Upward Bound Students 'Tour' Italy

Jul 12, 2018

60 students in the Upward Bound Summer Program at Cal U prepare for postsecondary success.

upward bound

Tristan Nicholson, an Agora Cyber Charter student, launches a ball from a scale model of a catapult .


Sixty students from Fayette and Greene counties took a “Journey Through Italy” this summer, yet rarely left Cal U’s campus. 

The students participated in the TRIO Upward Bound Summer Academy, a  residential experience from early June through mid-July that helps to prepare them for success in postsecondary education. 

Classes included algebra, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, economics and personal finance, and oral communications. Students also learned Italian, the science of medieval engineering, the history and practice of physical humor and improvisation, and the art of theater mask-making. 

“Students get a head start on classes they will be taking in the next school year,” said Jennifer Ramsey, director of TRIO Upward Bound programs at Cal U. “The summer program provides them with a residential experience on a college campus.” 

The students embraced the opportunity. 

“It’s so intriguing,” said Bree Lewis, a junior at Waynesburg Central High School, as she perused a selection of masks for the theater and mask-making classes, taught by Dr. John Paul Staszl and Sabrina Hykes-Davis, from Cal U’s Department of Music and Theatre. “You can put one on and become a new person with a new personality.” 

In a third-floor classroom in Eberly Hall, students built miniature catapults to learn lessons in mechanical engineering from Jared Rastoka, a physics teacher in the Carmichaels Area School District. 

“I wouldn’t have chosen this class, but I like it!” said Kaddie Tedrow, a junior at Waynesburg Central. “I like to build things, and this was a great challenge. 

“The Summer Program is a cool opportunity to learn a lot of new things, including practical things like time-management and study skills. I’ve made a lot of friends here, even kids from my own school who I didn’t really know that well.” 

About Upward Bound 

Upward Bound is a nationwide, federally funded TRIO program that has been offered at Cal U since the 1966-1967 academic year. It targets students from families where neither parent has a college degree, or where household income falls within federal guidelines. 

Students range from ninth-graders to those who will begin college this fall. 

The Fayette Project serves up to 93 students in five school districts. The Monongahela Project serves up to 63 students per year from four school districts. 

During the school year, Upward Bound students meet weekly with Cal U staff and students who provide help with tutoring and study skills. They also visit Cal U a few times a year to meet professors and learn about academic programs. 

The Summer Program is an optional experience that immerses them in university life. 

In addition to rigorous academic classes, students participate in sessions to help them with career planning, scholarship and financial searches, and more. 

“College was a thought, but it seemed unrealistic,” said Tristan Nicholson, a senior who attends Agora Cyber Charter School and plans to major in business administration at Cal U. “Upward Bound has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”