Bridging Dreams and Opportunities: A Journey from INSPIRE to the Speed School of Engineering

September 14, 2023

by Danielle Henson

In the world of higher education, the journey from inspiration to realization often takes many forms. For Brennan Bush, a prospective Engineering student hailing from Powell County in Eastern Kentucky, that journey is poised to reach a pivotal turning point as he prepares to attend the J.B. Speed School of Engineering next Fall. What makes Brennan’s story even more special is his participation in the INSPIRE program, an initiative that has played a crucial role in his decision to pursue engineering at the University of Louisville.

INSPIRE Program: A Pathway to Engineering Excellence

INSPIRE stands for: Increasing Student Preparedness and Interest in the Requests for Engineering

Sponsored by the renowned Brown-Forman corporation, the INSPIRE program is a beacon of opportunity for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds in the field of engineering. Targeting students from Kentucky high schools and rural areas, INSPIRE seeks to provide them with a head start in the world of engineering.

These young scholars from across the state undergo an enriching summer experience that serves as their introduction to the field of engineering. The program’s impact extends far beyond the classroom, offering exposure, mentorship, and, most importantly, a sense of belonging. Upon successful completion of the program, each participant receives a certificate—an emblem of their commitment to engineering excellence.

Brennan Bush: A Journey through INSPIRE

Brennan’s journey into engineering started with an innate curiosity and a desire to create. While his peers embraced outdoor adventures, he found himself drawn to the world of technology and computing. His passion for innovation became the foundation for his journey.

“Most of my friends and peers are interested in outdoors stuff. But since I was a kid, I have always been interested in building in general. That just branched off into my interest in computers, hardware, and more. I’ve always just had a passion to be creative.”

When faced with choices about his educational path, Brennan made a deliberate decision to follow his heart.

“There is a program in Kentucky called GSP (Governors Scholars Program) and a lot of people apply to it from my school. I decided not to because it wasn’t for me. But when I found the [INSPIRE] Summer Program, it seemed like a great way to get connections and get more of an understanding of what college will be like.”

Brennan’s experience at the INSPIRE Program was transformative. He was inspired by the active participation of Speed School students and the unwavering support of the counselors and staff. For Brennan, these interactions were more than just informative; they were life changing.

“During the INSPIRE Program, I saw how involved all the students are here [at Speed School]. It was cool. I had a mentor named Zach who helped me a lot. The counselors and staff were all genuinely nice people. I looked forward to end-of-day talks with my other mentor, Jamie, because he was really inspiring.”

Brennan’s journey through INSPIRE proves that your background doesn’t define your potential. Despite coming from a smaller high school, he found a level playing field during the program—a testament to the inclusivity and supportive environment fostered by INSPIRE and Speed School.

“Some of the other students that I met in the program came from bigger high schools in the area. I came from a smaller school, Powell County High School. But when I was [at the summer camp] I didn’t feel like I was at a disadvantage.”

The high school senior shared that he has a lot of goals and aspirations. “I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet but, my dream would be to have my own firm. I like the idea of having a good team of great people. I want to be a leader. That’s at the top of my list! The INSPIRE counselors and staff modeled what a great team can be.”

Brennan’s ambitions reach beyond the horizon. While he may not have all the answers now, he dreams of establishing his own engineering firm—a place where great minds collaborate and innovate — are fueled by the exemplary teamwork he witnessed among the INSPIRE counselors and staff.

 The STEM+ Hub: A Beacon of Innovation

Brennan’s excitement is palpable when discussing the new STEM+ Hub at Speed School. The hub represents a modern and welcoming space, designed with students in mind. It’s a testament to Speed School’s commitment to fostering innovation and collaboration. “The STEM+ Hub is really cool. Everything seemed so new. It’s student-centered and friendly.” he says after touring the new workspace.

Brennan recognizes the unique environment at the University of Louisville. It’s an institution that fosters student involvement and offers opportunities like co-op programs and smaller classrooms with one-on-one opportunities with faculty. For Brennan, this translates into gaining valuable real-world experience.

“UofL makes you feel like you are more involved. With the co-op programs, the smaller classrooms – you feel like you will come out of it with more experience.”

As Brennan embarks on the rest of his senior year of high school, we are reminded that education is a journey of self-discovery and limitless potential. It underscores the importance of nurturing passion, providing mentorship, and creating inclusive spaces for aspiring engineers from all backgrounds.