The very first Research, Academics and Mentoring Pathways (RAMP) to Success program took place during the second summer academic session from July 5 to August 16, 2018 on the North Campus of UMass Lowell. Twenty new engineering students were admitted into the program based on the interests, goals and objectives they identified in their application to the program. Our goal was to provide each student the information, skills and resources necessary to not only successfully navigate their undergraduate program in engineering but also identify opportunities to enhance their competitiveness to graduate schools, national fellowships and future careers in high-tech. industries.
The six-week program was a packed schedule of courses, exploratory research projects, visits to companies and panel discussions with professionals who had diverse engineering, computing and business expertise. RAMP participants formed an interdisciplinary cohort seeking to major in Civil, Environmental, Electrical, Computer, Mechanical, Plastics and Chemical Engineering.
A typical day in RAMP began with a Calculus class from 8–10 a.m.. Following a short break, there was an hour or two of Calculus support where engineering faculty led an interactive discussion promoting questions, presenting problem solving approaches and identifying some engineering applications of the concepts learnt in Calculus. This was followed by lunch at one of the campus cafeterias.
The afternoons were typically dedicated to a combination of learning programming, computational modeling and working with a faculty member on a research project. Once a week, the students met with engineers and scientists from the business world.
This took place on campus through three panel discussions around the theme of Communication Skills in the Workplace, Computing Skills in Engineering and Career Pathways in the Engineering Workforce.
Every other week, there was a visit to a company in the area such as New Balance in Lawrence, Mass., Autoguide Mobile Robots in Westford Mass. and BAE Systems in Nashua, N.H.
Of course, there was also time to break from the schedule to kayak down the river or grab some good ice cream!