Academics
Signature Programs
Clark Institute of Advanced Studies

ASPIRE

APPLIED STUDENT PROFESSIONAL INTERNSHIP AND RESEARCH EXPLORATION

Exploring Careers through Experience, Engagement, and Internship
The ASPIRE program was developed to give students opportunities to explore their futures while still in high school, fostering future change-makers and community-minded individuals. ASPIRE helps create more opportunities for students to explore and develop individual interests through online modules, one-on-one and small group mentoring, exposure to professionals in a wide array of fields, and an individualized, applied, community-engaged experience.

Through the span of the course, students will:

  • Explore their own personal interests, strengths, and experiences and learn how to articulate them through a resume and during an interview. 
  • Develop important academic and professional skills such as writing, research, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, time management, problem solving, and public speaking.
  • Gain familiarity with a wide variety of career options.
  • Seek out resources to help them design an applied summer experience. 
  • Engage in conversations with peers and faculty about the concept of vocation.
  • Imagine how they fit into the career world and narrow down career options through experience.
  • Network with community professionals in fields that interest them.

The program consists of two interwoven components:

  1. Semester-Long Course: A semester course, focused on helping students understand and discover what they might want to study in college and/or pursue as a future career. The semester course will utilize the best of both online, at-your-own pace work, and real-time, face-to-face/virtual meetings with faculty mentors and peers. Students will investigate various paths that interest them and then develop a relevant summer mentorship or internship plan.

  2. Summer Session: A summer session that provides flexibility for students and greater opportunities without the conflict of student life and classes during the school year. Through a partnership with a matched mentor or through an internship during the summer, students will expand on the ideas formed during their semester class and develop a personal project. Their project will build on their interests and empower them to create positive change in their community.

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Meredith Sprayberry

    Emmi Sprayberry 

    Upper School Art Teacher, ASPIRE Lead Coordinator, Art Department Chair

Curriculum Overview

List of 18 items.

  • Week 1: Exploring Self

    Students will be given a course introduction with expectations and engage in reflective goal setting and career/personality assessments.
  • Week 2: Exploring Careers and Vocation

    Students will explore the subject of vocation and career. Students will select their chosen resources for the semester.
  • Week 3: Professionalism

    Students will look at what it means to be professional through the art of the interview and how they present themselves. Students will begin to develop their resume and learn about how to formulate a cover letter.
  • Week 4: Networking

    Communication Skills and Branding: You are your brand. So how your market and communicate about yourself is vital to setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack.
  • Week 5: Deep Dive Careers, Education

    Starting with week 5, students will look at taking a deep dive into various fields. Through the deep dive weeks students will research the career of the week and find how it can or does relate to their own interest. Students will create a report/presentation to share their findings with their classmates. Students will also start submitting artifacts for their proposal. 

    These Deep Dive Careers are a guideline but are subject to change based on the students enrolled in the class. Deep Dive weeks will always be weeks when we meet in person. Experiences within the class are created with the students enrolled in mind.
  • Week 6: Deep Dive Careers, Sciences

    These Deep Dive Careers are a guideline but are subject to change based on the students enrolled in the class. Deep Dive weeks will always be weeks when we meet in person. Experiences within the class are created with the students enrolled in mind. 
  • Week 7: Deep Dive Careers, Communications

    These Deep Dive Careers are a guideline but are subject to change based on the students enrolled in the class. Deep Dive weeks will always be weeks when we meet in person. Experiences within the class are created with the students enrolled in mind.
  • Week 8: Deep Dive Careers, Arts

    These Deep Dive Careers are a guideline but are subject to change based on the students enrolled in the class. Deep Dive weeks will always be weeks when we meet in person. Experiences within the class are created with the students enrolled in mind.
  • Week 9: Deep Dive Careers, Medical

    These Deep Dive Careers are a guideline but are subject to change based on the students enrolled in the class. Deep Dive weeks will always be weeks when we meet in person. Experiences within the class are created with the students enrolled in mind.
  • Week 10: Deep Dive Careers, Law

