Students from Jamaica are getting the opportunity to come to Kettering University’s Academically Interested Minds (AIM) camp thanks to the efforts of alumni.
A group of alumni established the Jamaica AIM Alumni Scholarship (JAAS) in 2013 to provide funds for Jamaican students from low-income families to attend the five-week, residential, pre-college summer program at the University. The camp provides students with college-level courses in business management, calculus, chemistry, computer programming, economics and physics, with labs included in multiple courses. Students have the opportunity to earn Kettering scholarships through AIM.
The JAAS fund started when Kettering alumni who had benefited from corporate sponsorships to attend the AIM camp wanted to give current high school students the same opportunity. The scholarships were no longer available, and the alumni donated money to pay the $500 fee for students who wanted to attend, said Jheanell Johnson ‘11, who does public relations for JAAS.
“We decided we wanted to keep the pipeline open,” she said. “All members decided to start this award a year or two after graduating from Kettering, and this is proof that we can start giving back right away as Kettering alumni.”
The group has sent six students to the camp since 2013. All students were offered scholarships to attend Kettering, and some are studying at University.
Because JAAS cannot fund scholarships for every student who applies, they also offer mentoring. Engineers in the field help them with college applications, provide advice and offer connections to students interested in STEM fields.
In March 2017, JAAS hosted its first banquet and raised $12,000 to sponsor three students. Faurecia, Cooper Standard and Chrysler Automotive were among the donors at the event. One of the students who attended AIM in 2017 earned a full-ride scholarship to Kettering.
The second banquet is at 6 p.m. April 14 at Wayne State University’s Barth Hall. Tickets are $35 each. All proceeds will go toward the cause.
Moving forward, JAAS hopes to sponsor two students per year to maximize their potential to get scholarships to Kettering. They also are expending mentorship and support for younger students, from meals for students who need them to exposing students to STEM.
“This fundraising opportunity will not only sponsor students for AIM 2018, we also intend to broaden our scope to community development,” Johnson said.