Young Researchers Academy

Nurturing the Next Generation of Researchers.

Young researchers academy assists and mentors middle and highschoolers in conducting research and competing in the Toshiba ExploraVision Competition.

Explore YRA

Cultivating Outstanding Thinkers

YRA's virtual research program makes it possible for students from anywhere in the United States to conduct in-depth STEM research on any topic of their choice.

What We Offer

Research and Competitions

Our students compete in the Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision Competition and the 3M Young Scientists Competition. Throughout the program, our teams of students develop an advanced, original research project (with the help of our mentors and comprehensive curriculum) that they submit to these competitions at the end of the program.



All of our lead mentors to our students are either college students or attend one of Northern Virginia's premier STEM high schools , and most of our mentors are carrying out university-level scientific research as high schoolers or college students. Our mentors specialize in areas from computer science, to environmental science, to cancer biology, to engineering, and everything in between. Our wide range of specialization allows us to craft a multitude of small (2-5 students) teams based on our students' interests.‚Äč



Along with the competitive research aspect of the program, YRA is dedicated to providing our students with the invaluable skills of collaboration, negotiation, dedication, perseverance, and more. We teach students to turn their passion for researching a subject into a tangible product through empowering them and maintaining close relationships with our students.


Program Structure

YRA is structured in such a way as to be as efficient and helpfull as possible

  • 6 month virtual program
    September - February
  • Mentor 7th - 10th
  • Applications open during Spring

We follow a carefully-crafted curriculum that not only teaches scientific research skills, but also the all-important soft skills of collaboration and organization.

What our students are saying

Mai, YRA'23

YRA was a really fun time for me. I learned how to research more in-depth-- I can now figure out how to look for solutions to big problems thanks to YRA. I would highly recommend YRA for people who like to find solutions to problems using STEM, and I think it's a really good cause and will grow a lot in the future!

Maanya, YRA'23

YRA was such an amazing learning experience for me. Not only did I learn to work with other people, but I also learned how to research properly, prevent plagiarism (along with other ethics), and expand on my scientific writing skills.

Mariam, YRA'23

YRA was a wonderful experience. I made new friends, and learned how to work cooperatively. YRA also helped me learn how to properly research-- a skill that helped me extensively! This experience helped me grow as a student and learn how to focus on the world around us.

Harshini, YRA'23

I was in YRA for the 2022-2023 cohort, and it was one of the best experiences I've had. I was in a team of three people, and we created the 'Carpet Sphere' which uses MASER to be an efficient source of energy in space and on Earth. This is a clean energy source that will power Earth for many generations to come. At the end, we even had a cookie party, and I enjoyed collaborating with everyone.


We are rapidly expanding!

YRA's successful pilot program ran from October 2022-February 2023, and we are scaling up both our program and our outreach exponentially for the 2023-2024 school year. Some of our current work includes expanding the program to early high-schoolers and also designing a program that can support MFGLI (minority, first-generation, or low-income) students during and after their time at YRA.

Apply for our 2023-2024 program

Apply to become a Mentor!


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