University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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UW-Eau Claire's Upward Bound Program
Receives Five-Year TRIO Grant

 MAILED:  June 11, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Upward Bound program, which helps low-income and/or first generation high school students from Eau Claire prepare for college educations, was refunded and selected as one of only five Wisconsin universities to receive a five-year award. The other 14 recipients were awarded four-year grants.

U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold recently announced that UW-Eau Claire's Upward Bound grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education was funded for a five-year cycle. Funding for the base year, 2003-04, is $318,684.

Feingold and Kohl are longtime supporters of the Department of Education's TRIO program, which funds the grants and worked with the department on behalf of Wisconsin's Upward Bound programs to secure the federal funding.

Kimamo Wahome, director of Upward Bound at UW-Eau Claire, said the university's 13-year-old program serves young people who lack the background, network and financial resources to further their education after high school.

"These are kids who most people would think wouldn't have a chance at college," Wahome said. "Thanks to this program, they are getting the help they need."

Upward Bound served a total of 51 students from North and Memorial high schools in 2002-03. Wahome said 50 students were retained in the program and achieved promotion to the next grade level. The other student moved with his family out of the area. Sixty-four percent of the participants achieved grade point averages of 3.0 or better; 28 percent received GPAs of 3.5 or better.

All 13 seniors graduated at the conclusion of the school year, including Danielle Larsheid, valedictorian of her North High School class who will study pre-med at UW-Madison beginning this fall. Twelve are going on to some kind of postsecondary education, including two at UW-Madison, two at UW-Eau Claire, four at Chippewa Valley Technical College, two at UW-Stout, one at UW-River Falls and one to the U.S. Marine Corps. Their majors include nursing, pre-medicine, engineering, apparel design, psychology and business administration.

Fourteen incoming freshmen will replace the graduating seniors, beginning with the six-week summer residency program for all participants, June 15-July 25.

"The summer session is a rigorous academic, social and cultural program," said Betty Hanson, grants manager and director of the Education Opportunity Center at UW-Eau Claire. During the school year the students attend weekly study sessions under the tutelage of UW-Eau Claire students and monthly Saturday activities. They receive one high school credit for successfully completing the summer and academic year program during each year of their participation.

Wahome and Hanson point with pride to the accomplishments of Upward Bound alumni. For example, Maria Dona, who was in the first class that began in 1990, is now working on a doctorate in Spanish. Her sister, Irene Salazar, is a middle school Spanish teacher in Eau Claire.

Phillip Yang, now an academic adviser at UW-Whitewater, recently received the State TRIO Achievers Award, which is given to distinguished alumni of federally funded TRIO programs such as Upward Bound. Yang was in the eighth grade and could barely speak English when he joined UW-Eau Claire's Upward Bound program. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in social work and a master's degree in counseling in higher education. He says he would not be who he is today without Upward Bound.

"It's very rewarding to watch these young people develop into well-educated, well-adjusted adults who will go on to become productive, tax-paying adults, especially when their chances for success were minimal to begin with," Wahome said.

There are four TRIO programs operating at UW-Eau Claire. In addition to Upward Bound, the Student Support Services program serves 300 students and provides support for tutoring, academic and career advising and financial aid information. The Education Opportunity Center promotes postsecondary education in communities with large populations of income-eligible adults and serves 1,000 clients annually. The Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement program helps increase the number of low-income, minority and first-generation students who pursue doctoral degrees and teach on college campuses. At UW-Eau Claire it serves 24 students.

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: June 12, 2003