Grant renewed for successful Upward Bound Math and Science program
Rob Vanya, September 24, 2012
HOUSTON – Based on a successful track record, a grant has been renewed that will fund San Jacinto College’s Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program.
The grant total for the first budget period (Sept. 1, 2012 through Aug. 31, 2013) is $262,499. The UBMS grant is approved for a five-year period, and is administered through the U.S. Department of Education.
The grant, championed by United States Congressman Gene Green (TX-29), funds a staff of advisors, instructors, and tutors to operate summer sessions, academic year sessions, Saturday sessions, university campus visits, as well as a number of educational field trips.
UBMS is a collaboration between San Jacinto College North and high schools in the Channelview, Sheldon, and Galena Park independent school districts. In the program, selected students from the public schools are carefully monitored and diligently piloted through their high school years, beginning in the ninth grade. Workshops at the College help the high school students with study skills, test taking, dealing with procrastination and similar issues. A San Jacinto College student advisor also works closely with the students and their parents to ensure the students are meeting the program’s high academic and discipline standards through their high school years. The program also features educational field trips.
“The goal of Upward Bound Math and Science is to help high school students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and to encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science,” commented Jacqueline Howard, the College’s UBMS director.
Howard says there is an increasing demand for college graduates who major in math and science in America. “It is estimated that within the next 20 years there will be a major lack of individuals to fill various careers in math and science,” she noted.
San Jacinto College launched the UBMS program in March 2008. Highlights of the program so far include: two summer programs of intensive math and science training, concluding with an enrichment trip during which students visited several colleges and universities; year-round regular tutorials for students in core subject areas; UBMS students took SAT tests early (as high school sophomores) in 2009, with high average scores of 1400; students conducted scientific research under the guidance of faculty and presented their projects during the UBMS 2008-09 summer program; at the end of each school year, every UBMS student has raised his or her academic grade average to a B or higher.
San Jacinto College sophomore Marissa Villarreal says Upward Bound Math and Science gave her a new lease on life. “I could go on and on about how UBMS mentors have shown me opportunities I didn’t know I had, how they encouraged and helped me keep my grades up and join after school actives and volunteer programs, and so much more,” she commented. “If I had not joined the program I would be a completely different person, with no motivation to go to college.”
Villarreal joined UBMS in the ninth grade at age 14 and is the first person in her family to attend college. Upward Bound Math and Science mentors helped her to apply herself academically and helped her to find direction. She plans to transfer to the University of Houston in Fall 2013, with a goal of earning a master’s degree in sociology en route to becoming a sociology teacher.
Upward Bound Math and Science students can attend any college, but Villarreal says she chose to attend San Jacinto College for many reasons. “It’s close to home, to my family, to people who encourage me to keep going with my college career,” she commented. “The college is very affordable and offers many opportunities that larger colleges do not – smaller class sizes, and more one-on-one time with professors. I will be well prepared for a university, where I will succeed.”
“I’m glad to see the Upward Bound Math and Science grant go to San Jacinto College since they’re a great institution and have been such an outstanding partner in our community,” said Congressman Green. “This award will help continue San Jac’s successful UBMS program and continue making a difference in the lives of our students at Channelview, Sheldon, and Galena Park ISD for another five years.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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