Ignite, United States

Spend two weeks next summer participating on a fully-funded, scientific research expedition alongside scientists and other students in a natural landscape. Apply for the opportunity of a lifetime!


The Ignite LA Student Science Awards is an innovative program that aims to stimulate curiosity and interest in science and technology through participation in a fully-funded, scientific research expedition during the summer.

While on the expedition, you and your peers will conduct a variety of field and laboratory research activities, collecting data on some of the world’s most pressing environmental and sustainability issues.

In addition, you will have time to attend informal lectures on important environmental issues, bond with other students or the research staff during free time or group meals, and explore the beautiful natural landscape that can be called home for the duration of the expedition.

Ignite expedition locations have recently included:

  • Schoodic Education and Research Center in Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland
  • Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas
  • Eglin Air Force Base (formerly Choctawhatchee National Forest) near Fort Walton Beach, Florida
  • Sagehen Creek Research Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and Nevada


  1. By November 2014 – Fill out an Interest Form to indicate your interest in participating in the program.
  2. By December 15, 2014 – Complete the online application (Earthwatch will send a link to the online application to all eligible students who have filled out the Interest Form). Keep in mind that the online application requires recommendations from two classroom teachers, preferably one science teacher and one non-science teacher.
  3. April 2015 – Receive notification from Earthwatch on whether or not your application was successful. The Ignite program awards 50+ students from Los Angeles each year.
  4. Summer 2015 – Participate on a scientific field research expedition for 10-14 days during your summer vacation.


Our generous donors want to support high school students who are creatively talented to immerse them in real science, as it is actively practiced. Thanks to them, the Ignite fellowship covers all costs associated with participation on the expedition, including roundtrip travel, meals and lodging, research activities and laboratory fees, and recreational day activities.

In return, Earthwatch asks each student to submit a short report upon returning home from their expedition, describing the expedition highlights, impact, and challenges.


In return for your fellowship, Earthwatch asks that you help support its mission and ensure its renewed funding by completing a Volunteer Evaluation at the end of the expedition. We also ask you to provide a Field Report within 30 days after the end of the expedition, including an essay detailing your field experience and a thank-you letter to your funder. We also appreciate you forwarding us any copies or links to any media coverage you may have received from your participation.


Join the Earthwatch Facebook Group to interact with past student fellows, find out when an Earthwatch representative is coming to your school, or ask questions about upcoming expeditions or application deadlines.


The Durfee Foundation has been supporting student fellowships for more than 20 years. It is a family foundation that seeks to reward individual initiative and leadership and build community in unexpected ways.

Submit an interest form.

Students conducting research on intertidal pools in Acadia National Park, Maine.

We are looking for well-rounded students who are engaged in the arts and humanities.


Ignite is seeking applications from Los Angeles County high school students who are:

  • Sophomores or juniors in high school,
  • Creative thinkers and motivated learners,
  • Well-rounded students,
  • Available for 10-14 days in the summer of 2015,
  • Excited to work with a team of students and scientists on a research project in the United States.

The program immerses students in science beyond anything they would encounter in their classroom

The program immerses students in science beyond anything they would encounter in their classroom.

Ignite provides an opportunity for like-minded students to get involved in environmental sustainability projects all over the world

Ignite provides an opportunity for like-minded students to get involved in environmental sustainability projects all over the world.