For the past three years, Andrea Holmes-Bownes has watched the same group of high school students explore, expand and enjoy the field of science. Working with the students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center’s Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) ECM Program has been encouraging and uplifting, according to the veteran science teacher.
“I want to brag about the positive attributes of the students in this program who come from East St. Louis, Cahokia and Madison high schools,” said Holmes-Bownes, who is also a certified science teacher in East St. Louis School District 189. “It has been a pleasure to work with them during the summer program. They brought their own knowledge with them. They were encouraging to me as a teacher. They get me excited about teaching, because they are enthusiastic, and they want to learn.”
Holmes served as the science teacher for the UBMS summer component on the SIUE campus from June 25-July 27. This year marked her third consecutive year working with the same group of students.
“The students are focused and know what they want out of life. They come to class in the summer eager to enrich themselves, so that they are better prepared for college,” she continued. “I’ve been a science teacher for more than 10 years, and these students have shown that they are high achieving, engaged and creative. I’d give them all an A grade.”
The students who are rising seniors, worked on a project to create a sustainable business that used renewable resources, and they had to use recycled materials.
“One group came up with a water park, which had a flooring of recycled wine corks and swings to generate electricity. Another group created a sustainable garden and designated an old shed to be a store to distribute the food and produce,” explained Holmes-Brownes. “I wanted the students to look at their surroundings, see the potential and how to repurpose things, and bring about renewal.”
The Upward Bound Math and Science program is designed to strengthen the math and science skills of participating students. The goal of the program is to help students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and to encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in math and science, and ultimately careers in the math and science profession.
With a focus on empowering people and strengthening communities, the SIUE East St. Louis Center is dedicated to improving the lives of families and individuals – from pre-school through adult – in the Metro East. Head Start/Early Head Start and a charter high school are among the programs that offer the community renewed hope and an opportunity to reach educational, career and life goals. The Center also assigns first priority to encouraging, supporting and improving the educational success of the residents of East St. Louis and surrounding urban communities. The Center provides comprehensive programs, services and training in the areas of education, health, social services and the arts.
SIUE Upward Bound Math & Science ECM students learned about bridges during their summer session. Students constructed pasta bridges, using only one pound of spaghetti past and a hot glue gun.
Students Chanae Ferrell (left) and Kenyatta Gailes (right) both seniors at Cahokia High School test their bridge in the bridge building contest, which won second place.