Iowa State University’s Science Bound is a nine-year, informal science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program designed to prepare ethnically and racially diverse Iowa youth to earn degrees in technical disciplines.
Science Bound identifies middle school students with potential in math and science, then guides and supports them through their earning of a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. Science Bound employs a 4-way collaborative model that encircles students in ongoing support, guidance, and encouragement from Iowa State University (ISU) faculty and staff, corporate STEM professionals, school district teachers and administrators, and parents and families of participants.
This model provides informal STEM education with strong ties to the schools. The school ties provide a home base with which students and families are familiar, where a strong emphasis on academic preparation and excellence can be cultivated, and natural venues for students and families to access higher education can be developed. The program’s activities are focused on:
- Exposing students to STEM disciplines and careers.
- Providing students with personally engaging experiences with STEM content.
- Equipping students with the academic knowledge/skills and self-efficacy to navigate and negotiate higher education.
Much of Science Bound’s student development success hinges on its culture of high expectations expressed in this five-step diagram (Hargrave, 2015):