Industry Scholars Program

​An immersive professional experience for undergraduates.

The University of San Diego's Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering has developed an exciting, year-long immersion program to elevate workforce preparedness for our students, allowing them to excel in their respective fields of engineering.

Industry Scholars planning session.
The Industry Scholars Program (ISP), which was industry-initiated in Fall 2016 and piloted in 2017 within an NSF-funded Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Department (RED) Grant, seeks to infuse students with professional skills early in their undergraduate experience. The ISP identifies students who have demonstrated a high level of engagement and a GPA of at least 3.3 and provides workshops, site visits and internships to train them in professional networking, interviewing, emotional intelligence and other soft skills not typically taught as part of the engineering curriculum. The ISP is a three-term program that is heavily supported by industry representatives, faculty and an academic leadership team.


Develop a professional and leadership skills development program with industry partners for first and second year high-performing engineering students.

Three-Term Program

Spring Semester

  • Program Kick-off
  • Industry Speaker on "Effective Team work through Strengths-Finder 2.0"
  • Industry Panel on "Skills for Success in the Real World"
  • Communication and Engineering Ethics

Summer Semester

  • Industry-Sponsored Internship
  • Limited to Industry Sponsors who were able to over summer-long internships
  • Students have the option to secure internships through personal connections
  • Apply technical skills acquired in their classes with professional skills acquired in their spring workshops

Fall Semester

  • Semester Kick-off
  • Industry Speaker on "Inventions and Innovations"
  • Site Visit
  • Industry Speaker on "Interviewing Skills Building"
  • Site Visit and Speaker on "Professional Etiquette"
  • End of Semester Celebration: Certificate of Completion
"The Industry Scholars Program has provided me with invaluable opportunities to connect with members of the USD Engineering Executive Advisory Board, hone my professionalism and immerse myself in an internship where I had the opportunity to apply my academic knowledge to real-world problems in industry."
William Trevena '20
"The Industry Scholars Program helped reinforce my interpersonal skills, and gave me the confidence to be social and genuine when networking and meeting representatives of industry. It provided me with a better picture of the type of engineering I want to be and the skills necessary to get there."
Alec Aguilera '19
"The Mentorship Program is the perfect way to continue the development that I achieved through my participation in the Industry Scholars Program. The opportunity to establish rapport with a successful leading engineering professional has provided me with a source of knowledge, guidance and support as I lay the groundwork for my future in engineering."
Ava Bellizzi

Student Outcomes


Resume building experience

light bulb

Professional and leadership skills


Expanded industry connections


Easy transition to internships and future employment


Discuss variety of engineering industries

v card

Get identified by industry partners

Industry Mentorship

The Industry Scholars Program has added a mentorship program, where the cohort of students in the program are paired with a professional mentor for one-year. Students will define between two and five measurable and realistic goals with the assistance of their mentors.

A Model of Innovation

The Industry Scholars work introduces an industry-university collaborative program that can be a model for innovative universities and industries across the country seeking to prepare and secure students equipped with both professional and technical skill sets, both of which are required to flourish in their fields of engineering.

Thomas Lupfer

Industry Scholars Co-creator

Elevating Workforce Preparedness

"The Industry Scholars Program has reinforced the importance of engineers having not just technical skills, but also skills that are necessary to design and manufacture products that are useful, relevant, and accessible, in ways that are responsible to society and the environment. I continue to be impressed by the versatility and openness of the engineering students, faculty, and industry sponsors involved with the Industry Scholars Program. It is truly a collaborative effort to develop future leaders in the engineering field."

President, Clarity Design, Professor of Practice, Executive Advisory Board Member