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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to participate in Sphere 100?
Alumni of Sphere programming who are actively working in grades 5–12 education in the United States are eligible. Qualifying examples include Sphere Summit alumni; those who have attended three or more Sphere webinars; or those who have participated in Sphere programming events held around the country.

What does a fellowship project include?
Applicants are encouraged to pitch projects that further the fellowship’s objectives in ways that advance the unique needs of their educational community. Examples may include developing and executing a suite of curricular materials, starting debate clubs, drafting and implementing school‐​wide speech and academic freedom policies, or hosting events in the school and community that bring together speakers from across ideological differences. The sky is the limit, but all projects should at a minimum (1) meet a demonstrated need in the community, (2) build off the applicant’s skills and abilities, and (3) be executed or make meaningful progress within the six months of the fellowship.


What are my responsibilities as a participant?
Participants are expected to attend all the sessions during the fellowship. This includes lectures, workshops, breakouts, and meals that are scheduled during the opening Summit as well as subsequent Zoom meetings. Participants will also make earnest progress toward developing, executing, and evaluating the results of a project in a report due at the end of the fellowship.

What are the accommodations for Sphere 100 participants?
Participants will stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Washington Downtown/​Convention Center for the opening weekend Summit. The check‐​in date is Friday, June 21, and the checkout date is Monday, June 24. Hotel accommodations are provided only for the duration of the seminar and are by default double occupancy. Room fees and taxes are covered for the nights of June 21–24. Participants are responsible for additional nights and any hotel incidentals, such as personal expenses, phone calls, room service, or extra meals.

Can family and friends participate?
We are unable to accommodate family and friends.

Can I commute to the Sphere 100 opening in‐​person Summit?
Yes. If you live in Washington, DC, or the surrounding areas, you are welcome to commute to the seminar every morning; however, parking is unavailable at the Cato Institute and is limited in the surrounding neighborhood.

Can I defer my acceptance to next year?
No, you cannot defer your position. We encourage you to apply again but cannot guarantee your acceptance at a later time.

How many professional development hours are available?
A determination of professional development hours will be made when the final program is released closer to the start of the program.

Costs, Reimbursements, and Cancellation

What expenses am I responsible for?
There is no fee to attend Sphere 100, but an application is required. The Cato Institute will provide a $500 stipend to offset the cost of travel expenses upon the completion of the opening Summit. Participants are responsible for any travel expenses that exceed that amount. Participants should be prepared to pay for all personal expenses, additional nights, and incidentals, such as phone calls, room service, or extra meals.

What expenses does the Cato Institute pay for?
The Cato Institute provides room and board for four days for in‐​person attendees, starting with dinner on Friday, June 21, and ending with lunch on Monday, June 24.

Each fellow is eligible to receive a stiped of $500 upon completion of the opening Summit. Please note that we are unable to provide supplemental funding in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all travel expenses. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the Summit. Failure to complete the Summit may result in a delay or denial of the stipend.

Fellows are also eligible for additional stipends to support project expenses, in amounts to be determined, as part of project pitches during the opening Summit. Not all participants will receive additional stipends. Winning project pitches will receive awards that are anticipated to be between $500 and $1500.

What is the cancellation policy?
If, for some reason, you are unable to attend the opening Summit, you must notify Cato in writing of your cancellation as soon as possible to allow for another recipient to be invited. If you cancel, you agree to pay a $75 cancellation fee. You will also assume this charge if you fail to attend all scheduled events, engage in disruptive behavior toward other attendees or hotel guests, or are responsible for any destruction of property. Please note that the fee for cancellation will increase to $250 within two weeks of the start of opening Summit (June 7).

Applications and Deadlines

What is the application deadline, and when will I be notified of whether I have been selected?
Applicants will be notified of their status on a rolling basis, typically within 3–4 weeks of submitting. The deadline for applications is Friday, May 31, at 11:59 p.m. EDT or whenever the program has reached capacity, whichever comes first. Applicants who are accepted will be directed to registration information.

Can I apply to both Sphere Summit and Sphere 100?
Applicants may apply to both programs, but participation will be limited to only one at the discretion of Sphere Education Initiatives.

Can more than one educator apply from a given school?
Yes, educators from the same school may attend Sphere 100. Educators from the same school or district are encouraged to submit collaborative project proposals.


Should I bring a laptop or tablet?
Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptop computers or tablets for notetaking and workshops, but it is not required.

Will there be internet access?
Yes, complimentary wireless internet access is available at the Cato Institute and at the hotel.


Friday, June 21
3:00 — 5:00 PM Registration and Hotel Check‐​in
5:00 — 6:00 PM Reception
6:00 — 6:30 PM Welcoming Remarks
6:30 — 7:30 PM Dinner
7:30 — 8:30 PM

Keynote Address

Robert Talisse
W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University

8:30 — 9:00 PM Afterglow

Saturday, June 22
8:00 — 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM — 12:00 PM Workshops

Pluralism Lab, Mercatus Center
12:00 — 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 — 2:00 PM

Executive Power

Gene Healy
Senior Vice President for Policy, Cato Institute

Other Panelists to Be Announced

2:00 — 2:15 PM Break
2:15 — 3:15 PM

Globalization and Trade

Scott Lincicome
Vice President, General Economics and Stiefel Trade Policy Center, Cato Institute

Other Panelists to Be Announced

3:15 — 3:30 PM Break
3:30 — 5:30 PM Mentorship Group Meetings
5:30 — 6:30 PM Break/​TBA
6:30 — 7:00 PM Reception
7:00 — 8:00 PM Dinner
8:00 — 9:00 PM

Keynote Address

Philippa Pham Hughes
Artist and Visiting Fellow, SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University

Sunday, June 23
8:00 — 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:10 — 10:30 AM Application Workshop: “identifying Needs and Building Support for Projects in Your Community”
10:30 AM — 12:00 PM Project Time with Mentors
12:00 — 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 — 3:00 PM

Session A: Election Reform and the 2024 Election

Walter Olson
Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

Other Panelists to Be Announced

Session B: Exploring DEI in Education

Erec Smith
Cato Institute and Co‐​Founder, Free Black Thought

Other Panelists to Be Announced

3:00 — 3:30 PM Break
3:30 — 5:30 PM Project Pitches and Feedback
5:30 — 6:30 PM Break
6:30 — 7:00 PM Reception
7:00 — 8:00 PM Dinner
8:00 — 9:00 PM

Keynote Address

Rikki Schlott
Journalist and Co‐​author of The Cancelling of the American Mind

Monday, June 24
8:00 — 9:00 AM Break
9:00 AM — 12:00 PM Project Shark Tank
12:00 — 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 — 2:00 PM Closing Remarks, Next Steps, and Stipends