ASDL Science, Technology, and Engineering Pipeline (STEP) Program


The ASDL Science, Technology, and Engineering Pipeline (STEP) Program is an educational outreach program designed to provide hands-on engineering internships to Atlanta-area high school students. STEP is an immersion program for engineering. Students work in teams on a challenge problem that contributes in a meaningful way to an active Georgia Tech research effort. The students work with a Georgia Tech faculty mentor to solve their challenge problem. At the end of the program, students present the results of their work to parents, teachers, faculty, and industry representatives at a poster session.

STEP is different from the typical engineering summer camp in several keys ways. The STEP program is fully funded through donations from industry partnerships, allowing students to participate at no charge. This allows the program to reach underprivileged populations that are not typically able to participate in more expensive camps. The program challenges students to work on and contribute to real research problems. There is no pre-designed solution for them to achieve, and instead they are required to stretch their capabilities and challenge themselves in order to succeed.

The benefits of participating in STEP include:

  • Teaches students engineering approaches and
  • Challenges participants to work on and contribute to real research problems
  • Provides students an experience that closely mirrors what they might do in an engineering job
  • Gives participants a sense of confidence and pride that helps them to succeed in future endeavors

The STEP Program is generously supported by the Georgia Space Grant Consortium and the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

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2019 STEP Program

ASDL is excited to host the 2019 Science, Technology, and Engineering Pipeline (STEP) Program 10-27 June. STEP will provide a hands-on engineering experience to 16 Atlanta-area high school students, who will work in teams and with ASDL Research Engineers on a challenge problem. During the program, students will be introduced to the design, manufacturing, and testing of a small, electric car. This program will serve as a test-bed for learning about the core systems-engineering principles behind complex systems design, introduce students to the challenges faced with the electrification of modern vehicles, and how this insight can be leveraged to support the design of new electric aircraft in the future.

Contact Adrienne Durham (adrienne.durham (at) for more information for the STEP Program.

More Information about STEP Program

Examples of Past Challenge Problems

  • Autonomous Boat: Develop a set of codes for an autonomous boat.
  • Asteroid Capture: Engineer missions to identify, capture, and redirect an asteroid to a stable orbit around the moon where astronauts can later visit it.
  • Hybrid Electric: Design, build, and text a concept for a hybrid-electric propulsion system for a UAV.
  • Quadrotor Dynamics, Assembly, and Testing: Assemble, tune, and test several quadrotor kits.
  • Rotor/Propeller Testing: Perform a series of wind tunnel tests on various motor-propeller combinations to gather data and make performance predictions.
  • Smart Campus: Devise new ways to visualize building energy usage, with the goal to help occupants and stakeholders to understand their energy footprint and hopefully reduce it.
  • UAV Design: Design an unmanned aircraft to be powered by the hybrid electric engine.
  • 3D Printer Build a small 3D printer from a kit, but modifying the design to make it more reliable
  • UAV for Mars: Design a small UAV to be used in support of a future Mars colony.
  • Parametric Wing Design Develop a parametric CAD model for a wing that could be manufactured in a FAB lab.
  • Hardware in the Loop Testing: Design a hardware in the loop simulation framework for a quadcopter.
  • FPV Gimbal for a Quadcopter: Design and build a quadcopter to carry a first person view gimbal, and getting all the electronics to integrate smoothly.
  • Europa Ice Drilling: Design an ice drilling robot to search for life under the ice of Europa.
  • Quadcopter Maritime Launch and Recovery Pad: Design a launching/landing pad for a quadcopter to be deployed and recovered from an autonomous boat.
  • Aerobatic Aircraft: Develop elements of a design environment for aerobatic aircraft.
  • Electromechanical Systems Education: Build, repair, and adapt a quadcopter using a set of parts that is provided.
  • Robotic Arms for Kids: Create a parametric, scalable model of a prosthetic arm for kids, which can be fully 3D printed.
  • SysML Bots: Program a number of behaviors into a set of small ground robots using SysML.
  • WAM-V: Assemble an autonomous vehicle and develop an Arduino control setup for the motors.


