A taste of college life

Summer program gives high schoolers a glimpse into higher education.

Summer was a busy time for TRIO Upward Bound Vision Quest (UBVQ). This year’s Summer Program was filled with excitement and fun. Thirty-five high school students from the Minneapolis and Duluth area participated. 

Students who take part in UBVQ are low-income and/or first-generation students. The Summer Program gives them the opportunity to gain valuable college experience while being involved in various social, educational, and skill-building activities. They take classes in a college setting to help them get a head start in the next academic year. 

During the Summer Program, students stay in residential halls at the University of Minnesota’s Duluth and Twin Cities campuses. This year they also went on a five-day educational trip to Chicago.

The first four weeks of the program took place on the UMN Twin Cities campus. During the morning and afternoon, students took academic classes such as English, math, and foreign language. These classes were hands-on, interactive, and fun. 

A group of UBVQ students looking at books in a classroom

Students stayed in the 17th Avenue Residence Hall to experience living in a college dorm room. They also explored the UMN Medical School, the College of Design’s Architecture program, and the Law School through a partnership with the Black Doctors Association. 

Every Monday students had “Dorm Night” where they participated in an activity in the dorms and enjoyed food from local restaurants. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, students participated in off-campus activities such as bowling, seeing a Minnesota Twins baseball game, whirly ball (a combination of lacrosse, basketball, and bumper cars), roller skating, movies, volunteering at Feed My Starving Children (a nonprofit that provides meals to communities in need), a Minnesota United FC soccer game, and more. 

TRIO UBVQ spent the fifth week of the Summer Program on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus, staying in the Lake Superior Resident Hall. While in Duluth, students participated in a science course at Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center where they learned about land formation, trees, and invasive species, took water samples, and learned about hydropower. Students also visited the UMD College of Pharmacy, did a Gamification activity with Dr. Turuna Seecharan, and visited the Planetarium.

In the evening, students went to DEFY Duluth, where they played dodgeball, basketball, and a ninja course. Towards the end of Duluth week, students got to experience a train ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad and do some sightseeing while enjoying delicious pizza.   

a group of UBVQ students at the bean in Chicago

During the last week of the program, students and UBVQ staff went on a five-day educational trip to Chicago. While there, students visited Loyola University, DePaul University, and the University of Illinois Chicago. On each college visit, students were given a tour of campus and an admissions presentation. Students also explored the Museum of Science and Industry, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Field Museum of Natural History. Many of our students had never been to Chicago so this trip was a great experience and the highlight of the Summer Program!

The UBVQ program is looking forward to the start of the 2022-2023 academic year. In May 2022, the US Department of Education refunded the UBVQ grant for the 2022-2027 grant cycle at over $3.2 million dollars. This sustained funding means UBVQ continues to receive the largest single Upward Bound grant in Minnesota, and we are proud to be a part of the UMD community.

Krystle Igbo-Ogbonna is the director of the Upward Bound Vision Quest program.