The Upward Bound Program (UBP) was recently awarded a Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) grant. The grant will be used to help fund the program’s new summer science camp. “I am ecstatic about the award,” said Rebekah McCloud, Upward Bound director. “It will enable us to provide our scholars with a learning experience that we could not have provided without the funding.”

This summer, to encourage participation in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) careers and to ignite an interest in science, UBP will be hosting a science camp themed “Mission to Mars.” Scholars will learn from three experts: Thomas Brueckner, a UCF physics faculty member (an astrophysicist), Sigfredo Chiclana, a high school Science Olympiad & Robotics Coach, and Kara Hartage, a high school biology and chemistry teacher. The camp will be bookended by presentations by UCF Physicist Daniel Britt and Russell Romanella from NASA.

It will also include a day of science exploration of mechanical and electrical design provided by the Girl Scouts of West Florida. “Inspector Gadget” will allow students to design and build working catapults and build electronic circuits. Students will engage in classroom-based laboratories that will integrate hands on science and, in teams, they will design and build robots. The camp will also include a visit to the Robinson Observator (an opportunity to see a electron microscope); a field trip to Wonderworks; and several STEM-focused job shadowing experiences sponsored by Junior Achievement of Central Florida.

An anticipated outcome of the summer camp is that it will allay students’ fears of science and that they will:

  1. Participate in more rigorous advanced courses
  2. Progress toward college and career ready standards. The camp is aligned with the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, Grades 9-12, Physical Science, Standard 10: Energy and Standard 12: Motion.

“It is my goal to provide our scholars with every opportunity I can to explore careers in STEM,” said McCloud.

The Upward Bound is a program in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.