AIM program wins national award

Apr 22, 2005

Kettering's pre-college program Academically Interested Minorities (AIM) won the prestigious NAMEPA Pre-College/Community Award for 2005.

The Academically Interested Minorities (AIM) program can add national honors to its already long list of awards. AIM was recognized by the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Administrators (NAMEPA) as an exceptional contributor to increasing the participation of minorities in engineering disciplines in higher education at their annual conference in Las Vegas, Nev. April 10 to 13.

Ricky Brown, associate director of the Office of Minority Affairs at Kettering, has worked with the AIM program since 1994. "We are honored and thrilled to be recognized at the national level by our peers," said Brown. "Pre-college programs are the beginning stage of bringing students into engineering programs," he said, "at Kettering we have been working hard to increase the number of minority students in engineering programs."

The award recognizes pre-college programs that: increase the participation of minorities pursuing undergraduate engineering degrees, enhance recruitment, retention and graduation of minorities in engineering, provide leadership in support of national organizations and exhibit leadership in coordinating educational efforts to maximize awareness of the needs and opportunities for ethnic minority students in engineering.

Kettering was nominated for the award by Greg Singleton, director of Engineering Student Services at the University of Alabama and a national executive board member of NAMEPA. Brown is a member of NAMEPA and serves as a regional NAMEPA Membership chair.

AIM is a five-week residential summer program for students entering 12th grade in the fall. To be eligible for the AIM program, students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in high school math, chemistry and English; two years of algebra, one year of geometry, one year of chemistry with a lab and two years of English. They must also commit to the entire five-week residential experience.

The program provides students with real life college experiences. Students accepted enroll in college level courses to develop functional, quantitative and qualitative skills in calculus, chemistry, computer programming, economics, physics, and business management. Courses are taught by Kettering faculty who assign homework and give exams. Students attend classes Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Fridays during the program students are taken on tours of Kettering co-op employers to meet professional engineers and business managers. At the end of the program scholarships are offered to the students who rank in the top 15 percent of their AIM class.

Since 1984 more than 700 students from across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean have participated in the AIM program. Each student is sponsored by a company or foundation, including General Motors, Ford, Delphi, UPS, TRW, Lear, Plastech and Link Technologies, who underwrites their participation in the program.

The success of the AIM program is seen not only in the number of students who matriculate at Kettering, but also in those who pursue higher education in the fields of medicine and teaching.

"I would say close to 100 percent of AIM graduates go on to college," said Brown, "whether at Kettering or somewhere else." Brown keeps in touch with all the students who have participated in AIM since he joined the university in 1994. "I try to call 15 to 20 of them at least twice a year," he said.

It is in those phone calls that he learns just how much of an impact AIM has on students' lives. Kristine Martin and her mother still talk about what AIM did for Kristine, who did not attend Kettering, but who did pursue a degree in medicine and is currently finishing her M.D. at Baylor University Medical Center, according to Brown.

Two other AIM grads, who DID attend Kettering, have gone on to pursue careers in the bio-mechanical/medical fields. Tasha Lampkin who graduated from Kettering in 2003 will receive a master's degree in bio-medical engineering from the University of Michigan in June of this year and already has a job with the U.S. Army in Kentucky where she will fit veterans with prosthetic devices.

Aaron Kyle graduated from Kettering in 2002 with the highest WAG in his class and went on to Purdue University where he was accepted directly into the Ph.D. program for bio-medical engineering. "The bio-medical engineering field is very popular with AIM grads," said Brown, who is proud of all his "AIM kids" whether they attend Kettering or not.

He hopes the national award will give the AIM program more exposure with national companies. "A lot of companies already recognize Kettering's work with minority students," he said, "this (award) might make others look more seriously at Kettering and consider supporting our pre-college programs."

The AIM program also received the 2004 "Outstanding Program" award from the Michigan Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers (MACRAO), for its dedication to the development and career success of its students.

Written by Dawn Hibbard