Building the Road to Success: Bridge Idaho UB Prepares Students for College

Wednesday, July 18 2012


By Angielene Agliam

MOSCOW, Idaho – It’s not common for high school students to be excited about summer learning opportunities, but Bridge Idaho Upward Bound students are on the University of Idaho campus exploring college life, studying social justice and fostering relationships while further investing in their education – and loving it.

“This program gives us a sneak-peak of college,” said Charlene Hunter, returning Bridge Idaho participant. “It puts us ahead of the game.”

This year, the Bridge Idaho summer program runs from July 6 – Aug. 9, hosting 23 first-generation, low-income high school students from Lapwai, Orofino, Kamiah and Kooskia. The program, in partnership with the ASUI Student Engagement Office, Career Center, Student Financial Aid Services, the NASA Idaho Space Grant, the Idaho College Access Challenge Grant and The Alliance for Low-Income Students is structured around the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute’s Five Core Constructs for College Success: habits of mind, academic self-concept, social self-concept, pluralistic orientation and social agency.

“The first two weeks is focused on team building, leadership and creating a foundation for students participating in the program,” said Stacey Smith, Bridge Idaho Program Coordinator. “They will be introduced to the resources on campus and become acclimated with staff in those departments.”

Students will spend this time on the University of Idaho campus learning study skills, practicing financial literacy through the FDIC Financial Literacy Curriculum, exploring majors and careers, and working on a college course with the opportunity to earn college credit through their ENGL 175 dual enrollment class.

With a focus on social justice, students will also engage in several critical reflection discussions that aim to challenge students to think critically about relevant social issues that help give meaning and purpose to their education. This summer, Bridge Idaho will be hosting a Hunger Banquet in attempt to address and expose students to the realities of socioeconomic stratification.

“Through travel, we try to develop students confidence, promote growth and reinforce living in a diverse society and what that means for them,” said Smith. “The program takes a holistic approach to building confidence--both in the classroom and life in general.”

The last two weeks of the program will be spent traveling to the East Coast visiting college campuses including New York University and the University of Virginia and exploring the issue of homelessness as students volunteer for Street Sense and the Capitol Area Food Bank.

“My traveling experience with Bridge Idaho helped me to become more comfortable being outside of Idaho and build relationships and friendships in a short amount of time,” said Hannah Powers-Howard, former Bridge Idaho participant and current Bridge Idaho Mentor.

Through these activities and services, Bridge Idaho inspires passion, curiosity and a sense of responsibility among its students. The summer program also gives staff members the opportunity to further connect with students and build relationships that in turn, will result in effective mentorship, said Randall Bennett, Bridge Idaho Outreach Coordinator. He said the relationship between staff and students take its own life form.

“I love the staff because they treat us like adults,” said Kayley Portocarrero, returning Bridge Idaho student. “We are one big family.”

Bridge Idaho’s mission is to serve as a resource and advocate for our participants while progressively leading the dialogue, strategy and action concerning college access and attainment, with an emphasis on the first-generation and low-income students of Idaho. Bridge Idaho Upward Bound is funded at $411,899 annually by the US Department of Education.

For more information regarding Bridge Idaho Upward Bound at the University of Idaho, contact Michael Highfill or Stacey Smith at (208) 885-6205.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho inspires students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Through the university’s $225 million Inspiring Futures capital campaign, private giving will enhance student learning, faculty research and innovation, and a spirit of enterprise. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.