Building back stronger than ever after weathering a pandemic that diminished the programs’ numbers by more than half, the University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound Programs is hosting a Math and Science STEM Day at the Lund Hall quad and intramural fields on Thursday, June 16 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
The fun-filled event featuring robotic demonstrations and bounce houses for kids is free and open to the community.
“We are excited to give our students an opportunity to showcase what they have learned during STEM Week,” said Paul Barnes, director of TRIO Upward Bound. “We’re inviting the community to see what it is we do at Upward Bound.”
In addition to bounce houses, the event will have water slides, drones, underwater drones operating in a pool, rocket launches and the AIDT Mobile Robotics Training Lab where people can walk through to experience an overview of modern robotics used in industry and business.
Barnes said STEM Day is part of the TRIO Upward Bound Programs Summer Academy, which is held for six weeks every summer.
“The academy students stay on campus during the summer, live in the residence halls, eat at the cafeteria, have STEM classes and activities, take classes to prepare them for their next grade level, go through an ACT boot camp prep for two weeks, take the ACT in June and participate in electives in the afternoon like drama, esports, robotics, rocketry and drones.”
“We also provide tutoring, college tours, community service projects and field trips. We’re going to the Georgia Aquarium this Friday and flying to Chicago at the end of the summer to tour college campuses and go to museums on our Cultural Educational Tour. This is all free to our students.”
A total of 55 high school students from Chilton, Shelby and Bibb counties are participating in the program this year. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, they averaged about 110 students.
TRIO Upward Bound is hoping to more than double their numbers in the coming school year, and thanks to the two U.S. Department of Education grants received at the end of May, they have the resources needed to support the growth of the program.
“COVID kept us out of the high school classrooms we recruit in,” he said. “But this year, we’re getting back in the classrooms. We just received a grant for Bibb County and Shelby County Schools that funds 79 students, and the second grant serves 50 students in Chilton County. Both are for the next five years.”
UM’s TRIO Upward Bound Programs has served more than 2,000 low-income and first-generation potential college students in Central Alabama since 1986.
As of August 2022, they will serve 11 high schools in the region: West Blocton, Bibb County, Montevallo, Calera, Shelby County, Jemison, Thorsby, Chilton County, Verbena, Isabella and Maplesville.
During the school year, TRIO Upward Bound provides transportation from the students’ schools to the University of Montevallo two evenings each month after school. The students involved receive supplemental educational seminars, tutoring, college application assistance, scholarship application assistance, ACT prep, leadership training and opportunities, cultural enrichment experiences, financial literacy, career exploration and development, college campus tours, job shadowing, complete community service and learn business etiquette.
College financial aid seminars are held for juniors, seniors and their parents.
If students complete the program, including participating in the Summer Academy, they receive scholarship help. If they plan to attend the University of Montevallo, they can receive an Upward Bound Scholarship that pays for one 3-hour class per semester at Montevallo for a total of four years.
To learn more and apply, please go to TRIO Upward Bound Programs.