Every year, MIT clubs around the world hold a celebration of the Independent Activities Period (IAP) to invite alumni to rejuvenate, recharge, and connect. This year, MIT alums connected with each other in the city of Boston, celebrating their mutual history of intellectual play and curiosity — and a large influencer of the founding of EXPLO. 

Much of EXPLO’s mission, written over 40 years ago, was inspired by this IAP model — intellectual adventure beyond academic routine, filled with variety, innovative spirit, and most importantly, a fusion of fun and learning.  

Designed to expose students to new subjects and academic disciplines, these seminars have provided an intimate learning environment that encourages student participation and active learning — and was a launchpad for Ann and Arnie Singal, founders of EXPLO, to begin thinking about ways they could bring a unique summer experience to high school students.  (You can learn more about EXPLO's history, by reading Our Story here.)

MIT has described IAP “as a grand dose of intellectual sunshine and fresh air” where students can pursue independent projects, meet with faculty, and set their own explorative agenda. Past options [at IAP] have ranged from activities like electron microprobe analysis and the Martin Luther King, Jr. design seminar, to introductory blacksmithing and ballroom dancing.”

We wanted to celebrate the impact that the transformational education experience of IAP has had — and love that we get to toast such a compelling like-minded organization in honor of their recent IAP networking event.