ASME INSPIRE’s Fourth Year: New Content Leads to Bigger Impact and Dreams

Jan. 12, 2018


The fourth year of the ASME INSPIRE digital STEM course for middle and high school students is off to an auspicious start, with new, enhanced program content and a record number of schools incorporating the course in their curricula.

During the last academic year in 2016-2017, ASME INSPIRE’s hallmark program — “INSPIRE STEM Readiness” — was used in more than 1,000 schools across 48 states. Over the past three years, this award-winning online, in-class student experience of using early algebra and coding skills to successfully complete 16 missions has engaged more than 100,000 middle in high school students.

As every engineer knows, with proof of concept comes opportunities. Enter “ASME INSPIRE Career Readiness,” a new program that allows middle school students to explore real careers and gain applicable skills. Based on their personalized journey through these career paths, students develop a personalized portfolio of exciting opportunities and profiles specific to their interests.

And the impact of this new experience? As of December, ASME INSPIRE programs were already in use in 897 schools by more than 45,000 students, an astonishing 114 percent increase over the same timeframe last academic year.

April Carpenter (far right) and her eighth-grade students at Alexander Graham Middle School in Charlotte, N.C., show their enthusiasm for the ASME INSPIRE program during an INSPIRE Connects classroom visit on Nov. 7. (Photo by Patti Jo Rosenthal, ASME Programs & Philanthropy)

INSPIRE Classroom Connects school visits are already in full swing, with a Nov. 7 visit to INSPIRE scholars at Alexander Graham Middle School in Charlotte, N.C. Led by their teacher, Air Force veteran April Carpenter, these eighth-grade INSPIRE champions have already completed the INSPIRE Career Readiness program and have started INSPIRE STEM Readiness.

Following a 17-year military career, Carpenter has spent over a decade teaching Career and Technological Education (CTE) in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. This is her fourth year integrating ASME INSPIRE into her classroom experience, finding it an invaluable tool in supporting her success and primary goal as a CTE teacher, which is to promote college and career readiness.

“Using INSPIRE within our curriculum opens the doorway to opportunities and gets students thinking,” Carpenter said. “It’s real-world and the software itself is encouraging and motivational. It gets them talking about college and a career direction that they may not have ever considered.”

Students from Alexander Graham Middle School work on an INSPIRE Innovation Investigation brainstorming exercise during the INSPIRE Connects visit in November. (Photo by Patti Jo Rosenthal, ASME Programs & Philanthropy)

Additionally Carpenter shared that using ASME INSPIRE — with its hands-on and self-guided approach — helps students discover exciting possibilities and illuminates a path toward a fulfilling and important career in engineering. “Some students may not hear that they can go to college, but we support that dream and the pursuit of STEM career fields,” she said. “These students will make an impact in the world.”

For more information on ASME INSPIRE and overall K-12 STEM education programs, contact Patti Jo Rosenthal,, or visit

Patti Jo Rosenthal, ASME Programs & Philanthropy