A community mentorship initiative founded by Northwestern University Office of Community Partnerships, City Colleges of Chicago and Project Exploration in 2020.

Join Our STEAMbassador Gig Board Today!

Discover diverse STEAM mentoring opportunities tailored to your interests and schedule on our STEAMbassador Gig Board. From coding drones to crafting immersive games, our part-time, seasonal, and fellowship positions in Chicago and Evanston offer you the chance to explore STEAM careers while mentoring youth. Whether you're a seasoned mentor or just starting out, showcase your skills and passions to find your perfect match. Join us in shaping the future of STEAM mentoring – create your STEAMbassador profile today!

Join the Steambassador Gig Board

About the Program

STEAMbassadors are specially-trained mentors from partnering two-and four-year institutions who facilitate camps, programs, and activities with elementary and middle-school aged Chicago and/or Evanston youth in STEAM activities such as coding music, flying drones, building machines, and writing stories in online and face-to-face informal learning spaces.  No prior teaching experience is necessary to become a STEAMbassador.

STEAMville is an online platform we created to allow youth to discover, develop, and showcase their STEAM interests and identities and to connect to other STEAM learning opportunities. We use the STEAMville online platform as a tool for training and program implementation. Mentors will learn on and through STEAMville, and then use it to support their programs. 

STEAMbassadors are recruited throughout the year to be assigned in varied youth program opportunities scheduled in the fall, spring, and summer. Check the application form for upcoming program dates.

Application Process

Eligibility - Who can apply?

‍Applicants should be:

18-24 years old

A current student at a 2 or 4 year city college/university

Living in the Chicago and Evanston area while working Interested in exploring and learning STEAM topics (e.g., data science, code drone to fly, create digital art, make games, sports tech, and cosmetology)

Committed to working with K - 12th grade youth as a mentor

No STEAM or teaching experience necessary

Important dates

STEAMbassadors are recruited on a rolling basis.

Summer 2023 (June to August) placements
+ Priority Application due: February 25
+ All Confirmation of Acceptance sent by February 28
+ Training Window: March 13 - May 31

Fall 2023 (September to December) placements
+ Application Due: Summer 2023 (Mid July)

Contact Us

For questions about the STEAMbassador initiative, please contact us at

How it works

Join the Gig Board

To apply for any Steambassador Gig, the first step is to sign up for the Steambassador Gig Board. Here, you'll find a comprehensive list of Steambassador job opportunities, spanning from year-long commitments to seasonal positions during the summer.

Once you've identified a position that aligns with your interests and qualifications, you can proceed to submit your application for that role directly within the Steambassador Gig Board.

Get Interviewed

Once you've submitted your application for a mentoring position, expect to hear from the hiring manager for further steps, which may include an interview.

This interview provides an opportunity for you to delve deeper into your interest in the role and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

Accept a Gig

Upon completion of interviews for mentoring positions, supervisors will extend offers to successful candidates. You'll be notified via email regarding their decision.

Upon receiving an offer, it's essential to accept it through the Steambassadors Gig Board to secure your position.

Get Paid

Before starting your Steambassador position, you will need to handle HR and onboarding paperwork. Expect an email detailing the specific paperwork requirements tailored to your Steambassador role. Once you've completed these documents, you can start working your Steambassador gig and receive compensation at an hourly rate corresponding to your position.

Get Trained

You'll receive paid training during your program participation time. This pay will increase once training is complete to fully reflect the expected pay bump during your chosen program. Additional pay is contingent on full completion of the onboarding process.

Gain Employment Experience
STEAMbassadors is a paid workforce development program that gives college students an opportunity to work in the neighborhoods where they are from and with which they are familiar. Young adults are trained and hired as STEAM mentors to lead camps for K-8 youth from their home community.
Expand Your Network
STEAMbassadors provides an opportunity to connect with senior leaders in higher education and community partner organizations, as well as peers from represented communities across Chicago, Evanston, and beyond. These professional networks will persist past your time as a STEAMbassador.
Learn New Skills
Upon hire, STEAMbassador mentors gain free access to the STEAMville platform to explore and level up in STEAM skills through specially curated activities, while also having the opportunity to gain and sharpen mentoring and teaching facilitation skills.

Lead as a Mentor to Youth
You will be placed with community partners for summer employment where you will lead camps based on the STEAM skills you learned during paid training. Camps may be in person or virtual depending on the individual programs. You will continue to receive support and access to learning and skill development, and you will build community with other mentors throughout your placement.
STEAMbassador Community Connections
STEAMbassadors doesn’t end with summer employment. You will be welcomed into a community where opportunities to engage will be curated especially for you. Free access to STEAMville will continue, and ongoing learning, professional development and employment opportunities will be shared, and peer-to-peer social interactions continue year round as well.

