EXPLO | Overview


EXPLO was founded in 1976 by Ann and Arnie Singal.

They envisioned “a third way” for summer programming for high school students. Not the traditional summer school nor a summer camp, but the kind of program that takes the best of both – close friendships, activities, and adventure with a focus on intellectual engagement and life learning. EXPLO was a pioneer more than 40 years ago and it is still infused with that pioneering spirit. Today, EXPLO creates and runs world-class residential and day programs for young people ages 8 to 17 on the campuses of Wheaton College, Wellesley College, and Yale University. EXPLO designs transformational active learning environments that connect academic pursuits with the real world. EXPLO is where many young people meet their future selves.


Each summer, EXPLO welcomes students from more than 40 states and 70 countries to summer programs on our campuses where we explore the world of people and ideas, and celebrate the differences that bring us together as a community. The curriculum at EXPLO intentionally allows students to investigate subjects they’re not likely to encounter during the school year. EXPLO designs programs so that student will take risks. We don’t want students to hold back because they don’t think they will be good at something --because they fear a poor grade or a drop in their G.P.A.s. We encourage students to step away from focusing on performance and evaluation and instead focus on their own curiosity and learning. With the tremendously broad options for courses, workshops, teams, clubs, societies, activities, and trips, students are pushed – daily -- to try something new. It is when you experience the discomfort of something new that you experience the greatest amount of growth both personally and intellectually. Exploration expands the mind and spirit.

EXPLO ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO THINK BIG AND CREATIVELY Every year, the editors at Forbes magazine feature individuals who are the most innovative in their fields in Forbes 30 under 30 issue. More than 35 alums have been showcased in those issues. Examples have included: MAX MANKIN , Cofounder, Modern Electron (2016) Max Mankin is the founder of Modern Electron , a star tup that seeks to over turn 100 years of history in generating electricity, replacing steam turbines with small, modular devices that conver t heat to electricity.The company has raised $11 million so far. ERAN HODIS , MD + PhD Student, MIT + Harvard (2015) After his mother was diagnosed with cancer, Eran Hodis switched from studying yeast to studying cancer. Through his effor ts, we now know which gene mutations are among the most common across different cancers — and what chemical process transforms those cancer cells into near-immor tal beings. Hodis, who now works at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, is lauded for his work as a cancer researcher. Read the full list here.


NED SAHIN Neuroscientist + CEO of Brainpower ELLEN SIMINOFF Entrepreneur + Investor; Forbes Master of Information, Founding Executive of Yahoo ALEX KOREN Thiel Fellowship Winner GEORGE WHITESIDES CEO, Virgin Galactic MARK KORSHAK Founding Producer of Attainment Media NICK WEIS-RICHMOND Founder, Workbench Productions ANDREW MARANTZ Contributor + Editorial Staff, The New Yorker

DOUG LIMAN Producer + Director, Jason Bourne film franchise KATIE STACK Ph.D., Jet Propulsion Lab, 2020 Rover Mission, Deputy Scientist KEVIN SYSTROM Founder, Instagram SALVADOR GOMEZ COLON 2017 Time Teen of the Year, Founder, Light & Hope for Puerto Rico ANNA STORK Co- Founder LuminAid, Kauffman Global Entreprenuer Fellow GIDEON ROSE Editor of Foreign Affairs, Council on Foreign Relations SARA GILBERT Co-Founder, The View

CURRICULUM ADVISORS Fromneurobiologists andNewYork Times best-selling authors to emergency physicians at world-class hospitals, internationally-renowned education reformers, and space explorers—they help generate new course concepts, shape current curriculum, and keep EXPLOon the leading edge of theworld of people and ideas. If at EXPLOwe’re going to commit students to the task of exploring theworld of people and ideas, we cannot expect that to happen in a bubble. Through the years, we have joinedwith some of themost engagingminds in academia and industry, drawing on their expertise and connecting themto our students. There aremanyways that we do this, fromsubject-specific expert visits to bigger picture TED-style talks at CommunityMeetings to site visits with industry leaders. Some recent collaborations/connections include:



EXPLO is tuned into the future.

Entire fields are undergoing dramatic change and that inevitablymeans that to stay relevant, EXPLO needs to be regularly reviewing its curriculum, its focus, its projects, its connections, and its trips. Recent estimates suggest that 65 percent of children entering elementary school todaywill end upworking in jobs that currently do not exist; and according to responses fromchief human service leaders and strategy executives worldwide, 35 percent of the skills that are considered important in the current workforcewill change in the next five years. In fact, when you compare the skills needed to thrive in 2015 against those needed in 2020, there are some key differences.


EXPLO doesn’t take good teaching for granted. We invest in, develop, train, and inspire it. It’s far more than conveying content. With a Teaching and Learning Department staffed with 15 full-time educators, EXPLO runs a cutting-edge teacher development program for more than 300 teachers each year. During the summer, each EXPLO campus has its own Teaching & Learning Department to observe and give instructors feedback on their work. “The Gold Standard.” Time and again, that’s what the EXPLO faculty has been called. A mix of highly experienced educators and professionals that lead a dynamic teaching staff that includes talented and mature college and graduate students. It’s a bold combination that generates a vibrant mix. We also welcome visiting scholars and professionals who share their wisdom and insights about their disciplines and industries

Read more about teaching outside the box.

