Upward Bound 2019 Summer Program

UB alum Na’eema Jakes graduating from N.C. A & T State University

Dakota County Technical College is hosting a TRIO Upward Bound 2019 Summer Program from Monday, June 17, through Friday, August 2. Upward Bound students are participating in hands-on STEM projects on the DCTC campus in Rosemount, Minnesota. The UB students will be traveling to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center to learn about environmental science. They’ll also be studying world languages at Concordia Language Villages and visiting colleges in the Duluth area.

“On July 19, we will be hosting the DCTC Upward Bound Summer Showcase at Thompson County Park in West St. Paul,” said Caitlin Siefkes, director of TRIO Upward Bound at DCTC. “Students will be able to show off their STEM projects to family and friends.”

Caitlin added that UB students will be taking one of four classes during the summer:

  • Robotics
  • Rockets/Aviation
  • Apparel Design
  • Sound Engineering

Projects from all four classes will be on display at the Summer Showcase.

On Friday, June 28, the college hosted a Q & A panel discussion and luncheon in the Dakota Room on campus. Composed of Upward Bound alumni who are current college students or recent college graduates, the panel took questions from a full room of current UB students.

DCTC Upward Bound Summer Showcase

Free and open to the public

Please reserve free tickets to the event so Upward Bound staff can estimate free dinner requirements for attendees. Anyone can reserve free tickets online.


UB Graduates Q & A Panel gallery

View more event photos in the DCTC Flickr album:

Upward Bound Summer Program 2019

Upward Bound Graduate Spotlight: Na’eema Jakes

Na'eema Jakes

Na’eema Jakes

Na’eema Jakes, 22, graduated from Burnsville High School in 2015. Nai participated in TRIO Upward Bound at BHS. Her experience as a UB student helped her launch her college education at North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, as a Journalism & Mass Communication major. After completing an internship this fall, Nai will be graduating from N.C. A & T in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Multimedia Journalism.

Nai plans to return to Minnesota after graduating to continue her education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she’ll enroll in the Master of Arts/Juris Doctor dual degree program in mass communication and law offered by the Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication and the U of M Law School.

“My goal is to practice media law and help black women who are small business owners,” Nai said.

Nai has four siblings, a twin sister, Shy, and a younger sister, Nevaeh, 13, and two older brothers, Koree, 35, and Darren, 30. In her free time, Nai enjoys reading autobiographies and documentaries. She also likes to watch YouTube. She and her friends have a podcast called Thirsty 30.

Nai plans to work during the summer months as an early education teacher at New Horizon Academy Minneapolis Marquette. She resides in Minneapolis, which is also her birthplace.

You can follow Nai on social:

Instagram: @shes.nai
SoundCloud (podcast): Thirsty 30
Twitter: @__MinnesotaNice

Na’eema Jakes Q & A

Na'eema Jakes

Na’eema Jakes

What did you like best about Upward Bound?
The college readiness connections you make.

What advice would you give a student thinking about participating in Upward Bound?
Do it. You won’t regret it.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

Why should students participate in student clubs, organizations and activities?
You feel part of something. You make lifelong connections. Upward Bound gives you the chance to explore who you are.

What one word best describes your experience in Upward Bound?

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…

Na’eema Jakes 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Yoga and meditaion
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Alaska
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: A symposium at N.C. A & T for undergrad research and creativity; my research was on “Surviving R. Kelly.” My mentors and I conducted a framing analysis of tweets by black women. 
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Pay off my student loans 2) Help out my mom 3) Give back
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Real Housewives of Atlanta
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Us
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Bring about positive change in my community
  8. Your national mammal if you were your own country: African elephant
  9. Dream occupation: World travel blogger
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Maya Angelou
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Play classical piano
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Racism
Learn more about TRIO Upward Bound at DCTC by contacting:

Caitlin Siefkes
Director of TRIO Upward Bound
Dakota County Technical College