Simpson University Upward Bound Students Adapt to Virtual Summer Program

REDDING, Calif.— Simpson University’s Upward Bound leadership team has adapted to the challenges presented by the pandemic, offering a robust virtual summer program to more than 240 high school students at four North State high schools.

In 2017, Simpson University was awarded a $5.7 million, five-year grant to administer the Upward Bound program at Anderson, West Valley, Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta high schools. The federally funded educational program is designed to give first-generation and/or economically disadvantaged students better opportunities to attend college.

For the past two summers, more than 100 Upward Bound students participated in a program that included a weeklong residential experience at Simpson University, four weeks at high school sites, then a weeklong road trip to visit colleges.

As it became clear that COVID-19 restrictions would not allow for the same experience in 2020, staff members spent nearly two months putting together a program consisting of college classes, SAT Math Bootcamps, and foreign language, through an online learning format called Mango. Students also studied drone technology (building, programming and flying), culminating in outdoor events to fly the drones they assembled.

In a pilot program, Simpson University made Intro to Business, taught by Dr. Daniel Sloan, available remotely to more than 40 Upward Bound students from Simpson University and UC Davis.  Another new element this summer is student participation in the Upward Bound Work-Study program. The goal is to teach students what Work-Study is and how it relates to college financial aid. A secondary outcome for Work-Study is to compensate students who work as interns in their local community or for Upward Bound, or who learn a new career skill, like drone technology.

Although students are disappointed about not being able to travel this summer, they are finding the new format educational and informative. Mount Shasta High School Upward Bound student Siena Maniatis wrote this description of the summer program there:

Despite being physically apart, the summer program has continued to go on virtually, giving students a social opportunity as well as supplying a positive learning atmosphere completely free of charge for eligible students. 

Usually, the summer program is in person at the high school; it follows a weekly schedule with each student taking an online class through College of the Siskiyous as well as participating in learning activities at the school a few days a week. Everything is taking place online this year.

In past years, the summer program has hosted a trip for college tours which also includes fun activities. Last year’s participants took a charter bus through Oregon and Washington to tour colleges in the area and participate in fun activities included ziplining and visiting the Space Needle.

This year, students are still required to take an online course of their choice through either College of the Siskiyous or Simpson University; all other activities are done online as well. Students have weekly one-on-one meetings with advisor Jeanine Masciola through Zoom, to make sure they are successful at meeting their responsibilities. Activities vary on a weekly basis, with all learning activities taking place on Zoom or other online platforms.

During Weeks 1 and 2 students met with college representatives on Zoom to take virtual tours of campuses all around California. Week 3 provided students with the opportunity for SAT Math Bootcamp, a class that focused on preparing students for college entrance exams. Weeks 4 and 5 provide an opportunity to learn about Drone Technology/Robotics with Mount Shasta High School teacher Greg Eastman. Week 6, the final week of the program, will offer a paleoanthropology class with Mount Shasta High teacher Barbara Paulson. The summer program has been granted permission to meet in person a few days during weeks 4, 5, and 6 — taking all necessary precautions. 

Although it is disappointing for both students and staff alike that they are limited to online learning, the Mount Shasta High School Upward Bound summer program has made immense efforts to adapt itself to meet the needs of its students amidst these difficult times. The program has done everything possible to make the contents of its duration enjoyable as well as knowledgeable. 

Students at all the high schools are adapting well to the new format, staff members say. Here are some of their comments:

  • “We are still thriving and managing to have a successful summer program, while staying safe.” – Mount Shasta High School sophomore
  • “I would like to be able to go on trips, but I did like the SAT math boot camp.” – Anderson Union High School sophomore
  • “I haven’t done the summer program in the past, but I really like the check-ins.” – Dunsmuir High School junior
  • “I liked how immersive (the Virtual College Tours) were and they told a lot of details. I liked UC Santa Cruz because the tour guide was very good at answering questions.” – West Valley High School rising senior
  • “I am definitely going to apply to UCSB in the fall, and I am happy to say that Upward Bound made that happen.” – Mount Shasta High School rising senior

With COVID precautions in place, students met in July to fly the drones they built and programmed for four weeks. Teachers Kurt Champe from Dunsmuir High School and Greg Eastman from Mount Shasta High gave instruction via Zoom classes. Simpson University communication professor Molly Rupert and President Norman Hall’s daughter, Naomi, visited the Upward Bound students at West Valley High School to observe their drones in action.

