Improving Access to Career and Educational Development for Talented, Low-Income Students through the Flexible Internships-Research-Education Model (I-ACED) is a multi-institutional NSF backed program integrating internships and research experiences to prepare students for careers in engineering and STEM fields.

Applying a FIRE model (Flexible Internships, Research and Education), this grant will support 220 students from low-income backgrounds seeking master’s degrees in engineering, computer science, mathematics and data science. Students will select from among disciplines in one of three technical tracks: biotechnology, sustainability and resilience, and digital twinning.

Five key partners are contributing to this grant, Jackson State University, Prairie View A&M University, Rice University, Texas Southern University, and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). In addition to supporting master’s level graduate students this program will employ and study the team-of-teams approach.

To read the full abstract about the grant, see this link.

I-ACED Objectives

This grant program has three main objectives:

  1. Increase the number of domestic low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need (S-STEM eligible) obtaining master’s degrees in I-ACED disciplines and entering the US STEM workforce.
  2. Implement and evaluate the impact of the FIRE model, which integrates evidence-based strategies that provide student career and educational development support, on student success.
  3. Implement, study, and disseminate a multi-team system (MTS) model for multi-organizational collaboration toward career and educational development.

How I-ACED Works

Students apply to master’s programs at I-ACED schools in the programs of interest (see technical tracks below). Applications include:

  • an electronic application form that contains questions about their education (current institution/major, intended institution/major, status of graduate school application, etc.), the technical track(s) in which they are interested (digital twinning, biotechnology, sustainability and resilience), optional demographics (gender, race, ethnicity, disability status, etc.), and authorization for I-ACED staff to receive information from the financial aid offices regarding their financial need;
  • An essay about why they decided to pursue the master’s degree, their interest in the technical track chosen, and how they anticipate benefitting from the program; and
  • A reference form and letter from a current or former faculty member.