University of Alabama (UA) retention statistics showed less than 33% of engineering freshmen were retained through graduation. This is 23% lower than the national average of 52% for similar programs. Analyses indicate the primary reason for low retention is an inability of incoming freshmen to perform well in first-year calculus classes. Low performance in calculus was found to impact upper-level engineering classes. To combat this deficit, UA developed a unique informal, interactive, and interdisciplinary summer residence class called the Engineering Math Advancement Program (E-MAP) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program aims to increase prepare students to 1) do well in calculus and 2) to excite them about engineering, introducing students to hands-on "Living-Lab" experiences, industry trips and a community service project led by professional engineers. Math Placement Test (MPT) data show that 84% of participants skipped one math course and 41% 2-3 courses. Post-program grades (GPA 79.7) are greater than pre-program grades (GPA 56.6). Approximately 30% of participants have been minority and women students. Female scores were higher compared to male scores, the first year showing a significant difference (up to 10 points) in math scores. LASSI, Math Science Inventory and Meyer-Briggs studies are used along with pre- and post-MPT and ALEKs (Artificially Intelligent Assessment and Learning System) assessment providing both qualitative and quantitative data. The program's goal is to determine the best set of teaching methods and materials providing greatest impact on student performance.