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Upward Bound participant
Chrysanna Stephens has been in the Upward Bound program since March 2021.

OSU Upward Bound program awarded $1.4M US Department of Education grant

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Media Contact: Sydney Trainor | Communications Specialist | 405-744-9782 |

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Oklahoma State University more than $1.4 million for a continuation of the OSU TRIO Upward Bound program. 

The program provides fundamental support to Oklahoma students enrolled in the ninth, 10th or 11th grade at Cleveland, Pawhuska, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon or Woodland (Fairfax) High Schools who are preparing to enter college. It also arranges opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.

“We are thrilled to combine resources from the U.S. Department of Education and Oklahoma State University to support underrepresented, underserved and marginalized students,” said Dr. Clyde Wilson, associate vice president for Institutional Diversity. 

Aligning with the institution’s mission, the grant will be used during the next five years to increase the rate at which participants complete high school along with enroll in and graduate from college.

The Upward Bound grant is a continuation grant and was awarded through a competitive process among institutions with experience helping students succeed in college.

When Chrysanna Stephens was a freshman at Pawnee High School, she learned about Upward Bound through an informational packet in the mail. Intrigued by the program, she immediately sent in her application. 

“I have been in the program since March of 2021,” Stephens said. “This coming March will mark two years of being in the program. It is considered to be a college preparatory course however, that is not all the program is.”

Participating in Upward Bound during the summer helps her understand material for the upcoming school year, she said. 

This summer, Stephens took a variety of STEM and non-STEM courses and was even given the opportunity to shadow employees at different businesses.  

The grant will also allow her to take two OSU courses online for free the summer after she graduates high school in 2024. 

“To see the young person light up with excitement after attending an Upward Bound event confirms our ‘why’ in doing this work,” Wilson said. “We get to inspire students through their involvement in the Upward Bound program to find their passion and purpose, making our Upward Bound team proud to be a part of the Cowboy family.”

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