JOHNSON CITY – The U.S. Department of Education has announced that East Tennessee State University’s TRIO programs have won a string of impressive grants totaling more than $10 million in the coming years.
The largest of the awards is for the TRIO-Upward Bound Math/Science program and three other Upward Bound programs, which support high school participants in their preparation for college entrance. The university will receive more than $7 million over the next five years.
“It is a very competitive grant renewal process, and we feel fortunate to be able to continue Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math/Science for the next five years,” said Dr. Ronnie Gross, executive director of ETSU’s TRIO programs. “Students who complete this program are four times more likely to graduate from college.”
The grant renewal enables the ETSU Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math/Science programs to serve more than 270 high school students from Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Sullivan county school systems as well as Elizabethton, Johnson City, Kingsport and Bristol city school systems.
“As a career educator and a former Upward Bound student, it is an honor to endorse the East Tennessee State University Upward Bound program,” said Dr. Chris Hampton, principal of Dobyns-Bennett High School and recent appointee to serve as the interim superintendent of Kingsport City Schools beginning Nov. 1. “I experienced a remarkable level of academic support, cultural exposure, postsecondary experiences and skill development that allowed me to successfully navigate college and a high-wage career.”
Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) earned more than $1.5 million over the next five years. The grant provides educational and other support services to 125 veterans who reside in seven counties in Northeast Tennessee and two counties in Southwest Virginia.
“Veterans Upward Bound provided me with an excellent tutor to help refresh my math skills,” said Frank Dunn, a social worker for Medical Care Center in Elizabethton, Bristol and Greeneville. “They have also assisted in choosing the courses that I would need to take to fulfill the requirements to graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work degree and then get a Master of Social Work degree. Everyone I have come in contact with through VUB has given me a positive attitude toward my goals of higher education.” ETSU has also received the federally funded Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement grant worth over $1.5 million over the next five years.
The grant supports underrepresented students seeking to enter graduate school and earn doctoral degrees. The goal of the McNair program is to increase the attainment of graduate degrees, especially Ph.D.s, by students from underrepresented segments of society.
“The McNair program has been critical to my success,” said Dr. Cerrone Foster, associate professor of biology and interim director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities in the ETSU Honors College. “Prior to the summer program, I was not aware of the steps in obtaining a Ph.D. or the career opportunities. My summer experience in McNair not only provided academic and graduate school preparation but also a sense of belonging in my research field.”
TRIO, a federally funded outreach and student services program, offers potential and current ETSU students a range of assistance that includes financial aid advice and help for veterans.
To learn more about TRIO, visit etsu.edu/provost/trio/.