After six weeks of intense pre-college coursework, 40 students in the Academically Interested Minorities (AIM) program got some last minute advice from a Kettering/GMI graduate. Denise (Glover) Gray '86, director for Software Engineering Electronic Integration and Software for General Motors Powertrain, gave the keynote address at the AIM graduation banquet Aug. 7.
Although her tenure at Kettering/GMI pre-dated the AIM program, Gray said the best advice for students interested in pursuing an engineering career was to get "any pre-college exposure to engineering courses or work experience." "The transition between high school and college is a huge step," she said, "especially if a student has not had exposure to technical areas of study."
Gray said programs like AIM provide a nice transition to college and inspires participants to return to their senior year in high school focused on what they need to do to prepare for college. Gray said she learned about Kettering/GMI through a high school co-op program at Cass Technical High School in her hometown of Detroit.
An Electrical Engineering major at Kettering/GMI, Gray went on to earn a master's of science in Engineering Management of Technology degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. She began her career with General Motors as a co-op student at Kettering/GMI. Her assignments included Electrical Test and Validation engineer, software development for engine controls at Powertrain, and the launch of the V8 engines in major new vehicles lines.
She and husband Kevin Gray, a 1980 Kettering/GMI graduate, have two sons.
This year's AIM participants came from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Canada, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Founded in 1984, the AIM program was created to expose high school (rising 11th graders) students to a six week intensive academic program on the Kettering University campus. During their six week stay they are treated as regular Kettering University students, with full access to all university resources and they are housed in the dormitory.
Each student is sponsored by a company, foundation or Kettering University. Foundations and companies pay Kettering University$4,000 for each student they sponsor. There is no out of pocket expense for the student to attend this program. The $4,000 covers tuition, fees, room and board. Kettering University provides the academic and non-academic support during their stay at Kettering University.
Students take academic courses Monday through Thursday. On Fridays they tour various companies throughout the State of Michigan. Currently the students take the following courses: Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Programming, Economics,and Business Management. At the end of the six weeks the students are ranked academically and Kettering University provides scholarship for those who performed well academically.
Last year (2002) 36 students participated in the program. Sixteen of those 36 students are returning to Kettering University as freshmen students. This program has been very successful in attracting and graduating many students from Kettering University.Many of the students returning to Kettering University are employed by the corporations who sponsored them while attending the program.