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ETSU Upward Bound awarded $160,000 for student STEM projects

Contributed • Dec 11, 2018 at 10:21 AM

Area high school students participating in the Upward Bound program at East Tennessee State University will experience an enhanced science, technology, engineering and math curriculum thanks to a supplemental award from the U.S. Department of Education.

Upward Bound, a federally funded TRIO program aimed at increasing opportunities for high school students to attend college, submitted four STEM project proposals ranging from field trips to robotics courses. Each proposal received a one-time supplemental award of $40,000.

More than 270 students from 14 area high schools are currently enrolled in ETSU Upward Bound. Students typically start the program in the beginning of their freshman or sophomore year of high school and remain in the program until they begin their college career. Upward Bound participants meet weekly with program staff throughout the school year and spend five weeks each summer living on campus and taking courses to prepare them for the year ahead.

During the summer 2019 residential program, Upward Bound students will benefit from innovative computer science and digital media instruction funded by the STEM award. A coding and programming course will also be offered, and students can explore engineering fundamentals through robotics. The supplemental grants will also aid in providing field trips and career internships in STEM-related fields for rising senior students, as well as job shadowing opportunities.

“Students who complete ETSU’s Upward Bound are six times more likely to graduate from college than their peers,” said Dr. Ronnie Gross, director of ETSU’s TRIO program. “It’s really special what we do here, and this award allows us to focus our efforts toward providing more STEM experiences for our students to explore career opportunities.”

ETSU’s Upward Bound serves high school students from Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Sullivan County schools, as well as Elizabethton, Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol city schools. First generation students with neither parent holding a degree from a four-year college, and/or students who meet family income guidelines are eligible to participate. For more information, contact the Upward Bound office at 423-439-5619 or visit www.etsu.edu/trio.