To infinity and beyond: Upward BoundFive talented Silver Bay and Two Harbors students recently participated in the Upward Bound Math and Science Program. Offered by the College of St. Scholastica since 1995, UBMS brings support and enrichment opportunities to students with interest and ability in math and science. The college selects 55 promising, low-income students in northeastern Minnesota to participate each year.
By: Tammy Francois and LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
Five talented Silver Bay and Two Harbors students recently participated in the Upward Bound Math and Science Program. Offered by the College of St. Scholastica since 1995, UBMS brings support and enrichment opportunities to students with interest and ability in math and science. The college selects 55 promising, low-income students in northeastern Minnesota to participate each year.
Local participants include Amy Kloster of Silver Bay and Nicole Anderson, Tori Highmark, Paige Ohlund and Kalee Prince of Two Harbors.
Recruiting for UBMS begins when the students are freshmen in high school. Representatives speak to classrooms in nine area high schools. Students are selected based upon written applications, interviews and recommendations by teachers.
“Basically, the student has to display motivation to go to college and have an academic or social need. For example, a student might have a 4.0, but be so shy that they have a hard time talking to other people about who they are and what they have to offer,” said Greg Goman, academic advisor for UBMS.
That can make it difficult for a student in the classroom, in college interviews and when interviewing for jobs, he said.
Once selected, students can benefit from four years of support designed to help them succeed in high school, through the academic testing and college interview processes and throughout their college careers. Once accepted to a four-year college, there are programs to offer ongoing support and scholarship programs for students seeking graduate degrees.
Each month throughout their four years of high school, UBMS participants gather at CSS for a Saturday session. In the spring, students apply for a five-week summer session where they live in CSS campus dorms to get a taste of college life. Once students complete their junior year, they are placed with a local organization or business as an intern during the summer session.
“They get 80-100 hours of college level internship experience even before they go to college,” said Goman.
Tori Highmark, a senior at Two Harbors High School, participated in the program beginning her freshman year of high school. Though she took a summer off to work, she said the program has prepared her for college and solidified her career goals.
She completed her internship at Polinsky Physical Therapy this summer and worked in pediatrics. Her tasks were varied—from coloring with kids in the waiting room to helping out during therapy sessions—but she said it was exactly what she wanted.
“I got to see into the field which I was interested in and I thought it was a valuable experience,” Highmark said.
The other participants from Two Harbors and Silver Bay completed five-week internships with the Great Lakes Aquarium, Minnesota Power Engineering, Animal Allies veterinary department and Veterans Memorial Hall.
The students live on campus during the week, too. Highmark said it helped prepare her for the future.
“It gave me a good insight into dorms, schedules and meeting new people. I’ve really made good friends with the people in the program,” Highmark said. She even got to experience college cafeteria food—not the highlight of her experience, she said with a laugh.
“It’s such an awesome experience. You learn so much and take so much out of it,” Highmark said of UBMS.
She hopes to attend CSS for physical therapy after she graduates from THHS.
One of the advantages of UBMS is that “they’ve got an advocate who is there for them,” said Goman who sees fostering confidence as a very important part of the UBMS program. “(When they come to UBMS) it might be the first time students have been told they can be successful.”
As of 2010, 93 percent of students who began UBMS completed the program and 99 percent of those graduated from high school. Statistics from the Alliance for Excellent Education found that only 79 percent of Minnesota students graduate from high school on time with a regular four-year diploma. Low-income students and students of marginalized cultural populations have even lower drop-out rates.
“The most common message we get from students is that they appreciate someone guiding them, not just academically, but step by step through the program,” said Goman.
UBMS is free to students and funding comes from grants from the U.S Department of Education. More information about UBMS and other programs providing support services to low-income and first-generation college students can be found online at www.css.edu/Administration/Upward-Bound.html