Press Release

Johns Hopkins APL’s ASPIRE Program Welcomes Record 100 High School Students for 2015–2016 School Year

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 16:16

A record 100 high school students are working at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, this fall through APL’s Student Program to Inspire, Relate and Enrich, known as ASPIRE.

“ASPIRE students are getting the opportunity to see the real-world applications of what they are learning in school by working on a technical project with mentoring from an APL staff member,” said APL’s Colleen D’Agrosa, K–12 Internship Specialist for the Lab’s STEM Program Management Office. “They are coding, doing data analysis, building telescopes, studying weather — just to name some of the types of projects they work on.”

According to D’Agrosa, the Lab was able to place the largest number of students ever because APL staff members stepped up and were willing to mentor the students. “We reached out to the APL community when we needed help, and they responded,” she said. D’Agrosa also credits the Space Exploration Sector’s effort to find work and willing mentors for 35 students.

“ASPIRE is an important part of APL’s effort to encourage students to explore STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] fields and careers,” said D’Agrosa. “We want to give students the opportunity to identify those areas of interest in STEM they may want to pursue in college. We want to make sure that our nation has a well-trained workforce able to think critically. This program is helping to develop those future STEM professionals.”

APL’s efforts strengthen the pipeline that connects APL to STEM education and future careers: More than 36 students who participated in APL’s college intern program this year were former ASPIRE interns. “With the support of APL staff members, the ASPIRE program is helping to serve the needs of the nation, as well as our local students and school systems,” said Dwight Carr, STEM program manager at APL.

ASPIRE students, who are recommended by teachers from nine county public school systems (as well as private and home-schooled programs) in Maryland, receive academic credit toward graduation or other formal recognition. High school juniors and seniors who are interested in interning at APL should contact their school’s Gifted and Talented or internship coordinator, and have them contact the APL STEM Program Management Office at or call 240-228-STEM.