College News

CCCC's UBMS program making positive impact on Harnett students

01.30.2017 • Admin, Faculty & Staff, College & Community, College General

SANFORD - Just over four years ago, Central Carolina Community College was awarded a five-year grant for an Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program, one of the college's first TRiO grants from the U.S. Department of Education. The program has been making a positive impact on the educational trajectories of Harnett County high school students ever since.

In a recent publication shared by the program, several ways in which the UBMS program has supported the success of its students from Harnett County high schools were highlighted, including data on student GPAs, ACT, and SAT scores, internship experiences, college credits earned, and postsecondary attendance.

Through a close collaboration with Harnett County Schools, the Upward Bound Math and Science TRiO program has served 105 students in the county's high schools since 2012. The average GPA of students in the program in 2015-16 was 3.4085, and over the past three years, 93 percent of students have achieved a GPA of 2.5 or greater. Last year, the program provided 48 hours of ACT and SAT test preparation to its 11th grade students, and as a result, the average SAT score of participants increased by 191 points, and the average composite ACT test score increased by 3 points. Prior to the test preparation provided by Upward Bound Math and Science, students' average scores were below the Harnett County Schools' average, however, after the test prep, their average scores exceeded the Harnett County Schools' average on all sections of both standardized tests.

In addition to numbers and scores, students in the Upward Bound Math and Science program have completed summer internships with approximately 40 local businesses and organizations, volunteering over 7,500 hours of service to these organizations while learning about their career field of interest, gaining valuable work experience, and being mentored by a local professional. Graduates of the program have also taken advantage of the program's Summer Bridge program, in which they can enroll in free college courses in a supportive environment offered by the program just prior to entering college. This allows graduates to get a head start on earning college credits at no cost, and ensures that they are well prepared for the rigorous academic environment of postsecondary education so that they are successful from the start.

After completing the program, nearly all Upward Bound Math and Science alumni have matriculated into college immediately after high school graduation. Seventy-two percent of graduates are enrolled at four-year colleges and universities and 28 percent of students started at a community college; 66 percent attend a public college while 34 percent attend a private college; and 89 percent of graduates enrolled in-state, while 11 percent ventured out-of-state. Forty-five graduates of the program who are enrolled in college are spread out among 30 colleges or universities, including Appalachian State University, Campbell University, Central Carolina Community College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Wake Forest University, to name a few.

Katerina Marroquin, a senior at Overhills High School, is hoping to enroll at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or Georgetown University to pursue a degree in Biology and Latin American Linguistics and Studies. "I hope to enroll in a good medical school to become a pediatrician and open up a bilingual pediatric clinic or travel abroad to help children through the UNICEF program," said Marroquin, who has two younger sisters who also have joined the UBMS program.

"The Upward Bound Math and Science program has allowed me to participate in opportunities I never knew existed. Before enrolling in the program, I had no idea what to do when it came to college preparation, not to mention applying for schools, scholarships, or any educational programs. I was on my own, but with the help of the leaders of UBMS, I have not only obtained valuable information for my academic future, but gained confidence in myself to break barriers and make not only my family, but my UBMS advisors proud," said Marroquin. "They have helped me tremendously throughout my high school career with test preparation, helping me arrange my schedule to the highest academic rigor, and allowing me to take part in amazing summer programs to broaden my view of society and the real world. I want to prove to people that I have the ability to change people's lives, and I cannot thank the UBMS crew enough for changing mine."

UBMS senior Kayla Johnson, of Overhills High School, said she has gained much confidence in herself as a member of the UBMS program. "If it were not for this program, I wouldn't feel so excited and prepared when I think about attending college in the very near future," said Johnson. "Through the guidance of some amazing counselors and tutors that the Upward Bound Math and Science program offered, I have learned what it truly means to love and be serious about getting an education. I love the trips we often go on, as they enable me to visit even colleges that are out-of-state. Traveling with UBMS has really brightened my mind, and has sparked this desire to see so much more of the world."

Johnson, who has been accepted at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, said her goal is to major in Psychology and Visual Arts so that she can combine them in a career as a clinical art therapist. "I aspire to one day utilize art therapy in creating television shows for children as well as people with cognitive disabilities," she said.

Chelsea Johnson, also a senior in the UBMS program at Overhills High School, said the best part of the Upward Bound program is the amazing people she has met and with whom she has built relationships. "It was nice to see my peers grow just as I was, both academically and socially. I am truly honored to have been a part of this phenomenal program and I thank everyone who has helped me make it this far. I will forever cherish my time spent within this program," Johnson said.

She notes that she has seven college acceptances. "Upward Bound provided me tools all throughout my high school career encouraging my success to include SAT/ACT prep, residential summer math and science sessions, resume construction, college tours, and so much more. Specifically, this program taught me how to navigate through the college application process and to do so with confidence and they were with me every step of the way," she said. "They also challenged me to apply to a lot of schools which I otherwise probably never would have done. Additionally, I was enabled to work my first internship alongside a team of veterinarians, which is my intended future career. Through this process, Upward Bound taught me how to work up a resume, answer interview questions, and the importance of a good work ethic."

The Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program is one of the Federal TRiO Programs, which are outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRiO programs emerged out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 in response to the administration's War on Poverty and include eight programs operated by the U.S. Department of Education and targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs.

Upward Bound Math and Science was created by the Department of Education in 1990 to address the need for specific instruction in the fields of math and science. The Upward Bound Math and Science program is designed to strengthen the math and science skills of participating students. The goal of the program is to help students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and to encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science, and ultimately careers in the math and science profession. Services provided to participants include academic instruction, tutoring, ACT and SAT prep, assistance completing college admissions and financial aid applications, mentoring, career counseling, internship experiences, on-campus residential summer programs, a Summer Bridge program, and cultural enrichment.

Currently there are 166 Upward Bound Math and Science programs nationwide serving more than 10,000 participants, with CCCC's UBMS program being the only one of five in the state of North Carolina. The Upward Bound Math and Science program at Central Carolina Community College currently serves at least 62 students from Harnett County high schools in grades 9 through 12 with a $257,491 annual grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

"This is a great program for high school students who are interested in going to college but need additional guidance and resources to get there," said Ashley Tittemore, Executive Director of College Access Programs at CCCC and Director of the Upward Bound Math and Science program. "UBMS is able to provide valuable services to students who may not otherwise have equitable access, like college tours, test prep, and summer programs. These services are often the difference between a student going to college or not.

"As a first-generation student myself, I believe that these students deserve every opportunity and advantage they can get, and I'm so proud of all they have accomplished as a result of these opportunities. It has been an honor to work in such a wonderful program that makes such as positive, lasting impact on the lives of students we serve."

For more information on the Upward Bound Math and Science program at Central Carolina Community College, visit the website at, or contact Ashley Tittemore, CCCC's Executive Director of College Access Programs, at 919-718-7463 or by email at

CCCC's UBMS program making positive impact on Harnett students

Katerina Marroquin, a senior in the UBMS program, served as an intern for Anderson Creek Emergency Services.

CCCC's UBMS program making positive impact on Harnett students

Chelsea Johnson, a senior in the UBMS program, served as an intern for Dunn Animal Hospital.

CCCC's UBMS program making positive impact on Harnett students

UBMS students pose for a photo while visiting Boone, N.C.

CCCC's UBMS program making positive impact on Harnett students

UBMS students conduct science experiments at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, N.C.