Silver Valley Students to Experience University Life and Explore Human Rights Issues in Nation's Capitol

Tuesday, June 5 2012


By Donna Emert

MOSCOW, Idaho – It’s upward and onward for 12 Silver Valley region students this summer as they prepare for higher education with classes at the University of Idaho and experiences at several universities and museums in Washington, DC through the Upward Bound program.

The federally funded Upward Bound program will provide a six-week Summer Institute for 12 students from the Silver Valley region. Participants are high-achieving, low-income students, and the first in their families to be college-bound.

The UB program is administered through the University of Idaho. The Summer Institute aims to familiarize students with higher education opportunities on the U-Idaho campus, and beyond, providing the resources and knowledge students need to be successful in their college careers.

“Upward Bound believes higher education should be attainable to anyone who wants it,” said Marcee Hartzell, Silver Valley UB director. “We’re here to make sure that our participants have every opportunity available to them to ensure their academic and personal success and to broaden their horizons.”

For the first few weeks of the program, students will be in Moscow to live and learn on the U-Idaho campus, where they will focus on college exploration and readiness.

“In Moscow, students will have the opportunity to work with faculty, staff and students from across campus,” said Hartzell. “They will take part in a number of activities intended to make their choice to pursue a college education personally relevant and meaningful.”

Students will arrive in Moscow on Saturday, July 7, stay in dormitories and take English 101, earning three college credits. They also will work with staff in the Student Financial Aid Office, the Counseling and Testing Center, and the Career Center and Extension. Those workshops will focus on study skills, time management, goal setting, major/career exploration, financial planning and debt management.

While on campus, the UB students also begin coursework addressing human rights and social justice, a theme they will further explore in Washington, DC.

“The Summer Institute's social justice and human rights curriculum examines topics such as race, religion, age, gender and class. The focus is on developing the critical thinking skills necessary for success in college and in the real world,” said Hartzell.

With funding provided by a College Access Challenge Grant, students will visit the nation’s capitol, staying in dorms on the George Washington University campus for one week.

While in DC, they also will visit Carnegie Melon University and American University. As they continue their coursework on social justice, they will tour the museums and historical landmarks of pivotal human rights victories spread throughout the capitol city.

Among the stops on their tour is The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, which works to educate and empower individuals to take action in their communities to generate change. Students will participate in the “Speak Up, Speak Out” campaign, which promotes education about injustice and addressing injustice through community action.

When they return, students spend a final week in Moscow completing English 101 coursework and participating in Creative and Performance Writing Workshop led by Gail Miller, Washington State University professor of English. Students will shape their journal entries from the D.C. experience into narratives at the workshop.

The Summer Institute is designed to introduce learners to research methods, critical thinking, analysis and reflection through project-based learning, college preparatory instruction, character development, service learning and leadership opportunities.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps 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 to its 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. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.