ASPIRE Program

The A. James Clark School of Engineering of the University of Maryland strives to prepare its students for outstanding careers in engineering. Toward that goal, the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) has created the ASPIRE program, which seeks to broaden the educational experience of undergraduate engineering students through direct involvement in real-world engineering projects. ASPIRE offers students a unique opportunity to venture beyond the classroom through collaboration with engineering faculty and staff on mutually interesting projects with industry relevance. In addition to its intrinsic educational value, ASPIRE gives students a competitive edge when applying for jobs or graduate study.

ASPIRE introduces undergraduates to the discipline and rewards of industrially-oriented engineering projects. Students perfrom research during the Fall and/or Spring semesters under the guidance of an engineering faculty or staff mentor. ASPIRE awardees receive a scholarship of $1,000 for each semester project. For Summer projects, students receive a scholarship of $3,000 for the summer. All funds are credited to the awardee's university student account. All continuing projects must submit a new application for each semester or summer.

Awardees are required to produce and submit a project report, approved by the mentor, at the end of each semester or summer project. In addition, ASPIRE scholars are encouraged to present a poster presentation on their project at the campus Undergraduate Research Day event held each April, unless they have graduated prior to that time.

The ASPIRE Award is processed through the campus financial aid office. Please be advised that for students receiving needs-based financial aid, the ASPIRE award may impact that aid. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information. Also note that summer awardees are not permitted simultaneously to have a major time commitment to another program, such as REU.

Applying

To find a project, students may approach engineering faculty whose research is of interest to the student. Faculty research interests can be found through the engineering departmental web sites. The faculty member will determine whether any of his/her research projects would offer an appropriate role for the student. Once the faculty mentor and the student have agreed on a project, the application process can begin.

To apply, students and mentors must complete the two ASPIRE application forms, available below.

The application includes:

  • the ASPIRE student application form

  • a student resume (including honors, awards, publications, etc.)

  • the ASPIRE Project Description form (to be completed by the faculty or staff mentor).

For best consideration for Spring 2014, the application is due at Mtech by 4:00 PM on February 10, 2014. Spring awards will be announced February 19. For best consideration for Summer 2014, the appplication is due at Mtech by 4:00 PM on April 4, 2014. Summer awards will be announced April 18. Students may contact any Clark School of Engineering faculty or staff directly to arrange a project application.

Forms

Eligibility

Undergraduate students in the A. James Clark School of Engineering who have completed at least 14 credit hours and attained a minimum GPA of 3.0 are eligible to apply for ASPIRE scholarships. In semesters where the ASPIRE budget is sufficient to fund all applications received by the due date, ASPIRE may accept a lower GPA. Mentors must be engineering faculty or staff. Students may submit only one application per semester or summer. Students who have already won two ASPIRE scholarships are ineligible for further ASPIRE awards.

Matching Funds

Faculty/staff mentors are required to provide matching funds for ASPIRE projects. These funds must be transferred to Mtech and are used to increase the number of project awards. The minimum required match is $250 for Spring or Fall, $750 for Summer. Matching funds beyond the minimum are a factor in the application evaluation process.

Evaluation Criteria

Criteria for evaluating applications for ASPIRE internships include the following:

  1. the project's educational value to the student
  2. the student's qualifications
  3. the results of the previous ASPIRE project (if applicable)
  4. the project's potential industry impact
  5. the amount of matching funds offered

Contact Information

For further information, please call Joseph Naft at (301) 405-3886. Submit applications and forms to:

Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute
Potomac Building 092, Room 2100
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742-3415


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