TISP Students

Inspire the Next Generation

Engineers in Classrooms Nationwide

College of Engineering students can make an immediate and important impact on society by inspiring the next generation of young people to reach for higher education in engineering. Engineering undergraduates can get training and pay to work directly with middle-school and high-school students to open their eyes to the impacts of engineers in society through the Technology Innovation Scholars Program. They also can pursue a dual degree in both engineering and teaching through the STEM Educator-Engineer Program.

Technology Innovation Scholars Program (TISP)

At a time when the nation need them most, we face a critical shortage of engineers, largely because many young people who might choose a career in technology innovation don’t know what engineers do or how they improve our quality of life.

Enter the Technology Innovation Scholars Program (TISP). TISP recruits and trains some of Boston University’s most talented engineering majors and sends them into middle and high schools around the country to show young people the transformative impact engineering can have on their lives and on society. TISP Inspiration Ambassadors give interactive, fun presentations that frame engineering as essential to our quality of life—from the cleanliness of the water we drink to the distribution of the energy we use to power our homes. K-12 students explore the design process and see themselves as problem solvers and future leaders of technological innovation.

If you are interested in the Technology Innovation Scholars Program, you may apply online! To learn more about partnering with TISP or arranging a visit at your school, please contact Associate Dean for Outreach & Diversity Gretchen Fougere at gfougere@bu.edu.


The Technology Innovation Scholars Program is young, but the demand and impact are great. Since its founding in January 2011, trained Inspiration Ambassadors have:

  • Increased in number by 150% to more than 50
  • Reached over 13,000 K-12 students in 119 US visits in 23 state and 3 countries.
  • Mentored 30 high school FIRST® robotics teams.
  • Engaged K-12 students who are twice as diverse as current engineering colleges: 25% underrepresented minorities and about 50% female.
  • Developed a transportable, scalable model than can be shared with other colleges for increased national impact.

Where the Inspiration Ambassadors Have Gone


Inspiration Ambassadors have given interactive presentations to K-12 students in their home states across the country. In addition, they've delivered hands-on design challenges to K-12 students around the Boston area. In 2014, they will begin working on a monthly basis with a 9th grade class at a Boston Public School. Overall, Inspiration Ambassadors have reached over 13,000 K-12 students in 23 states and three countries.

Strategic Partnerships

"While recruiting at Boston University, we have found that students that have participated in the Inspiration Ambassador program are exceptional – they are academically successful, highly motivated to explore technology based careers, and ingrained into their community,"

- Raymond L. Han, Senior Director, Accenture

Numerous supporters recognize the critical importance of giving engineering students workforce training and creating opportunities to introduce secondary school students to STEM fields. We are pleased to have a growing base of support from corporations, foundations, alumni, school systems and national and local not-for-profit and government organizations. We welcome new partners who can help us train and hire more Inspiration Ambassadors and reach out to more school-aged children.

Current partners include:

STEM Educator-Engineer Program (STEEP)

More national and state standards are requiring that engineering be taught in K-12 schools, but educators desire further support and resources. In the short term, TISP complements and partners with teachers to help connect the dots to engineering; however, to fully prepare students for STEM majors, their own teachers are the best lever to do so regularly and authentically. In fact, TISP has motivated some Inspiration Ambassadors to consider alternate careers teaching young people about the power of engineering.

To help both the seasoned and future teachers address the standards and their personal goals, Boston University created a unique 4+1 program called STEM Educator-Engineer Program (STEEP) that allows engineers to earn a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, and readies them to teach science, math, technology and engineering in their own secondary classrooms.

What Our Inspiration Ambassadors Say:

"I went back home to New Jersey to present to both my old middle and high schools, and I spoke to over 600 young students. It was nice to give back to my alma maters. I felt like I was shaping the future generation of engineers."

- Charina Ortega, BME' 16

"Each Innovation in a Box helps show a new generation that they can have a real impact on the world around them. Showing students the opportunities within STEM helps reinforce that they are capable of great things."

- Morgan Parker, ME '15 and SWE President

"Through my time developing new Innovations in a Box, I learned that being an engineer is not about just being a "math and science person" as my parents and friends often said of me, but it is a mindset and process that can help solve crucial problems people face every day."

- Max Cotler, BME '16

"I am still amazed by how smart and motivated the high school students we work with are. Being a FIRST® robotics allowed me be a part of a bright young group of future engineers, and honestly, they even taught me a few things!"

- Kevin Mannix, CE '15

"With my FIRST® robotics team, it was more than a mentorship; I bonded with these students and was able to reach them. Each week as we built, I saw them grow individually. They were so grateful for everything we did for them in the college application and scholarship process, and we were so proud and happy to help."

- Jennifer Larbi, BME '15 and NSBE President

"I learned management skills and communication skills that helped me figure out a career path, find an internship and want to pursue a masters in engineering management."

- Ming Wang, CE’13, China