Aspiring Eagles Academy

Bridging to SOAR

The Aspiring Eagles Academy Summer Bridge Program (AEA) provides a comprehensive orientation and academic support program designed to ease the transition from high school to college while building a solid educational foundation. The Academy focuses on a specialized population of underrepresented students such as first-generation and rural students.

Applicants selected to participate in AEA consist of a cohort model, half of whom are first-generation college students. The academy includes a hybrid 5-week Summer Bridge program, a living-learning community, cultural enrichment, study, travel abroad, intrusive academic coaching and focused academic support. The AEA Summer Bridge Program is open to in-state or out-of-state students who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States.


AEA 4-Year Graduation Rate


AEA Student Retention Rate


Average GPA of Cohort 23 (First-Year Cumulative GPA)

Aspiring Eagles Academy Program

The Aspiring Eagles Academy (AEA) at NCCU aims to provide foundational academic support and guidance to AEA scholars as they transition from high school to NCCU. We work closely with our scholars and offer ongoing support throughout their entire academic careers. One of the program's specific goals is to provide scholars with the opportunity to enhance their academic performance and skill set as they transition into and progress through their majors.

View AEA Program Benefits

Aspiring Eagles Academy Spotlight

Amaiya Nesmith Aspiring Eagle

AEA Current Student

Amaiya Nesmith, a third-year Political Science student at North Carolina Central University, embarked on her political and leadership journey during college. She engaged in diverse roles and initiatives, shaping her academic and personal growth. Her coursework covers political theory, international relations and current global issues. In college, she held significant leadership roles, including student body vice president and president of the Student Government Association, advocating for student rights and fostering community responsibility. Beyond the classroom, Ms. Nesmith actively promoted civic engagement as a campus liaison for NC Democracy, increasing political awareness, voter participation and discussions on critical issues.

Nate Gilmore in white dress shirt

AEA Alumni

Nate Gilmore III entered North Carolina Central University during the summer of 2018 as a member of the Aspiring Eagles Academy and is a recent 2021 graduate. He received his B.S. focusing on Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chemistry. Following his experience at NCCU, Nate worked at AbbVie Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, as a pharmacovigilance and patient safety intern. He currently attends UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy with hopes of pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry post graduation. Aside from his academic journey, Nate is a board member for the HBCUSTEMulUS Inc. as the student engagement coordinator. In this role, he prioritizes the education, training and development of HBCU students hoping to pursue a career in STEM fields.

Student athlete holding up American football helmet

AEA Student-Athletes

Thirty percent of each cohort of Aspiring Eagles Academy consists of student-athletes at North Carolina Central University. Participating in AEA allows students to interact with each other and build friendships during the program while also allowing for lessons on classroom etiquette. Topics throughout the summer include note-taking, test preparation, study habits, NCAA guidelines, academic misconduct, student-athlete time management, mental health and other topics that will help a new student-athlete thrive at North Carolina Central University.

Two Students Outside with Computer

Aspiring Eagles Academy FAQs

Have questions? Learn more about AEA on our FAQs page.

Members of AEA and Chick-Fil-A posing for a picture

AEA Photo Gallery

Take a look at these images of some of our outstanding students.

More to Explore

Donate to AEA

Select "Aspiring Eagles Academy" from the dropdown menu to support professional development and academic enrichment activities such as guest speakers and national and international travel.

AEA Application Portal

The application period begins in November 2023, and the deadline is May 2024.


White, Jesse

Executive Assistant to the Dean

University College

location icon Alexander-Dunn Building

email icon [email protected]

phone icon 919-530-5235


York, Marquise A

Coordinator of Student Transition and Engagement

University College

location icon Alexander-Dunn Building Room 108

email icon [email protected]

phone icon 919-530-7150

Eagle flying on a red background

Young, Mckayla E

Director of Student Transition and Engagement

University College

location icon Alexander-Dunn Building, Room 106

email icon[email protected]

phone icon 919-530-6973