REDDING, Calif.—For the second year, Simpson University is hosting approximately 80 North State high school students for a week as part of the federally funded Upward Bound program overseen by the university in partnership with the University of California, Davis, and College OPTIONS Inc.
The students, from West Valley, Anderson Union, Dunsmuir, and Mount Shasta high schools, will live in residence halls and eat in the dining center June 10-14. This year the Upward Bound summer program will focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) through group projects, presentations, and experiential learning. Students will also be enrolled in online college courses at either Shasta College or College of the Siskiyous.
“The summer program at Simpson University is designed to give the students a taste of college life,” said David Radford, Upward Bound project director for Siskiyou County.
“Living in the dorms is huge. Every student mentioned it was a highlight for them,” he said. “It helps the students build their interpersonal skills and gives them a taste of being responsible for their own schedule, and what to expect when living with someone who is not a family member.”
Students in the program are also enrolled in an online college course and will have 90 minutes each afternoon to work on that, Radford said. “Potentially, a rising ninth grader could earn 18 units of college coursework by the time they graduate high school with the help of Upward Bound,” he said.
Following their week at Simpson, which also includes a hydrology and biology rafting trip and astronomy party at Whiskeytown Lake, the students will spend three weeks working at their high schools with their Upward Bound advisors on their online classes, as well as focusing on other subjects.
During the program’s fifth week, the students will travel to Seattle on a college and cultural excursion road trip.
In 2017, Simpson University was awarded a $5 million federal grant to help administer the Upward Bound program for five years to boost higher education success rates among Northern California students.
In September 2018, the university’s Upward Bound program received an additional $160,000 in grant funding for STEAM education and academic excursions.
The supplemental funds went toward the following Siskiyou County Upward Bound projects at Dunsmuir and Mt. Shasta high schools:
- Creating a makers space for engineering and robotics (Dunsmuir)
- Furnishing an Upward Bound mobile computer lab (Mt. Shasta)
- Instruction for students to build a website
- A STEAM-related field trip that included visits to UCLA, USC, CSU Long Beach, and Cal Tech; participation in a Disney Youth Education program; and visits to the Griffith Observatory and the California Science Center in L.A.
Simpson University’s Shasta County Upward Bound programs at Anderson Union and West Valley high schools utilized the funds to collaborate with UC Davis’ Upward Bound programs at the same schools for a STEAM-focused field trip for 80 students. The group visited numerous college campuses and other educational venues, including CSU Long Beach, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU Northridge, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, the California Science Center in Los Angeles, and the Disney Youth Education program.
“I heard time and time again from many of the students—all of whom are either potential first-generation college students, or from low-income families, or both—that their eyes were opened to the vast array of options for their post-secondary education,” said Mike Martin, Upward Bound director for Shasta County.
Some of the field trip tour guides were specifically selected as former Upward Bound participants, Martin said. “They delivered strong messages to our students about how the support they received through Upward Bound opened doors for them and prepared them for the transition to life at a university,” he said.
At West Valley and Anderson high schools, the grant funds also went toward the purchase of robotics equipment, drones, GoPro cameras, STEAM curriculum, and the creation of work-study positions.
The national Upward Bound program helps high school students from low-income families and families where neither parent has earned a college degree prepare for college entrance.
Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 8-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction.
Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements, and it is offering new scholarships.