Editor’s note: The “Meet the” series profiles the people behind groups, organizations and businesses in the community.
By Lillian Bowe
Isbele Garcia, 15, joined Eastern New Mexico University’s Upward Bound program this year knowing she would learn a little more than she would in school, but she did not expect to see a cadaver.
On Tuesday, Isbele Garcia and the rest of the Upward Bound students were taken to see a year-old cadaver and she said some got a little queasy.
“It was full of chemicals and it really smelled. That was the only really gross part,” said Isbele Garcia, a native of Clovis.
The high school students of Upward Bound have the opportunity to go to a six-week summer course program where they took classes on ENMU’s campus according to the coordinator of the program Daniela Garcia.
Catalina Arana, 17, who has been in the program for three years, said they get to take classes that count as credits for school.
Arana, a native of Portales, said she enjoys meeting new people and getting to learn more, but what she enjoys the most are the trips.
The students have the opportunity to travel to other colleges and take campus tours. Arana said they got to go to Albuquerque this year, where they toured the University of New Mexico.
“We got to eat at Route 66 Cafe and the burgers were so good,” Arana said.
This year the students are going to Boston for five days in July to visit Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
T.J. Richardson, 15, said they are very excited about the trip.
“I can’t wait to go,” Richardson said excitedly.
Richardson said he enjoys the summer program and likes that he is learning more.
Richardson also likes to participate in the team building games the students do every Tuesday and Thursday after classes.
Fourteen-year-old Bethany Vargas from Arch said she loves to meet new people and exploring the colleges the students visit. She said she is excited about exploring Boston and the two colleges.
Isbele Garcia, Richardson and Vargas all agree that their instructors, who are ENMU students, and directors of the program are great.
Juan Rivas, director of the program, and Daniela Garcia were in Upward Bound in high school and graduated from ENMU.
Rivas’ job is to handle the business side of Upward Bound while Daniela Garcia sets up the summer program, gets instructors for the classes and selects electives the students can take.
“I wanted to work for Upward Bound because it has such a huge impact on me and I wanted to give back,” Daniela Garcia said.
Rivas agreed that the program impacted him as well and he has seen an impact on the students he has worked with.
“I love to see them graduate and many go off to college. It’s a reward,” Rivas said.
Upward Bound is for students who meet low-income criteria as set by the U.S. Department of Education or are potential first-generation college graduates.
The Upward Bound summer program ends today and the program will host a banquet on Saturday to celebrate the students who excelled, Daniela Garcia said.