Since 1984, when Kettering University's Admissions Department launched the first Academically Interested Minds (AIM) Program, more than 600 outstanding students from across the country have participated and gone on to achieve a high degree of academic and professional success in a variety of careers. To celebrate this impressive accomplishment, the University will unveil plans for the creation of a scholarship for AIM students at a special Homecoming Weekend July 27-29, which will bring AIM alumni from around the country back for a reunion on the Kettering campus.
Ricky Brown, director of Pre-College Programs and associate director of Minority Student Affairs at Kettering, feels that this special homecoming weekend will remind AIM alumni how important the program was at the beginning of their educational and professional careers, and why they should support it today.
"AIM has had a tremendous impact on the students who have participated in the program," he said. "It teaches them how to prepare for the educational and personal rigors they will face in college by emulating specific college experiences, like class lectures and lab experiments. Many of our alumni have led incredibly successful careers as engineers, lawyers, teachers, scientists, politicians and doctors. We believe this program contributed to some of their accomplishments."
AIM is a six-week residential summer pre-college program that helps students of color make a successful transition from high school to college by engaging them in a number of college experiences. Students enroll in college-level courses taught by Kettering professors to develop functional, quantitative and qualitative skills. Students also participate in a career institute program that exposes them to individuals who work in engineering and management disciplines. Since 1984, more than 80 students who participated in AIM graduated from Kettering University. Based on Brown's figures, many more have graduated from other universities throughout the country and currently lead highly successful professional careers.
The purpose of AIM is to increase the number of under-represented students pursuing degrees in engineering and management by offering them a challenging college curriculum experience. This experience equips students with the skills necessary to matriculate successfully through college. In addition, Brown said AIM enables students to recognize their academic strengths and weaknesses in areas that need improvement before they enroll in college, which helps them develop ways to build the self-discipline necessary to succeed.
"AIM has produced hundreds of professionals who may not have even considered college before enrolling in the program, "Brown said. "The AIM Homecoming will show our alumni how important their participation was in the program and how we wish to now recognize them for their achievements. In addition, we can share the school's needs in terms of continued recruitment, corporate sponsorship and support as the program continues to grow."
A special guest during the AIM Homecoming Weekend will be Reginald Armstrong, founder of the AIM Program and currently an executive at General Motors World Headquarters in Detroit, Mich. Armstrong will close out the weekend with the keynote address at a banquet Saturday, July 28, at 6 p.m. in Kettering's International Room, followed by a reception and live jazz concert outside BJ's Lounge in the Campus Center. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the weekend is Brown's desire to communicate the need for all alumni to support the Green/McAllister Scholarship Fund, which will help ensure the program's continuation well into the future.
"We have a great opportunity to significantly increase the scope of AIM with this scholarship," Brown explained. "It will provide a constant base of scholarship support for students who want to participate in AIM but cannot due to the lack of corporate sponsorship. We hope AIM alumni will remember how much they gained by attending the program and will wish to contribute."
The AIM Scholarship is named after Dr. David Green Jr., professor of Mathematics and head of the Mathematics Dept., and Dr. Robert M. McAllister, associate professor of Chemistry. Both professors have served the program for a number of years by teaching various classes and recruiting students into the program. Green and McAllister have also taught at Kettering for more than 20 years each and are highly regarded within their departments and field.
Brown expects to fund two students who participate in AIM through the new scholarship during its first years. All students from throughout the country are eligible for scholarship support. Students who would like to enroll in AIM must meet the following qualifications:
Companies that sponsor AIM students will review applications, conduct interviews and make final decisions about whom they wish to sponsor for the program.
"A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children," Brown said, recalling a statement his church preacher made one Sunday morning. "We want to leave an inheritance for our children's children who graduate from AIM. The data is clear: the program has positively helped hundreds of students succeed in college. Now we must make sure it's future is fully secure."