    These Deep Dive Careers are a guideline but are subject to change based on the students enrolled in the class. Deep Dive weeks will always be weeks when we meet in person. Experiences within the class are created with the students enrolled in mind.
  • Week 11: Deep Dive Careers, Entrepreneurship/Business

    These Deep Dive Careers are a guideline but are subject to change based on the students enrolled in the class. Deep Dive weeks will always be weeks when we meet in person. Experiences within the class are created with the students enrolled in mind.
  • Week 12: Panel/Mock Conference

    Students will begin to report on their initial areas of interest for the summer.
  • Week 13: Community Engagement

    Students will look at what makes internships and community engagement meaningful.
  • Week 14: Shadow A Community Professional

    Starting in week 14, students will start to shadow members in the community. Students will shadow a professional for at least 2 hours and reflect on what they learned. Based on the students interest, they will be paired with an expert in their field to shadow.

    This will span from week 14 – week 16 with group check in’s and reflections during this time. Each student will shadow a different community member each week, shadowing a total of 3 professionals by the end of week 16.
  • Week 15: Shadow A Community Professional

    Students will shadow a professional for at least 2 hours and reflect on what they learned. Based on the students interest, they will be paired with an expert in their field to shadow.
  • Week 16: Shadow A Community Professional

    Students will shadow a professional for at least 2 hours and reflect on what they learned. Based on the students interest, they will be paired with an expert in their field to shadow.
  • Week 17: Submit Summer Proposal

    Students will finalize and submit their summer proposal.
  • Week 18: Mentor/Internship Placement

    Students will meet with their mentor/internship placement.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 11 items.

  • How can my student apply?

    Students will need to apply via the Aspire Google Form along with having a faculty recommendation letter submitted. Once that form is received the Aspire Committee will review all applications and make recommendations based on the application and the students academic load. Application does not guarantee a spot.
  • What is the maximum number of students allowed within the program?

    We have limited spots available of currently a maximum of 15 students per the fall and spring semesters.
  • Can seniors participate in the course?

    While seniors would not be able to participate in the full scope of the program, they would have the option to audit the course if space allows, with the expectation that they are to be fully engaged. Priority placement is given to Juniors. All students interested in participating must apply for the program. This option currently would only be available to the 2022 senior class.
  • How will this class fit within the normal class schedule?

    The class is a blend of synchronous, in-person meetings, asynchronous work, and one on one’s with the student’s faculty mentor. Due to the flexibility this provides, the in person class meeting time would take place during the Flex block on Friday or during a specified lunch break. This allows not only more flexibility within the course but helps give students the opportunity to take the course  without having to worry about schedule conflict due to graduation requirements.
  • What is the time commitment for this course?

    Students will earn a .5 credit for their time in each semester of the course. The course is a rigorous amount of weekly asynchronous work combined with weekly class assignments coinciding with either group meetings or individual meetings with the instructor/faculty mentors.
  • Will there be a required textbook?

    There is not a required textbook, instead students will gather their own resources, with a designated number coming from a supplied approved list. These can range from a compilation of essays, books, podcasts, etc. The student will submit artifacts and findings as the course proceeds to share what they have learned.
  • Is there an additional cost to enroll in the course?

    There is no additional cost.
  • Will students have a choice in who they mentor with?

    Through the program students are given the opportunity to meet with individuals and businesses they may not normally have the opportunity to interact with, thus expanding their network. Mentors and students will be matched based on their interest and proposal. Our mentors and internship providers are a combination of alumni and community members who are interested in investing in St. Andrew’s.
  • Can a student pick their internship?

    As with mentors placement, students are matched with their internship based on their interest and proposal.
  • How/who determines who can be a mentor, and who can provide an internship?

    The Director of the Aspire program creates and culminates a database of interested individuals based on their involvement in the community and experience.
  • Are the internships paid internships?

    Currently they are not. The focus of the internship for the student is the experience and to not obtain a typical internship but one that is more hands on, with the student getting a more in depth look and experience that is based on their proposal.
Foundations — Grade 12 • Jackson, Mississippi
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