Steve Scarpa

Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Helps Local Students Prepare for College

upward bound

Several high school seniors from Middletown, Meriden, and New Britain, Conn. recently gathered to celebrate their graduation from Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Math-Science program. Ninety-four percent of those who participated in the program are planning to attend college next fall. Wesleyan’s Upward Bound program was co-founded by the university’s first black dean of the college Edgar Beckham ’58 who hoped local, low-income students could have the opportunity to consider attending college.

For many first-generation and low-income students, simply the idea of attending college can be daunting. The cost of higher education might be prohibitive. The application process can be complicated and overwhelming.

Even with a committed support network, it can all be too much.

“Oftentimes for first-generation students, college is not something that’s expected … It is now starting to be a little bit more like ‘hey, you should go to college’ but it is not as widespread as in more affluent communities,” said Miguel Peralta, director of Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Math-Science program.

The Upward Bound Math-Science program is pulling down those barriers for high school students in Middletown, Meriden, and New Britain, Conn. In 2021, 30 of the 32 students who graduated from the program are moving on to higher education. Twenty-six of those students are bachelor-degree bound. Over 100 students participate in the program in the three towns, with most joining after their first year of high school and staying through graduation.

It’s part of a continued successful trend, with approximately 90 percent of Upward Bound participants over the past five years continuing their education. “This is the level of success we are accustomed to,” Peralta said. “We are trying to help students not just go to college but to thrive there as well.”

“We have had students at Wesleyan who took part in Upward Bound here in the local area (and have done very well here!), and—since it’s a federal program with chapters across the country—we have also had Wesleyan students who took part in Upward Bound programs in their own home areas,” said April Ruiz, dean for academic equity, inclusion, and success. “Upward Bound does a wonderful job helping students to feel informed and empowered as they consider pursuing higher education.”

Wesleyan University Magazine Honored with Prestigious CASE Award

Wesleyan University Magazine won the Silver Award in the category of alumni/general interest magazines.

The Fall 2020 issue of Wesleyan University Magazine recently won a Silver Award from CASE.

After wrapping up a successful Spring 2020 issue showcasing the intellectual vibrancy and risk-taking Wesleyans employ in their creative pursuits, the Wesleyan University Magazine team thought they had their next issue’s subject all figured out.

With a highly divided political landscape and a contentious presidential election looming, it was clear that the next issue should focus on Wesleyan’s long history of civic engagement and the University’s recently announced commitment to Engage 2020—an initiative aimed at encouraging widespread participation in the political process.

But then COVID-19 hit. And just as the world was busy adapting to a new and scary reality, the University Communications team also found themselves pivoting—not only to conceptualizing, writing, and producing a print magazine during a time of crisis but also to capturing this new reality while continuing to look ahead to an election that suddenly seemed to have even deeper ramifications.

The result was one of the boldest and best-received issues in the magazine’s history—and recognition from the prestigious CASE Circle of Excellence Awards. Wesleyan University Magazine won the Silver Award in the category of alumni/general interest magazines.