The STEAMbassador Journey

Apply to the Program

The STEAMbassadors application is a 2-step process. First, complete the application form linked above. Second, if you are a Chicago Community College student or a resident of Chicago you must complete the One Summer Chicago application as well.  Once all necessary applications been submitted you will receive an email, within 2 weeks of applying, welcoming you to the STEAMbassadors community.


Level Up Your Skill Set

Once you are officially hired as a mentor, you will begin your paid training. You will gain valuable workforce development and STEAM skills to prepare you to lead summer camps as a community leader for K-8 youth from your own community and beyond.

Once you successfully complete your paid training you are guaranteed an opportunity for summer employment as a camp lead mentor until mid-August.

Lead as a Mentor to Youth

You will be placed with community partners for summer employment where you will lead camps based on the STEAM skills you learned during paid training. Camps may be in person or virtual depending on the individual programs.

You will continue to receive support and access to learning and skill development, and you will build community with other mentors throughout your placement.


STEAMbassador Community Connections

STEAMbassadors doesn’t end with summer employment. You will be welcomed into a community where opportunities to engage will be curated especially for you. Free access to STEAMville will continue, and ongoing learning, professional development and employment opportunities will be shared, and peer-to-peer social interactions continue year round as well.

I never knew that I could do that much to inspire kids to change who they are or be like another role model for them.

2020 STEAMbassadors Mentor

"I know how valuable mentors in my life have been so I thought if I could just be a little bit of that to anyone else that would be awesome."

2020 STEAMbassadors Mentor

More about our first STEAMbassador cohort:

Our Founders

Welcome to Steambassadors, an innovative initiative born in 2020 through the collaborative efforts of Digital Youth Network, Project Exploration, and Truman College's Innovation One initiative — partners dedicated to advancing education and innovation.

Digital Youth Network brings expertise in digital learning and youth empowerment, while Project Exploration is a cornerstone in the Chicago STEM Ecosystem, known for its commitment to fostering STEM education across the city. Truman College's Innovation One initiative, within the City Colleges of Chicago network, provides invaluable support and expertise in building the STEM mentoring workforce powered by community college students for and from Chicago neighborhoods.

Together, our coalition of partners stands ready to make significant strides in STEAM education and the Steambassador initiative is poised to empower the next generation of STEAM leaders and drive meaningful lasting change.

Truman College

Innovation One is a program within Harry S Truman College’s Hub for Equity in STEAM. A collaborative network for students, educators, and teachers, Innovation One aims to promote engagement in STEAM education and careers by providing resources to stakeholders. As an Innovation One STEAMbassador, you will serve as a program counselor/mentor for elementary and high school students and introduce them to robotics and block coding. Extensive STEAM education and experience is not required – just an interest in tinkering and a desire to stay abreast of technological innovations.

Innovation One STEAMbassadors commit to 20-40 hours of paid training before assuming their part-time, paid role in the 6-week summer camp that runs from early July through the end of August. The skills that STEAMbassadors develop are very much in demand and transferable to any career and any job!

Project Exploration

Project Exploration is a Chicago-based nonprofit science education and youth development organization launched in 1999 to address inequities in access to high-quality STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) opportunities in out-of-school time.

With equity at our core, we serve youth from communities historically underrepresented in STEM fields and recruit students who are curious and interested in science but face systemic challenges to accessing high-quality programs, such as academic prerequisites or program fees.

Our programs deeply engage students in authentic STEM experiences, alongside mentors and STEM professionals who serve as role models. Through these programs and relationships, youth develop critical social and emotional skills, such as self-confidence, science identity, collaboration, communication, and leadership abilities.

Digital Youth Network

Digital Youth Network (DYN) is a research lab focused on designing more equitable systems for youth. We are a team of researchers, product designers, technologists and practitioners that have worked at every level of the out-of-school time space since 2005.

We have led citywide Out of School Time (OST) networks, redesigned how public libraries can engage youth, delivered STEAM programming for thousands and developed a purpose-built infrastructure specifically for OST.

Current Partners


MAPSCorps trains and orients youth to conduct research on community public health. MAPSCorps uses a S.T.E.A.M. approach that blends scientific inquiry with creative exercises derived from the “A” - arts/humanities training.  Youth are trained by college age near peer mentors to identify community assets, conduct research, and generate data that can be used to shape community perceptions and plans. Near peer mentors receive approximately 60 hours of training prior to the start of summer programming, and an additional 20 hours of professional development throughout the program.

Communities served in 2022 were Albany Park, Altgeld Gardens/Riverdale, Auburn Gresham, Austin, Brighten Park, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, Kenwood, Near West side, North Lawndale, South Shore & Woodlawn. Field and Data Coordinators work as near peer mentors to deliver training and mentor the Mappers (youth ages 14-15 years) to cultivate confidence, critical thinking, and self-awareness.  In the summer of 2023, there will be opportunities for college age students to work as Field Coordinators or Data Coordinators in the MAPSCorps program.

