Program Design

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

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.

The National Science Foundation continues to call for an increase in the number of young people in ASTEM who pursue a rewarding career. Science Bound focuses on this NSF call.

Large group of Science Bound Community in black shirts in front of building.
Iowa State Scholars Reciting Code of Conduct
Family members talking together at table

The Results

  • 3600+

    families served since Science Bound was founded.

  • 281

    Science Bound graduates now hold degrees from Iowa State University.

  • 164

    Science Bound Scholars currently attending ISU enrolled in ASTEM & education degree programs.


Science Bound works with thirteen middle schools to identify and invite new students during the end of their 7th-grade year. If space is available, we work with our eight high schools to invite 9th-grade students into the program during the Fall semester.


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 is committed to providing core administrative and financial support, to our program.


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, family workshops strengthen the partnership between Science Bound and the families it serves.

Support the Program

Science Bound’s success depends on people like YOU!