Upward Bound and the Dream of College

A group of Upward Bound students sits on a set of steps on a regional college tour.

Editor’s Note: The following essays on college visitation come to us from students in our Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program. UBMS is a four-year weekend and summer program that exposes students from Title 1 schools to the world of post-secondary study. Through the program, Frost Science aims is to inspire and prepare these students to complete high school, be the first generation of their family to enroll in college, and engage in pathways toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.


Finding an Intellectual Home
By Brianna Cineus, Frost Science Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) Student

Brianna Cineus, Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) Student

Brianna Cineus


The 2016 Upward Bound college tour was astounding from start to finish. One of the main contributing factors for it being so successful for me was because I was amongst family. Here I stood, visiting colleges with friends that I have grown up with and watched grow since 9thgrade. This camaraderie is part of the environment that Upward Bound creates.

Between laughs, recalling memories, and taking pictures, we visited four colleges (University of West Florida, University of Alabama, Georgia Tech, and Emory University). While all of these colleges were exceptional, the one that I fell in love with was Emory University. Prior to this college tour, Emory was at the bottom of my list of colleges. However, I was immediately taken by the landscape and architecture. Another aspect that shocked me was the hospital on campus—as an aspiring physician I was like a child in candy land. While roaming through the hospital, the classrooms, the gym, the chemistry lab etc., I felt a sense of peace and security. In this moment, I felt at home. That feeling that Emory was the right choice for me solidified when right before leaving, I glanced to my left and saw the School of Medicine sitting there in all its glory. Without this effective and memorable college tour planned out by Maurica Vasquez and Touri White, I would have never been exposed to these four different colleges nor would I have found a college that made me feel so at home.


Widening the College Net
By Jonathan Emmanuel, Frost Science Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) Student

Jonathan Emmanuel, Frost Science Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) Student

Jonathan Emmanuel


College has always been a top priority of mine. In fact, I’ll be the first generation of my family to attend college. So when I first heard I was getting the chance to visit several campuses via the Upward Bound Math and Science program here at Frost Science, I was overwhelmed with excitement. Exploring different colleges, learning about their history and what makes each of them significant excites me, but I was especially enthused about finally getting the opportunity to venture from my native state, look at numerous schools, and hopefully find a college that has everything that exemplifies me holistically. I couldn’t wait to explore each college and see what they all had in store for me.

For the duration of the trip I had a great experience. One of the highlights was getting to know everyone better. Talking, eating, sleeping, and driving with a group of people for 24+ hours gave me plenty of time to bond with each and every one of them. We all found that we weren’t as different from one another as we thought. We are all similar in many ways and we all have the same future goals and aspirations. I feel that because of this trip my classmates and I have become less like a class of students and more like a family.

I would like to thank Upward Bound for giving me the opportunity, which most seniors don’t get, to visit and explore colleges. Thank you, Mauricia Vasquez and Touri White, for facilitating the entire trip. I had an amazing time with these two mentors, and I can honestly say that they’ve done an exceptional job conducting the program. I feel that this tour was vital, because it has given me a chance to see what schools outside of my state have to offer. I learned that there are many different colleges that may not be Ivy League, but still offer an education of exceptional quality. For instance, I would have never known that Emory University was such a prestigious, large-scale, and diverse school had I not travelled there and seen it in person. The tour has opened my eyes tremendously and I feel that because of it I am a step further on my long but exciting journey to college.