Upward Bound Math Science Students Selected to Attend National Conference
In celebration of the national Upward Bound program’s 50th anniversary, three students from the University of Maine Upward Bound Math Science (UBMS) program were selected to attend the Council for Opportunity in Education’s 33rd annual conference, “Achieving College Success through Vision and Action,” and second annual student poster presentation exhibition in Washington, D.C.
Justin Chan, a 2014 graduate of Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, along with Ariana Alers and Chris Stewart, seniors at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, were three of five high school students selected across the country to present their research posters. Nineteen posters were chosen out of the 50 that were submitted by both pre-college and college-level students.
Alers and Stewart traveled to Washington, D.C. in September with Kelly Ilseman, UBMS assistant director and academic curriculum coordinator. Preparing to leave for Greece for his first semester experience through Northeastern University, Chan was not able to attend, but his research poster was displayed.
In addition to presenting their posters and research at two COE receptions, Alers and Stewart also were guests at the National TRIO Achievers’ awards banquet where they met TRIO Upward Bound alumnus John Quinones from the ABC show “What Would You Do?”
The students also met U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, Sen. Angus King and Sen. Susan Collins. As Michaud’s guests, they toured the U.S. Capitol and sat in legislative sessions.
The students’ posters were based on their six-week summer research with mentors at the UMaine UBMS program.
Chan worked with Matt Dube, a Ph.D. student in spatial information science and engineering, to complete his research on gerrymandering titled “Partitioning New England to Represent Republican Populations.”
Interning in Thane Fremouw’s neuropsychology research lab, Alers studied the “Cellular Mechanisms of Chemotherapy-Induced Cognitive Impairment.” Her research involved testing treatments to reduce severity of post-radiation cancer treatment effects known as “chemo fog.”
Stewart worked with Finley Richmond to create a biodegradable plastic in the study “Cellulose Nanofibers in the Synthesis of Bioplastics.”
An additional 32 UBMS students were mentored across campus with professors, graduate students and UBMS summer staff. The students attended from Central High School in Corinth, Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, Nokomis Regional High School in Newport, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Portland High School, Stearns High School in Millinocket, and Schenck High School in East Millinocket.
The Upward Bound Math Science Program is affiliated with the UMaine College of Education and Human Development and offers a six-week college preparatory program to first-generation college students from eight Maine high schools. The program specifically targets students who are interested in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors and careers.
The Washington, D.C. trip was paid for by donations made to the Upward Bound Math Science Gift Account, as well as a scholarship from the College of Education and Human Development.
More information about the Upward Bound Math Science program is online.