The study of human aging requires an implementation of translational approaches which many students are simply not exposed to in their general education. Current educational paradigms present an opportunity to easily and inexpensively train students in these methods and cultivate interest in aging research. These assumptions have led to the formation of SENS Foundation's Academic Initiative (SENSFAI), a student-focused research and development program designed to recruit talented student scientists into the broad field of longevity science with a specific focus on the SENS engineering platform. Since the launch of its pilot studies in the fall of 2008, SENSFAI has demonstrated its potential as a viable research entity. Growing from a humble beginning of only three volunteer mentors and five students, the program has expanded to its present base of over 50 students and volunteers operating in nine countries worldwide, and offers a novel approach for promoting student excellence in academia.