Astronaut, doctor, scientist, teacher-the careers of childhood dreams. But without access to the right training, they will only be dreams for hundreds of children from low-income families.
Cal State Northridge has received a $1 million, four-year grant from the federal government to help turn those dreams into reality for 50 San Fernando Valley high school students from low-income families.
The Upward Bound Math Science project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, will have Northridge students and project staff work closely with the high school students, parents and counselors at Canoga Park, Cleveland and Kennedy High Schools to encourage students in grades nine to 12 to follow up on their childhood dreams.
“The hope is that these underrepresented, low-income, and first-generation students will pursue majors in math and science, and ultimately seek careers in the sciences,’ said Javier Hernandez, director of CSUN’s Student Outreach and Recruitment Services. “This is a very exciting opportunity because it focuses on math and science, two areas that are so very important to our nation’s future.”
The project will provide participants with academic instruction and support in the sciences and math. Additionally, participants in the program will receive one-on-one tutoring, academic counseling and mentoring as well as cultural enrichment opportunities and advice on such topics as financing a college education and admission requirements.
The high school students will regularly visit college campuses around the Southland, including an intensive five-week summer residential program at Cal State Northridge.
In the meantime, the program will provide the high school students’ parents with information about early college preparation, the college application process-including financial aid-and, most importantly, how to support their child’s dream of pursuing a college education in mathematics or science.
“For many first-generation college students, there is a lot of pressure to give up school to work and help support your family. Add on the seeming complexities involved in studying math or science, and a college education can seem out of reach,” Hernandez said. “We want to help some families realize that a college education and a career in math or science is attainable. We can help show them the way.”