Loyola Marymount University has received a $1.3 million U.S. Department of Education grant to create a new Upward Bound Math and Science program that will prepare traditionally underrepresented Westchester high school students for STEM-focused studies in college.
The Upward Bound Math and Science program, launching in late spring, will complement the existing Upward Bound program – housed within LMU’s School of Education – that supports Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets, formerly Westchester High School. The goal of both initiatives is to increase high school graduation, college enrollment and college graduate rates among first-generation and financially disadvantaged students.
“This five-year grant will allow LMU’s School of Education to double its efforts to support high school students in the community, particularly those interested in pursuing STEM-related fields in college,” said Norma Romero, director of Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science at LMU. “We are thrilled to serve more local families and provide meaningful mentoring opportunities that will prepare these students for a successful educational experience.”
The STEM-focused Upward Bound grant will provide services for an additional 60 WESM students. The new program will run concurrently with the classic Upward Bound – which serves 58 students annually in grades 9-12 – allowing for all participants to benefit from STEM-focused services and existing offerings: academic advising and workshops, tutoring, college visits, assistance with the college and financial-aid application process and more.
“We are thrilled that more of our students will be able to receive support from LMU, which will help them recognize and develop their potential to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science and ultimately careers in STEM-related professions,” said WESM Principal Janet Mack.
LMU’s Upward Bound program began in 2007 with the goal of increasing high school graduation and college enrollment rates among low-income families in which neither parent has earned a bachelor’s degree.
Since its inception, Upward Bound has served more than 186 students. Students are typically admitted as high school freshmen, and continue their participation through high school graduation. Fifty-five graduates have earned college degrees, and 76 percent of the program’s participants have obtained a college degree within six years, compared to the national six-year average of 58 percent.
Members of the 2017 class have matriculated to institutions including Loyola Marymount University, CSU Northridge, San Francisco State, Santa Monica College, UC Berkeley, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and USC.