While most students spend their Saturdays relaxing after a long week of classes, one chooses to go back and relive her days in high school biology. Teresa Hadeed of Alexandria, Va., a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, assists students who need help in biology through her sorority, Chi Delta Alpha, which has adopted the general math and biology classes in Virginia Tech’s Upward Bound program.

She and other Virginia Tech student volunteers assist sixth- through 12th-graders during monthly tutoring sessions in the Upward Bound and Talent Search programs at area high schools. 

“Upward Bound and Talent Search are great ways to let students be inspired to do well in school, and interacting with these tremendous students is an amazingly rewarding experience,” Hadeed said.

The programs allow volunteers to connect with students who may have similar interests. Hadeed worked with one high school student who was interested in becoming a doctor. “Since I am pursuing a nursing career, we were able to talk about related things in terms of what we want to do and why we wanted to go into the medical field,” Hadeed said.

In addition to academics, the programs focus on encouraging and preparing low-income and potential first-generation students to pursue a college education. Participants receive counseling on study skills and admissions advice, as well as attend field trips to colleges, cultural programs, and lectures from college faculty members. 

“Once you get the students motivated, it is amazing to see what they can continue to do and how they don’t give up,” said Hadeed. That motivation could be the reason why 80 percent of all Upward Bound participants who enrolled in a college or university choose to continue their academic career and remain enrolled for the fall term of their second academic year.

Nationwide, only 41 percent of low-income/first-generation students go to college. Virginia Tech’s Upward Bound and Talent Search programs have a remarkable success rate, with 78 percent of participants enrolling in a college or university.

The Upward Bound and Talent Search programs at Virginia Tech are coordinated by Outreach and International Affairs. Talent Search and Upward Bound provide preparation and tutoring in English, math, science, foreign language, SAT, ACT, study and test-taking skills, career planning, time management, communication skills, and problem-solving.

Tutors come from campus organizations such as Gamma Beta Phi Honor and Service Society, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Student African American Brotherhood, and Chi Delta Alpha sorority.

To learn more about getting involved, contact Director Tom Wilson and visit the Upward Bound and Talent Search website.



Written by Stephanie Paradiso of Rockville, Md., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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