NSights Blog

Upward Bound goes to Washington, D.C.

Upward Bound students meet with Nevada's congressional delegation to advocate for TRiO programs

On the frigid morning of March 14, fourteen income-qualified, first-generation high school students walked up the steps of Capitol Hill, ready for their private meetings with Nevada's Congressional representatives.

The fourteen students are participants in the University of Nevada, Reno Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math & Science Programs, which provide intensive college preparatory services, including access to culturally enriching activities and college tours across the nation. This spring, fourteen outstanding students were selected to visit Washington, D.C., to tour universities and take part in the Council for Opportunity in Education's Annual Day on the Hill event.

With the help of Dr. Mary Hylton and the University of Nevada, Reno's School of Social Work, the Upward Bound students prepared for their trip to D.C. by participating in a six-hour Civic Literacy Training led by the University of Nevada, Reno's School of Social Work. During their training, students reviewed U.S. governmental structure, learned about the Congressional policymaking process, and discovered their own potential for advocacy. "I've learned how to use my strong voice, stand up for what I believe in, and strengthened my leadership skills," said Upward Bound Math & Science senior Trisha Ta.

As part of the Day on the Hill, the students had the chance to share their Upward Bound experience with Nevada's representatives, including Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Senator Dean Heller, Representative Mark Amodei, Representative Dina Titus, and Representative Ruben Kihuen. Upward Bound Math & Science student Lisette Gallarzo said of her experience, "The most rewarding aspect was seeing how much our stories impacted the federal representatives. It made me realize that we can enact change by showing people everything we overcame to get where we are, and how we can change the world.

Though they had walked into the Capitol with some nervousness and uncertainty, the students left with a stronger sense of civic duty. Upward Bound 12th grader Araceli Salazar relished her experience in Washington D.C., saying, "I'm more excited to cast my first vote this year."

Mary Quiroga profile photo standing near the Quad