Ignite LA

“This fellowship has empowered me to go out into the community and help create change for the better as a citizen scientist with first hand experience in actual field research." - Simran Sangha '18

For over 25 years, the Durfee Foundation has partnered with Earthwatch Institute to inspire well-rounded high school students with a passion for science and technology to work alongside scientists conducting field research nationwide.

Ignite LA offers high school students in Los Angeles County an opportunity to stir their imaginations, expand their potential, and inspire their curiosity about science.

Selected students spend two intensive weeks during the summer at a scientific research station somewhere in the U.S. such as the Eastern seaboard, the Rockies, or the Southwestern desert. Students investigate topics such as climate change, species adaptation, and environmental sustainability.

The Ignite LA Student Science Awards recipients—more than 1,400 smart, inquisitive students —have contributed more than 84,000 volunteer hours to 84 projects since the program’s inception.

Please visit Earthwatch Institute for additional information about this program.


  • To help students become scientifically literate and confident in their investigation of the natural world
  • To stimulate the imagination of students and to open them up to new possibilities they may not have explored otherwise



Ignite LA students by the numbers:


Ignite LA schools served:

  • 55% of the Ignite alums are from Title 1 high schools in LA County
  • 78% of the Ignite high schools are in low to middle-income neighborhoods
  • The average high school graduation rate of Ignite alums is 100%
  • By comparison, the average graduation rate of the Ignite schools in LA is 71%

2019 Ignite Locations:





Rhode Island




Sierra Nevadas