Social Innovation Education Fellowship

Position Summary

About the Exploring Social Innovation (ESI) Program

Since 2010, VIA has hosted more than 370 university students and young professionals from across the world in Silicon Valley for the ESI Program. Participants learn about social innovation, meet entrepreneurs, make international friends, and reflect on their personal and professional goals.

Our Vision for the Social Innovation Education Fellows’ Role

VIA aspires to support and enable social innovation educators to prepare the next generation of creative and effective innovators working towards a more fair and flourishing world.

​​​The Fellows will assist in recruiting participants from their home communities, be the primary contact for participants in their region, be a leader and mentor during the Exploring Social Innovation program, and maintain connections with VIA alumni. This position is an opportunity for VIA alumni and innovative professionals to develop professional recruitment, leadership, changemaker training, presentation, and facilitation skills through program orientation and implementation. The Fellows will be key in promoting VIA’s social innovation programs in Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, and other regions. They will provide support to participants in learning key concepts, and developing a community before, during, and after the program. Fellows will also receive training on facilitation skills as well as feedback to help them improve their own training ability.


  • Promotion: Share and promote information with personal and professional networks where potential applicants can be reached. Some examples of outreach may include (but is not limited to) university alumni, current students, co-workers, community organizations, etc.
  • Design Thinking Facilitation: Design and execute 1-2 of the five stages of Design Thinking (Empathize, Define, Ideated, Prototype, Test) in a simple & easy-to-understand way for beginners. Facilitate 30-45 min. sessions on your own, or as a co-lead.
  • Mentorship: Serve as a co-coach and mentor when participants come to you with industry specific questions that are related to your professional background and field of interest. Listen with intention, and share insights with the understanding that you are representing VIA’s core values as well as creating your own personal brand and reputation as a fellow.
  • Safety & Policy Enforcement: Serve as a role model by following the safety protocols and policies set forth by the Program Director and VIA. Fellows share responsibility in holding participants accountable for their actions; if you see anything harmful to an individual or the group as a whole, you are expected to prioritize the health and safety of individuals and the group over personal relationships with participants.

Time Commitments

  • Before the program
    • Weekly zoom meetings with Program Director and other fellows (60 min weekly calls) from the start of the fellowship until the week before the in person Fellow Retreat.
    • Attend a pre-departure online orientation session (75 min.).
    • Assist with answering questions from participants from your local region regarding travel restrictions, best route of travel, logistical questions that may pertain to a specific country or region (to the best of your ability).
    • Attend the in-person fellow retreat, and participate in all activities from morning until evening for the duration of the retreat. There is no time for outside meetups with friends or colleagues.
  • During the program
    • Lead / co-lead energizers, design thinking sessions.
    • Provide support for participants; serve as the primary facilitator for teams (4-7 participants per team).
    • Act as a communication bridge between Program Director and VIA staff and participants; if participants have any difficulty bringing up issues directly.
    • Coordinate logistics, such as group food orders, restaurant reservations, Uber/Lyft transportation for smaller group outings, and reinforce any directions given by the Program Director regarding being punctual with meet up times.
    • Share photos and videos of program activities on social media throughout the entire program.
    • Participate in daily facilitation, team reflection, feedback, and planning sessions, during the entire duration of the pre-program retreat and the full program.
  • After the program
    • Attend a final wrap up call 1:1 with the program director (60 min).
    • Connect with ESI participants, and promote and sustain the impact of the VIA energy post program through social media, presenting to your organization or school, etc.

Required Qualifications

In order to be eligible to participate in this program as a fellow, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age at the beginning of the program.
  • Be able to travel to and remain on-site for the duration of the program (including on-site training).
  • Be eligible to receive travel authorization to enter and remain in the United States for the duration of the program (including the on-site training), if applicable.
  • Be able to provide proof of vaccination and/or health status required for entry to the US or re-entry to your home country that is in effect during your dates of travel. It is your responsibility to confirm which health-related regulations may apply to you.
  • Be willing to undergo diagnostic tests if experiencing symptoms of a communicable illness considered serious by public health officials or if required for site visits by the host institution. A positive test or inability to meet requirements for a site visit may limit your ability to participate in program activities and/or may necessitate self-isolation during the program.
  • Disclose any life-threatening or significant allergies, dietary restrictions, medical conditions or illnesses, and physical limitations as they relate to the program and listed activities.
  • Maintain medical insurance coverage and provide proof of insurance to VIA prior to arriving on-site for the program.
  • Be committed to attending all activities, both before and during the program, and participating fully.

Preferred Qualifications

A strong fellowship candidate has:

  • Strong organizational skills; ability to work independently and in a team
  • Ability to serve as an effective bridge between program participants and VIA staff during the program
  • Experience with past VIA programs and dedication to program goals
  • An interest in training and supporting future changemakers
  • Strong interest and/or experience working with social issues/social entrepreneurship in Asia
  • Experience or strong interest in design thinking/social innovation
  • Comfortable discussing complex issues in English; willing to promote the use of English during the program
  • Experience or strong interest in designing and facilitating programs
  • Experience with event planning and promotion, especially through social media
  • Available for activities in the evenings and on weekends

Location: Pre-program activities will be conducted remotely. This program will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area, with site visits in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Fellowship Timeline

  • Fellowship Application Period (tentative)
    • March 17 (US Time) | March 18 (Asia Time): Application deadline (if you submit your application before the deadline, you may be invited to an interview earlier).
    • March 18-29 (US Time) |March 19-30 (Asia Time): Online interviews with VIA staff (~30 min on Zoom).
    • April 1 (US Time) | April 2 (Asia Time): Applicants will be notified of results on or after this date.
    • April 5 (US Time) | April 6 (Asia Time): Deadline to accept the position.
  • Participant Recruitment & Program Preparation
    • Early April: Orientation meeting for team-building and participant recruitment.
    • April-July: Assist with program promotion and participant recruitment.
    • May-June: Assist with program planning and pre-program preparations.
  • Program Implementation & Follow-Up
    • Late July: Pre-Program Orientation (online)
    • August 1-3, 2024: Fellows arrive in Silicon Valley for on-site training and final preparations.
    • August 4-14, 2024: Facilitate ESI Program in Silicon Valley.
    • Late August: Post-program reflection and wrap-up.


  • Funding: Airfare and travel expenses, food, housing, and all other program-related expenses are covered for fellows during the program period.
  • Training: VIA supports the Fellows’ professional development and provides mentorship to strengthen their skills in:
    • Presentations
    • Leadership & Mentorship
    • Program Facilitation
    • Cross-Cultural Communication
    • Team-Building and Development
  • Recognition: Fellows will receive an official certificate of recognition upon successful completion of the fellowship. We are also happy to provide letters of recommendation based on your performance as a Social Innovation Education Fellow.
  • Connections: Fellows come away from ESI with lifelong personal and professional connections to VIA’s international network.
How to Apply: Click the blue APPLY button and complete the application by March 17, 2024 (US Time) for priority consideration.