Upward Bound

Southeastern Illinois College Upward Bound is a college preparatory program designed to Enhance academic skills, leadership, and preparation for high school students who have the potential or desire in attending college. The program also provides academic support, career/college exploration and assistance with the process of college applications.

The program is free and open to 9th-12th grade students from the following high schools in the Southern Illinois Area. Southeastern Illinois college Is funded to annually serve 60 students.

  • Carmi-White County High School
  • Galatia Jr. Sr High School
  • Gallatin County High School
  • Hardin County High School
  • Norris City-Omaha-Enfield Community High School

Contact Information

Holder, Mariah

Upward Bound Project Director
Phone / Extension: 2315
Location: A146

Goodrow, Charity

Upward Bound Administrative Assistant
Phone / Extension: 2313
Location: A146

Lehman, Ben

Upward Bound Project Specialist
Phone / Extension: 2317
Location: A146

About Upward Bound

Upward Bound is a federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify, provide services and assist limited-income high school students who have the potential to be the first in their families to attain a college degree. The program originally started in the summer of 1965 after the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. SIC Upward Bound Strive to help student enhance leadership skills, engage in career and college exploration, learn from guest speakers, and participate in social and cultural outings.

Saturday Academy

SIC Upward Bound program includes a Saturday Academy component that begins in September and ends in May. Saturday Academy workshops and outings are conducted one Saturday of each month. Students are to meet at SIC main campus for the day. Saturday Academy start/ end time may vary. However, students and parents will always be informed of the time prior to the Scheduled Saturday. Students Will receive tutoring, ACT/SAT preparation, personal and career guidance, assistance with financial aid and the college admissions process, team building, cultural exploration and university campus visits. Students and parents are free to drop and pick up students at SIC, however, transportation will also always be provided by the program.

Summer Enrichment

SIC-UB Summer Enrichment is a non-residential 6-week college- simulation program beginning June-July, Monday-Thursday from 9AM-3PM. Summer Enrichment helps prepare our 9th grade students going into sophomore year, however all grade levels are welcome to participate. Student participants will be transported to SIC main campus where they will complete academic courses, receive academic support, and participate in activities to develop student success and social- emotional skills. Course assignments are determined by pre-test information, student grades, and courses students plan to take the next year. Students will gain exposure to campus life and learn about valuable resources that will help them during the college enrollment process and beyond. Meals are provided by Upward Bound during these hours. Travel to and from the SIC campus is also included and will be coordinated accordingly by UB staff based on individual student need.
The Summer Academy concludes with an overnight trip. Students will travel to selected cities to enhance cultural enrichment and tour campuses to gain a better understanding of college.

Summer Bridge

Upward Bound Summer Bridge Program at SIC is designed to ease students into college life. The Summer Bridge program is available to all Upward Bound participants who have graduated from high school, have been accepted to a postsecondary institution, and who have participated in the Upward Bound program during the academic school year. Participants will enroll in up to six hours of college courses (Tuition paid by Upward Bound, student is responsible for activity fees) at SIC during the summer. The academic progress of Bridge participants will be monitored by the UB Academic Specialist through interaction and communication with students and SIC instructors.
The Summer Academy concludes with an overnight trip. Students will travel to selected cities to enhance cultural enrichment and tour campuses to gain a better understanding of college.

Services Provided to Students and Families

  • Weekly Tutoring
  • School Visitation (project Specialist)
  • Financial aid assistance
  • Student success development
  • Career Development
  • Participation monthly stipend $
  • Assistance with selecting and applying for college
  • Academic and Personal Counseling
  • Assistance in preparing for SAT and ACT college entrance exams
  • Scholarship Information
  • Career literacy
  • Cultural Enrichment/Campus visits
  • Parent and family support, including workshops and connections to additional community resources

Tutoring/ High School Visits

  • Project Specialist, Ben Lehman- will make a visit to each High school once a week
  • Provides tutoring and academic advisement
  • Track student academic progress throughout the program
  • Touch basis on students’ needs and provide resources
  • Remind students about upcoming events
  • Parent and family support, including workshops and connections to additional community resources

