The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has openings in the federally-funded Upward Bound Summer Program. This FREE, multi-year program for Green Bay Area High School students, provides an intense but fun/residential/academic six-week program, followed by a full academic year of support; with advising, mentoring, ACT Prep, tutoring, college visits, field trips for learning and fun.Because it is grant-funded, students at the four Green Bay Area Public High Schools not only get this incredible experience at no charge, they also get a stipend to participate!
As colleges and universities ease restrictions aimed at preventing outbreaks of COVID-19, the University of Wisconsin System has announced it is bringing back pre-college and summer youth programs this summer. Summer youth programs have been a longtime fixture at UW System campuses, typically catering to middle and high school students. Some are academic in nature, aimed at giving children a taste of college life, complete with stays in campus dormitories. Last year, when COVID-19 cases were rising across Wisconsin, system campuses either canceled summer youth programs or moved them online, which resulted in lower attendance. In early May, UW System interim President Tommy Thompson announced summer programs were returning with extra safety protocols in place.
“The pandemic is not over, but we can safely begin to return to pre-pandemic operations, including summer programs for youth and a strong majority of in-person classes this fall,” said Thompson. “We are creating a culture of responsibility on our campuses.”
Michael Casbourne is the director of TRIO and pre-college programs at UW-Green Bay. TRIO programs are federally funded initiatives designed to assist students from low-income families progress from high school to college. Casbourne said his campus TRIO summer program is a six-week, residential immersion that will start in June.
“We’re running a model that I call the TRIO bubble,” said Casbourne. “So, all of our students will be tested. They’ll go into quarantine about a week before they’re supposed to come to us. Three days prior to arriving, they have to upload a negative test result.”
Casbourne said a local bowling alley has even agreed to close its doors to the public so TRIO students can have fun while limiting potential infections.
Jason Mathwig, UW-Green Bay director of education outreach, said the campus will also offer summer camps focused on music, art and science. He said typically they, too, offer students the chance to stay in dorms, but this year, overnight stays won’t be an option. Mathwig said 10 virtual summer camps were offered last year, and he is glad to offer in-person programs this year.
“Just like in school, camps are no different,” Mathwig said. “You can do so much more in person. You can have more of the hands-on activity with the kids. They can visually do something, whether it’s art or music or STEM, physically holding on to that piece while an instructor is right there with them to help troubleshoot, as well as the human-to-human interaction with their counterparts, their peers or other students.”
UW-Green Bay is Now Enrolling Students in Summer (and beyond) Program for First-Generation Students from Green Bay Area Public High Schools
Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has openings in the federally-funded Upward Bound Program. This free, multi-year program for Green Bay Area High School students, provides an intense and academic, but fun residential six-week summer program. It is followed by a full academic year of support; with advising, mentoring, ACT test preparation, tutoring, college visits and field trips for learning and fun.
No Cost to Students
Because it is grant-funded, students at the four Green Bay Area Public High Schools not only get this incredible experience at no charge, they also get a stipend to participate.
The summer program runs from June 27 to August 7, 2021. It is not only about preparing students to attend UW-Green Bay, but preparing them to make their own choices about higher education, whether that be at UW-Green Bay, another UW school, or the technical college system.
Preparing Students for Academic Success
“Being part of TRIO (UB) prepares students to experience greater success in high school and develop skills needed to be successful in college,” said program coordinator Michael Casbourne. “So many of the students in our area are bound for great things, they just haven’t developed the confidence, or they feel as though college is a risk. We support them in seeing what it takes to prepare and succeed at the college level. The summer residential part of the program allows students to prepare for academic success and greater academic rigor, lessen the academic summer slide, develop a greater sense of independence and self-reliance, work on life skills needed to navigate the on-campus residential life of a college student, and have a lot of fun while developing life-long friendships with people from all over Wisconsin and the upper Midwest.”
Parents and families also benefit greatly as they learn to support their students’ life pursuits. The six-week time on campus allow the family and parents to start to develop the mindset needed to be ready for their student to go off to college and engage in life changing experiences.
Many former program participants say their experience in Upward Bound was a life-changing one.
“I did the entire program, and I was given so many opportunities to just learn about what was out there for me and not just in terms of what college is but what programs, what opportunities I could take part in during college,” said 2019 UW-Milwaukee graduate Vicki Villarreal.
