northrop grumman i4 cohort

Michael Mercier / UAH


The i4 Program has quickly taken flight and become one of UAH’s most successful partnerships.

The i4 Program is an intensive training pipeline that connects students with big-name companies, like Teledyne Brown Engineering and Northrop Grumman, to prepare them for their future in the professional world. At the beginning of this semester, 23 students were added to the Northrop Grumman pipeline and 10 were added to the Teledyne Brown Engineering pipeline. All 33 of these students are nearing the end of the second stage of "iNSPIRE", and have been mentored by different members of these companies throughout the semester.

One of the major premises of i4 is to help students get a full-time job with the company that has spent the past 2-3 years investing in them. This pipeline is often a direct route to a job after graduation and employers are pouring out resources and time to get students this opportunity. There are four different “i’s” of this program that all equip and train students with the end goal of a job upon graduation, and they are- introduce, inspire, integrate, and invest.

iNTRODUCE - Freshmen

career fair

Michael Mercier/UAH

i4 caught my attention because the program helps me get my career started my first semester on campus. Through the relationships that Career Services has formed with the i4 partners, I’m able to start making connections with employers that want to hire UAH students like me.” - Philip Ray, Freshman, Computer Science Major

For this stage of the development pipeline, companies are actively seeking to engage with new students on campus. This is where students will see different companies at Career Fair, Co-Op Kickoff, Career Panels, Mentor-A-Charger (MAC), and Month of Externships (MOE). Each of these events/programs is designed to have a direct connection between students and employers. Mentor-A-Charger, for example, pairs a student with UAH alumni, corporate partner, or local community leader for one-on-one mentoring over an extended period of time. This allows companies to begin investing in the students at UAH from their freshman year.

The “iNTRODUCE” stage allows companies to begin building relationships and connections with freshmen that they can continue to grow over the rest of that student’s collegiate career. This step is a crucial networking step for both students and employers, and is why we offer so many opportunities for the two groups to interface together; it’s almost like an informal interview to feel out candidates who will be good fits with certain companies.

iNSPIRE - Sophomores

teledyne brown i4 jpg

Michael Mercier/UAH 

The best part of both my internship and my participation in the Northrop Mentorship program was the fact that we got to meet so many different people. Executives from high up in the company talked to us about how they worked towards their positions, engineers talked to us about daily work life on their various projects, and other employees discussed with us all the other parts of Northrop that are not just business executives and number crunching engineering.” - Susi Manning, Senior, Mathematics Major

Year 2 involves group mentoring. Employers select the size of the group as determined by the number of intern/co-op vacancies that their organization will have in the next year and set selection criteria such as desired majors, GPA minimums, etc. Students are then placed by the university based on these criteria and an in-person interview with UAH’s Career Services office.

The group meets six times between August and December. The first four sessions consist of topics relevant to the employer partner and the student, but are determined by the employer partner (e.g., leadership, technology in the workplace, etc.). The fifth session is an on-site tour, which gives the students an understanding of the day-to-day operations of the organization. The last session is designed to be a “graduation” ceremony, to include interviews for internship/co-op positions for the upcoming summer or fall semester.


iNTEGRATE - Juniors

northrop grumman i4

One of my favorite things I've learned is how all the different aspects of a company work together, from the contract process, to development, to engineering, and then the final product, teamwork is the essential component to business.”- Mark Reiter, Junior, Finance Major

Year 3 involves integrating the student into the workforce through a co-op or internship. The structure of the position is left up to the employer as long as it meets minimum university co-op and internship guidelines. This past year we had a 92% success rate of finding experiential learning positions for students who entered this stage. Amongst all of the craziness of trying to find an internship or co-op, this opportunity plugs students straight into the workforce after being mentored and trained for the past two years. Not only does this get students working somewhere they are interested in, but it also allows employers to prepare the students for their work atmosphere and responsibilities.

iNVEST - Seniors

senior design

Michael Mercier/UAH 

Ultimately, because of this mentoring group, I was able to begin an internship with Northrop Grumman which developed into a full-time job after graduation.” -Faith Buckley, Material Planner for Northrop Grumman

The final year is about investing in the potential employee. It is intended to allow employer partners to view students in team environments with real-life challenges. Students work collaboratively on a cross-disciplinary senior design project or case study/ competition that the organization sponsors. At this stage, it is expected that the students will have an employer mentor and that the organization is considering the student for full-time employment upon graduation.

Organizations interested in sponsoring a senior design project are asked to notify the university by May before the project is slated to start in August. The organization will need to be active in the process and remain in contact with the assigned faculty member. The goal of the project is to give students practical work experience while working in an area of interest to the organization.

Case study/competitions are coordinated by UAH’s Career Services. Students are given the project in August and are asked to present to organization representatives in January of the following year. The organization selects the winners, with Career Services coordinating all dates and room locations.

Since its inception, the i4 program has been met with great success for students and employers. We have had twenty students complete the program and are in the process of seeking out other employers who may be interested in coming alongside us to invest in our students as much as we can. Applications for this prestigious program will open during March! We hope that you will apply and allow these tremendous companies to invest their time and resources into you.