Eligibility Guidelines

The federal government sets the guidelines for eligibility. To be eligible for Upward Bound, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Be first-generation college-bound (neither parent living in the home has a four-year degree)
  • limited income household based off the Department of Education Federal TRIO Programs income levels.
  • 9th-12th grader who displays potential to succeed at the postsecondary level
  • Attends one of the target High schools listed above

Empowering Testimonials: High School Counselor and Students Share the Impact of Our Program

Hello,

I want to take a moment and brag about the Upward Bound program for the high school students and Ben. This is a valuable opportunity for the students and Ben presents my students with much care and assists them every Thursday with great passion. The Hardin County students who are in the program enjoy their educational support, as well as creating memorable experiences and adventures. They are always excited to fill me in on any trip they have experienced. This excites me as some students may never have these opportunities to explore as many places without this program.

I have included a couple of statements from students who participate in Upward Bound:

  • Jade Carpenter, a Junior at Hardin County High School, states, “In my experience with Upward Bound, I have enjoyed being able to see the other colleges. More importantly, I truly enjoyed making friends from surrounding schools and making memories with them. The interactions I have with these people are some of the best I have ever had. Ben truly is a great advisor for Upward Bound, he makes us laugh and I have a lot of fun hanging out with him every week, and he makes sure we actually do our work; he's always there to help us if we need it. I truly am grateful that I got the opportunity to be on Upward Bound along with the other students in my school. I can't wait to see the adventures it takes me, and to see the memories I will make through Upward Bound.”
  • Isabella Rose, a Sophomore at Hardin County High School states, “I really enjoy having the chance to get an early insight into seeing what college life is really like. Ben also makes sure that we always enjoy the time with Upward Bound! He never fails to make us laugh. I really appreciate the tutoring that Upward Bound offers to help keep up our grades and to help make sure that our education continues to grow!”

Thank you so much for this opportunity for our students. I hope this program continues and thrives for many years to come.

Continue being the best, SIC!

Kelsi Love
School Counselor
Hardin County Schools

Meet the Staff

Mariah Holder, Project Director

"My name is Mariah Holder and I’m Southeastern Illinois College Upward Bound Program Director. I’m originally from the south suburbs of Chicago. I moved to southern Illinois to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in public health Education and Master’s degree in Workforce Education and Development at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. I officially made Southern Illinois my after marring my husband, Devin Holder in 2017. We currently live In Marion, IL with our one son age 4. We are also expecting another baby boy, due May 10th 2024. I enjoy singing, reading and game nights with my family. I take honor in being the director of Upward Bound. I strive to provide each student with the academic knowledge, skills and resources that promotes college readiness."

Ben Lehman, Project Specialist 

"My name is Ben Lehman. I am the Project Specialist with the Upward Bound Program at SIC. I grew up in Carrier Mills until I was 9 then finished growing up in Harrisburg. After graduating from Harrisburg High School, I attended SIU and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. I met my wife, Cara, in college and we moved to Harrisburg in 2006. Before coming to work at SIC, I spent 15.5 years working at Pepsi Mid America in Marion as a sales representative. Cara and I have two sons, ages 8 and 11, and a daughter that turned 3 at the end of August. I took up running in 2011 and have completed 6 half-marathons, three Tough Mudders, and numerous 5Ks over the past 10 years. My main hobby and fun way to pass the time is to play Dota 2 when I have any free time."

Office hours: "I am scheduled to be at area high schools each day of the week. If you have questions or need assistance, it would be better to schedule a time to come in during the limited times I am on campus."

Charity Goodrow, Administrative Assistant

"My name is Charity Goodrow and I am the Administrative Assistant for Upward Bound at SIC. I hold a BFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. I am excited to be a part of such an amazing program that helps guide students during their educational journey. I look forward to seeing this program flourish."

Mariah Pic

"My name is Mariah Holder and I’m Southeastern Illinois College Upward Bound Program Director. I’m originally from the south suburbs of Chicago. I moved to southern Illinois to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in public health Education and Master’s degree in Workforce Education and Development at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. I officially made Southern Illinois my after marring my husband, Devin Holder in 2017. We currently live In Marion, IL with our one son age 4. We are also expecting another baby boy, due May 10th 2024. I enjoy singing, reading and game nights with my family. I take honor in being the director of Upward Bound. I strive to provide each student with the academic knowledge, skills and resources that promotes college readiness."

Mariah Holder, Project Director