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Atlas Summer Program

These 11 days can change the trajectory of your life.

At the summer program, you will gain tools to make sense of the future, discuss global issues, and develop a framework that helps you reach your own conclusions about which areas to work on. And you’ll meet like-minded participants who are interested in these questions too.

Logistics

Dates:
Fellows can choose from the following sessions:
- June 12 - June 23, 2022
- July 3 - July 14, 2022
- July 17 - July 28, 2022
- August 14 - August 25, 2022
Location:
Piedmont Commons, next to UC Berkeley.
2401 Piedmont Ave, Berkeley, CA 97407.
Cost:
In order to attract the most talented students possible, the summer program is completely free (including travel, housing, food, and all other related expenses).
Is it mandatory?:
All Fellows will be invited to the summer program, but don’t need to attend.We trust Fellows to make informed choices about how to use their time.

We've thoughtfully developed the content of our summer program and think it is a great use of time, but it is only a strongly recommended option for winners, not a requirement
Atlas Summer Program

Dates & Logistics

Dates

Fellows can choose from the following sessions:
- June 12 - June 23, 2022
- July 3 - July 14, 2022
- July 17 - July 28, 2022
- August 14 - August 25, 2022

Location

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a five-minute walk from University of California, Berkeley.

Cost

To make sure it's accessible to everyone, the summer program is completely free (including travel, housing, food, and all other related expenses).

Is it required?

All Fellows will be invited to the summer program, but don’t need to attend. We trust Fellows to make informed choices about how to use their time.

We've thoughtfully developed the content of our summer program and think it is a great use of time, but it is only a strongly recommended option for winners, not a requirement.

Atlas Summer Program

Instructors

Instructors will teach at multiple sessions, but not every instructor will attend all sessions.

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Eli Tyre

Eli is a former instructor and curriculum developer for the Center For Applied Rationality, a non-profit that develops and teaches epistemic skills for reasoning about the world and improving one’s life.  

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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.

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John Salvatier

John Salvatier 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.

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Ross Rheingans-Yoo

Ross Rheingans-Yoo works at the FTX Foundation with a focus on ways of preventing catastrophic pandemics. He previously spent 5 years as a trader and educator at Jane Street, and conducts independent economic research on market design, matching, mechanisms, and networks. Ross blogs infrequently about a variety of topics at Icosian Reflections.

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Andrew Masley

In addition to being a physics teacher, Andrew is a community builder for the Center for Effective Altruism in Washington, DC.

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Thomas Kwa

Thomas Kwa is an undergraduate at Caltech studying computer science. He interned at a quant trading firm in 2021, and is spending this summer 2022 studying AI alignment.

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Ricki Heicklen

Ricki Heicklen is a freelance teacher, techie, and data scientist. She previously worked as a quantitative trader at Jane Street Capital, researching US equities markets and auction structures. She enjoys thinking about optimization, ethics, and collaborative board games.

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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

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Sydney Von Arx

Sydney Von Arx founded a coding bootcamp for kids and set up a summer program that teaches high school students quantitative reasoning.

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Jonas Vollmer

Jonas Vollmer oversaw over $20 million in grants to high-impact projects. He previously co-founded and led an AI risk research non-profit with 20 full-time staff.

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Ashley Lin

Ashley Lin founded a nonprofit that brought online cultural exchange to >1,000 students in 35+ countries and wrote a book on community building.

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What we're all about

Curious about what the Atlas Fellowship summer program looks like?

Daily Plan

We have 4–7 hours of workshops and activities each day. None of the content is mandatory; we trust students to identify whether attending a session will be more useful for them than their counterfactual (what they could’ve been doing otherwise, such as a 1-on-1 chat with a fellow participant).

As a result, Fellows co-create a learning experience tailored to their unique interests. During time outside of structured workshops, students generally relax, talk with each other and the instructors, or organize their own optional activities like board games and hikes.

Morning

9:30am
Morning regather
9:40am
Bayesianism
11:00am
Fermi estimates and forecasting

Afternoon

1:30pm
Bismarck, Brexit, and Borlaug: individuals vs social movements
2:50pm
Capture the flag
4:00pm
Challenge: reach the highest altitude you can in the next hour
5:30pm
Electives

Evening

7:30pm
Free time/evening activities
10:30pm
Lights out
Kevin Wang (16)
Boston, MA
Testimonial from Uncommon Sense, a program the Atlas Fellowship team ran in summer 2021
“changed the trajectory of my life...”

The ideas I encountered at Uncommon Sense quite literally changed the trajectory of my life and opened my eyes to better paths towards impact. The people I’ve met have created awesome experiences and opportunities and have made damn good friends.

Sanat Singhal (18)
Cupertino, CA
Testimonial from Uncommon Sense, a program the Atlas Fellowship team ran in summer 2021
“allowed me to update long-held beliefs...”

