Stern Civics Immersion Program

A unique summer experience that empowers high school students to take action in response to today’s issues.

Group of high school students smiling and dressed informally, sitting inside for a summer school group democracy program.
  • Date

    In-Person: July 1 - 19, 2024
  • Duration

    3 Weeks
  • Location

    Stanford University
  • Cost

  • Apply Now
Still accepting applications for the 2024 cohort!

About the Program

The Stern Civics Immersion Program is a three-week residential summer program.

Junior State of America’s Civics Immersion Program is designed to engage high school students with the most pressing issues facing our democracy today, challenging them to look beyond differences and focus on solution-oriented action. Participants gain a complete understanding of critical issues directly from the decision-makers who shape public policy and apply lessons learned to generate ideas for direct action in their communities.

Previous courses include Environmental Justice, Global Poverty, Inequality and Justice, and Design Thinking for Community Problem Solving. In addition to the primary course of study each summer, all students will take a supplementary course: Argumentation and Use of Evidence.

Who Should Attend?

The material for the Civics Immersion program is designed for high school students in 9th-12th grade.

Guest Speaker

Maddie Hall

Maddie is the CEO & Co-founder of Living Carbon, a climate change biotech company. Living Carbon’s mission is to responsibly rebalance the planet’s carbon cycle using the inherent power of plants. The team develops photosynthesis-enhanced seedlings that capture more carbon and metal accumulating seedlings to clean soil and increase the duration of stored carbon. Prior to Living Carbon, Maddie worked on special projects at OpenAI and held various roles in VC and product management. Maddie is a JSA alum. During her time in JSA, she served as lieutenant governor for the Pacific Northwest State and represented her region as a delegate of the Montezuma Leadership Summit.

Key Takeaways
  • Engage with college-level curriculum that interests you
  • Learn how to lead your own activism projects
  • Meet inspiring leaders who are changing their communities
  • Make friends with students who share your interests

Goals & Outcomes

Students who participate in our Civics Immersion program will:


Be better equipped to participate in government at the national, state, and local levels


Be able to lead and participate in civil conversations with people from different backgrounds and perspectives


Learn and demonstrate effective 21st-century leadership skills


Be ready to address current and future political, economic, and social issues facing the world


Be better suited to succeed in secondary and post-secondary education environments


Develop and hone essential critical thinking skills

Stern Civics Immersion In-Person Courses

  • Campaigns & Elections: The Politics of Change in America facilitated by: David McCuan
  • Global Poverty, Inequality, & Justice facilitated by: Azamat Sakiev
  • Global Conflict facilitated by: Stephen Magu
  • Democracy & Social Media facilitated by: Andrea McClanahan
  • Argumentation & Use of Evidence facilitated by: Thomas Arndt
  • I learned so much about environmental justice! If I had to pick one thing that was reinforced throughout this program it would be the idea that all movements are interconnected and intersect.

  • I joined the Civics Immersion Program to gain some knowledge and awareness about modern-day issues. I also wanted to have a network of students and teachers that I could reach out to whenever I needed help.


Have questions?

How do I apply to JSA Summer Programs?

Do I need to be a member of JSA to attend Summer Experiences?

Are transcripts or letters of recommendation required for Summer Programs?

What is included in my tuition?

Are scholarships available for Summer Experiences?

Do I need to be vaccinated to attend in-person events?

How can I contact someone with questions?

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