Welcome to the Surge Institute application portal! Here you can apply for our signature programs, the Surge Fellowship and the Surge Academy, as well as employment opportunities as they become available.

Candidates need to create a free Submittable account to get started.  Your account will allow you to save and review your work before submitting and view your application status.  For a quick how-to on creating an account, see here: http://help.submittable.com/knowledgebase/articles/225218-how-do-i-submit.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at info@surgeinstitute.org.

Happy Submitting!

Update (November 15, 2020): The proposal deadline is extended to Friday, November 20, 2020. 

The Surge Institute Alumni are seeking exceptional workshop presenters for the 2021 Alumni Convening and invite you to submit a workshop proposal for consideration. The convening will feature ~20-25 virtual workshops, some live, some prerecorded, along with opportunities to hear from and engage with leaders of color out in the field. Surge is dedicated to the empowerment, advancement, growth, and achievement of youth and communities of color. The alumni convening will provide a platform to educate and elevate leaders of color and equip them with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets necessary to transform urban education and expand the opportunities for our youth. 

The convening will be held in a virtual format, from Wednesday, March 3 through Friday, March 5, 2021. Presenting at the Surge Alumni Convening is a unique opportunity to showcase your best practices and expertise to a national audience of education influencers working in nonprofits, schools, colleges, and for-profit organizations who are all committed to empowering students of color. 

The proposal deadline has been extended to Friday, November 20, 2020. Each proposal will be carefully considered and discussed with a committee of reviewers, and sessions will be selected according to several criteria, specifically with an eye towards creating a robust, diverse conference agenda that will appeal to the range of participants who will be in attendance. Upon approval of your proposal, you will be paired with a planning committee member or Surge staff member to be a thought partner in preparation for and execution of your workshop.

Please submit your workshop proposal with the understanding and commitment to the timeline below. 

RFP Timeline Overview

RFP Opens | October 6, 2020

UPDATE: Submission Deadline | November 20, 2020

RFP Committee Review | November 16 - 25, 2020

Selection Notifications | December 2, 2020

Presenter Confirmation Deadline | December 10, 2020

Presenter Thought Partnership/Coaching / Pre-recording & Production | December 10, 2020 - January 25, 2021

Convening Agenda & Breakout Schedule Confirmed to Presenters | January 15, 2021

Final Session Documents (PPT & Handouts) & Pre-Recordings Due for Upload to Connect | January 28, 2021

Alumni Convening | March 3 - 5, 2021

Conference Overview & Proposal Review

Surge Institute and the Planning Committee invites everyone to celebrate and honor our shared mission, passion and vision and for these to be celebrated and propelled forward in community. The theme of this year’s convening is Our Collective Genius - honoring the expertise and work that our alumni community is engaged in every day. 

We will build together as leaders of color, with our youth, families and communities at the forefront sparking revolutionary change. We will do this with the acknowledgement of our ancestors’ impact on the grounds in which our work is deeply rooted.

Similar to our approach with Surge Fellowship sessions, the Alumni Convening will focus heavily on concrete learning and takeaways that benefit practitioners as they work in support of communities of color (specifically - Latinx, Black/African American, and Asian/Pacific Islander). 

As attendees, our alumni will arrive ready to learn, prepared to network, open to self-reflection, and eager to grapple with a variety of critical topics. Our goal is for all participants to leave with as much actionable information as possible, and to create a culture and community of continuous learning that is an extension of the Fellowship experience. 

Surge Alumni are heavily experienced and among the top practitioners and leaders in their fields. As such workshops should:

  • provide attendees with tangible tools and best practices to bring back to their organizations and schools that will improve programming and services, and/or engage alumni in reflective inquiry around their leadership, work, or communities they serve;
  • connect to the field of education/education management and context of the work Surge and it’s alumni are engaged in (Note: workshops that promote a product or organization or simply describe a program model absent a broader context will not be considered);
  • cater to mid-to-senior level professionals with ample context on the educational, social, and historical landscapes impacting communities of color.

All proposals will be reviewed by members of the 2021 Planning Committee based on the following criteria and in relation to the following rubric attached here. Criteria for consideration includes:

  • Relevance: Is the topic highly relevant to our field, the conference theme, and our audience?
  • Objectives: Are the objectives clear and can they be met realistically in the time allowed?
  • Delivery/Engagement: Do proposed presentation delivery methods incorporate differentiated learning modalities (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc.)? Does the presentation provide sufficient opportunities for audience engagement and Q&A? Does the presenter have experience engaging audiences in a virtual format?
  • Applicability: Can the workshop information be used or applied by alumni across leadership roles, in a variety of organizational settings? If not, is it clear how the intended audience of Surge Alumni will benefit from attending this workshop? Does it build off some of the foundational knowledge that is a part of the Surge Fellowship Objectives?

The following information will also be considered, but is not scored against the rubric:

  • Clarity: Does the description give a clear, concise picture of what the presentation will include?
  • Active Learning: Will the workshop provide hands-on takeaways?
  • Professionalism: Is the proposal well-written and complete? Does it demonstrate correct spelling and grammar, and are all questions answered completely?

Please note: Based on proposals received, you may be encouraged to work with other alumni if your topics are similar or related to co-construct a new workshop.

