Our Mission

We empower exceptional students to understand and change our future.

Like an atlas, we help you navigate the world: in our programs, fellows practice careful reasoning that enables them to make sense of confusing evidence, mitigate cognitive biases, and develop accurate beliefs that map onto reality.

Together, we then apply these analytical tools to global challenges that we think are important, such as global poverty, existential risks to humanity, risks from advanced AI, or the reform of economic institutions.

But most importantly, we hope that Atlas Fellows will discover important problems and solutions beyond our own understanding. We believe that thoughtful young people can fix the parts of our civilization that are broken—so we want to raise their ambitions and empower them with tools, resources, and a community.
Meet the team

Staff and previous instructors

Jonas Vollmer Profile Pic

Jonas Vollmer

Jonas co-founded the Atlas Fellowship. He previously oversaw $20 million in grants to high-impact projects and co-founded and led an AI risk research non-profit with 20 full-time staff. At Atlas programs, he loves discussing ending global poverty and playing capture the flag.

Ronny Fernandez

Ronny studied philosophy at Rutgers University and likes to think about how artificial intelligence grounds philosophy in the concrete. He also did AI forecasting research at AI Impacts. At Atlas, he enjoys discussing formal epistemology and strategizing for Killer Queen games.

Ricki Heicklen

Ricki is a freelancer who spends her time writing, teaching, and red-teaming problems with incentive structures. She previously worked as a quantitative trader at Jane Street Capital and as a data scientist on the electoral forecasting team at Blue Rose Research. She enjoys thinking about philosophy, prison abolition, and board games.

Ashley Lin profile pic

Ashley Lin

Ashley co-founded the Atlas Fellowship. Previously, she founded a nonprofit that brought online cultural exchange to >1,000 students in 35+ countries and wrote a book on community building. At Atlas programs, she likes to explore China-related AI policy or how to learn better.

Chana Messinger

Chana Messinger is a longtime teacher, speaker and writer. She taught math for 9 years, and has been giving workshops and coaching for learning how to think better for the last year. She has blogged about and helped edit a book about rationality.

Sydney Von Arx

Sydney co-founded the Atlas Fellowship and still joins as an instructor. Previously, she founded a coding bootcamp for kids and set up a summer program that teaches high school students quantitative reasoning. At Atlas programs, she talks about machine learning, agency, and taking ideas seriously.

Aaron Scher

Aaron is a recent graduate of Pitzer College, where he studied psychology and economics. He enjoys playing tennis and chess despite not being very good! He loves talking about big problems, emotions, and hearing about other people’s passions.

Damon Sasi

Damon is a licensed therapist, author of Pokemon Rational Fiction, and teacher at various camps and workshops. He’s a strong believer in the power of rationality to improve therapeutic practices, as well as stories as a catalyst for growth, and is working to combine all three in as many ways as possible.

John Salvatier

John trained as a chemical engineer and worked as a programmer. He built a popular Bayesian stats library, and has written about the surprising detailedness of reality.

left arrow large light
right arrow large light
Atlas Fellowship

Our Story

The Atlas Fellowship evolved out of a program called Uncommon Sense, which had a focus similar to the Atlas summer program and proved impactful for its participants. Sydney Von Arx, one of the co-founders of Uncommon Sense, partnered with Ashley Lin and Jonas Vollmer to found the Atlas Fellowship to vastly expand the scale and scope of that program—starting the Atlas Fellowship in 2022.

In 2022, the Atlas Fellowship ran five 11-day programs in Berkeley (California) and Oxford (United Kingdom) for 111 Fellows from 18 countries, selected from over 7,000 applications. We plan to continue and refine our programs, and potentially support a substantially larger number of students in future years.

The Atlas Fellowship is a 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States (EIN 88-1678673). It is funded by Open Philanthropy, a large philanthropic organization in the United States. Previously, it also received funding from the Future Fund. If you are interested in supporting us, or if you have any questions about your donation, please contact us at info@atlasfellowship.org.
Apply Now

Are you interested in science, philosophy, and the future?