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Upward Bound Math and Science Summer Institute Couples Education with Hands-on Experience

By Micki Clowney
Community Writer
07/25/2013 at 09:52 PM

On June 17, the Moreno Valley College (MVC) Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) Program launched its inaugural Summer Institute. Over the past month, approximately sixty students from Vista del Lago High School participated in the summer program designed to engage students in a variety of interactive hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math activities (STEM). The Summer Institute ends this month on July 31. During the summer experience, UBMS students had the opportunity to work closely with faculty, industry professionals, and other community partners to learn about common core principles in math, science, and literature. Students have also participated in student development workshops on topics such as financial literacy, college preparation, career planning, and test preparation. Joe Orduno is a junior who feels the program has taught him a lot. “This program has taught me things I never knew existed; for example, career opportunities, reality about college and money and the opportunity to meet successful people.” Christine Castanon, a 10th grader, agreed. “It has allowed me to grow as a person, meet new people and it has allowed me to prepare for a four-year institution,” she said. One of the highlights of the program for many students is the hands-on work that expands their book knowledge and allows them to use it in the field. “We experience real-life problems in an educational environment,” said senior Gabriel De Leon. “UBMS has helped me utilize my resources to expand my knowledge on my career interests and colleges,” said senior Priscilla Castanon. Each Friday, students participate in field experiences which have included visiting the Ocean Institute in Dana Point and the Columbia Memorial Space Museum in Downey, to name a few. So far, program participants have taken trips to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Mount San Jacinto State Park, where students learned about botany, life sciences, plant pathology, and ecosystems. Students also visited Lake Perris State Recreation area where they raced boats they had designed and fashioned of cardboard. Last week, students completed labs at the Ocean Institute, and some of them had the opportunity to spot two blue whales while completing lab experiments onboard The Explorer. “It’s been high school, but better,” said senior Carissa Briggs. “In a few weeks I learned stuff I never knew about to get me through life and school, built relationships with people I thought I’d never talk to who share same interests, and got to enjoy myself at the same time,” she said. On July 31, UBMS is hosting a dinner and symposium to honor the UBMS Scholars and to allow them to showcase their work to families, local educators, community members, and elected officials in a program themed ‘Engage and Empower: Stem “U” Late your Mind.’ The UBMS Summer Institute Symposium and Awards Program is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Theater at Vista del Lago High School. Dinner will be served in the Commons/Multipurpose Room from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Sandra Mayo, President of Moreno Valley College. Several other community dignitaries will also be in attendance, including Moreno Valley Unified School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Judy White, City Council Member Victoria Baca and School Board Member Jesus Holguin. Vista del Lago High School is located at 15150 Lasselle St., Moreno Valley.