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Your Mission: Explore the Red Planet

Future innovators, engineers, doctors, and investigators begin building their path to success and get real, hands-on STEM experience at NYLF Explore STEM. Over six impactful days at one of our program locations, students explore career opportunities, gain increased confidence and leadership skills, and Envision their future on a "Mission to Mars," all among like-minded and aspirational middle school students from around the country.

*Day program offering is five days.

Middle School Students explore a career in STEMAbout National Youth Leadership Forum: Explore STEM

Explore the Frontiers of Science and Technology with a Mission to Mars

NYLF Explore STEM is a unique learning experience for bright, forward-thinking middle school students—the next generation of innovators, roboticists, engineers, doctors, forensic scientists, mathematicians, and physicists.

During this immersive experience, students learn by doing as they take part in hands-on simulations, workshops, and competitions, while making new friends and having unforgettable adventures as they plan for a "Mission to Mars."

Few fields are more important to the future of mankind than STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—and few show as much promise for future career opportunities. 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 throughout the world.

NYLF Explore STEM is built on a multidisciplinary curriculum designed to help students find their passion through hands-on activities in forensics, robotics programming, medicine, and civil engineering. The program provides an invaluable opportunity for curious and high-achieving students to explore the frontiers of 21st century science and technology.

Featured Curricular Component

Outdoor Medicine Simulation: When Care Is Hours Away 

Created by the late wilderness medicine expert Dr. Paul Auerbach and simulation expert Dr. Rebecca Smith-Coggins while professors in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University's School of Medicine, this realistic simulation allows students to learn and practice potentially life-saving medical techniques. These skills will come into play as they plan their next hiking or camping expedition.

2024 Dates & Tuition

Location Residential Dates Day Dates Tuition
Atlanta, GA – Emory University June 16-21 | June 23-28 June 17-21 | June 24-28 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Boston, MA – Bentley University July 7-12 | July 14-19 July 8-12 | July 15-19 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Bowling Green, OH – Bowling Green State University July 7-12 | July 14-19 July 8-12 | July 15-19 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Chicago, IL – Loyola University June 16-21 | June 23-28 June 17-21 | June 24-28 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Dallas, TX – Texas Woman's University (Denton, TX) June 16-21 | June 23-28 June 17-21 | June 24-28 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Denver, CO – University of Denver July 7-12 | July 14-19 July 8-12 | July 15-19 Res   $3,345
Day   $2,845*
Houston, TX – Houston Christian University July 7-12 July 8-12 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Los Angeles, CA – Occidental College June 16-21 | June 23-28 June 17-21 | June 24-28 Res   $3,345
Day   $2,845*
Memphis, TN – University of Memphis July 7-12 July 8-12 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Miami, FL – University of Miami June 16-21 June 17-21 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Minneapolis, MN – North Central University July 7-12 July 8-12 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
New York, NY – St. John's University June 16-21 | June 23-28 June 17-21 | June 24-28 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Palo Alto, CA – Menlo College July 7-12 | July 14-19 (Full) July 8-12 | July 15-19 (Full) Res   $3,345
Day   $2,845*
Philadelphia, PA – Villanova University June 16-21 | June 23-28 June 17-21 | June 24-28 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Raleigh, NC – Campbell University (Buies Creek, NC) June 15-20 | June 23-28 | July 6-11 (Full) | July 14-19 June 16-20 | June 24-28 | July 7-11 (Full) | July 15-19 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Seattle, WA – Northwest University June 16-21 June 17-21 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
St. Louis, MO – Washington University in St. Louis July 7-12 July 8-12 Res   $3,245
Day   $2,745*
Washington, DC – University of Maryland June 15-20 | June 23-28 June 16-20 | June 24-28 Res   $3,345
Day   $2,845*

*Day programs are for students who live within daily commuting distance of the program location, and who do not wish to reside with other students during the program.

Residential tuition includes room & board, lectures, simulations, curriculum & materials, and staff. Day tuition does not include room & board, but does include daily lunches.

Please note: We are currently evaluating all aspects of NYLF Explore STEM and may make changes to the curriculum, site visits or program location to ensure the program meets the most up-to-date health and safety standards.

