IUP Upward Bound Students Continue to Enjoy Scholarship Success

Posted on 6/15/2015 4:45:04 PM

Dell Scholarship Winner from IUP Upward Bound

Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Upward Bound Math and Science program student Tabitha Yates is the recipient of a $20,000 scholarship from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to support education-related expenses in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

She is a 2015 graduate of Purchase Line High School and is the daughter of Nancy Lute, Clymer.

Yates is the second student in the Upward Bound program to win a Dell Foundation scholarship. Christina Bryner, Blairsville, a graduate of Blairsville High School, was selected for the scholarship in 2012. She began study at IUP in fall 2012.

Dell Scholars receive $20,000 each to continue their higher education over the course of six years. In addition, the Dell Scholars Program provides its students with technology, resources, and mentoring to ensure they have the support they need to obtain a college degree.

In order to be eligible for a Dell scholarship, students must demonstrate overcoming significant obstacles to higher education, and must be participants in an approved college readiness program like the UBMS program at IUP.

The Upward Bound Math and Science program promotes entry into college for first-generation and low-income high school students through mentoring and other special educational opportunities. The UBMS program at IUP serves 50 Indiana County high school students each year by providing academic support services as well as the opportunity to conduct research and earn financial stipends.

Jacque Benhart, academic counselor for the UBMS program, spends time working with participants and their parents one-on-one to navigate the financial aid application process and sourcing supplementary scholarships for graduating seniors.

While in high school, Yates was a member of National Honor Society, the cheerleading squad, student council, Quiz Bowl, Science Team, and Students Against Destructive Behaviors. She will be a pre-medicine major (neuroscience) at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Both Christina and Tabitha are so deserving of this scholarship—not only because of their commitment to academics, but because of their determination to succeed,” Benhart said. “Christina continues to do very well at IUP, and I am confident that Tabitha will achieve her goals.

“It’s especially gratifying to see two students in the Upward Bound program receive this prestigious scholarship,” Benhart said “Christina Bryner is an obvious example of how a first-generation college student finds success by engaging in classrooms and with professors, volunteering on campus, and thriving at IUP.”

Bryner, a finance and accounting major at IUP, has been a dean’s list student and won the Dean’s Award for Excellence in the business case competition. She is a member of Phi Eta Sigma honor society, the Student Managed Investment Portfolio group, and the Business Honors Program in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology.

“Christina came to the Upward Bound program as a freshman willing to work, and she has not wavered from completing tasks with her best work offered wherever she is planted each and every time,” Benhart said. 

“Christina wants the career she is working towards, and that is something UBMS strives to instill with each and every scholar. She also volunteers every year to speak to rising seniors about the importance of scholarships to her, and how grade point average, service, and UBMS TRIO program qualifies scholars for many lucrative opportunities,” Benhart said.

Bryner is the daughter of Robert Fisher and Phyllis Bryner. At Blairsville High School, Bryner was a member of the National Honor Society, Photography Club, Volunteer into Personal Safety program, Remembering Adam, color guard, and powder-puff football and was editor-in-chief of the yearbook. She participated in the high school musical and was a competitor in the Family and Consumer Science Heritage Competition for three years, earning the designation of MVP in her senior year.

She completed many honors courses and lettered in academics for three years. She also volunteered as a tutor, as a kindergarten class assistant, and at St. Andrew’s Village. 

IUP is one of only 160 colleges and universities in the nation to receive funding to host a UBMS program.  Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education in 2007, the UBMS program is directed by Calvin Masilela, IUP professor of Geography and Regional Planning.

“Our goal in this program is to provide access to deserving students and equip them with requisite skills necessary for academic success in postsecondary education with the ultimate goal of attaining a baccalaureate degree,” Masilela said.

One of the program’s strengths, in addition to its strong academic focus, involves providing UBMS participants and their parents with the tools to explore college and financial aid opportunities, he said.

IUP’s UBMS program offers participating students a six-week residential summer program at IUP where they receive experiential learning experiences in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

UBMS program is funded through grant competitions held by the U.S. Department of Education every five years. The grant proposal was developed by co-principal investigators Calvin Masilela and Hilary Staples, who currently serves as the assistant director of the McNair Scholars Program, a sister TRIO program to UBMS that focuses on post-baccalaureate studies. 

“The UBMS program is definitely a win-win for IUP and local high school students, as a significant number of UBMS participants choose IUP to pursue their undergraduate degrees,” Staples said.