New program to support success of engineering freshmen


Elizabeth Clifford, a current mechanical engineering PhD student, is the brainchild behind one of the College of Engineering and Polymer Science's latest student-focused initiatives. The program, ZIPS: Engineered for Success, supports the academic success of students using mentorship and community-building. 

Liz Clifford (second from right) and mentors in the Zips: Engineered for Success program

The program will host guest speakers throughout the school year to tackle topics including the engineering design cycle, stress management, and career opportunities in engineering.  Students will be put into teams and connected with a mentor. Mentors are upperclassmen who will participate with students in weekly activities and will serve as a personal connection to share the highs — and lows — associated with being a first year college student.   

ZIPS: Engineered for Success is important because it shares tools and resources for students to navigate through college more efficiently to allow for more time for their studies and on-campus activities.” says Clifford. “These students completed their senior year of high school virtually and now they are in a completely unfamiliar setting all while taking challenging courses. I remember how hard freshman year is, so I wanted to design a program that supported our students, created community, and helped them understand that they can do this!”  

ZIPS: Engineered for Success is open to freshmen mechanical and aerospace engineering majors who are taking a Tools for Engineering class. Students are encouraged to join. For more information, contact