Program Highlights VIEW MORE

Former NASA astronaut who may speak at NYLF Explore STEM
Former NASA Astronauts
Keynote speakers will share their stories as well as the many fascinating experiences they have had overcoming the challenges of working in space.   LEARN MORE
Students process a staged crime scene at NYLF Explore STEM
Forensic Science Simulation
Process a staged crime scene; identify, collect, and examine finger and shoe prints; and perform blood stain pattern analysis. LEARN MORE
Students learn about engineering and robotics during a simulation at NYLF Explore STEM
Engineering Simulations
Apply what you learn about engineering and robotics to design and program a Mars rover. You will also test your engineering design skills while creating a floorplan using CAD software. LEARN MORE
Students look at x-ray images during an NYLF Explore STEM medical simulation
Medical Simulation
Diagnose and provide critical care, including conducting a physical exam, administering splints and slings, and controlling external hemorrhaging, in this high-stakes simulation. LEARN MORE
Students work on specialized projects in their STEM strand of choice at NYLF Explore STEM
Galaxy Labs
Dive deep into forensic science, medicine, robotics programming, and civil engineering while working collaboratively with other students to complete a specialized project to prepare for the mission to Mars. LEARN MORE


Tuition Tuition for NYLF Explore STEM covers most of the expenses incurred during the Forum. Tuition DOES NOT cover transportation to and from the program. LEARN MORE


Scholarships Envision by WorldStrides awards partial tuition assistance to qualified students each year based upon financial need, scholastic merit, leadership achievement, and eligibility for our WorldStrides Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship. LEARN MORE



Let us show you how other students use fundraising to cover some or all of their tuition costs. Make fundraising part of your personal success story. LEARN MORE

Payment Plan

Payment Plan

You may pay in full today or choose to use one of our payment options.

The Family Program allows family members to enjoy their own unique experience while their scholar is at their program and is available for select sessions and locations, like Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles. Family Program curriculum includes visits to local attractions. Interested family members can sign up for this program when completing the NYLF Explore STEM enrollment process or any time prior to the program, space permitting.

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  • Is 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 building, tinkering, solving problems, and exploring a variety of 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 2023-2024 school year. Most of our students are either nominated by educators or selected through our academic partnerships. However, we also accept students through our application process. If you haven't been nominated or selected but are interested in taking advantage of the life-changing opportunities that the program provides, we encourage you to submit an application today.

  • What is included in tuition?

    Your tuition for NYLF Explore STEM includes housing accommodations on a university, college or school campus (Residential students only), instruction, program activities and materials, a Certificate of Completion, 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 for Residential students and breakfast on all days for Day students).

    Transportation to and from home and the program location is NOT included in tuition. While attending the program, you'll need money for lunch on Arrival Day and Departure Day plus any personal spending you plan to do for items such as souvenirs, snacks, and other incidentals.

  • Where will I stay?

    Students who choose the Residential program option will reside along with Envision team members at safe, secure locations that include universities and conference centers.

  • How many students share a room?

    Each room will house two to four students. Depending on the housing venue, students may be in individual rooms or suites with bathrooms either ensuite or communal, in the hall. You will have your own bed, which may include a roll-away bed.

  • 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. You'll be closely supervised by professionally trained staff, including faculty advisors who serve as educational facilitators and chaperones, security personnel, operations personnel, and a program coordinator.

    For over 35 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. Envision safety measures include:

    • Greeting students at the designated airport upon their arrival, providing shuttle service directly to the program site, and providing shuttle service back to the airport on Departure Day*
    • Maintaining a classroom ratio of 20 to 1
    • Requiring all students to attend all activities
    • Checking rooms nightly and ensuring that students remain in their rooms
    • Having night monitors in place to support students who may become ill or who have an emergency during the night
    • Equipping all staff members with two-way communication devices


    *There is an additional fee for shuttle service.

  • 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 you are officially enrolled.

  • I am a student requiring specific accommodations. Can I still attend?

    Yes, we encourage you to enroll. Envision by WorldStrides believes in working with families to accommodate student needs and encourages the participation of students who feel prepared to meet the academic, social, physical, and emotional demands of the program environment. We may be able to provide appropriate auxiliary staff and services to assist students as needed if notified in advance. We encourage families, guardians, legal representatives, or educators to contact the Office of Admissions for more information and to discuss particular accommodations before applying for enrollment in the program.

  • Can my parents attend the program?

    Gaining independence, including experiencing new things on your own, is an essential part of your growth during the program. Because of this, your parents or guardians are not allowed to accompany you during the program; however, they and your other family members are welcome to enroll in the NYLF Explore STEM Family Program. Available for select sessions, the NYLF Explore STEM Family Program allows attendees to enjoy their own unique curriculum.

  • Can special dietary needs be met?

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

  • What are the pre-program assignments? Do I have to do them?

    The first step of your leadership journey includes assessing your strengths and opportunities for growth. As part of your program, you'll have access to WorldStrides' newest digital platform: MyActionPath.

    WorldStrides has partnered with PAIRIN, a leader in career and life planning and assessment, to help our students along their lifetime learning journeys. The result of this partnership is MyActionPath–a personalized, virtual GPS that guides you along your desired career pathway and helps you identify ways to enhance your skills and achieve your goals. MyActionPath can assist you in deciding which professional field might suit you best, makes recommendations based on your goals and dreams, and provides you with educational and supportive resources. Before you arrive to your program location, you'll receive more information via email on how to begin this exciting career-planning journey.

Have more questions? Check out the Envision FAQs.