“It really makes you feel like, ‘I did it, I already have experience with it. I know what it’s like to live in a college dorm. I know what it’s like to have to clean my own bathroom and be up to standards and not have anything in my room I’m not supposed to.’ But then also having that responsibility of having to show up to class on time,” Villarreal said. “So having that opportunity to do it in an environment where you know you have a safety net is such a great thing to have.”
More About Joining Upward Bound
Students can apply online. There is an end-of-summer bonus of $100 for lower-income, first-generation students who attend the summer program ($50 if they do the Transitional Program for rising ninth-graders, explained in this video.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY)—After widespread cancellations last year due to the pandemic, Wisconsin’s public universities are reintroducing pre-college and youth summer programs this year. At the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, that means the return of a six-week residential program designed for low-income, first-generation college students.Enrollment has been slow for the normally popular Upward Bound program.A 2019 UW-Milwaukee graduate, Vicky Villarreal attended UW-Green Bay’s Upward Bound program during all four years of high school.
She calls it a life changer.
“I did the entire program, and I was given so many opportunities to just learn about what was out there for me and not just in terms of what college is but what programs, what opportunities I could take part in during college,” said Villarreal.
“We bring kids here to campus to study in classrooms here, experience college life. For a low-income, first-generation student, it may be the first time they’ve ever really stepped foot and spent any time on a college campus, which really helps change the mindset,” Michael Casbourne said. Casbourne, as director of TRIO & Pre-college, heads the federally-funded program at UWGB, which is free to the students. He says normally the program would be full right now with 90 students registered.
Watch for a story this evening (Friday, May 7, 2021) with Michael Casbourne, director of TRiO and pre-college programs (Upward Bound and RCMS) at UW-Green Bay. Enrollment is open for these programs that are vital for local students to become familiar with college and aspire to higher education opportunities, here at UW-Green Bay or elsewhere. Because it is grant-funded, students at the four Green Bay high schools not only get this incredible experience at no charge, they also get paid monthly to participate.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s TRIO programs — Upward Bound (UB) and the Regional Center for Math and Science (RCMS) — have been renewed and will receive $1.7 million in funding for the Upward Bound and $1.6 million in funding for the RCMS program from the Department of Education Office of Federal TRIO Programs. This grant assures the two programs’ continuation for the next five years, UB through 2022 and RCMS through 2023. The Green Bay Press-Gazette had coverage.
Assures continuation of programs for five years to assist low-income, college-bound students
GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s TRIO programs — Upward Bound (UB) and the Regional Center for Math and Science (RCMS) — have been renewed and will receive $1.7 million in funding for the Upward Bound and $1.6 million in funding for the RCMS program from the Department of Education Office of Federal TRIO Programs. This grant assures the two programs’ continuation for the next five years, UB through 2022 and RCMS through 2023. Statistics demonstrate the impact these programs have on students who participate in them at UW-Green Bay:
-76% of UW-Green Bay Upward Bound participants go to college (versus 63% nationally).
-93% of UW-Green Bay RCMS participants attend college (versus 63% nationally).
-68% of those RCMS participants who go to college graduate with majors in STEM fields (versus 17% nationally).
Both programs were introduced to aid first-generation low-income families. UW-Green Bay Upward Bound serves high school students from the Green Bay Area Public Schools, and the Regional Center for Math and Science program serves students from 20 high schools throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. The Upward Bound Math/Science Program was established in 1990 to address the need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction. There are 810 Upward Bound programs in the nation and 147 RCMS programs, UW-Green Bay is proud to host both.
‘Low-income, first-generation know no town or city limits’
“Low-income, first-generation circumstances know no town or city limits,” UW-Green Bay TRIO program director, Michael Casbourne states. “It could be a farm family in Tigerton or a family living in the midst of industrial Detroit. We want any and all of them to embrace this opportunity to break away from their circumstances. Some of the most touted UW-Green Bay graduates have come from the smallest, most rural high schools, gone through Upward Bound or RCMS, went to college, graduated, and gone on to do amazing things.” UW-Green Bay TRIO alumni are teaching ophthalmology at the Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute, doing research at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and working as a NASA project manager. They are entrepreneurs, chiropractors, nurses, pharmacists, and teachers.
