ADA, OK (11/17/2017) In a time when funding in higher education is limited, the East Central University Office of Sponsored Programs and Research is doing its work to keep special programs within the university afloat.

Led by Leah Lyon, director of Sponsored Programs and Research, and Bethany Walling, grants research specialist, four programs were able to receive five federal grants to keep up and running for the next five years.

ECU's Upward Bound, Veterans Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science and McNair Scholars were the beneficiaries of the funding.

Two grants were approved for ECU's Upward Bound Program - one in May for $2,679,300 for five years ($535,860 per year) and one recently for $1,318,355 ($263,671 per year) for five years.

The purpose of the East Central University Upward Bound Program is to generate in students the academic skills and motivation necessary for success in education beyond high school. The ECU Upward Bound's mission is to ensure that its students graduate high school and succeed in the pursuit of their post-secondary education by providing college preparatory instruction, leadership training, cultural and service learning enrichment.

ECU's Veterans Upward Bound Program was approved for $1,452,450 grant for five years ($290,490 per year).

The Veterans' Upward Bound is a federally funded grant program designed to provide supportive services to military service members and veterans in an effort to ensure successful entry or re-entry and completion of a post-secondary program of study.

ECU's VUB program is designed to support and target 39 counties, primarily in the Eastern part of Oklahoma, including Tulsa and Muskogee Counties. That is up from 20 counties in the previous service cycle.

ECU is one of only three institutions of higher learning in the state with a Veteran's Upward Bound Program.

The Upward Bound Math/Science Program has also been funded for five more years at $1,567,790 ($313,558)

Upward Bound Math Science is a part of the federally funded TRIO programs, whose purpose is to prepare low-income and first-generation college bound students for success in higher education. The goal of Upward Bound Math Science is to help students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and to encourage them to pursue post-secondary degrees in the STEM fields.

ECU's Upward Bound Math/Science program serves 66 students that reside in the target area or at the target schools. They provide an intense model for learning that provides hands-on activities and opportunities to conduct research with local University professionals and Ada area businesses and laboratories.

Students participate in both the school year and summer components upon entry to the program until high school graduation. All program services are free and students receive a small stipend for their participation. They provide services to students in the following areas:

tutoring, academic advisement, career exploration, college admissions and application assistance, financial aid and scholarship information assistance, academic workshops such as ACT prep and EOI prep, college campus visits, cultural explorations, internships with professionals in the STEM fields, college and career readiness.\

The McNair Scholars Program received a $1,300,685 grant ($260,137 per year).

Since November of 1991, the purpose of the ECU McNair Scholars Program has been to prepare low income, first generation college students, and students from other groups underrepresented in graduate education, for doctoral study. The McNair Scholars Program honors the memory of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, an astronaut who lost his life in the Challenger Shuttle accident on January 28, 1986. The McNair Program is a federal TRIO grant program, funded by the United States Department of Education.

The ECU McNair Scholars Program provides undergraduates in the math & sciences fields with opportunities to participate in an internship at the Kerr Lab in Ada. The internship is to be completed the Spring semester of their senior year. McNair Scholars attend seminars and workshops on topics related to graduate school preparation; complete a research project under the guidance of a EPA mentor; and have the opportunity to present their research at local, regional and national conferences.