For 25 years, Science Bound has identified ethnic minority middle and high school students with a propensity toward math and science, and provided them a route to higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Contributed photos.

Science Bound celebrates 25th anniversary

Iowa State University will this week begin celebrating 25 years of empowering thousands of ethnically diverse Iowa students to pursue careers in math and science through a highly successful outreach program.

Science Bound will on Tuesday host a grand opening celebration of its new location at 2156 Gilman Hall. The program was previously housed in the Office and Laboratory Building. The new space will allow the program, which is part of the School of Education and College of Human Sciences, to meet its growing needs.

"The expanded space allows us to better serve our pre-college students and teachers, and specifically meet the needs of our ISU Science Bound students earning STEM degrees," said Science Bound 25Connie Hargrave, director of Science Bound and an associate professor in the School of Education.

The new location includes a dedicated study space which particularly serves first-year students on the Science Bound scholarship who are required to log at least 140 study hours each semester. The space allows students to not only study, but to create a strong cohort group that increases academic success.

"The Science Bound study space has certainly had a profound and noticeable impact on my study habits and grades at Iowa State,” said Marco Yepez-Gomez, a first-year student majoring in mechanical engineering.

Route to higher education

Since 1990, Science Bound has identified ethnic minority middle and high school students with a propensity toward math and science, and provided them a route to higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

About 430 students participate in Science Bound each year. The program started in Des Moines, then formally expanded in 2007 to Denison and Marshalltown. It has produced highly sought-after engineers and researchers, many who credit the program for providing them with the opportunities that led to their success.

“Science Bound has the very specific mission of preparing youth of color to become the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals,” said Anita Rollins, Science Bound's program coordinator. “By concentrating our efforts and providing student participants with essential STEM exposures and experiences, Science Bound is meeting that mission.”

Tuesday’s anniversary celebration will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. in 2156 Gilman Hall. It will include an open house, self-guided tours, a ribbon cutting, refreshments, and a brief program at 4:30 p.m. with Pamela White, dean and Dean’s Chair of the College of Human Sciences, and Marlene Strathe, director of the School of Education.

The event will also feature poster presentations and opportunities to learn more about the program from Science Bound graduates. Additional anniversary events will be held this fall, during the weekend of Oct. 21 and 22. More details will be available this summer.

Nine-year commitment

Unlike most outreach efforts, Science Bound is a long-term commitment that lasts for nine years — starting in the eighth grade and lasting through the senior year in college.

Students can earn tuition scholarships to Iowa State if they participate in at least 75 percent of the program’s activities which range from science fairs to math workshops, essays, guest speakers, corporate tours, and job shadowing. They must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in high school, and major in a STEM field in college.

Hargrave said the program increases the state’s intellectual power and expands the number of students going into STEM fields.

More than 450 students have completed Science Bound’s 5-year pre-college commitment, while 97 students have completed the full nine-year program and graduated from Iowa State, including 71 percent who received STEM degrees. In addition, 97 percent of Science Bound graduates go on to pursue post-secondary degrees.

At Iowa State, 92 Science Bound graduates are currently taking advantage of the tuition scholarship they earned. Another 32 are pursuing degrees at Iowa State utilizing other scholarship resources.