This summer, 22 high school students are stepping out of the classroom and into the real world to apply their knowledge to hands-on, cutting-edge research and professional projects with renowned local scientists, doctors, professors and experts in Pasadena and Los Angeles.

The EXPLORE program, created and administered by Pasadena-based Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA), links gifted and high potential secondary students from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds with mentors in Pasadena and Los Angeles who advance each participant’s skills through the application of knowledge, hands-on research, and exposure to real world experiences. In an effort to ensure as many qualified students as possible have access to this experience, IEA provides scholarships to those students in need.

“Giving the students access to college level instruction is a great benefit,” said Stan Kong, professor at the Art Center for College and Design and EXPLORE mentor. “Also, the mentors have agreed to work with these prequalified students who are all active participants who want to be here.”

Pasadena-area placements include industrial design at Art Center College of Design and astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Other placements in the Los Angeles area include pediatric medical research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, nonprofit leadership at CoachArt, biomathematics, evolutionary biology, computer science and neuroscience at UCLA and architecture, software security and clinical pharmacy at USC.

In its inaugural year, IEA’s EXPLORE program offers a unique opportunity for high-potential secondary students to learn about working in a variety of professional settings. Externs advance their skills through the pursuit of knowledge, involvement in research, and exposure to learning experiences. Each participant grows intellectually and personally, while making pertinent and lasting connections with their mentors and peers.

EXPLORE runs June 13 to August 12 in Los Angeles and Pasadena.

Since 1998, IEA has been dedicated to the whole child, nurturing gifted children ages 2-18. IEA gives students the tools to work toward actualizing their full intellectual and personal potential in a safe and supportive environment.
Institute for Educational Advancement, 569 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, (626) 403-8900 or visit

About the Institute for Educational Advancement

The Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA) is dedicated to the intellectual, creative, and personal growth of our nation’s gifted and high-potential youth. Central to the mission of IEA is a commitment to the development of the whole child through engaging educational experiences that promote optimal challenge, mentorship, exploration of ideas, and recognition of personal potential. IEA seeks to connect like-minded individuals through dynamic and engaging year-round programming. Additionally, IEA supports a diverse community that creates a sense of belonging and affirmation. For more information, visit