Workshop Expectations  

We encourage proposals that are focused on best practices and current research toward serving our focal student populations, while remaining relevant to the conference theme and broader values of the Surge movement. All proposals must also take into consideration the Surge ETHOS and Inclusive Language guidelines attached here


Workshops must a) meet at least one Alumni Convening Objective, b) fall into an Alumni Convening Domain, and c) align with a Surge Fellowship Pillar. Below are detailed explanations of those areas. 

Alumni Convening Objectives: The objectives of the 2021 Surge Alumni Convening are to:

  1. Strengthen Community: Nurture existing relationships and networks, develop new relationships across cohorts and cities, and lay a foundation for coalition building.
  2. Education: Access to best in-class thinking, strategies and techniques in the areas that matter most to our alums. Content delivered by subject matter experts both nationally and from within our own Surge Alumni.
  3. Reflect and Renew: Rejuvenate your personal connection to the movement through thoughtful reflection, learning and community as we’re surrounded by ‘Our Collective Genius’.

Alumni Convening Domains: Workshops must also align with at least one of the Alumni Convening Domains which describe how learning will occur. 

  • “Head” domain will focus on thinking. Sessions within this track and domain will focus primarily on providing the audience with theoretical or academic knowledge/perspective such as insights relevant to the broader education or policy landscape, or have a focus on research or data-driven insights. 
  • “Heart” domain will focus on the “soul work” that is critical to the work and long-term sustainability of leaders of color. Sessions within this domain might focus on an aspect of identity development; working in affinity or across difference or explicitly tie big-picture thinking to the ‘why’ of it all - supporting students and families in our communities.
  • “Hands” domain will focus on providing audience members with tangible skill development, planning or change management. Sessions within this strand might focus on key executive skills such as negotiations, strategic planning, talent management, etc. 

Surge Fellowship Pillars: Workshops should support attendees in connecting material covered to one of the Surge Fellowship Pillars as outlined below:

  • Focus Inward - alumni will leave with a deeper personal understanding of how the programming topic has/will impact them or their work;
  • Dream Big - alumni will leave with a macro level plan/goal/vision of that programming topic/how it will translate to their larger work;
  • Know the Landscape - alumni will leave with a greater understanding of the educational/technical landscape and/or eco system associated with that programming topic;
  • Make an Impact - alumni will leave with a greater sense of how this area of expertise/ programming topic will impact their constituents/larger work

The alumni experience is rooted in two primary values: Collective Care (sharing knowledge, space, and expertise with one another) and Collective Action (coalition-building). As you consider a topic you may want to share with fellow alums, consider if these primary values are represented in your proposal. 


As a reminder, your fellow alumni from Chicago, Oakland and Kansas City embody:

  • Connectedness: African-American, Latinx, and Asian/Pacific Islander emerging leaders working in systems of schools, public policy, education philanthropy and advocacy organizations.
  • Excellence: Proven high-potential trailblazers with track records of professional success.
  • Experience: Minimum of six years of relevant working experience and at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Passionate: Serving high-need communities, preferably with connections to these communities.

Surge Institute Alumni does not seek to advance any one model of education or programmatic approach. Instead, Surge Institute Alumni seeks to encourage collaboration across varying perspectives and approaches in order to ensure sustainable efforts and true connections for our communities. We seek to transform the educational experience of all underserved youth and communities across our cities and see this as an opportunity for you to learn from one another.

Presentation Logistics

All proposals must include a draft presenter agenda, utilizing the template provided, in order to review how the workshop objectives are met and themes covered. 

While not required, Surge Institute Alumni encourages proposals that feature multiple presenters, especially those that represent multiple perspectives. 

Workshop sessions should be interactive and engaging, offer best practices that can be applied, and could include multiple presenters representing different organizations, schools, and/or institutions. All sessions will be 90 minutes (breakdown: 5 min intro, 50-60 mins content, 15 mins Q&A, 10 mins thank you & survey). We aim to have approximately 20-25 workshop sessions facilitated by Surge Alums. 

Presenter Expectations

By submitting a proposal to the Surge Institute Alumni, I understand that, if accepted: 

  • I, along with my co-presenters, must register for the convening and commit to attending the convening if selected. 
  • A submission of a proposal implies a commitment to deliver the presentation as outlined in the proposal - in one of two virtual formats, live or pre-recorded.
  • My proposal demonstrates a commitment to active learning by providing takeaways that attendees can bring back to their work in a variety of professional and education settings. It also connects to the Alumni Convening Objectives, Alumni Convening Domains and Surge Fellowship Pillars.
  • All materials for my presentation must be submitted to Surge Institute Alumni by Thursday, January 28, 2021. My handouts and presentation must match the accepted proposal. 
  • Surge will send you best practices for virtual presentations as well as host brief platform trainings.
  • Any presentation recordings, materials, photos (screenshots) taken of me and/or my session during the conference may be used on the Surge website or in marketing materials. 
  • Surge Institute Alumni may promote my workshop presentation on social media (including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn) leading up to, during, and after the conference. 

Surge Institute Alumni will provide you with virtual best practices, if your presentation is selected.

Surge Institute