Uncommon Sense might have single-handedly accelerated my life's trajectory by years. Throughout the camp, I was exposed to mental models like Fermi Estimates, Bayes theorem, and Goodhart's Law that made me a better thinker. Almost every conversation I had, whether at the beach or over dinner, gave me a fresh perspective and allowed me to update long-held beliefs. Moreover, many campmates have become amazing friends who I still keep in touch with!

Oam Patel (18)
Mountain Home, ID
Testimonial from Uncommon Sense, a program the Atlas Fellowship team ran in summer 2021
“one of the highest expected value weeks of my life”

In terms of rationality content alone, Uncommon Sense was one of the highest expected value weeks of my life. I met a fascinating group of talented people doing unusually useful things.

There were workshops on useful concepts, talks from highly impactful people, and it all took place with a cohort of extremely interesting peers who I’m still in contact with to this day.

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Atlas Summer Program

Curriculum Pillars

Critical Thinking

How should the US tackle climate change? A plastic bag ban may actually increase emissions, though it would decrease litter.
What career will make you happiest and have the best impact on the world? A doctor typically saves far fewer lives than a quantitative trader donating 1% of their income, and a talented researcher or entrepreneur might save more lives still.
Too often, these decisions are automatic, influenced by our cognitive biases or dictated by social norms. We want to help students actually think through questions like these and reach their own conclusions.

Future Modeling

Some experts saw COVID coming. Do you have a guess at what the next disaster could be? Are you prepared for it? Being able to model the future is about being less confused. We are pretty good at modeling objects and humans; for example, we have a good idea of what happens if we blindly try to cross a busy road.

The future is a bit fuzzier often due to a lack of knowledge about how things work. We want to demystify the future and help students predict what actually happens, so they can better orient their plans and decisions.

Agency

Yeah, someone should do that.

Why not you?

What are your goals?

Do your current most-costly actions help you achieve those goals? What unconventional actions can you take to get there faster?
People often have great ideas that they never take action on. We want to help students become more agentic by teaching things like basic startup skills, resolve cycles and goal factoring, and embedding themselves into communities of people who consistently take initiative to turn their ideas into reality. By practicing agency and planning, students have a shot at creating massive impact.

The Details
Scholarship
Up to $50,000 in scholarship funding.

Scholarship funding is intended to be used for university tuition (or other early-career opportunities on a case-by-case basis). Finalists will receive their scholarship when they turn 18. Fellows will have their scholarship award distributed over four years.

Summer Program
All-expenses paid, 10-day summer program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

There will be four cohorts of the program in Summer 2022, each with ~25 Fellows. The program dates are June 12-June 23, July 3-July 14, July 17-July 28, and August 14-August 25 (Fellows will be able to indicate their date preferences).

Food, housing, transportation, and all other costs to participate will be covered. Learn more about the summer program.

Atlas Fund
$1M for award winners to learn, experiment, and build impactful projects.

Young people’s energy, imagination, and time are some of the world’s most under-utilized resources. Instead of building things that will substantially make the future better, students are often money (and thus, time) constrained. The Atlas Fund offers fast grants to award winners to remove these bottlenecks.

Physical Communities
In-person infrastructure for award winners and collaborators.

Beyond the Summer Program, there will be many future opportunities for award winners to gather in-person. Think alumni reunions at HQ in Berkeley, alumni meet-ups at top universities in the US and UK, fully-funded travel opportunities (future summer camps, retreats, conferences), and more.

College Advising
Holistic college admissions preparation for top universities.

Award winners will receive personalized support to navigate the college admissions process, including guidance on resumes & testing, essays, recommendations, application strategy, and college interviews. For those who are interested, there will also be support to design summers and gap years.

Career Services
Personalized career guidance for ambitious, impactful careers.

Award winners will work with experienced mentors to discuss career paths that might be a good fit for their skills and interests, formulate their career plan, and resolve confusions about how to have an impactful & fulfilling career. Specific work and internship opportunities at high-impact organizations will be offered to students.

College Advising
Holistic college admissions preparation for top universities.

Award winners will receive personalized support to navigate the college admissions process, including guidance on resumes & testing, essays, recommendations, application strategy, and college interviews. For those who are interested, there will also be support to design summers and gap years.

Online Community
Ongoing digital-first space of insightful & talented friends / mentors.

Stay connected with a community that cares for and empowers each other. Award winners will access an online space that helps them find collaborators, create accountability, offer/receive support, come up with ambitious, creative projects, and have conversations that bring them closer to their goals.

Atlas Library
All-expenses paid, 10-day summer program in the San Francisco Bay Area

Caring about the world and trying to steer it in good directions can be really hard. We don’t expect you to do it alone! You’ll meet like-minded students at summer programs, reunions, and in an online community. Beyond that, you’ll gain direct access to our global network of leaders, thinkers, and philanthropists who can help supercharge your projects.