Since the start of the Upward Bound program administered by Simpson University, 534 North State high school students have participated. Among 2019 graduates, 37 Upward Bound seniors earned a combined $430,708 in tuition aid for college, an average of $11,640 per student. Students were introduced to these grant and scholarship opportunities through workshops conducted by Upward Bound advisors. More than 90 percent of those seniors attended a community college or four-year university in the fall of 2019. For the class of 2020, one site thus far has graduated 17 Upward Bound seniors, who have earned more than $265,000 in tuition aid.

Photos courtesy Jeanine Masciola and Molly Rupert

Top: Upward Bound high school students take a virtual tour of Simpson University during their summer program.
Middle: Students from the Mount Shasta High School Upward Bound program assemble and fly drones.
Bottom: Students from the West Valley High School Upward Bound program meet to fly their drones.

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is listed in U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 Regional Universities West and recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction. The university is launching new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.

 

 

Simpson University Hosts Virtual Diversity Forum

REDDING, Calif.—In response to recent national events and discussions, Simpson University’s Diversity Committee hosted a virtual forum July 10 to “learn from, lament with, and listen to our African-American sisters and brothers.”

About 40 participants logged onto the two-hour Zoom forum, in which panelists were invited to respond to three questions:

  • What do you think of or feel when you hear the word “justice”?
  • How have the events of the last few weeks impacted you in your community on a personal level?
  • Do we, at Simpson University, make you feel safe, seen and celebrated; and if not, how can we get better at that?

Panelists included Black students, staff, alumni, and community activists, leaders and pastors. Diversity Committee members include administrators, faculty, staff, and students. The committee is led this year by Irene Lopez, Dean of Education and Diversity.

“The recent acts of violence, oppression and devastating loss of lives among the Black community continues to challenge our core values and reminds us that racism and injustice is still rampant in our nation,” Lopez said. “As a university, we are committed to formally renounce all forms of injustice and racism and become the voice of transformational change throughout our community.”

Panelists shared candidly about some of their experiences as people of color living in Shasta County and challenges they have encountered as students and employees at Simpson University, as well as offering encouragement and insight into how the university community can be more intentional in its efforts to listen to and learn from their minority sisters and brothers.

Diversity Committee member and panel moderator Curley Wilson Jr., assistant director of Student Financial Services, wrapped up the forum with admonition to “take this pain and suffering, sit at the table and come up with resolutions and steps—not just to better this university,” he said. “If we’re going to be the four-year university for the city of Redding, then we need to be a beacon of light in all the world.”

The forum closed with prayer, led by Director of Spiritual Formation José Palos and Career Services Counselor Marcy Palos.

Learn more about Simpson University’s Diversity Committee at http://simpsonu.edu/Pages/About/Resources/Student/Diversity-Committee.htm

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is listed in U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 Regional Universities West and recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction. The university is launching new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.

Church Quilters Sew Masks for Simpson University Students

REDDING, Calif.—A quilting and sewing group from Pathway church in Redding has made 200 face masks for Simpson University students as they prepare to return to campus in the fall.

The group, overseen by former professional quilter Becky Cable, makes quilts for North State pregnancy care centers, as well as baby clothes for a Christian & Missionary Alliance hospital in Mali, West Africa. Last year the group sent more than 475 handmade “mama packs”—which include a receiving blanket, bib, beanie, booties, and shirt—to the hospital.

