Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassadorship

2024-2025 Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassadorship (STiSA)

This year’s high school student application window is NOW OPEN. Please carefully apply by following all instructions listed on this page. 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.

Current 10th and 11th graders are eligible to apply for STiSA. All applicants who complete the full application will be accepted into STiSA and can choose whether or not to participate. You can participate in both STiSA and an internship, should you be selected. As a participant, you will first be invited to attend a 2-hour, virtual workshop: “Systems are Everywhere.” You will learn about systems modeling and how systems thinking is used in research and careers. You will then have the opportunity to enroll in one of two virtual micro-courses: “Introduction to Systems Medicine” or “Environmental Systems, Research, and Stewardship.” From there, you will be invited to participate in other courses (described below). These workshops will be held several times throughout the spring and early summer of this year. The invitation to these workshops will come to the email address you share with us in your application materials.

After you attend a 2-hour workshop, you will be invited to join an interactive channel (using Slack or WhatsApp). This allows you to stay connected with our team and each other to hear about upcoming opportunities to advance your systems thinking in STEM.  This channel is an 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 projects you can lead in your community. These opportunities will include STEM projects led by AmeriCorps members related to the environment and health. This network is the perfect way to get more involved in STEM and your community throughout the years ahead. These opportunities will be a combination of virtual and in-person offerings that you can participate in according to your interest and availability. As we get to know you, we will add even more micro-courses based on YOUR interests!  In the meantime, learn more about the course progression and read the individual course descriptions below: 

Systems Are Everywhere – This 2-hour workshop will prepare attendees to become a systems thinker in STEM. During the workshop, participants 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.
  • Build 21-st century learning skills, gain knowledge of STEM careers, pathways, and workplaces, and strengthen 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

Micro-courses descriptions:

  • Introduction to Systems Medicine – Students will be introduced to the concept of systems medicine (medicine that is predictive, preventative, personalized and participatory), and how researchers and physicians alike can use this perspective to understand the human body as a complex network of networks.
  • Environmental Systems, Research, and Sustainability: Students will complete a survey to gauge their interest in various environmental topics, such as, Ocean Acidification, Modeling Sustainable Food Sources, Invisible Forest, Bioengineering a Sustainable World and Carbon’s Fate. With this information students will be able to attend an additional workshop that is environmentally based and related to their interest.
  • Learning in Motion: Taking Action in your Community – This micro-course is designed to inspire students to become active participants in their local communities. Students will explore how to identify needs and opportunities within their target community, how to develop a vision and goals for an action project, and review best practices for identifying and engaging with key stakeholders. After the workshop, students will be invited to remain connected with the SEE team and be mentored on their own individual project, which will eventually be showcased on our Featured Student Projects page.
  • Immunotherapy and the Tumor Microenvironment – Once students have taken Introduction to Systems Medicine they have the opportunity to dive deeper into the topic of personalized medicine through the lens of immunotherapy. This micro-course also introduces students to the basics of using Python. No prior coding experience is required.
  • Leadership Empowerment and Development in STEM (LEADS)  – After completing Systems Are Everywhere, students will be invited to join a future cohort of LEADS. This program helps students build 7 major skills that are foundational to STEM leaders. See this page to learn more.

In order to better understand the experiences we offer students, it may be helpful to look through previous years’ webpages and the project pages created by our students.  Though we will not offer the same experiences this summer, our current offerings share goals and components with previous experiences. This is because all of our Systems Education Experiences are centered on the same five goals and 10 design principles.  Here are the links to previous programs so that you can learn more and decide if this year’s experiences meet your current objectives:


If you are interested in learning more about previous years’ STISA programs, view our Archived STISA Program Page and our Featured Student Projects page to learn more.

Thank you to our current sponsors! If you are interested in supporting and/or sponsoring this program, please visit https://give.isbscience.org/STEM-education. Thank you!