About Project Ignite
Project Ignite was founded with the goal of using project-based learning to offer high school students an opportunity for exploration, discovery, and growth. Project Ignite is based on small group projects that are defined and driven by high school students, with guidance provided by our project advisors, who are volunteers from the CMU student body. We aim to have the high school students be in the driver's seat throughout the process. They will be the ones brainstorming possibilities, making plans, and doing the legwork to achieve a shared goal, while the project advisors act as mentors to challenge them and provide guidance when appropriate.
Students may participate in projects covering a wide range of interdisciplinary topics. In the past, students have started and managed a Minecraft server business; designed and created robotic hands; built a working hologram projector; and recorded tracks in the style of musique concrète. (For a complete listing, visit our projects page.)
But if you don't see your favorite topic among the ones listed, don't fret: students are encouraged to propose their own project ideas and to take full advantage of our project advisors' collective knowledge and expertise.
Our project advisors are Carnegie Mellon students who have a passion for their work and who are excited to inspire students in the Pittsburgh community. They have a range of specific skills to offer to their students that come primarily from their own project based work at the university level. The primary role of the project advisors is to be a resource to the students. They teach basic relevant concepts, help the high schools students with determining a viable plan of action, and help guide them around any obstacles that arise along the way.
High school students meet with their project advisors for a weekly 3 hour workshop over a 10 week period during the spring semester. The majority of project work is done during these workshops, though students continue to work on the project throughout the week. At the end of the 10 week program, the high school students present their projects to friends, family, and the Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh communities in a project showcase.
Our hope is that the high school students who participate in Project Ignite will walk away from the program feeling more confident in their ability to execute a project on their own and having gained insight into a newfound or existing interest of theirs. With our dedicated project advisors and funding, we are able to provide students with the resources they need to discover new fields and pursue their interests in ways they are unable to engage in through their high school or on their own.