Following the devastating Carr and Camp fires in Shasta and Butte counties in 2018, the group made hundreds of lap quilts for survivors.

Perry-ThomasAnd this spring, when retired physician and fellow church member Dr. Tom Perry (pictured) asked if they would sew face masks for Simpson University, they did not hesitate. Dr. Perry, who is a university board member, donated funds to help with materials. The supplies for all the group’s projects come from donations.

“Of course, absolutely – anything to help Simpson be able to reopen,” Becky said. “I know how much of a life-changer Simpson has been for so many people.”

me 2019

Becky Cable

Becky has firsthand knowledge of Simpson’s impact and longtime times to the C&MA, the university’s affiliated denomination. She attended Simpson when the college was located in San Francisco. Her sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and John Henderson, are graduates. John Henderson was an Alliance pastor for many years before he retired. Her sister and brother-in-law Cathy and Blaine Kazebee are Simpson alums, as well as her brother, Jim Voss, whose wife Nancy (Mason) also attended Simpson. Jim was an Alliance pastor before becoming a director of Gatehouse Ministries, an Alliance-affiliated nonprofit in Redding that serves students whose parents are missionaries. Becky’s son Chris Cable, and his wife, Cassie (Turner), graduated from the Redding campus, as did her daughter Karen Sicheneder, daughter-in-law Raina (Forbes) Cable, and a number of other relatives.

Dependent on state and county COVID-19 guidelines, Simpson University is working toward reopening in the fall for in-person instruction.

“Having a large supply of masks and other protective equipment is essential,” President Norman Hall said. “We are so thankful for the time and talents these women have given to support our efforts to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

Becky first made masks for a friend’s daughter who serves as an emergency room nurse in Southern California. She then reached out to her church family to ask who needed or wanted one. She has made masks for a hospital in Red Bluff, where a friend’s son is a physician, and for group homes and a local food bank. When her son posted on Facebook that his mother made masks, she had strangers request them.

She has made nearly 1,000 masks so far. It takes her about 15 to 20 minutes to make one.

“It gives me a purpose during this time,” Becky said. “I live alone, with my cat, and it was devastating to be isolated like this. When I started making masks, people would come to my front porch to pick them up and talk to me through the screen door. It helped my mental state. I believe it was something God provided for me during this difficult time.”

The Pathway quilting and sewing group, comprising about eight members, has been meeting for several years. Becky started a similar group at an Alliance church in Fairfield prior to moving to Redding.

“The purpose of our group is to have women come together in a setting where they can share their lives,” she said. “It’s not just another Bible study. We get to know and love each other and bear each other’s burdens.”

20200108_213819

Pathway church quilting and sewing group participants in 2019. Five group members sewed masks for Simpson University from their homes during the pandemic shutdown. // Photo by Becky Cable

Becky has found her sewing ministry to be one that blesses her as well as the recipients. She’s given more than three dozen masks to postal workers, including leaving some in her mailbox for her carrier.

“He honked his horn and waved,” she said. “You don’t know what it will mean. You receive the greater blessing when you can bless others.”

The Pathway group sewed the Simpson masks at home, using kits that Becky assembled. Other mask-makers included Arlene Johnson, Lois Nichols, Judy Hatton, and Kathy Ulrich. They are now working on masks for five area schools that Pathway church connects with in their after-school programs.

IMG_0380

The Pathway church quilting and sewing group made red and gray masks for Simpson University.

 

“Our group is about encouraging others and lifting them up to come closer to God,” Becky said. “It’s that kind of thing I’m passionate about.”

She cites Colossians 3:23 and Hebrews 10:24 as two verses that have guided her: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,” and “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

me with mask

Becky Cable leads a quilting and sewing group at Pathway church that provided 200 face masks for Simpson University.

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Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is listed in U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 Regional Universities West and recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction. The university is launching new programs in digital media, computer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at simpsonu.edu. Follow university news at simpsonunews.com.