Our program

The National Science Foundation continues to call for an increase in the number of young people from populations that are underrepresented in the sciences who go on to technical careers. 

Science Bound is Iowa State University’s pre-college program designed to meet our state and national need for a technical workforce by increasing the number of ethnically diverse Iowa students who earn ASTEM (agricultural, scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics) degrees. Our program draws students with potential from middle and high schools in Des Moines, Denison, and Marshalltown, Iowa.


Students are invited to participate during the end of their 7th grade year. If space is available, some students are also invited to participate the first semester of their freshman year.


In-service teachers champion the program at the district level. Iowa State University staff provide the vision and support for program implementation.

The ISU commitment

Iowa State University provides core administrative and financial support, including scholarships.


Students who successfully complete the high school program, meet admission requirements to Iowa State University and pursue a technical degree at ISU receive a FULL TUITION SCHOLARSHIP from the university. Research also indicates that students in the program develop more positive attitudes toward science and improve academically.


Eighth grade preparatory program participants must satisfactorily complete a science fair project and an essay that demonstrates a desire to give to, and learn from. High school participants must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0, participants at all levels must meet participation requirements, and present a satisfactory oral justification yearly for continuation.


Regular meetings with teachers and visits to the Iowa State campus are at the program’s core. Additionally, students participate in summer academic programs, overnight retreats, and study tables.

Other components

Teacher enrichment opportunities provide resources and professional development. And, parental workshops strengthen the partnership between Science Bound and the families it serves.

The results

Science Bound has offered scholarships to more than 500 program graduates. More than 160 Science Bound graduates are expected to be on the Iowa State campus in Fall 2016. 135 Science Bound grads now hold degrees from Iowa State. The program boasts a number of masters graduates and a Ph.D. in biology from Cornell University in New York as well.