Upward Bound at SFU gets creative with recruitment, activities – TribDem.com

Posted: November 7, 2020 at 3:56 am


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In a normal year, St. Francis University Upward Bound Director Anne Heinzeroth begins her recruitment in the spring to fill up the 110 slots the program is funded for through the U.S. Department of Education.

Thats not the casefor this year, though, because the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on the whole process.

I was only able to conduct one recruitment visit in early March before the stay-at-home order was issued, she said. So we have a number of student openings.

Upward Bound is a free program for high school students, typically recruited in ninth and 10th grades, from low-income families and families in which neither parent holds a bachelors degree.

Our goal is to get these kids through college,Heinzeroth said.

There are severalUpward Bound initiatives throughout the state and country, but the organization at St. Francis isthe oldest in Pennsylvania and one of the oldest in the United States,Heinzeroth said.

Its been assisting students in Cambria County since 1966 in a variety of areas including college applications, workshops, educational activities and classes.

Were not a hand-out,Heinzeroth said. Were a hand-up.

Normally, students participate in four Upward Bound events per month during the academic year, twice on Saturdays at the university campus and twice at their home schools or libraries for tutorials.

There may also be chances for them to hear from speakers or take field trips.

Then, during the summer, the studentsspend six weeks at the campus taking classes that usually correspond with what they may be taking the next school year.

The environmentmimics a college experience, and for the older students, work study jobs are set up.

All of that has to be done virtually this year because of the pandemic.

Its been been working out, though, Heinzeroth said.

Holding remote meetings has allowedthe group already enrolled gather more frequently.

The group meets Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with teachers and tutors in addition to the Saturday gatherings.

Our virtual tutorials are pretty popular, Heinzeroth said.

Upward Bound is also offeringvirtual cultural and recreational activities for the students each Thursday night this semester.

Despite these setbacks, former participants still see a lot of value in the experience.

I would definitely offer the advice to get involved with Upward Bound or at least a similar program, said Desmend Phillips, a 2016 graduate of Northern Cambria High School. It has been a gigantic help to me and my family and could be a huge help to yours. It takes some time and work, but the rewards much outweigh the effort required.

More than all, it is so much fun.

Phillips studies at St. Francis University and plans to attend Georgetown University for his masters degree.

He got involved in the program because his siblings had participated, and is thankful he did.

This program prepared me for the future better than any other thing Ive ever done,he said. Without the program, I would not have been able to apply to as many scholarships as I did. It allowed me to go to college without the burden of thinking about the financial aspect providing the opportunity to expand on myself in every other aspect of my life. It also taught me how to learn on my own and maintain social relationships along the way.

Jessica Mandrick has similar feelings about Upward Bound.

It is amazing where life can take you after you take the first step outside of your comfort zone,she said.

Attending Upward Bound in high school led me to attend a liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia, where I was introducedto a network of peers from around the country and the world.

Her journey continued to a structural engineering job in New York City, world travel and involvement with national and local professional organizations.

This is a life I had not imagined for myself when I was in high school and I am forever grateful for Upward Bound in seeing it for me, Mandrick said.

She also got involved because of a sibling who had attended and went on toearn her bachelors degree from Swarthmore College.

Mandrick said Upward Bound prepared her for the future by introducing her to an intellectual community.

It set the stage for the types of friendships, professional relationships and personal development opportunities that I would seek out for the rest of my life, she added.

Counselors at the program are also the ones that encouraged her to apply to Swarthmore and helped her travel to college visits.

For more information about Upward Bound, contact Heinzeroth at upwardbound@francis.edu or by calling 814-472-3023.

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Upward Bound at SFU gets creative with recruitment, activities - TribDem.com

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November 7th, 2020 at 3:56 am