Vaughn Partners with Spectrum Innovates to Educate Students on the Autism Spectrum

January 19, 2022 Vaughn Spotlights

There’s exciting news on the horizon as Spectrum Innovates has partnered with Vaughn College to offer the Spectrum Innovates Pathway Program (SIPP), a new model of transition for students with autism who share a passion for aviation, aerospace and related science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. This revolutionary program is scheduled to begin on Vaughn’s campus in July. It has been designed for individuals on the autism spectrum as a gateway to pursue higher education, achieve sustained employment and lead a fulfilling and independent life.

A bridge to opportunity

SIPP incorporates the most advanced approaches to learning and addresses the challenge of transition for students with autism as they move from high school to college or into the workforce. Findings suggest that although college students on the autism spectrum study in all fields, their participation in STEM is considerably higher than the general population. The 12-month certificate program allows students to earn 13 college credits through a strengths-based immersive, integrated and interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates academic, social-emotional, executive function and life skills.

SIPP provides an unprecedented opportunity for students to immerse themselves in particular interests and engage their strengths in fields that include:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Coding
  • Mechanics
  • Mechatronics
  • Robotics
  • UAVs (drones)
  • Meteorology
  • Animation and digital technology

What makes this program even more exciting is that it culminates with a six-week residency experience where students will live on campus and execute their final projects.

It is a unique project-based model that engages and strengthens students’ passion for aeronautics, engineering and related STEM fields.

SIPP provides a unique experiential learning model. Here is a snapshot of its defining qualities:

  • Oriented to strengths, not deficits
  • Competency-based evaluation and badging system
  • Research-based design and results
  • Course concepts and instructions are made relevant, absorbed and reinforced through the Innovation Hub (IH), a hands-on counterpart to the classroom learning
  • A fully supported college environment with a full-time social/emotional learning facilitator
  • Industry-driven projects, design models and simulations
  • Fast track admission to Vaughn College for SIPP graduates

Vaughn’s commitment to education

Vaughn’s long-standing reputation as a leading institution in engineering, technology, management and aviation—combined with its commitment to education, inclusion and diversity—provides the perfect environment for SIPP students. Not only will they have the opportunity to experience campus life, but Vaughn is offering residence hall accommodations to those SIPP students who live beyond commuting distance.

Dr. Sharon Devivo, President of Vaughn CollegeDr. Sharon B. DeVivo, President of Vaughn College, shared her thoughts on the partnership: “Partnering with Spectrum Innovates to bring the Spectrum Innovates Pathway Program to Vaughn College is another way we fulfill our mission of providing a transformative education to all students. We look forward to better serving neurodiverse students and collaborating with SIPP’s transition philosophy of innovation, socialization, independence, entrepreneurship and leadership. What we will learn from this unique partnership will also serve as model for other institutions as they seek to engage and serve students.”

Do you know someone with autism who has a passion for STEM-related fields? We invite you to schedule a one-on-one interview to learn more about the program. Space is limited, so you are encouraged to act now.

Interested in the program? You can schedule your one-on-one interview and tour by visiting our Admissions page, scrolling down and clicking on the blue button.

Learn more about Spectrum Innovates from Autism Speaks.

See how engaging strengths through passion can open avenues for learning and development.

Development of this project is funded in part by an Advanced Technological Education research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).