The objectives of the ASPIRE program are to:
- better prepare students for the workforce by enriching the educational experience of AE and IE students through connections of academic content to the work environment
- provide educational opportunities for academically talented financially disadvantaged students in AE and IE that allows them to focus on their academic pursuits and reduces the need for external employment during their degree pursuit
- increase retention of students through degree completion
- increase student self-efficacy in AE and IE through the use of a comprehensive mentoring program and student cohort development
- increase recruitment of students into AE and IE as first-year students
- encourage scholarship recipients to pursue advanced degrees in AE and IE
The ASPIRE program will be used to strengthen and support students in two major areas: academics and professional development. These focus areas will be enabled through a program of (a) mentoring, (b) networking, and (c) academic design.
- Mentoring: Continuous mentoring of all ASPIRE fellows (by fellow students, faculty, and industry representatives)
- Networking: Networking will occur among the students and with potential employers via mentoring and ASPIRE program functions (minimum of four face-to-face interactions per semester).
- Academic design: Enrollment in common courses