ABAC has numerous programs and clubs around campus that help students further their goals and find potential careers. However, those programs seem to target students already in college. ABAC Upward Bound is a bit different. ABAC Upward Bound is a college preparation program that has been a part of ABAC’s campus since 1977 and has encouraged students to succeed for over 40 years.
The program provides fundamental support to students that come from families of low-income or are at academic risk. The program caters not only to students of Tift County but students from seven other surrounding counties: Ben Hill, Berrien, Colquitt, Cook, Irwin, Turner and Worth.
Olga Contreras-Martinez is the director of Upward Bound and the multicultural education program. The Associate Directors of the program are Benjamin Veith and Sonya Alexander. These two specifically co-direct Upward Bound and organize the Summer Program.
The Summer Program is a chance for students to experience what it’s like being a college student. The students live on campus for 4-5 weeks in the ABAC Place apartments. The program provides the students with everything they need such as food, housing, textbooks and transportation. In an interview with Ben Veith, he says he loves that they get to experience living on campus, and his favorite thing about the program is the summer resident program. “Our students come to campus for five weeks and get to experience what college is like.”
While living on campus, students can enjoy campus activities, the gym, the dining hall and, most importantly, classes. This summer’s theme for the program was S.T.E.M, which meant that all the classes were based around S.T.E.M subjects. They took extracurricular courses instructed by ABAC professors, such as Writing for Sciences with Andrea Krafft and Herpetology with Ben Gahagen.
Classes weren’t the only thing the students had the opportunity to enjoy, they also participated in numerous activities outside of class. Whether it was going to the pool, playing soccer or being able to hang out with their friends in Town Hall. They also got to organize a simulation of Model United Nations, an educational simulation where students can learn about diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations.
At the end of the program, the students were issued a stipend of $60. Two weeks after the academic part of the program is over, the students take an end of summer trip. The trip usually consists of visiting museums, colleges and historic landmarks.
This summer the students visited Philadelphia. They saw historic landmarks like the Liberty Bell and visited fun places like Lego Land. Deidra Green, the administrative assistant for the program, says that Upward Bound is constantly evolving, and next year they plan to implement more workshops and trip opportunities for the students. For more information about Upward Bound, visit Conger 116.