UC Davis Upward Bound Awarded Five Grants

Program is administered by the School’s REEd Center

The School of Education’s REEd Center has received five federal Upward Bound grants totaling more than $8.7 million to continue serving 348 high school students in Sacramento, Solano, Shasta and Siskiyou counties over the next five years.

“The students in our Upward Bound programs have so much promise and untapped potential, but their opportunities might have been limited by their socioeconomic status,” said Car Mun Kok, PhD, Director of College Opportunity Programs for the UC Davis School of Education. “Upward Bound opens up educational and career paths that can help break generational cycles of poverty. We’re very grateful for the continued funding that will allow us to continue doing this important work.”

UC Davis Upward Bound works with high school students from low-income families and those who are potentially first-generation college-going students, providing services to help them successfully complete high school and enter college. The program offers support in academics, course selection, study skills, personal development, college admissions, financial aid and college scholarship applications.

Students participate in Upward Bound programs at their high schools and through summer opportunities at the UC Davis campus and with their local partner organizations. Parents and guardians are offered informational workshops, meetings, and events to support the family through the college-preparation process, and students can attend college tours throughout California.

Upward Bound Sacramento and Solano Counties

Upward Bound Sacramento-Solano students meet on the UC Davis campus during their summer residence program.Upward Bound staff provide after-school services weekly at partner high schools in Sacramento and Vallejo, as well as offering monthly Saturday classes and a six-week residential living and learning experience each summer at UC Davis. “We’re very proud to once again serve these great students,” said Upward Bound Director for Sacramento and Solano Counties Sam Blanco III, who has been working with the program since his undergraduate years at UC Davis. “These grants give us the opportunity to mentor and help low-income and first-generation students pursue a college degree. Although this is my 30th year working with this program, I still love each day as if it’s my first year.”

Upward Bound Shasta

Students from Upward Bound Shasta on a UC Davis campus tour.In rural Shasta County, the Upward Bound program is offered weekly during and after regular high school hours, and students spend one week each summer living on the UC Davis campus. “I’m excited about the continuation of these grants because we’ve been building a lot of momentum with our students,” said Tim Warkentin, Director of Upward Bound Shasta. “Making generational change takes time and repetition. We show them college and career options and allow them to see the future in a different way than they’ve thought of before. And we put our messages into practice by taking them to college campuses and activities so they can see those opportunities for themselves. The parents are very supportive of Upward Bound, and some of them tell us that they never got to do these things when they were kids, so they’re happy to see their kids experience new things.”

Upward Bound Siskiyou

Upward Bound Siskiyou students from Etna and Yreka visit the Cal Maritime campusAlthough Siskiyou County is also rural, it’s more remote than Shasta. The program serves the sole high schools in county seat Yreka, population 7,589, and Etna, population 755, which is located in a frontier area as defined by the USDA. Each community has one high school, and one-third of the students participate in Upward Bound, which is offered as a daily elective course. Students spend one week each summer living on the UC Davis campus and tour local colleges and attractions during their visit.

“Our students typically don’t have other support systems in place,” said Siskiyou Upward Bound Director Maryann Kaae-Munson. “Our program is site based, so our advisors work with our students every day throughout high school, and they’re incredibly committed. Because we’re in such a remote rural area, academic and college resources are few and far between, and without Upward Bound they wouldn’t receive the intensive support they need to be successful. This June in particular, because of COVID, there were students who graduated from high school who would not have graduated if it were not for Upward Bound.”

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