During my sophomore year of high school, I was looking for a summer program to attend so that I could broaden my knowledge base and improve my chances of getting into college. Since neither of my parents went to college, both of them encouraged me but did not have the financial means to pay for a summer program. This also meant when I did eventually go to college, they would not be able to contribute 100% to my education. My talented and gifted teacher happened to have a brochure for Upward Bound Regional Math & Science program at the University of Maine in her classroom. I brought it home to my parents and decided to apply. What started out as a small venture to join a summer program turned into a life changing experience that not only helped me to get into college, but also directed me to my career path.
Math and science were never my strong suits in school. When I started UBMS, I was slightly intimidated and fearful that I would lag behind the rest because I had struggled in these areas in the past. Being a part of Upward Bound Math & Science program helped me to improve in these subjects and go on to a related career. The summer projects were hands on and divided into small groups, which taught me to not only be able to work constructively with others but also to use science in a different way than we did in school. It wasn’t just dissecting a frog in biology class or reading text. We were actually taking real life issues, like the potato beetle project during the summer of 2004, and coming up with solutions. I felt like our research could actually make a difference, and the hands on approach made it easier to understand. The individual group projects were ultimately my favorite. Coming up with a science experiment that interested me and working one on one with a mentor helped me to gain confidence in my abilities. All in all, participating in the program set me a part from my classmates at my local high school, which made me a more attractive candidate to colleges and a more well rounded student.
The experience that Upward Bound Math & Science provided helped me to realize that not only was college possible, but being in the medical field would be a way for me to continue making a real life difference while using a hands on approach. After Upward Bound, I went on to earn my Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Maine. I graduated in 2009, and have been working as a Registered Nurse in the acute care setting since then. I have worked in a variety of areas including medical, surgical, cardiac, and even postpartum care. I attribute my success in college and in my career to the valuable lessons I learned while at Upward Bound.