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NMC’s Upward Bound Program Helps Students Succeed in College (January 11, 2012)

For almost 30 years, the Northern Marianas College’s Upward Bound program has helped thousands of CNMI students from disadvantaged backgrounds to prepare for and succeed in college. For NMC alumnus and recent University of Arizona graduate Semona Igama, participating in the program helped her achieve her educational goals.

“One day I decided I wanted to go to college,” said Igama. “I traded my senior year to jump start my college career at the Northern Marianas College.”

The Upward Bound program is a federally funded program under the U.S. Department of Education that primarily serves high school students from low-income families along with high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree.

With assistance from the Upward Bound program, Igama enrolled in courses at NMC to pursue an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts while she was still attending Marianas High School.

“As a first generation, low income student, this was the most beneficial opportunity given to me and especially my family,” said Igama. She later graduated from MHS in 2006 and then from NMC in 2008.

“I could not have done it by myself though. I had the Upward Bound program to thank for the educational support that motivated me to pursue higher education,” said Igama.

The “educational support” the Upward Bound program has been providing students include instruction in a variety of subjects; academic, financial and personal counseling; tutorial and mentoring services; and assistance with college admission forms and placement tests. In addition, the program provides students with other activities ranging from summer enrichment programs for mathematics and science to volunteering.

After graduating from NMC, Igama attended the University of Arizona where she recently graduated with a Bachelors degree in Microbiology. She now plans to pursue becoming a physician and endeavors to learn more about the medical field at the Commonwealth Health Corporation in Saipan.

“We are very proud of Semona and all her accomplishments,” said Upward Bound program director Marian C. Tudela. “We are also glad to have her as a volunteer for the Upward Bound program.”

Tudela added “She’s not only a great example of how the program has benefited the CNMI’s students over the years but an inspiration for our students that they can accomplish anything they want if they work hard and never give up.”

For more information about the Upward Bound program, visit the Upward Bound office at the NMC As Terlaje campus or contact Marian C. Tudela at 234-5498 extension 1278.

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