August 16 2002

Upward Bound Students Explore Depths of Science While Living on UCSD Campus This Summer

How do you extract DNA from a fingerprint? What life-saving medicinal properties can be found in marine life at the bottom of the ocean? How do lasers work in CD players? These are some of the questions that 44 high school students from San Diego and Imperial Valley explored this summer in individual research projects while participating in the Upward Bound Math & Science Summer Residential Program at UC San Diego. In the five-week program, students lived in residence halls on the UCSD campus while attending college-level courses in math, biology, physics, computer science, English composition and foreign language.

Rogelio “Roy” Bercerra (left) of Brawley Union High and Victor Ortiz of Castle Park High build their own calorimeter to determine the amount of calories in various foods, such as peanuts and almonds.

The Upward Bound Math & Science Summer Residential Program is a key component in UCSD’s year-round Upward Bound Math & Science initiative and is offered to students at seven high schools in Imperial and San Diego counties. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the initiative is intended to motivate and prepare low-income high school students to pursue college degrees in math, science, computer science and engineering.

In the summer program, students attend classes in UCSD laboratories and lecture halls Monday through Friday, and also participate in recreational activities on campus. At the end of the program, students present their completed science projects for evaluation by UCSD science instructors and faculty.

Students come from Clairemont, El Cajon Valley, Castle Park and Monte Vista high schools in San Diego, and Brawley, Calipatria and Central Union high schools in Imperial Valley.

Participation in programs like Upward Bound Math & Science, statistics show, not only enhance students’ academic performance in high school, but also greatly impact their successful admission to college, and entrance to science careers.

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