Through the workshops and the summer phase, Upward Bound has a history of fostering positive relationships among its students, faculty, and staff members. Students have claimed that UB has helped them discover their own identity, connected them with inspirational and motivating faculty, and allowed them to create lifelong friendships with their fellow students. Upward Bound relationships, otherwise known as #TRIOships, are one of the many unique aspects of the program, and one of the many reasons students return year after year.
Emily Arlen, a senior from Nelsonville-York High School, met Dr. Becky Barlag while participating in the Summer Residential Phase, summer 2016. Dr. Becky is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Ohio University and one of the instructors during the summer phase. Over the summer, Dr. Becky served as a personal and professional mentor to Emily. Emily said, “Dr. Becky has taught me a lot about life in general and friendship.” She continued to discuss how Dr. Becky has been a wonderful support as she goes through changes in her life. Emily’s story displays one of the many important relationships formed at Upward Bound, and one that likely would not have been created without OHIO UB.
Another student, Tylor Sheets, a senior from Alexander High School, discussed how his friends at OHIO Upward Bound have helped him learn more about himself than any other people in his life. He said, “Before Upward Bound, I didn’t really know how to be myself and I never really knew how to make friends. Putting myself in a situation where everybody around me was going through exactly what I’m going through is one of the best things a person can ask for.” Students in UB are either potential first-generation college students and/or low income students, so everyone in the program shares at least one similarity, and one that can cause some insecurities at that. By being placed in an environment, where people are similar and share like goals, students like Tylor feel more comfortable to explore their own identity.
Positive relationships serve as a catalyst that encourages students to learn about themselves, to understand their personal lives, and to create professional and educational goals. Upward Bound creates the ideal environment to forge these positive relationships.