When it kicks off again this summer, Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program will count as just one of four such offerings in the state.
Further, BCCC is the only community college to offer the program, which provides high school students with hands-on experience in the all-important field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM. The UBMS program is an academic study in science, math, engineering and biotechnology.
“Each year the BCCC UBMS program services approximately 62 students recruited from specially targeted Baltimore City High Schools,” said BCCC’s UBMS Director Gregory Hunter. “The program targets young people who are interested in pursuing postsecondary degrees in math and science and careers in the math and science profession.”
Eligible students live in households were parents or guardians do not have a degree at or above the bachelor’s level.
The program consists of Saturday sessions, high school visits, an intensive six-week academic and residential program, and a college bridge program. Students are recruited throughout the academic year and Hunter and other officials have close contact with area high school guidance counselors whom recruits can speak with about the program.
“We introduced a new program in partnership with the BCCC Computer Science and a local, minority-owned technology company that will assist students in developing the technical skills necessary for employment in the computer sciences areas of computer information systems, cyber security and assurance, and computer-aided drafting design,” Hunter said. “In addition to the computer science component, we provide supplement instruction in science, biotech engineering, robotics, match including algebra, geometry and pre-calculus, and English composition.”
Baltimore-based BITHGROUP Technologies, a cybersecurity and systems integration company that provides Enterprise IT, Health IT, Identity Services, Cyber Security, Digital Business Transformation Services is a primary partner of the program, will work with BCCC on the UBMS program computer science component this summer.
BITHGROUP staff members who are experts in a variety of technology areas will work with the students on immersion experiences once each week over the summer, exposing the participants to lessons about Energy Management Information Systems software, Identity Services software and Cyber Security software.
“We believe this program is important because there are so many great career opportunities in the information technology space,” said Harry Holt, the vice president of operations at BITHGROUP, a multi-state certified Minority Business Enterprise that’s headquartered in Baltimore. “This area is predicted to continually provide higher earning potential jobs for the next five to ten years and, in order for our entry level employees to be better prepared for being successful in entering the workplace, they must gain more exposure to real hands-on experience.”
Holt says that students’ need to be afforded the opportunity to work in teams on real project-based learning experiences.
“Also, I think it’s important for them to see people working in software development, cyber security, network support and other IT area who look like them,” Holt said.
According to 2010 data from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau, underrepresented minorities earned 18.6 percent of undergraduate degrees in science fields and less than 13 percent of degrees in physical sciences and engineering.
“We prepare students for college, increase their academic abilities in high school, and provide an environment of values and attitudes conducive to productive citizenship and lifelong learning,” Hunter said.
For more information about the Upward Bound program at BCCC or to find out if you are eligible or to apply to be a participant, visit: www. bccc.edu/upwardbound.