The Museum’s Upward Bound program is all about helping underprivileged youth aspire to great levels of achievement in education and in the workplace. Thanks to a generous grant and four-year partnership with the AT&T ASPIRE program, the Museum was able to double the number of 9th and 10th graders enrolled in its Upward Bound Math & Science program. Over the four years, the awarded grant of $398,214 has allowed the Museum to hire up to four mentors each year as well as a full-time staff member whose focus is college counseling, in order to improve the participants’ ability to compete for entry into college.
“This program reached out to me and gave me the support and confidence to become the person I am today, which is a strong African American girl that knows where her path lies. My path lies down the road of success, achievements and accomplishment,” said Jessica Joseph, Upward Bound Math & Science participant class of 2011.
AT&T’s ASPIRE program is a $100 million initiative that addresses high school success as well as college and workforce readiness. It is the company’s most significant education initiative to date and one of the largest corporate commitments ever to address high school success and workforce readiness. The program is centered on four key components:
- Awarding grants to school districts, school district foundations and nonprofit organizations focused on preparing students for college and/or the workforce.
- Providing job-shadowing opportunities for 100,000 students, in conjunction with Junior Achievement Worldwide, giving students the chance to see firsthand the job skills needed to be successful in the future.
- Commissioning the next chapter of major research on the high school dropout issue and solutions by directly engaging educational practitioners; and underwriting 100 community dropout-prevention summits, organized by America’s Promise Alliance, to engage education experts and community leaders across all 50 states around the high school dropout crisis and ways to address it.
During the school year, Upward Bound Math & Science students participate in Saturday workshops at the Museum covering a wide variety of topics including hands-on science activities, tutoring and homework help, college preparation, computer lab access and internship experiences. In the summertime, students participate in an intensive six-week field research experience that allowed them to deepen their science, research, and technology skills. All of these components were designed increase the students’ belief in their abilities and motivate them to stay on track to get into, and finish, college.
“In the past two years, 100% of our students have graduated from high school and all of our current senior class students have met the requirements for graduation in 2012.” said Amy Rubinson, Director of Youth Development at the Museum. “We are so proud of the students’ many accomplishments, including several scholarship awards from the prestigious Dell Scholarships to Gates Millennium Scholarships. We greatly appreciate philanthropic organizations like AT&T for providing us the opportunity to keep this important program going.”
Miami Science Museum’s Upward Bound Math & Science program engages under-represented youth in the sciences by encouraging them to stay in school and pursue post-secondary education in science and math. Since the program’s inception, 98% of students enrolled have graduated from high school and over 90% have pursued a college education, compared to 54% graduation rates and 65% college enrollment rates at the Program’s target schools. Currently, Miami Science Museum is the only museum in the country operating an Upward Bound Math & Science Center. All others are university-based. The Museum’s program has received many accolades, including National Award for Museum Service for Excellence in Youth Programming in 2001, and the coveted NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in 2005.