UB Student Spotlight: Madisyn Gowans

Madisyn Gowans
Madisyn Gowans

Burnsville High senior awarded Summer Bridge Promise Grant for Augsburg

Madisyn Gowans, 18, a senior at Burnsville High School in Burnsville, Minnesota, recently received a Summer Bridge Promise Grant, an award that covers the full cost of her tuition for four years at Augsburg University. Madisyn is a TRIO Upward Bound student through a federally funded program at Dakota County Technical College.

“I am very thankful that I received this grant,” Madisyn said. “It means a lot to me not to have to worry about money and the crazy burden of trying to pay for college.”

Madisyn Gowans

Madisyn Gowans

A first-generation college student, Madisyn will start at Augsburg this summer via the university’s TRIO/Student Support Services (SSS) Summer Bridge Program. She will begin the program in early July by moving into a dorm on campus and getting acclimated to college life through workshops, seminars and activities. She’ll also be taking two classes, Religion, Vocation, and the Search for Meaning as well as Public Speaking.

Madisyn is looking forward to majoring in social work with minors in youth studies and political science. She is thinking about joining the Campus Ministry and Women in Politics on campus. After finishing her bachelor’s degree, she plans to continue her education at Augsburg, earning a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.).

“I would like to work with teens and adults facing addiction issues,” Madisyn said. “I would also like to work with lawmakers to help make the jobs of social workers easier while knocking down barriers so people get the help they need faster and more efficiently.”

What is the TRIO/Student Support Services Summer Bridge Program? ¹

Augsburg TRIO/SSS allows up to 25 admitted first-year students to get a head start on their Augsburg education. During this five-week residential program students take two college courses for credit and attend academic support seminars, workshops, and other activities to help provide for a smooth transition to Augsburg in the fall. Summer Bridge participants will also participate in the academic year component of TRIO/SSS while enrolled at Augsburg. Learn more…

More about Madisyn…

Madisyn participates in Youth in Government at Burnsville High School. She’s involved in TreeHouse, a network supporting at-risk teens in Minnesota. She also works 20 hours a week while going to school as a bulk clerk at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in Savage, Minnesota. She has three older brothers, Travis, 31, who works at TreeHouse in Lakeville, Ryan, 30, who works at a car wash in Aurora, Colorado, and Tyler, 29, who works at a Cub bakery in Plymouth.

When she’s not studying or working, Madisyn loves to read nonfiction and realistic fiction, especially history and autobiographies. She enjoys viewing life from diverse cultural perspectives. She has a 7-year-old tabby cat named Bella and a 1-year-old white Holland lop rabbit named Lola. Madisyn resides in Burnsville.

“I’m very proud to see Madisyn receive the Promise Grant and be admitted to the Summer Bridge Program at Augsburg. As delighted as I am, I’m not surprised that she’s achieved so much. Madisyn is a hard worker who has always demonstrated focus and dedication to her future.
“It’s been exciting to work with her as she’s remained so confident in her career path and has relentlessly worked to find ways to pay for college. Because of her assertive nature and avid goal-setting, I have no doubt that Madisyn will be very successful in her time at Augsburg and beyond.”
Matt Logan, TRIO Upward Bound Advisor
Dakota County Technical College

Madisyn Gowans Q & A

Madisyn Gowans

Madisyn Gowans

What do you like best about Upward Bound?
Upward Bound taught me what I needed to know about college and gave me opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

How has Upward Bound prepared you for college?
Upward Bound prepared me for college by helping me figure out what I wanted to do and how to apply. The campus tours we took allowed me to narrow down my list of potential colleges. The advisors also helped me study for my ACT.

What advice would you give students thinking about enrolling in Upward Bound?
Do it and don’t drop out. Take advantage of the amazing opportunities. If I hadn’t joined Upward Bound, I never would have received my Summer Bridge Promise Grant.

Three words that describe you as an Upward Bound student:

What person has influenced you the most in life?
Sarah DeJonge, the area director of TreeHouse in Eagan. Sarah is my mentor and she helped me figure out where I should be in life. I can always turn to her with any issue. Sarah’s a great listener and we can talk about anything.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I would like to be the director of a treatment center, working with teens and adults.

About TRIO Upward Bound

Upward Bound is part of the family of Federal TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education. TRIO programs ensure equal educational opportunities for all students by providing skills and information needed to overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education.

Upward Bound helps students succeed academically by giving them the tools they need to first graduate from high school before enrolling in and graduating from college. Upward Bound participants have “college potential,” but are often unaware of the academic and career options beyond high school.


  • A motivational program based on academics, Upward Bound assists high school students with graduation requirements while preparing them for enrollment in and eventual completion of postsecondary education.
  • Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and sponsored by Dakota County Technical College, Upward Bound serves 50 students in grades 9–12 from Henry Sibley and South St. Paul high schools, and 60 students from Burnsville High School.
  • All qualified students are encouraged to apply.
    • Our policy obliges us to accept students who best conform to the program’s federal guidelines.
    • Applications are available through the Guidance Offices.
    • We will accept students who best conform to the program’s federal income guidelines, first-generation in the family to attend college, and potential for success in a college program of study.


  • Academic tutoring
  • Personal enrichment workshops
  • Stipend (money) during the academic year and summer months based on attendance and academic performance
  • One-on-one mentoring with an academic/career advisor
  • After-school program sessions twice a week
  • Six-week summer program at DCTC with math, science, English, foreign language, computer skills and study skills classes
  • Assistance with college entrance requirements
  • Parent/guardian support and assistance in matters affecting the student’s educational progress
  • Fun cultural, social and career-oriented field trips
  • Access to computer-based career and postsecondary educational information
  • Financial aid and scholarship information and assistance
  • Opportunities to meet many new friends who share the goal of a college education
Learn more…

Madisyn Gowans 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Hockey; I’m a Wild fan.
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Budapest
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Travel in general; I went to Puerto Rico this last February on an Upward Bound trip.
  4. First thing you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: Donate half to charity and pay off my debts; I would just want a minimalist studio apartment—you can’t measure the quality of your experience by what you have.
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Friends
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Patch Adams
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Be better than my upbringing.
  8. Your national bird if you could have one: Peacock
  9. Dream occupation: Social worker
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Michelle Obama
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Ride a unicycle.
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Inability to be empathetic and listen to others; we’re always thinking about ourselves and what we need.
Learn more about TRIO Upward Bound at DCTC by contacting:

Caitlin Siefkes
Director of TRIO/Upward Bound
Dakota County Technical College

¹ Courtesy of Augsburg University