The Upward Bound program at WVU Tech, which celebrated its 50th year over the summer, brings area high school students to campus to prepare them for college and keep them academically engaged throughout the school year.
Upward Bound is best known for its on-campus summer program, but the group stays busy year-round so that students can explore new subjects and stay focused on their college aspirations.
In early December, the group met with Mad Science of West Virginia to watch scientific demonstrations, participate in experiments and learn about the scientific principles behind everything from fluid dynamics and gravitational pull. Attendees watched the visiting mad scientists set off flour explosions, experiment with dry ice and push a knitting needle through a balloon without popping it.
Jennifer Bunner, Director of Upward Bound at WVU Tech, said the program was a hit with students.
“It’s a very interactive program, so it’s a great hands-on, visual activity for the students. Mad Science of West Virginia tries to get students excited and involved in learning about science. It’s really a perfect fit for Upward Bound,” she said.
As part of Upward Bound’s ongoing programming, students will attend three more Mad Science sessions that focus on different scientific concepts in January, February and March. The group will also hold a college financial workshop for parents in January and other events leading up to Upward Bound’s six-week summer program, where student live on campus, attend classes, complete projects and travel out of state for one week.
“These visits give students a chance to become comfortable navigating a university campus. It’s also a chance for students to make connections and to actually step outside of their comfort zones a little,” said Bunner. “These meetings – our educational and career activities – are built to give students an opportunity to meet new people, visit new places and experience new things.”
The current Upward Bound class consists of more than 90 students from seven area high schools.