The "Accelerated STEM Pathways through Internships, Research, Engagement, and Support" (ASPIRES) program is a collaboration between Cañada College's Engineering Department, San Francisco State University School of Engineering, and UC Merced. The project is supported by a grant from the US Department of Education through the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP), Grant No. P120A150014.

The overarching goals of the ASPIRES program are: 1) to increase the retention and success in STEM courses among community college students from traditionally underrepresented minority (URM) groups in STEM; 2) to increase awareness of and interest in STEM careers among K-12 and community college URM students; and 3) to increase the number of URM students receiving AS degrees and transferring to four-year institutions to pursue STEM degrees.

Program Activities:


The ASPIRES Scholars Program is a two-week Introduction to Research Internship Program for freshmen and sophomore STEM students. Held during the winter break, the program will introduce students to research and cover the following topics: applying for internships; introduction to the research process; university laboratory tours; library presentation on conducting literature reviews; university transfer process for community college students; presentation skills; preparing for up-coming math and/or physics courses (Math Jam and Physics Jam); and project-specific topics including experimental methods, instrumentation, and data acquisition and analysis.


The ASPIRES ten-week Summer Group Internship Program will provide sixteen community college research internship positions. Participating students will be working with faculty from SFSU on engineering research projects.


Among the applicants for the the full-time ASPIRES Group Research Internship Program, six (6) students will be selected to be ASPIRES Research Fellows, and will be doing research at either NASA Ames, UC Merced, San Francisco State University, or Stanford University. The selection of the ASPIRES Fellows will be based on student qualifications, areas of interest, and the needs of the hosting institutions. There is no separate application for the ASPIRES Fellows Program. A completed application for a full-time ASPIRES Summer Group Research Internship qualifies a student for consideration to be an ASPIRES Fellow.


The Transfer to UC Merced Bootcamp is a three-day extended orientation to UC Merced organized by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center at UC Merced. The event will involve tours of laboratory facilities, workshops on how to be successful transfer applicants, meetings with key UC Merced personnel and students. a visit to the Yosemite National Park.

Embedded Peer Instructions Cohort (EPIC)

Embedded Peer Instruction Cohort (EPIC) is a program was developed to modify the traditional Supplemental Instruction (SI) program, tailoring it to Math and Science classes. Students who have previously been successful in a course are recommended to be EPIC leaders for that course in the current semester. EPIC leaders run three hours of study sessions outside of class each week to go over class strategies and example problems.


Pathway to Calculus is an accelerated math course that combines the existing 4-unit Trigonometry class and the 5-unit Pre-calculus class into a one-semester 6-unit preparation for Calculus for STEM majors.