Project Ignite is a student-run outreach organization at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), offering an interdisciplinary, project-based educational program for high school students in the greater Pittsburgh area. It provides a valuable opportunity for students to work in a team and gain hands-on experience planning and executing a project with funding for materials provided to each group.

Project Ignite is based on small group projects that are defined and driven by high school students, with guidance provided by project advisors, who are volunteers from the CMU student body. Project Ignite’s vision is that all students, regardless of socioeconomic standing or prior academic achievement, will have the opportunity to participate in the program.

High school students are in the driver’s seat throughout their project’s process. They are the ones brainstorming possibilities, making plans, and doing the legwork to achieve a shared goal, while the project advisors act as mentors, challenging students and providing guidance when appropriate.

The ultimate goals of Project Ignite are to expose students to subject areas that they would otherwise be unable to explore and to allow students to pursue a new or existing interest that they lack the knowledge, resources, or support to engage in on their own, thus helping them develop passions that can be pursued at a professional level.

Started in 2015, Project Ignite has collaborated with more than 20 high schools and worked with about 250 high school students and 150 CMU project advisors to launch over 40 projects in technology, sciences, and arts.

Project Ignite was founded with the goal of using project-based learning to offer high school students an opportunity for exploration, discovery, and growth. The project strongly believes in the power of peer-mentored, interdisciplinary, project-based learning, and it has strived to bring the best out of students.

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