  • “I feel the STEM academics program is a great success it offer our students a chance to catch up with their peers at other schools, and it also give them the opportunities they would have never gotten. For those parents who care and can't afford summer programs Georgia Tech steps in by saying we care, understand, and help is here. That's awesome in my eyes. I wish they had this program when my kids were in school.” D. London, Head of Maintenance and Custodians, Lithia Springs High School
  • "Georgia Tech's ASDL STEP partnership with Lithia Spring High School's STEM Academy and the subsequent internships that it has provided have proved to be life changing experiences for our students. It provides our students with greater insight into their chosen career pathways which inspires them to pursue their goals more vigorously, as they realize that a first rate college experience is within their reach, and that they [LSHS students] are capable of meeting the rigorous demands that it requires. As a result, the partnership has helped transform our school into a place where parents place high value on the select opportunity for their students to attend and participate in our innovative programs.” Dr. Garrick Askew, Principal, Lithia Springs High School
  • "To state plainly, the internship program at Georgia Tech with the Aerospace System Design Laboratory and its Science, Technology, and Engineering Pipeline program has changed the lives of our students, even the ones that do not get to participate. Imagine living in a trailer park off Bankhead Highway with a single parent…what does the first day on campus at Georgia Tech feel like. Whether it leads to a degree from there or not, it is a watershed event and something our students will cherish wherever they end up going to study engineering." Dr. Lee Collins, Assistant Principal, Lithia Springs High School
  • "The experience our students gain from their GaTech internship gets them excited to pursue engineering at the highest levels. As a result our students will be able to return to their community after college and be major contributors to the local economy in addition to mentoring the next group of students entering our school system." Darren Rager, STEM Engineering Teacher, Lithia Springs High School
  • "The ASDL STEP program at Georgia Tech has opened doors for our students that would have otherwise never been opened. The students came back with an enthusiasm for not only engineering, but also college. Believing that college can be a reality is probably one of the best takeaways for our students." P. Millinor, AP Coordinator, STEM Coordinator, Pre-AP 9th grade Literature teacher, Lithia Springs High School
  • "In addition, the summer internship program at Georgia Tech has brought in a diverse group of students that have committed to changing the culture and academics of our school and community." Petrina Warren, Honors 10th Grade Literature, Lithia Springs High School
  • "My best performing students this year consisted of those who attended the summer program at Georgia Tech." J. Freeman, 9th & 10th Grade Accelerated Math, Lithia Springs High School
  • "Internships at Georgia Tech have increased interest, motivation and a sense of belonging for all STEM Academy students at Lithia Springs High School, especially those demographics underrepresented in STEM fields. In addition, these internships have created an opportunity for our STEM students to gain theoretical and practical knowledge in real world engineering applications. Because of this, our STEM students have improved their vocabulary usage allowing them to use a lot of technical terminology in in-class discussions which enhanced my students' classroom experience. As a STEM mathematics instructor, it has been amazing to witness how well my students have connected the mathematical applications learned inside class with their internship experiences." Keenan X Lee, Mathematics Department Head, AP Calculus, Lithia Springs High School
  • “I have two students in my current classes who attended STEP last summer. Watching their approach to research this semester, it’s evident to me that the STEP experience was beneficial.” Kelly Ingle, teacher at Kennesaw Mountain High School
  • "It’s partnership with Georgia Tech and the summer internship program has given Lithia prestige." Chris Atkinson, Title I Math Instructional Lead Teacher, Douglas County Schools
  • "The STEP Program has allowed the students to take the skills they have learned and adapt them to different situations/problems. As a result, student interest and participation in the science fair has increased and led to placement at the county level and beyond to state. This in turn has started to change the perception the community has had about Lithia. As a teacher, the students that attended the Science, Technology, and Engineering Pipeline (STEP) Program can problem solve and collaborate at a higher level than their peers." B. Parker, AP Biology, Lithia Springs High School
  • "She sees that she is able to achieve but also have fun at the same time, which is very important to me." G. Babalola, STEM Guidance Counselor, Lithia Springs High School
  • "I have seen monumental growth and positive impact from my STEM students who have participated in the internship programs provided by Georgia Tech. These students who have I have for three years come back to me having matured from the experience of spending quality time on the college campus and are generally more innovative and thoughtful in their project based work in the classroom. These students serve as role models to their peers, both who are in the STEM program and those who are not. I have found with these students that bring more of a maturity to our campus, they also tend to be more open minded to various concepts and situations both in and out of the classroom. These students also seem to have a new found confidence in themselves as well as in our school and are not bashful about portraying that to others." Evan Hopkins, Early Childhood Ed teacher, FCCLA sponsor, Lithia Springs High School
  • "The STEM Academy at Lithia Springs High School and it partnership with Georgia Tech has brought opportunities to our students that they have never had before. Every day I get to witness the impact of this program on our kids and community. I get the chance to hear their stories about working on real world engineering projects in their internships at Georgia Tech and how they want to go to school there now." Savannah Reese, AP World History, AP European History, Lithia Springs High School
  • "Students are pushing themselves to take more rigorous and challenging courses, so they can participate in summer programs like the ones Georgia Tech has to offer. We are so thankful for our partners especially Georgia tech and the support they have provided in this venture." J. Weaver, Head Guidance Counselor, Lithia Springs High School
  • “[The program] made an impression on Gavin, and helped him decide that he wants to be an engineer. He wrote about his ASDL internship in several of his essays.” Amy Hudnall, the mother of one of the participants
  • "Although the kids I teach are not in STEM, it inspires them. One of my students who has a disability told me that he wanted to get into the chemistry class to prove that he could do it (be successful) like the students who are in STEM and go to Georgia Tech." M. Robison, Adaptive SPED teacher, Lithia Springs High School
  • "Most of them are eager to share their GT experience when participating in that internship. [Two students] shared how GT professors helped them narrow down a project that could be tested. Those same professors offered them assistance and guided them through the project to be successful." Susan Singletary, Lithia Springs High School
  • “I loved the program very much. Everyone who I was with was extremely nice and took the time to explain concepts to me that I wasn't familiar with. I learned a lot about engineering and what I want to do in the future... If it hadn't been for this program, last summer, I probably would have stayed inside for 2 months and played [a video game]. I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to participate in STEP because it was a much better use of my time, and more importantly I had a lot of fun. I hope many more students are able to participate in this wonderful program. It was honestly the best part of my summer.” One of the participants from 2014
  • “The STEP program was an amazing experience!” One of the participants from 2014


"Real Research" Summer Program for High School Students

STEP featured on Univision