About Illumna

Find out how we inspire our students

Our Mission

Illumna was created primarily in response to what we consider the shortcomings of the traditional education system that students face, the most significant being: 

Illumna aims to fill these gaps in the traditional education system in unconventional ways. Our mission is to give students the opportunity to overcome these issues and realize their full potential by: 

The Program

Illumna offers the Summer Development Program for rising 10th graders to incoming college first-years, run by first- and second-year college students. During the program, mentors draw from their own personal experiences to teach mentors leadership skills and tools for success. While we encourage all interested students to apply, mentees from under-resourced backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply, as many of our own mentors come from such backgrounds. Although we are holistic in our review, under-resourced usually means low-income and/or first-generation college student background.

We have three locations this year at Fort Lee, Garfield, and Westwood. Garfield will run from 9 AM – 12 PM. Fort Lee and Westwood will run 4 PM – 7 PM. All branches will host their sessions from July 1st to 26th. However, Illumna doesn’t just end there. While the program itself only lasts a summer, it serves to induct mentors and mentees alike into a lifelong “illumni” network of motivated young people. 



Find the best mentor for you based on your specific interests and goals


Branch out and explore a growing network of diverse mentors and mentees


Cover important concepts on leadership that don't fit into typical school curriculums


Sharpen skills in workshops devoted to topics such as public speaking and teamwork

Development Highlights



Our Mentor System

Our philosophy demands that mentors have the most relevant, up-to-date information that high school students need. That’s why, at Illumna, mentors graduate as well after one summer – to make way for the next generation. 


Program Breakdown

  • Every session, mentors use the first hour to lead group discussions on that day’s topic of focus, using our textbook as a guide.
  • For the next two hours, mentors lead participation-based group activities designed to help students apply the skills learned in the first hour.
  • Through 1-on-1 mentorship sessions, students build close relationships with an individually matched mentor.

Field Trips

Throughout the program, mentors and mentees will also periodically go on educational field trips. Field trips engrain classroom lessons through fun activities and foster a sense of community. For the summer of 2019, we have decided on two Corporate Visit to New York City, Field Day, and a BBQ Cookout day. We will visit Uber, Google, Morning Brew, and Codeacademy for our corporate visits.


Field Day

New York City

BBQ Cookout

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