Taking AIM at the future

Jul 31, 2008

Students from across the U.S., Jamaica and the Bahamas have come to Flint to get a taste of Science and Engineering careers in Kettering University's award-winning pre-college program for minorities.

While their friends are at the beach, holding down summer jobs and enjoying their last summer before their senior year in high school, 32 students are willingly sitting through Calculus, Chemistry, Physics and Business classes at Kettering University to get a taste of college life through the Academically Interested Minorities (AIM) program.

These kids are SERIOUS about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as potential career options. On campus from July 7 to Aug. 8, the students from as far away as Jamaica, Texas and the Bahamas, got a taste of real college life at Kettering including classes with real homework and real networking opportunities with corporate executives from companies like UPS, Toyota, General Motors and Harley Davidson Motors.

AIM is a residential summer program for students entering 12th grade in the fall. Participants attend freshman-level courses Monday through Thursday in Math, Chemistry, Computer Programming, Economics, Physics and Business Management. Courses are taught by Kettering faculty who assign homework and give exams.

The lessons are real AND fun. In Physics they learned the basics of rocket science using modified plastic bottles and in Chemistry they explored the conductivity of electrolytes.

On Fridays during the program students were taken on tours of Kettering co-op employers to meet professional engineers and business managers. This year the group visited GM Flint Assembly and GM Powertrain South in Flint, Mich., Delphi in Troy,Mich., and Stryker Instruments in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Harley Davidson and Jamaica Public Services-Kingston, Jamaica, sent representatives to meet with students while they were on campus and to talk about continuing their sponsorship should the students decide to attend Kettering.

At the end of the program scholarships are offered to the students who rank in the top 15 percent of their AIM class.

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 attending the entire five-week course.

Since 1984 more than 800 students from across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean have participated in the AIM 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 Ricky Brown, director of Pre-college Programs, “whether at Kettering or somewhere else.”

So next July, when most recent high school graduates are enjoying their last summer before college, members of the 2008 AIM class may be heading to Kettering with a clear idea of what to expect of the college experience, and of themselves.

Each AIM student is sponsored by a company or foundation. Corporate and foundation sponsors for the 2008 year were:
Affinity Group for Women - GM Flint Engine South
Bendix Corp.
Delphi Corporation
Delphi Steering Saginaw
The Dr. James E.A. John Scholarship
GM Foundation
GM Powertrain South AGAW
GM Powertrain North
Harley Davidson Motors
Jamaica Public Service Co. Ltd.
Kettering University
The Powerlink Group
Rotary Club of Lucaya – Freeport, Bahamas
Toyota Motor Co.
The UPS Foundation
Visual Source Studio, LLC

In 2005 the AIM program 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.

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