UBMS offers opportunities for local high school students

Josh Amato, Staff Reporter

Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) is a national program offered locally through Shawnee State University (SSU) that serves first-generation and low-income high school students. It was created in 1990 to increase access to higher education for first-generation and low-income students. As a result, UBMS helps prepare these students for college, especially within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.

There are two components to UBMS at Shawnee: the academic year and the summer program. The academic year starts in August and ends in May. During the academic year, Program Director Gabe Brown and Program Assistant Bo Wampler meet with students at their respective schools to catch up and answer any questions they may have on courses they will be taking. The academic year program also features Saturday activities. One Saturday a month, the students in the program meet at SSU, where they do some form of social integration, from icebreakers and games to STEM-related activities that help engage the students in one of those fields.

During the summer, juniors and seniors make campus visits to colleges of their choice. In addition to this, there are trips that are geared more towards giving students experiences that they normally wouldn’t have, such as going to the Columbus Zoo. While these trips are less school-oriented, Brown ensures that the students are still able to gain valuable experiences, both academic and cultural, while on these trips.

“We got them involved with the engineering department at the zoo, how they do all the lights and electronic components, all those types of things,” he said. Brown wants to ensure that “students get to see these background events while also participating in a cultural activity that they may or may not have the opportunity to (experience) normally.”

There is also a residential program during the summer. For six weeks, students live on campus, taking three days each week of intense college courses taught by professors at Shawnee and enrichment courses taught by the residential advisors (RAs) who participate in the program. During this same period, students make a college visit each week and visit other places such as museums, sporting events and theme parks. In the sixth week, students go on a trip to a different city and state.

“We’ve been all over the United States,” Brown said, “anywhere from San Fransisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Florida. We’ve been all over.”

Every year, Brown conducts an assessment of the program that looks into various improvements that can be made. The ACT is one area that Brown hopes to improve in the future, as the ACT is still important for students to understand and excel at. Other areas that will receive updates are social integration and academic integration.

“It’s important that we teach these students how to get involved on a campus, how to be socially integrated and meet new people and become parts of groups,” Brown said.

For more information about UBMS and RA applications, visit https://www.shawnee.edu/about-us/administrative-offices/upward-bound-math-science or contact Brown at [email protected] or Wampler at [email protected].