Digital Youth Divas

Digital Youth Divas is an out-of-school program that engages middle school girls, especially those from non-dominant communities, in design-based engineering and computer science activities driven by a narrative story. The program supports girls to develop STEM identities by participating within face-to-face and online spaces to design, create, and re-imagine everyday artifacts (jewelry, hair accessories, music) and activities (dancing and talking to friends) using techniques including collaboration, critique, circuitry, coding, and fabrication.

Since 2013, over 300 girls have participated in core Digital Youth Divas in Chicago. Over the course of the program, girls have demonstrated increased domain-specific content knowledge and development of initial interest in STEM.

Equity & Empowerment for Evanston Families

Our mission is to serve families of color in Evanston that have been marginalized by structural racism by providing access to parental resources while empowering their children through mentorship programs, academic supports, discovery opportunities and real world experiences.  Our Vision is that our children of color will have the same opportunities and supports as every other child in Evanston. We will do this by partnering with the wide variety of community organizations and by soliciting and utilizing the talents and time of volunteers (known as villagers) through our Eight Pathways to Success: Family Support Network, Mentorship, Education, Building Healthy Relationships, Interest Exploration and Discovery, Career Discovery and Development, Financial Literacy, and Community Service

SportSense by TIILT

Recent estimates suggest that 70% of youth participate in sports, whereas fewer than 20% participate in out-of-school STEM experiences. The SportSense project imagines how unlocking new curiosities within athletes could transform the landscape of STEM learning, both in terms of who participates and types of innovations that emerge. In partnership with local organizations, we create learning environments where students are introduced to ways that technology can help them improve their athletic performance, and ways that sports can improve their understanding of STEM concepts. We provide participants the opportunity to explore statistical questions that are meaningful to them, with tools such as wearables, Python statistical packages, and R programming tools prominently used by data scientists.


Our mission is to prepare the minds of underrepresented students and create pathways for them to pursue careers in STEM. PS programs provide students with opportunities to gain an understanding of engineering-based principles and recognize how they are connected to everything around them. Armed with this knowledge, our students can confidently go into the world and change it — before society tells them they can’t. Working directly with school districts, local universities and community organizations to deliver our engineering-focused programs. Since our launch in 2009, we have been able to create a spark in the minds of thousands of students to show them how STEM careers can be fun, creative and rewarding.


‍The TunePad / Coded Beats program provides engaging and hands-on introduction to Python coding through digital music creation. Students in our program learn the basics of coding while working through step-by-step tutorials to recreate popular music.

By the end of the program, students will gain confidence in music and code and will be ready to share their original musical compositions. Appropriate for grades 5-9.

Distinctively Me

We are a pipeline to mental health support for black girls in 6th-12th grades. We provide brave spaces that embody group-esteem, creativity, vocal expression, and leadership development, in conjunction with adult and peer support, helping to shape mentees with a positive mindset to overcome daily adversity in all areas of their lives. Distinctively Me exposes girls to resources and opportunities to help them re-frame their negative thoughts and alter poor behaviors, thereby bringing about healthy self-awareness that reinforces mental stability. Through our Teen TEE  (Talk Educate Experience) program we create a dedicated space for Black girls to engage in activities and conversations about who they are and how they fit into the world. Teen TEE helps girls to identify and dismantle the impact of racism in their lives by supporting them in resisting other people’s narratives of them and creating their own. Teen TEE includes 10, 1-hour sessions with activities, discussions, and relationship-building opportunities led by trained facilitators.


Let's answer some questions.

Will STEAMbassadors work in person or virtually?

STEAMbassadors will be working with youth in person, therefore it is crucial that STEAMbassdors reside in the Chicago area throughout their entire gig placement. Some training sessions may be held online or in person.

Can I still be a STEAMbassador even if I am a full-time student?

YES! We highly encourage continued learning while working as a STEAMbassador. We do recommend that you consider how much you can balance with school and work demands.  If you are not sure about scheduling and balancing, email us or include a note in your application so we can discuss.

What if I don’t have any STEM skills? Can I still apply?

Absolutely, yes! First, we are willing to bet that you have more skills than you realize, even if you (or your school) doesn’t always label them as “STEM skills.” Just look at you using the internet and figuring things out - tech, problem solving, check, and check! But more importantly, we have designed STEAMbassadors intentionally so that part of your work is learning and leveling up your skills. All that we ask is that you have a desire to develop your STEM skills and identity.

This work takes a village of people with all kinds of skills, but we need everyone to be willing to try, to engage, to believe in yourself, and find ways to build your skillset. The more you learn, the more you can earn. Bonus!

How much will I get paid?

The minimum will be $15, though there will be opportunities for STEAMbassadors to earn more.

Do all of the jobs for STEAMbassadors involve working with youth?

Yes, with some exceptions. There will be some opportunities to work in more administrative support roles for STEM partner organizations.

What if I have another question that is not answered here?

Excellent! We love questions. Email us at