This article is the first in a series profiling Ohio University's college access programs. The university is preparing to honor this family of services on National TRIO Day, March 3.
Feb. 8, 2007
By Laura Poultney
Ohio University's Upward Bound program just turned 40, a milestone that will be recognized at this year's National TRIO Day celebration.
For four decades, this college access program has been providing resources and opportunities to students from 16 Southeast Ohio high schools, enabling them to successfully complete high school and attend college.
Born out of the Johnson administration's War on Poverty and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Upward Bound targets low income and/or potential first-generation college students -- defined as students from families in which neither parent has earned a four-year degree.
Upward Bound has been housed in the College of Education since its inception in 1967. It has put more than 3,000 high school students on the road to higher education, opening doors for them that their parents and grandparents never knew existed. In the last five years alone, 90 percent of our Upward Bound participants have gone on to enroll in postsecondary institutions.
Director Ayanna Jordan says the program serves the education needs specific to our region, while bridging cultural and ethnic divides. "Increasing cultural awareness is integral to every adolescent's development, whether they live in Manhattan, Memphis or Meigs County," Jordan observes.
Upward Bound high school students attend workshops on the Athens campus each month throughout their junior and senior years. Upward Bound staff and university faculty facilitate the creation of these sessions, which include campus tours, lectures on study skills and time management, college admissions seminars, and leadership conferences. The program receives support from a host of departments across campus and is a high priority for President McDavis and Provost Krendl as they work to increase access to higher education.
In addition to workshops, a six-week, academically intensive summer session provides Upward Bound students with a college-like experience. They live in residence halls, take classes, participate in social activities and experience many aspects of college life, Jordan explains.
Chaz Saunders of River Valley High School was amazed by the amount of work he did over the summer session but loved the small class sizes. "They give you individual attention you don't usually get in a class of 30."
Upward Bound students may also choose to participate in the Bridge Program during the summer following high school graduation. The Bridge enables them to enroll in introductory college courses and receive credits that will transfer to their respective universities. Heather Parks (BSED '06) from Chillicothe is one of the approximately 30 percent of our Upward Bound alumni who choose to attend Ohio University. Parks says the Bridge Program not only prepared her for the rigors of college study, but brought her out of her shell, introducing her to her future roommate and others who have remained close friends throughout college.
Always looking for ways to enrich the pre-college experience, interim Assistant Director Tiffany Laipply designed a new online mentoring program: Teach, Inspire, Motivate and Empower (TIME). Each teen in Ohio University's Upward Bound program is paired with a community professional or college student in the field he aspires to join. The mentors offer support and career advice. Upward Bound is always looking for new mentors. If you are interested in helping a local high school student on the path toward her dream career, please click here to apply online.
The state of Ohio has 23 Upward Bound programs, most of which are housed in urban areas. Students from the Appalachian region face unique challenges when applying to college, and these challenges shape our Upward Bound program.
Laipply, who wrote her master's thesis on Appalachian high school students, believes young people in Appalachia lack access to resources that reflect positively on their culture. "I try to show students how to see beyond the negative references and be proud of where they came from," Laipply explains.
Laura Poultney is a senior magazine journalism major in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.