Thirteen high school students in the federally funded Upward Bound college preparatory program at Northern Vermont University participated in the Magic of STEM Leadership Program in Orlando, Florida.
The students are involved with Upward Bound at NVU-Johnson and NVU-Lyndon.
Upward Bound is for students from low- and modest-income families whose parents do not have a four-year college degree. The program provides students free educational, cultural and social activities throughout high school, with programs about college and career readiness offered year-round.
Upward Bound students were accepted into the Magic of STEM program through an application process that required achievement in math, science and other coursework.
The students who attended are Alivia McAllister, Dakota Wiley, Ethan Bryce, Tyler Duso, Amy Fackler and Jenna Hansen from Enosburg Falls High School; Alison Barkley, Jessika Herron and Samantha Ryea from Richford High School; Grace Kinney from Missisquoi Valley Union High School; Maple Snow from Lamoille Union High School; Andi Elie from Lyndon Institute; and Emma Tetreault from Bellows Free Academy.
The four-day experience based in Orlando in April included programs at Kennedy Space Center and Disney World. At the space center at Cape Canaveral, students toured the space shuttle Atlantis and other sites and had lunch with aerospace engineer and former astronaut Bob Cenker. At Disney World, they toured bioengineering labs and enjoyed rides and other attractions. Students also participated in a Disney Youth Education Series Properties of Motion Physics workshop that involved hands-on activities related to rides at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park.
“By experiencing how STEM ideas and concepts play out in real life, I learned more than I would in a regular classroom. I really enjoyed how interactive the experience was and how engaged we all were while participating in it,” Richford High junior Alison Barkley
“Via our firsthand experiences, the Magic of STEM Leadership Program could easily be creating the next generation of NASA scientists or Disney Imagineers (people who design and build Disney entertainment venues),” Enosburg High senior Jenna Hansen says.
Students involved in the Magic of STEM built skills in basic computer programming, leadership, communication, problem-solving and teamwork. “They also gained important insight into current and emerging STEM-related careers. They learned the importance of taking challenging math and science classes throughout high school and of exploring possible future college-related options,” NVU-Johnson Upward Bound Director Tony Blueter says.
Blueter went on the Orlando trip with NVU-Johnson Upward Bound assistant director Erica Fuller, NVU-Lyndon Upward Bound assistant director Ryan Fauci and Richford High physics teacher Ryan Bushey, an Upward Bound in-school coordinator.
The Magic of STEM program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and developed by the Teaching Through Technologies Alliance.
Students prepared for Orlando in hands-on weekend workshops on computer technology at NVU. Many of these NVU Upward Bound students will use the technology, communication and leadership skills they gained through the Magic of STEM in community service projects in the residential Upward Bound program at NVU this summer.
Upward Bound, created in 1965, is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. It’s one of the TRIO programs that support educational opportunities for Americans regardless of race, ethnicity or economic circumstances.