Buffalo State University’s Upward Bound program will host a career day designed to connect economically disadvantaged high school students with professionals excelling in their fields on Thursday, April 13, from 9 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. in the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State.
The TRIO Exploration Career Day, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” is specifically geared toward students from three Buffalo high schools associated with Upward Bound, one of eight federal TRIO programs designed for disadvantaged students. The event is free for participants, but is not open to the public.
In 1986, a congressional resolution designated Feb. 28 as National TRIO Day to commemorate the achievements of the federal TRIO programs in communities across the country.
“It was better timing for us to have an event like this when it’s warmer,” said Donald Patterson, director of Buffalo State’s Upward Bound. “So, I decided to make April 13 our TRIO Day. The event will shine a spotlight on our Upward Bound program and celebrate the community connections created over the last number of decades.”
Participants include Maureen Hoyler, president of the Council for Opportunity in Education; Congressman Brian Higgins, ’85, U.S. representative for New York’s 26th congressional district; Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, ’74, ’02, New York Assembly majority leader; Byron Brown, ’83, Buffalo mayor; Tommy Champion, captain of the Buffalo Fire Department; and Dr. Kenyani Davis, chief medical officer for the Community Health Center of Buffalo. Three representatives from Buffalo State will also attend: Naila Ansari, assistant professor of theater and Africana studies; John Torrey, assistant professor of philosophy and Africana studies; and Yanick Jenkins, director of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at Buffalo State.
The federally funded Upward Bound program, which is in its 37th year at Buffalo State, was created under the Higher Education Act of 1965. It enables qualified ninth- through 12th-graders at McKinley, Lafayette and East high schools to receive tutoring, personal development workshops, and help with career planning during a six-week residential program on the Buffalo State campus.
On average, Patterson said, 90% of students who participate in Upward Bound go on to college; many enroll at Buffalo State.
“Career exploration is part of our curriculum,” Patterson said. “I wanted to provide a substantive program and an opportunity for students to see careers they might have previously thought about. Through this event, they get to actually sit down and talk with these impressive professionals and see that these careers are something they can attain.”
Also, during the event, nine alumni, including a minister, a nurse, and a political campaign manager, will be honored as “Upward Bound Achievers” and participate in a panel discussion on their careers and their experiences with Upward Bound.
“The alumni should be able to connect with the students in attendance,” Patterson said. “They were in their shoes not that long ago and now have fulfilling careers.”
During the career day, a video team will shoot footage to be included in an upcoming documentary about Upward Bound.
“Career exploration day is an incredible opportunity for building community connections for our partners, panelists and students,” Patterson said.