Community Learning Events


In addition to our structured programs, every semester (fall, spring, and summer) we offer a series of community events for students. Each semester we tackle a specific topic related to the implications of STEM innovations in our lives. The events are designed to allow participants to explore the topic area while engaging with their peers in an interactive manner. Specifically, each semester we organize three events which provide students a natural progression to explore and engage with the topic: 1) Reading group discussion, 2) Ideation session, and 3) Fireside chat.

Event details

Reading group

Participants in the reading group select a book or scholarly publication related to the topic (a few curated suggestions may be provided as examples, but students are encouraged to select something on their own). Students have six weeks to identify and read their selected content as well as prepare discussion points which they can share during a culminating moderated discussion event. The goal of this live discussion is to allow participants to gain a broad exposure of the topic through their own reading and the perspectives of their peers.

Ideation session

The ideation session event is an opportunity for participants to work with a group of peers to distill key problem statements related to the topic and produce a set of cogent ideas on how the problem(s) might be addressed in practice. These sessions are intended to be light working groups that allow students to apply their critical thinking and communication skills while having the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a group of like-minded peers.

Fireside chat

As the final event of each semester, we organize a fireside chat where participants review content from industry / academic professionals related to the topic. They are then lead through a discussion and open Q&A where students have an opportunity to ask questions and share their opinions in an informal, interactive setting.

Eligibility guidelines

All of our community events are held via video conference. Therefore, there are no geographical constraints for interested participants. However, students must have access to a computer and Internet connection by which they can join sessions. Age requirements for the events are as follows:

  • Reading group: 13 and older
  • Ideation session: 13 and older
  • Fireside chat: 7 and older

All of the events are free, but due to limited space we do ask all interested participants to fill out a short application form.

Details for fall 2018

Topic: The societal impact of big data and artificial intelligence

Description: Modern computing technologies have unleashed an unprecedented generation of data-driven algorithms. Often labeled as big data or artificial intelligence, these capabilities are quickly becoming pervasive in various aspects of our every day lives. As society continues to try and keep pace with these technological advances, what future benefits and unintended implications might we have in store?

Sample questions to explore:

  • What industries are making use of big data and artificial intelligence today and what use cases are they enabling?
  • What barriers will artificial intelligence help humanity overcome in the future, and who will benefit the most from these outcomes?
  • What role will big data play in the future of government and criminal justice?

Examples of relevant books and documentaries:

NOTE: These examples are meant to provide ideas for materials students might read or watch as part of participating in the series of events and are not meant to be comprehensive or prescriptive.

Key dates

Application dates

  • Applications open for review: August 13th
  • NOTE: Acceptance decisions will be made on a rolling basis, so interested students should apply as early as possible

Notification deadlines

All applicants will hear back no later than:

  • Reading group – September 15th
  • Ideation session – November 3rd
  • Fireside chat – November 17th

Event dates

  • Reading group – October 27th
  • Ideation session – November 10th
  • Fireside chat – December 1st

Interested in joining us?

Submit an application for events you'd like to participate in

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