Upward Bound has another successful year, helping first-generation collegians

July 28 2006

Adding new activities to the Upward Bound programs at Indiana State University helps participants stay engaged and want to return the next year.

The federally funded program, gives an academic boost to low-income ninth- through eleventh-graders who plan to be the first generation in their families to earn their bachelor's degree. This year, the Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science programs at ISU added an academic bowl and an aviation class to the schedule.

"My team won the academic bowl this year," said Lynda Miller, a junior at West Vigo High School. "I think adding the academic bowl is a really good thing because it was a chance to compete and learn about different areas that I didn't know before."

Miller went on to say that the bowl created more interaction among the group and everyone was really excited about the addition.

For the math and science program, aviation was the topic.

"We have continued our research component this summer by including an introduction to aviation class. In the past, we've had a packaging technology class," said John Lowe, assistant director and project coordinator for Upward Bound Math and Science Project.

Professors from ISU's College of Technology assisted with the aviation class, during which, students had the chance to create a flight plan across the United States.

"We visited Sky King Airport and sat in an airplane, all while learning the basics of flying and the different types of airplanes and engines," said Terrance Fort, a Terre Haute South Vigo High School senior.

The aviation component was a great addition to Upward Bound, Fort said, because it offered him first-hand understanding. Both Upward Bound programs had high attendance during the six-week summer session, from June 4 through July 15, enrolling approximately 115 students.

Part of the appeal is that Upward Bound classes are not based on the typical lecture and textbook learning. For example, the English classes use computer programs that allow students to receive instant feedback on scores they would receive if they were taking the ISTEP.

The Upward Bound program offers traditional classes, such as math, science and English; as well as specialty classes, including communications, careers, SAT and ISTEP prep, and German.

"I really enjoyed the careers class," Miller said. "It was the most educational because it taught students financial stability, the different types of careers and college expectations."

Besides taking classes and researching, students also take several trips to enhance their experience. This summer they took part in several activities, including two trips to Indianapolis for a theatrical production and a WNBA game. Students also went to the observatory at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the St. Louis Zoo.

The focus of Upward Bound is for the students to prepare for college, receive valuable experiences, and meet new people along the way.

Kevin Sluyter, director of the Upward Bound program at ISU, said his ultimate goal would be to see each student return every summer, all four years of high school, but he understands how difficult it is to make the commitment.

"We have exceptional students who are potential Presidential Scholars, and then we have some that are struggling to pass classes," Sluyter said. "Those who are having a difficult time can now know how and where to get help, because of the Upward Bound programs."

The Upward Bound program allows students to live on campus for six weeks during the summer and encounter the same experiences as college students. Guest speakers from financial aid and other programs on campus serve as a resource. Life skills advocates, or LSAs, are also available daily and serve as the students' mentors.

After graduating from an Upward Bound program, students benefit further from the Bridge program. This allows high school graduates who have participated in Upward Bound or Upward Bound Math and Science to take six hours of summer courses at Indiana State, while receiving college credits. It is paid for by the program and includes books, classes and materials. These credits then transfer to Indiana State or wherever the student decides to attend college.

Upward Bound is available during the academic year as well, with additional offerings such as college application and financial aid assistance, college visits, and tutoring. To find out more about the Upward Bound program at Indiana State University, call (812) 237-3067, or visit the Web site at web.indstate.edu/isutrio/.

ABOUT UPWARD BOUND Upward Bound is an academic enrichment program the federal government established as part of the Great Society program in the 1960s to diminish the gap between social classes.

The Upward Bound programs have been at ISU since 1967, and serve 16 high schools in Clay, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties. ISU works with many Upward Bound programs in Indiana, including Vincennes and Indiana Wesleyan universities, Purdue-Calumet, Purdue North Central and IUPUI.

Presently, there are 650 Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science programs across the United States that serve about 65,000 students.


Photos: Publication-quality, high-resolution photos are available at:

41.jpg: Lynda Miller (left), a West Vigo High School junior, celebrates with her Upward Bound classmates at their graduation ceremony July 15 which concluded this summer's Upward Bound programs. (Tony Campbell/ISU)
23.jpg: Terrance Fort, a Terre Haute South Vigo High School senior, participated in the Upward Bound Math and Science program, which featured an aviation component. Fort, who plans to attend college for a bachelor's degree, will be the first in his family to do so. (Tony Campbell/ISU)

Contact: Kevin Sluyter, director of Upward Bound, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3065, eopkevin@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Brianna Bullerdick, media relations intern, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3773, opa@indstate.edu

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Upward Bound programs at Indiana State University give an academic boost to low-income ninth- through eleventh-graders who plan to be the first generation in their families to earn their bachelor's degree.

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