Oklahoma City Community College's Upward Bound program receives federal grant

The Department of Education will fund the OCCC program for the next 5 years. The program aims to increase the educational attainment of low income and first generation college students across the country.
BY NASREEN IQBAL niqbal@opubco.com Modified: July 1, 2012 at 10:57 am •  Published: July 1, 2012

“Whatever happens in life there will always be ups and downs, but if you are willing to put in the effort to make things better, things can change.”

Max Nguyen, 16, writes down quotes he likes as he hears them from others, but that one is all him. It's just something he picked up along the way, he said.

“Now I think about it all the time. I wrote it down, and I always look at it.”

Nguyen is one of 45 students in the five-week Oklahoma City Community College Trio Upward Bound summer academy, part of the Upward Bound year-round program offered to students in grades 9 through 12.

The U.S. Education Department recently awarded the program a $310,622 per year grant for the next five years. Upward Bound's goal is to increase the educational attainment of low-income students who will be the first in their families to attend college and familiarize them with college enrollment procedures.

“So many students entering college experience a complete culture shock. It's even more so for those going in belonging to a different socio-economic group,” Grant Programs Director Karolyn Chowning said.

“If mom, cousin, brother and sister all graduated from the same university then advice comes easily. But if that's not the case, then I like to think that Trio can step in and serve as a family; helping to guide you.”

Trio refers to three federal programs created in the 1960s to increase access to higher education to disadvantaged students. Seven federal Trio programs and 23 Trio Upward Bound projects in Oklahoma receive funding.

During the summer academy, students take mandatory math, science and English classes and choose from elective classes ranging from art to music to foreign language.

Once they are accepted into the program, participation in the summer academy is voluntary.

“It's for students who just want to learn more,” Nguyen said.

After students enroll in Upward Bound they are required to attend tutoring and college preparation classes during the school year.

Nguyen, who will be a junior at Westmoore High School in the fall, has decided he wants to be a doctor. In college he will major in pre-med and biochemistry.

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Need more?

For more information, call Karolyn Chowning at 682-1611, ext. 7620, or email kchowning@occc.edu. Go to the Trio webpage at www.occc.edu/trio/.

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