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Upward Bound Math and Science Program


UBMS 2016 Research Symposium Presentations

About Us 

The Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program at the Pennsylvania State University is federally funded from the U.S. Department of Education and is designed to strengthen the math and science skills of low-income, first-generation potential college students. The goal of the program is to help students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and to encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science, and ultimately careers in the math and science profession.  Students are currently being served from the following high schools: Harrisburg High School (John Harris Campus and Sci-Tech Campus); Reading High School; Martin Luther King Jr. High School (Philadelphia); Olney Charter High School (Philadelphia); and Woodland Hills High School (Pittsburgh area).

Program services include: summer programs with intensive math and science training; exposure to university faculty members who do research in mathematics and the sciences; computer training; and participant-conducted scientific research under the guidance of faculty members or graduate students, who are serving as mentors.

Academic Year Component

During the academic year, students will have group meetings in their communities to strengthen their ability to perform well in high school and gain admittance to the college or university of their choice.  In addition to academic guidance, career and college counseling, and tutoring, students participate in visits to local work sites with mentors, trips to various educational sites and postsecondary institutions and cultural activities.  Workshops are also offered on a variety of topics such as:

  • Study Skills
  • Maintaining a positive attitude
  • Time management and scheduling
  • Staying on track for college
  • Financing your education
  • Community service

Seniors also receive personalized assistance with applying to the colleges of their choice, financial aid applications, and the utilization of SAT and college application fee waivers.

Parental involvement is also encouraged by annual Financial Aid and College Admissions seminars and college campus visits for students and parents, as well as other workshops for parents to help keep their children on track for college.

Summer STEM Institute

The UBMS Program offers a Summer STEM Institute which provides nearly forty 9th – 11th grade students from Harrisburg, Martin Luther King and ASPIRA Olney Charter in Philadelphia, Reading, and Woodland Hills high schools the opportunity to participate in a six-week intensive residential program designed to increase their interest and aptitude in STEM professions.  Participants have the opportunity to learn about STEM careers of interest from current Penn State students, faculty, staff, and other professionals outside the University.  Participants identify a wide range of career interests, including, but not limited to: Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Software Engineering, Epidemiology, Forensic Science, Geoscience, Microbiology, Nuclear Engineering, Robotics, and Veterinary Science. 

Classes and activities offered during the Summer STEM Institute are specifically designed to provide a collegiate experience and increase a student’s skill level and/or confidence in a particular subject.  During the day, students complete coursework in Math, Science, Research Writing, Computer Skills, Public Speaking and Foreign Language.  While some students use this opportunity to remediate in coursework they struggled with during the previous school year, most elect to take classes that would challenge them and provide a framework for success upon return to their school in the fall.  

Participant Demographics

Since 2001, over 790 students have been served by UBMS.  Over 66% of the participants must be from both low-income families and additionally be the first person in their family to attend and graduate from higher education.  Most students are currently pursuing a rigorous program of study while in high school, colloquially defined as a college preparatory curriculum.  The average high school GPA of the UBMS participants is 3.05, with a strong emphasis in upper level science and math coursework.