Apply for Our Climate Leadership Program

Climate Leadership Program

Presented by Bluedot Institute and EarthDNA Ambassador Program, for Select High School Students

From July 11-17 at MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA
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  • Become a more effective advocate for global sustainability.

  • This is an excellent opportunity for high school students to sharpen their leadership and communications skills in a week of intensive training at the MIT Media Lab. 

  • Bluedot will co-sponsor and facilitate in collaboration with EarthDNA, as well as provide scholarship funds for students to join the program.

Woman at podium speaking
Four people in a field holding hands with their backs to the camera.
Woman speaking before an audience


This week-long intensive program is designed to train a select group of high school students in vital skills needed for effective leadership in the climate movement. Young people will inherit a world filled with distraction, disinformation, and inertia around difficult environmental issues facing our planet. The program aims to provide tools for the next generation as they navigate the future for themselves, and work to bring along others with them.

In addition to workshops, games, improvisations, and exercises held within the MIT Media Lab, the program recognizes the role of Boston and Cambridge as ideal classrooms at our disposal. Together with astronauts and experts from MIT and Harvard, students explore the natural environment of the area. They learn about space and the night sky at a local observatory; explore the effect of climate change on the seas through a whale watching trip to a national marine sanctuary; go birdwatching on Plum Island and study wildlife at a local Audubon nature and wildlife sanctuary. Evenings and weekends provide ample time for exploration.

The Details

Who can apply?

Any high school student ages 16-19

Where will I stay?

Room and board is provided. Students will stay in MIT’s residential dorms.

What is the cost of the program?

$3,500. This will cover the cost of housing, food, and transit for events, Incidentals and travel are not covered. A deposit is due upon acceptance.

What if I can’t afford the cost of the program?

Still apply! We are committed to making the program affordable for everyone. Scholarships will be determined by demonstrated need.

Program Agenda

July 11 and 17 are considered travel days for participants to arrive and depart. Workshops will be held daily July 12-16.

Students studying plants

Day One:

Workshops throughout the day allow students to discover the connection between self-awareness and effective leadership. Games and exercises provide opportunities for introspection, radical listening, and empathy; participants work with the idea that one cannot feel empathy for others without access to one’s own inner emotional life. As Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, puts it, “Leadership is not domination, but the art of persuading people to work toward a common goal.”

Day Two:

Workshops today build on self-awareness tools. As students focus on the art and craft of storytelling, they work to create a story of “self”, a story of “us”, and a story of “now”. Each perspective combines to build a cohesive story around a chosen climate issue: Why does it matter to me and to us? Why must we address it now? Each student identifies a particular climate issue or topic of personal importance to explore in the days ahead. Opportunities for sharing and self-reflection conclude the day’s activity.

Day Three:

Day three invites students to lean into difficult and inevitable conversations about climate issues in our world today. Bringing the work of day two into the classroom, we focus on how one listens with an open heart and mind to the ideas of others, how one reflects those ideas back to the speaker, and how one moves through conflict with finesse, rather than aggression to move the conversation forward. Students role-play conversations challenging their proposals and reflect together on the experience.

Day Four:

Today’s work drills down in depth on the previous day’s conversations, cracking open the elements of conflict to create space for negotiation and recognition of common ground. We look at specific tools to help bolster each student’s chosen cause, recognizing that sometimes the best tool is listening carefully to the opposition. Students learn about value creation, value claiming, building power, overcoming barriers, and the seven elements of negotiation.

Day Five:

On the final day, students explore the planning, design, and delivery of their specific climate issues. They try out tools of effective public speaking, addressing common fears and foibles that can limit the effectiveness of one’s delivery. Each student delivers a speech on their topic to persuade us all as to its urgency in the world today. Peers will practice offering effective feedback to each other. An opportunity for personal and group reflection marks the culmination of the week.

How to Apply

All students who are interested in attending the EarthDNA Ambassador Program will be considered regardless of finances. Click the link below to fill out the application form. You will be asked to sign into or create a Google Account.

Program Leadership

Graciela Montgomery

Graciela Montgomery

Executive Director, Bluedot Institute

Graciela Montgomery is a Human Resources executive (Calavo Growers, NPR, Deckers) combining leadership and tactical knowledge to create innovative and practical solutions. Experienced in diverse industries and cultures, including entrepreneurial and established organizations in media, consumer products, financial & professional services and technology. She is co-Chair of Human Rights Watch Santa Barbara.

Sarah Ream

Sarah Ream

Vice President, Bluedot Institute

Sarah Ream has had the climate and activism on her mind since circulating a petition to save the baby seals in grade school. Since then, she has worked as a theater director and teacher in the United States and England and taught English and Theatre for many years at Phillips Exeter Academy. Throughout it all, she has maintained a commitment to environmental issues in a variety of ways – none more exciting than her work with Bluedot.

Dava Newman

Dava Newman

Director, MIT Media Lab

Dr. Dava Newman is the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Harvard–MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology faculty member. Her research in multidisciplinary aerospace biomedical engineering investigates human performance across the spectrum of gravity, including space suits, life support and astronaut performance. Photo © Andy Ryan.

Guillermo Trotti

Guillermo Trotti

Co-Founder, EarthDNA

Guillermo Trotti is an architect with 25 years of teaching experience at the University of Houston and the Rhode Island School of Design, specializing in design for extreme environments. His projects include designs for the International Space Station galley and crew quarters, the South Pole Station, a lunar base, underwater laboratories and ecotourism resorts. He is a member of the Explorers Club and has explored every continent of the world.

Victoria Riskin

Victoria Riskin

President, Bluedot Living

Victoria Riskin is the founder and publisher of Bluedot Living, a media company with a network of newsletters that tell the stories of change-makers addressing climate change and helping readers live more sustainably. With a background in psychology, creative writing, and human rights, she creates engaging and actionable content that connects with people at the local and national level, and sparks individual and collective action.

Get in Touch

For any questions about the program or how to apply, please contact us using this form.