Bringing together emerging innovators to Build the Future
The Equitech Scholars Program is our flagship opportunity for current undergraduates who want to learn how to use cutting-edge technology tools in data science and artificial intelligence to tackle societal challenges. This eight-week, fully-funded program will invite you to explore these topics with a lively, tight-knit community of peers and mentors. Whether you want to become an entrepreneur, advocate for public policy, or work in the technology sector, the Equitech Scholars Program provides you with the skills, perspectives, and community necessary to accelerate your ambitions and launch your career.
this program ?
We offer live, virtual, project-based courses delivered in small cohorts capped at 25 students. All our classes are built on close interactions between faculty and peers.
Our goal is to provide you with varied perspectives and lenses that will help you make the biggest impact on your chosen career path. We believe integrative instruction in data science, analytical reasoning, and public communication is critical to building an equitable future.
Make your impact
Science, technology, and society do not exist in isolation. By working together with peers across disciplines and with respect for cultural and geographic differences, you will deepen the potential for your ideas.
“I was an English major, and now I work in tech. I wanted a space where I could learn data science and AI and figure out how to apply these tools to real-world problems. Equitech Futures was the perfect fit.”
Montse Madrigal, United States
To tackle complex societal challenges in the 21st century, aspiring innovators need to be more than just good students, scientists, programmers, and researchers.
- They need to understand a problem, not simply identify it.
- They need to apply what they learn, not simply digest it.
- They need to communicate complex knowledge, not simply consume it.
The Equitech Scholars program is designed to develop the valuable habits and capacities of data-driven problem-solving, critical reasoning, technological empathy, and effective communication that are essential for innovation.
What you’ll learn
Foundations of Data Science and Programming
The goals of this course are to teach you core programming skills and how to think like a data scientist. You will learn to apply foundational statistics and data science tools on real-world datasets through short projects. You will learn to communicate statistical uncertainty and visualize data effectively. Finally, you will learn basic statistical tools used both for causal inference and machine learning. This course will provide a firm foundation on which you can pursue more advanced topics in data science and machine learning. Covered topics will include Introduction to Programming in Python, Data Wrangling and Visualization, Probability and Bayesian Inference, Linear Modelling, Causal Experiments, Predictive Modeling and Machine Learning.
Applied Artificial Intelligence
This course provides you with a functional understanding of how to apply artificial intelligence tools in various domains. Unlike many courses that focus on developing AI algorithms, we will focus on how to deploy AI algorithms and the potential and risks associated with them. Whether you want to launch a startup, lead a nonprofit, work in policy, or pursue academic research, this will help cultivate an "AI architect mindset" that goes beyond understanding the mechanics behind algorithms. By the end, you will learn how to identify good (and problematic) use-cases for AI and be well-placed to create new companies, nonprofits, or policies using these novel tools. Covered topics include Introduction to Supervised Learning, Building AI Blueprints, Datafication, Applications in Healthcare, Applications in Education, and Applications in Climate and Environment.
From our first moments in life, we use voice to communicate want and need. Most of us sourced language from those around us as we were growing up, and our speech may have seemed like something that formed unconsciously in our lives. However, our vocal instrument is also a diary of where we hold tension, how we meet others, and who we aspire to be. The Speaking Lab starts from the foundations of breath and sound to discover each voice’s unique signatures which make us stand apart in a crowd. As the course progresses toward narrative and public communication, we will practice our voices’ capacities for navigating differences and finding connection.
We inhabit the world through ordinary acts of communication: writing emails, sharing information on social media platforms, trading stories on messaging apps. We can inhabit it better if we know how to do these things well. The Writing Lab is designed to sharpen the age-old technologies of reading, listening, and writing. You will work to refine your writing habits, learn to unpack complex ideas to broad audiences, and make persuasive arguments. Covered topics include Storytelling for Innovation, Persuasion, Considering Your Audience, Composing Yourself, Forms of Reasoning, and Complex Ideas Communicated Simply.
Societal and Ethical Perspectives on Technology
The goal of these discussion-based seminars is to help you navigate vital themes at the intersection of technology and society. These seminars will give you the opportunity to hear from and interact with practitioners and experts working across a variety of fields. The seminars will help you explore the social implications of technological tools and the ethical implications of your work as innovators. You will learn to think deeply about a problem, inhabit multiple viewpoints, and analyze arguments across a range of source material. Covered topics include Building Human-Centered Technologies, Gender and Technology, The Politics of Automation, The Many-Headed Climate Monster, Intellectual Property Rights, and Public Trust in STEM.
“Equitech Futures has allowed me to claim my space as a woman in STEM. It has taught me to use my empathy and emotions with analytical skills to tackle societal challenges I’m passionate about.”
