Our program

Science Bound is Iowa State University's pre-college through college program designed to meet our state and national need for a diverse highly-trained workforce by increasing the number of ethnically and racially 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.

The National Science Foundation continues to call for an increase in the number of young people from populations that are underrepresented in ASTEM who go on to a rewarding career. Science Bound focuses on this NSF call.  


  • 2019 Rose Duhon-Sells Program Award: Awarded by the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME)
  • 2018 – Inspiring Programs in STEM Award – Insight Into Diversity
  • 2017 – Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Seal of Approval
  • 2017 – Examples of Excelencia Finalist – Excelencia in Education


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.

The results

Science Bound has offered scholarships to nearly 814 program graduates. More than 160 Science Bound graduates were on the Iowa State campus in Fall 2021. Since 2000, two hundred twenty-two Science Bound graduates now hold degrees from Iowa State. A number of graduates also hold masters and Ph.D.s.