October 31, 2012

OMA&D Receives New $1.25 Million Upward Bound Math-Science Grant

By Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

University of Washington

The University of Washington Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) received a new Upward Bound Math-Science (UBMS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal TRiO Programs.

The five-year, $1.25 million grant is designed to help low-income and first-generation students succeed in high school and pursue post-secondary degrees, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

UBMS will serve 65 students at Seattle’s Chief Sealth, Cleveland and Franklin high schools and is a sister program to OMA&D’s existing Upward Bound program that assists nearly 80 students at the same schools. Over two-thirds of the students at these schools qualify for free or reduced lunch, almost a quarter higher than the rest of the city and state.

“We are excited to provide low-income and first-generation students with a chance to gain the skills needed to succeed in STEM and take advantage of the wealth of opportunities provided by our region’s high-tech economy,” UBMS director and principal investigator Dave Wolczyk said. “We are also hopeful this grant will allow us to contribute toward the efforts to close the state’s achievement gap that exists between low and higher income students in STEM fields.”

“OMA&D is very pleased to obtain this grant because this is the first time a Washington state Upward Bound Math-Science grant has been funded in the 30-plus years of the program,” OMA&D associate vice president Enrique Morales added. “This year, in particular, awardees in the nationwide competition had to have an application that received perfect scores and only a limited number of first-time applicants received an award.”

UBMS will include a six-week Summer Academy on the UW campus that simulates college and provides an integrated curriculum. A college-level STEM lecture course will be taught by UW faculty and supported by quiz sections and hands-on lab activities. Students will gain research experience working with scientists and researchers, and learn to analyze and communicate their findings. The curriculum will be enhanced by collaboration with UW departments and other partners including the Microsoft IT Academy.

During the school year, students will have weekly one-to-one contact with UBMS staff. Each student will undertake comprehensive needs assessment and career interest inventories that form the basis of Individual Student Learning Plans. Students also have continuous access to online resources and the ability to track their progress and communicate with UW UBMS staff via a secure learning environment.

Tutoring and academic support services are provided, including assistance in meeting graduation requirements, test preparation workshops and course selection for college admission into STEM majors. Seniors receive help in choosing and applying to colleges, financial literacy, and applying for financial aid and scholarships. Students also attend career exploration workshops, field trips and cultural activities.

“By combining the vast STEM resources available at the UW with the supportive environment of the OMA&D, this program will help our students excel in high school, enter college, obtain a STEM degree, and contribute to the region’s economy,” Wolczyk said.

For more information, contact Wolczyk at dwolczyk@uw.edu.

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