Upward Bound Math and Science students get taste of college at CCCC

Jul. 04, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

Grape soda and strawberries got a lot of attention from a group of Harnett County Upward Bound Math and Science students recently.

“I never thought about getting DNA from strawberries,” said Shantel Elliot, a sophomore at Harnett Central High School. “It was fun.”

The group of rising 10th and 11th graders visited Central Carolina Community College’s Lee County Campus June 24-27 to learn more about career fields that require math and science skills. They also learned what to expect when they go to college.

The students toured the campus, learned about and had some hands-on experiences in bioprocessing, chemistry, broadcasting, chromatography, dental hygiene and dental assisting. In the bioprocessing lab, they learned to extract DNA, the molecule that carries genetic coding, from strawberries and separate the red and blue dyes that make grape soda purple. They also learned about the elements in fireworks in a chemistry lab and experienced audio production in the broadcasting studio.

“I’ve really enjoyed this,” said Gideon Bartlett, an Overhills High School 10th grader. “I’m learning a lot. It’s a good experience and is preparing us for later on.”

Elliot and Bartlett were among the group taking part in the Upward Bound Math and Science Summer Academy. In 2012, CCCC received a $1.2 million, five-year grant from the TRIO Program of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education to serve 60 high schools students from Harnett County Schools.

The college established a partnership with the school district to serve students from each of its high schools who could benefit from the math and science focus of the program. Each interested student had to submit an application, transcript and two letters of recommendation to be considered. All program services are free for the participants.

“We have been able to select an extremely talented group as our very first cohort of students for the Upward Bound Math and Science program,” said Dr. Gerri Williams, CCCC TRIO Programs director. “They all have a sincere desire to pursue postsecondary education, as well a desire to learn more about math and science-related careers. We’ve planned an intensive Summer Academy for them and look forward to expanding their knowledge of the many different careers that are available to them in those fields.”

Visiting math and science-related programs at CCCC’s Lee, Harnett and Chatham campuses is an important part of the Upward Bound Math and Science program. These experiences help them recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees and, ultimately, careers in math and science-based professions.

During the school year, Upward Bound meets after school and on Saturdays for enrichment programs, academic help, preparation for SAT/ACT tests, and college and career readiness workshops. During the summer six-week academy, the students participate in academic classes, career awareness, mentoring, college visits and cultural enrichment trips. When they are rising 12th graders, they will participate in a six-week internship in their potential career field.

“I am so excited about this opportunity for our students and look forward to the outcomes,” said Thomas Frye, Harnett County Schools superintendent. “An enhanced focus on mathematics and science is crucial to prepare students for the jobs of today and, most certainly, the jobs of tomorrow. The Upward Bound Math and Science program provides a unique opportunity for some of our students to see real world applications of both science and math. Ultimately, this partnership between Central Carolina Community College and Harnett County Schools provides our students with an opportunity to explore careers that they may have never considered.”

For more information about Upward Bound Math and Science, call (919) 718-7463, email ubms@cccc.edu, or visit the program's website at www.cccc.edu/ubms. For more about Central Carolina Community College classes, visit www.cccc.edu.