Upward Bound and RCMS offer a six-week residential pre-college program each summer and academic year programming from the time of enrollment until graduation. Students live on campus, take classes tailored to their needs and interests, and experience college life while gaining an understanding of the responsibility and effort it takes to succeed. Forty-nine instructors, faculty, counselors, residence hall assistants, graduate and administrative staff work side-by-side with these students to teach them, prepare them, and support them. During the school year, students have access to tutoring and academic counseling to keep them on track for graduation and a future in a post-secondary institution.
Program counteracts barriers that keep talented students out of college
“Upward Bound and RCMS exist to counteract the barriers that keep talented students, from low-income families, out of college,” Casbourne. These include lack of financial resources, not understanding the paperwork needed for admission into college, parents who are unable to relate to the college experience, low self-esteem, and lack of resources, to name a few. Upward Bound and RCMS eliminate those barriers and help the participants navigate college academically and socially. “The objective is to help students understand and believe that they indeed belong in college, they deserve to be there, and they can succeed there,” Casbourne says.
Students pay no fees. Classes, housing, meals, transportation, faculty, staff, programs, group outings, and more, are all covered by the grant.
“We definitely help stimulate the Green Bay economy,” Casbourne says. “Bowling alleys, the Weidner Center, Bullfrogs and Gamblers games, Door Shakespeare, museums and art fairs, festivals…we want to give these kids varying experiences. Green Bay and surrounding communities offer ample unique opportunities for learning and socializing, and we participate in as many as we can. Plus, we’re a huge source of revenue for the summer UW-Green Bay housing and food service areas.”
The programs also employ local university professors and teachers. “We have the most amazing staff,” Casbourne says. “This is not compulsory education. Students really want to participate and succeed. The student to teacher ratios are much lower, more like 10 or 12 to one versus 25 or 26 to one. It gives our teachers a chance to build a different relationship with students, and that refreshes and recharges them.”
Biology student April Thao will be graduating in Fall 2018 with an emphasis in microbiology and a minor in chemistry. Her plans are to attend a pharmaceutical school. She credits UW-Green Bay RCMS.
“RCMS made the impossible possible. I was able to find my passion and pursue it.” Thao already gives back to the program and the students in it, too. “I’m a lab assistant and I’m a teaching assistant for RCMS. This program has meant so much to me; I want to be there for others in it. This is like my family, my second home.”
This is an investment in past success
The grant is not automatic every award cycle. It has to be reapplied for, and those in competition for the funds must meet stringent requirements to be considered. Michael Casbourne is proud to say the continued success of his programs is a premeditator for renewal.
“We’re really good at what we do,” he says. “We have a proven model, a great staff…we set high objectives and meet them, and most importantly, we do right by the kids.” During the renewal process, established programs are given “proven experience points” based on outcomes. UW-Green Bay’s program scored a 14 out of 15 this last cycle. “We missed a point because I set high objectives for our students. They were so close, but just missed it,” he says with a smile.
2.5% increase will reinstate a work-study program, provide real-world opportunities
Historically, grant renewal dollars have been relatively consistent. This latest renewal, however, showed an increase of nearly 2.5%. The total amount for RCMS is $318,000 each year for five years and for UB it is $338,953. Casbourne plans on using the increase to reinstate a community work-study program for Upward Bound so students can begin working in their areas of interest and earn money for college. For the RCMS program, he intends on establishing more resources for ACT/SAT preparation to help students improve their scores.
It is clear what this grant renewal means for the UW-Green Bay Upward Bound and RCMS programs: at least five more years of assisting low-income, first generation students prepare for success in high school and college. According to Yorchei Xiong, a UW-Green Bay computer science major, it extends way beyond just being academically prepared for college. “Academically, socially, personally…it taught me how to manage my time, take responsibility, and be an adult. I was accepted as who I was…timid and unsure at first…but now I’m so much more self-confident, and comfortable with myself and who I am as a person. I’m excited for the future…for my future.”
Eighty students at a time are allowed in each of the two programs. To qualify for either program, a student must be enrolled at a target school (or an eighth grader at a feeder school), not have finished their junior year of high school, and be at or below the federally determined low-income level, and/or be a potential first-generation student. Two-thirds of the participants within the program must meet both criteria. A student must also have at least a 2.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), and have a goal of entering a postsecondary institution.
About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,158 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.