convenient payment plan. That way you will make sure you have safely secured your space in the program. It is always a good idea to contact our Office of Admissions once you begin your fundraising campaign

How will I be notified about my scholarship application?

You can expect to be notified by email. This usually happens about two weeks after the scholarship deadline date has passed. If you do not provide an operable email address, you will receive notification by mail approximately three weeks after the scholarship deadline date has passed. The scholarship deadline date can be found on the scholarships page.

Safety & Supervision

How will I be supervised?

Your safety and well-being during the program is our highest priority. The program is structured so that you will reside in a safe, controlled environment. Let your parents know that you will be closely supervised by a professionally trained staff, including faculty advisors, who serve as educational facilitators and chaperones, security personnel, operations personnel and a program coordinator.

For nearly 30 years, Envision has achieved a stellar record of safely and successfully enriching the lives of students, providing them with superb educational experiences and professional supervision. Other Envision safety measures include:

  • Greeting students at the airport, providing transportation to the program site, and staying with students at the airport until they depart.
  • Maintaining a student-to-staff ratio of 17-to-1.
  • Providing single-sex rooms and single-sex floors.
  • Requiring all students to attend all activities.
  • Checking rooms nightly and ensuring that students remain in their rooms.
  • Providing overnight staff to support students who may become ill or have an emergency during the night.
  • Equipping all staff members with two-way communication devices.

Am I allowed to bring medication to the program?

Middle school students can bring medication to the program.  Parents or guardians may also check in medication with the on-site nurse, but we do not require it to be turned in. Regardless of whether medication is checked with the nurse or kept with the student, a Student Medication Form with instructions and a parent/guardian signature must be turned in to a program staff member. This form can be found on your page after you enroll.

Travel & Accommodations

Where will I stay?

For the summer 2015 NYLF Explore STEM sessions, you will reside, along with other students and staff, on campus at your choice of one of the following schools:  Emory University in Atlanta, GA; Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering near Boston, MA; Loyola University in Chicago, IL; University of Texas at Dallas in Dallas, TX; Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA; Westtown School near Philadelphia, PA or Menlo College near San Francisco, CA.

How many students share a room?

Each room will house two to four students, depending on the housing location. You will have your own bed.

Can I request a roommate?

Roommate requests are not accepted. You will be randomly assigned a room prior to your arrival day. We believe that one of the important benefits of this program is the opportunity for you to network with others and get to know peers from different parts of the country.

Can my parents attend the program?

No. Your parents or guardians are not allowed to accompany you during the program. Gaining independence, including experiencing new things on your own, is an essential part of your growth during the program. However, it is perfectly fine for your family to travel with you to the program location and stay in the area while you are attending the program.

Can I attend if I am a student with special needs?

Yes. If you are a student with special needs or with disabilities, we encourage you to enroll. We may be able to provide you with auxiliary aids and services to assist you. Please call our Office of Admissions for more information or to discuss your particular needs prior to enrolling in the program.

Do I need to make my own flight arrangements?

Yes. Your tuition does not include transportation to and from your home and the program location. We recommend that you make necessary flight arrangements only AFTER you receive confirmation that the session dates you have selected are available and you are officially enrolled.

Who will meet me at the airport?

Envision staff will be at the designated airports to assist you with your arrival and departure. We will also ensure there is shuttle service for you to get you from designated airports to program sites one the first and last days of your program. The shuttle service fee is $35 each way or $70 round-trip. 

Note: More details about the designated airport, arrival windows and the airport shuttle service will be provided to you on your personal Web page after you enroll in the program.

Do I fly alone or can my parents fly with me?

It is up to your parents whether they would like to fly with you or have you fly on your own. If you fly alone, we will have program staff members meet you at the gate after you get off the plane.

What does “unaccompanied minor status” mean?

When airlines offer additional assistance to a minor traveling without a parent, guardian or other trusted adult, the airline refers to this as "unaccompanied minor status." Each airline has different age requirements to define this status. Some airlines may allow your family to purchase this service even if you are not in the “required” age bracket. Nearly all airlines will charge your family for unaccompanied minor services. We strongly recommend that your parents contact the airline directly for specific information on unaccompanied minor age requirements and fees.

What is the Tuition and Travel Protection Plan?

To protect and safeguard the investment that you and your parents make in travel and tuition costs, we strongly recommend that your parents take advantage of our Tuition and Travel Protection Plan. This plan is offered through Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. You may purchase this cancellation insurance when you enroll. You may also select this option when you complete the Mandatory Travel Form on your personalized page after enrollment. If your parents would like more specifics about the Tuition and Travel Protection Plan, please have them call the plan administrator, Nationwide, at (866) 282-3987.

Academic Preparation

What is the pre-conference assignment, FUEL?

The first step of your leadership journey includes assessing your strengths and opportunities for growth. To aid in this assessment, you must complete a brief pre-program assignment entitled Feedback for Understanding Emerging Leaders (FUEL).

The FUEL assignment will be available on your personal web page after you enroll. It simply requires that you choose five mentors – teachers, coaches, youth group leaders or other trusted adults – to complete a short survey about your leadership strengths. You also will complete a short self-assessment as part of the FUEL assignment.

When is the deadline to submit my FUEL form? Is the assignment mandatory?

Please make sure you complete the assignment no later than one week prior to arrival. You will be able to see the results on the first day of the program. 
The FUEL assignment will be available on your child’s personal Web page after you enroll.

Other Questions

Can special dietary needs be met?

Vegetarian options are always available. Kosher and Halal meals can be made available to you, provided the request is submitted prior to the start of the conference. When you complete the Student Information Form, you will have the opportunity to make special dietary requests.

What if I lose something or forget to bring a personal item home after the program?

All lost and found items are retained by the program staff for two weeks following the conference. Items of higher monetary value are retained for 30 days. After 30 days, all items remaining are discarded or donated. Contact the Office of Admissions for assistance.

My question is not listed.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Admissions.