Anna Upreti, India
Who is the
We believe transformative innovators transcend disciplines and are not defined by test scores. Our ideal applicants are creative problem-solvers in the social sector who are highly motivated and persistent in the face of challenges. We want people who welcome collaborative spaces, who wear their talent with humility, who take responsibility for their own learning and growth, and who want to use their talents in the service of other people.
Three criteria for eligibility are:
→ Applicants need to be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program.
→ Applicants must be no older than 25 years of age on July 1, 2023.
→ Available to commit 20-25 hours per week over 8 weeks of instruction.
We welcome applicants from all academic, professional, geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We particularly encourage women and individuals from underrepresented communities to apply for the Equitech Scholars Program.
The application cycle for the 2023 cohort closed on April 15, 2023.
→ Finalists in 2023 will interview with faculty the week of May 15, 2023
→ Admission decisions for the 2023 cohort will be made by May 26, 2023
→ Written applications for the 2024 cohort will open March 15, 2024
Our faculty are leaders in their respective fields, comprising domain expertise in data science, programming, artificial intelligence, public policy, oral communication, and writing. Most of all, they are jointly committed to the craft of teaching. Our courses are designed for small cohorts of 25 students or fewer, ensuring that you will have bountiful opportunities to connect with our accomplished faculty in class and in individualized coachings.
Creating a lifelong community of ambitious minds
At the conclusion of each program term, graduates are entitled to a Certificate of Completion and are welcomed to join the Equitech Alumni Network. This cross-cohort community of talented young innovators share opportunities, collaborate on shared research, and inspire one another. A few of the privileges of alumni status include:
Alumni from the Equitech Scholars Program are invited to monthly Leadership Labs with leading practitioners in tech and academia where open dialogue is encouraged. The network also supports career preparedness with workshops and mentorship opportunities.
The Equitech Scholars curriculum provides excellent training for future careers in entrepreneurship, academia, or the social sector. Our goal is to provide you with varied perspectives and lenses to help you lead you to a career pathway that is best for you. Faculty have written letters of recommendation for alumni who make exemplary strides in their coursework.
While our instruction is exclusively online and accessible worldwide, we invest in opportunities for alumni to gather IRL during curated weekend retreats in different regions of the world. These events join our cohorts for interdisciplinary collaboration, networking, and shared research.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition for the Equitech Scholars Program is US $7600 and includes:
- Eight weeks of instruction
- Career support for participants throughout 2024-2025
- Access to ongoing Equitech Alumni Network programming
With generous support from our philanthropic partners, we are providing full tuition waivers for each student admitted to the Equitech Scholars Program.
"Despite growing up near Silicon Valley, I did not study STEM in college. Yet I was always curious about how technology can be used to solve problems. Equitech Futures gave me the opportunity to learn data science and AI surrounded by a curious, supportive global community that really made me feel at home."
Oscar Tran, United States
Frequently Asked QuestionsApply now
Who should apply?
We welcome currently enrolled undergraduate students in any discipline anywhere in the world who are interested in using data science and applied AI to tackle societal challenges.
I've done online learning before. How is this program different?
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are generally asynchronous offerings that allow you to go at your own pace but without customization. That flexibility comes with less accountability. However, small cohort-based classes at Equitech Futures ensure that you learn through live discussions with a talented group of peers. Learning with others, and being able to speak directly to instructors as you do, will make a difference to how much you're able to take in.
What is the format of classes?
Coursework in the Scholars program is evenly weighted between Foundations of Data Science and Programming, Applied Artificial Intelligence, Writing Lab, and Speaking Lab. Each course meets for 3 hours each week in live, synchronous, cohort-based online classes.
What technology platforms are used?
Our live classes and special seminars are accessed via Zoom. Individual coaching sessions with faculty, social encounters, and study groups are held on our course-related Discord server.
What happens if I begin but cannot complete the course?
Our cohort is small, and we have significantly more applicants than we have the capacity to serve. We expect our incoming cohort to consider their own participation seriously because accepting a place closes the opportunity for another student. For this reason, if a student begins but does not complete the program for any reason other than a health emergency, we will be unable to attest to their participation or to accept an application for any other program in the future.
How do we all meet across different time zones at the same time?
Our community is built by coming together from around the globe in the same digital space at the same moments in time. In order to calibrate for waking hours, we schedule coursework from 13:00 UTC to 16:00 UTC. That translates roughly to morning sessions in the Americas, afternoon sessions in Europe and Africa, and evening sessions in Asia. In the past, students from California were joining at 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time, while students in China were finishing coursework at 12 midnight China Standard Time.