Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassador Program

2022-2023 Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassadorship (STiSA)

The 2022 application window is now closed. Applications were due on March 16, 2022. If you applied, we will email you during the month of April from the “” or “” domains. Please set your email client to receive our emails and monitor your spam and promotions folders. If you need help learning how to do this, view this page. This year’s three offerings, which are described on our High School Intern Programs webpage, include: 1) participation in a 2-hour Systems are Everywhere workshop (everyone who FULLY completed an application will be eligible to attend) which can lead to an ambassadorship, 2) a 7-week ISB internship, and 3) the new online Environmental Systems in the Outdoors Research Experience. This page describes the Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassadorship (STiSA). Read below for more information and please come back to this page in the future for real-time updates.

This year’s STiSA will start with a Systems are Everywhere workshop.

Everyone who fully completes an application will be invited via email to attend this workshop to learn about systems. It is our hope that this 2-hour workshop will prepare you to become a systems thinker in STEM. During the workshop, you will:

  • Learn what systems are
  • Use an online modeling tool to create and modify a systems model
  • Learn about systems thinking skills and why they are important
  • Explore how systems thinking is used by STEM professionals.
  • In addition, we hope that this workshop will provide you with the opportunity to build your 21-st century learning skills, gain knowledge of STEM careers, pathways, and workplaces, and strengthen your STEM identity and aspirations.

Agenda Overview:

10 minutes Opening & Introductions
40 minutes LEARN about systems and models
5 minutes Break
30 minutes DEVELOP systems thinking skills
30 minutes APPLY your knowledge & skills to a complex problem
5 minutes Next steps: YOU can become a systems thinker in STEM

After you attend this 2-hour workshop, you will be invited to join the 2022-2023 Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassador Slack channel. This will allow you to stay connected with our team to hear about upcoming opportunities to advance your systems thinking in STEM.  This Slack channel will be a great opportunity to learn more about STEM systems, to collaborate on projects, and to build connections with peers and ISB staff. The SEE team will regularly use this channel to share STEM-related opportunities at ISB, at the numerous partner organizations in our network, and as projects you can lead in your community. Beginning in September, these opportunities will include STEM projects led by AmeriCorps members related to the environment and health. This Slack network is the perfect way to get more involved in STEM and your community throughout the years ahead.

2022-2023’s STiSA is different than last year’s program. Last year, we offered formal courses during the summer. This year, we are not able to offer courses beyond the 2-hour Systems Are Everywhere workshop. However, our team is always brainstorming and fundraising. When we are able to launch new programs our network of applicants, and those on the Slack channel, will be the first to know. You can also check this website for ongoing updates. In the meantime, below we have included the 2021-2022 STiSA description so you can view and understand the types of experienced offered through Systems Education Experiences (SEE).


2021-2022 Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassadorship (STiSA)

In the spring and summer of 2021, 288 high school students participated in Tier 1 of the inaugural STiSA program. 191 of those students moved on to Tier 2 (Tier 1 and Tier 2 are explained in detail below). The program was a huge success, culminating in a showcase that is currently running until June of 2022 on the website and social media.
Check out the Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassador (STiSA) showcase. Learn more about the program below.

What is a system? Why is systems thinking important? How can systems approaches be used to address complex problems? These are just some of the questions we explored in our two-tiered online program for rising junior and senior high school students (current sophomores and juniors).

In addition to the learning objectives below, students that participated in this program had the opportunity to build their 21st-century learning skills, gain knowledge of STEM careers, pathways, and workplaces, and strengthen their STEM identity and aspirations.

Students participated in just Tier 1, or both Tier 1 & Tier 2:

Tier 1 Tier 2
Delivery Mode All content and activities were delivered online using Zoom, and completed synchronously All content and activities were delivered online using Zoom, and completed both synchronously and asynchronously
Commitment 1x, 2-hour workshop
  • 1x, 20-hour course
  • Independent, paired or small group Ambassador project
  • Project showcase event during the academic year
Timeframe In 2021, workshops were offered throughout February, March and early April. Courses were offered throughout Summer 2021. Ambassador activities ran through the Fall with an option for continuing throughout the academic year.
Eligibility Rising high school juniors and seniors who fully completed our online application received a registration form to sign up for a workshop. Refer to our FAQ page for additional eligibility questions. In 2021, students who completed Tier 1 were invited to select a course based on our modules. With over 400 eligible participants, we sent out a survey to schedule all interested students into a Tier 2 that best matched their interests.

In Tier 1 of this interactive program students:

  • Learned what systems are and how systems thinking is used by STEM professionals featured in our Systems Thinkers in STEM video series
  • Used an online modeling tool to create and modify a systems model
  • Learned about the 16 systems thinking skills and why they are important
  • Created an infographic to develop their understanding of one of the systems thinking skills
  • Tracked their systems thinking skills development using an innovative heatmap

In Tier 2 of this interactive program students:

  • Applied their systems knowledge from Tier 1 to a new STEM topic area
  • Engaged with content from one of our hands-on  curriculum modules based on real-world phenomena
  • Worked independently, in pairs or in a small group to develop an Ambassador project based on their learning from the course
  • Showcased their project at a community event that began in November 2021 and will extend through June 2022.  See this page for more!
  • Learn more about 2021’s Tier 2 and beyond through these resources:
    • Document with 2021 Tier 2 Details (
    • Timeline with links to more information on Tier 2 and beyond (
      • This timeline and the details sheet both describe what ambassadors did after they completed Tier 2. Current ambassadors continued by:
        • highlighting their improved systems thinking skills by completing a Systems Thinkers in STEM Profile.  Ambassadors also connected this to their Systems Thinking Heatmap.
        • interviewing a scientist or STEM Professional and sharing that interview with others.  Some ambassadors also worked with their interviewees by helping them complete Systems Thinkers in STEM profiles.
        • working independently, in pairs, or in a small group to develop an Ambassador project based on what they learned during their Tier 2 course.  Some replicated course materials with other students and some created new projects and/or resources.
    • Spreadsheet calendar ( – Each month is displayed as a separate tab and contains both scheduled events and Tier 2 courses.

Thank you to our sponsors! If you are interested in supporting and/or sponsoring this program, please visit Thank you!