It reallymatters tome that they see thatHarveyCushing wasanerd. He followedhis curiositywherever it took him, and it led to this career as the founder ofmodern neuroscience,…Iwanted themtosee that scientific curiosityandwonderinghow andwhy thingswork—that kindof curiosity that drives them—isexactly thekindof thing that can lead tobeinga scientist.

--EXPLOat Yale’sBehavioral Neuroscience+Heart Science Instructor


DMITRI CHRISTAKIS Director, Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute CAROL STEIKER Henry J. Friendly Professor at Harvard Law School, U.S. Supreme Court Law Clerk for Thurgood Marshall PAUL MAHONEY David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor, University of Virginia Law School, Former Dean of University of Virginia Law School, U.S. Supreme Court Clerk for Thurgood Marshall LEAH HAGAR COHEN Award-winning author of more than ten books of fiction + non-fiction + Jencks Chair in Contemporary American Letters at the College of the Holy Cross AMOR TOWLES Best selling author of “Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow”

Founder of Buzzfeed, Co-Founder of Huffington Post, + Creator of Reblog MARC BONDICK Co-Founder of Elevation Partners & Founding Principal of Silver Lake Partners, currently leading the Business and Community teams at Quora — a question and answer social media site BARRY NALEBUFF Professor at Yale School of Management + Co-Founder of Honest Tea JAMES FORMAN Professor, Yale Law School and Co-Founder Maya Angelou Charter School, U.S. Supreme Court Clerk for Sandra Day O’Connor, + Author of NYT Best Books of 2017, “Locking Up Our Own” SIMA SISTANI Co-Founder of COO Houseparty (Life on Air) + Director of Media at Tumblr, Inc. JOSH BRANKMAN Outward Bound USA, Executive Director


RESEARCH PROJECTS: EXPLOhas participated in research projects with professors, fellows, and doctoral candidates at theMITMedia Lab, HarvardGraduate School of Education, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, andWellesley College. These projects allowEXPLO students to participate in cutting-edge research involving handheld devices, robots, and digital circuit design.

CURRICULAR PARTNERSHIPS: EXPLO is currently workingwith CERN (Geneva, Switzerland) to develop a particle physics course for 9&10 year olds that will bemade freely available to educators in 2019. EXPLOalso partneredwith PBS, TheNational Governors Association, and the Commission on Presidential Debates to lead the “Join theDebates” project to help educators teach their students how to engage in civil discussion on controversial topics. More than 20,000 teachers have used “Join the Debates” curriculumboth in theUnited States and internationally.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH SPREADING THE EXPLO DNA In order to touch evenmore students than can be directly served at EXPLO’s summer programs, the organization has provided professional development for groups and organizations serving low-income students. Some examples include leadership and staff training for the Sunflower County Freedom Project, which serves students in theMississippi Delta, as well asmembers of the Summer Collaborative (Wilmington, Delaware), comprised of community center camps serving low income students through the YMCA, Boys &Girls Clubs, and other community centers.

EXPLO HEADQUARTERS EXPLO operates out of the Exploration Center in Norwood, Massachusetts . The building was originally founded as the first academic press in the United States. EXPLO saved it – it was empty and boarded up – renovated it, and now it houses not only offices, but a woodshop, electronics lab, video studio, paint shop, and makerspace. There are more than 40 people who work full-time and EXPLO’s work now involves not only summer programming, but curricular design, consulting, and educator professional development for schools and not-for-profits.

EXPLO’S OUTREACH EXPLO’s outreach arm, EXPLOStudio, is working in two Boston area schools piloting a critical making foundation course for all 6th and 7th graders in each of the schools.

EXPLOStudio hasworkedwith educators from across theU.S., Canada, China, andBrazil.

Recently, EXPLO’s ExecutiveDirector, Moira Kelly, and EXPLO’s CreativeDirector, DaveHamilton, were tapped to participate in theOpen Leadership Camp at theMITMedia Lab hosted by Joi Ito andMitchell Baker. The Camp brought together thosewho are leaders in their fields. A broad array of domestic and international educators and educational policymakers have found their way to the Exploration Center to learn more about EXPLO’s work. Recently, EXPLOhas been invited to set up its academic home at a large research university toworkwith its Department of Education on changing howpre- service teachers are educated.

At EXPLO,webelieve learningmirrors life—full of questions, tensions, andworthwhiledigressions in anever-changingworld.Weknowthatwhimsyand wonder haveaplacealongsidepragmatic investigation.We celebratediscovery through doing, andempathy throughauthentic connection. Weknowimmersingourselves in theearnest explorationof theworldof peopleand ideas reveals the joyof learningandwith it, the joyof living.


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