UB Student Spotlight: Giomara Pérez Medina

Giomara Pérez Medina

South St. Paul senior receives Summer Bridge Promise Grant

Giomara Pérez Medina, 17, a senior at South St. Paul Secondary High School, participates in TRIO/Upward Bound at Dakota County Technical College. Giomara recently received a Summer Bridge Promise Grant from Augsburg University. The grant award covers the full cost of tuition for four years at Augsburg. Summer Bridge is a TRIO/Student Support Services program.

Tony Harsh

“I am really grateful for this opportunity,” Giomara said. “My mother wasn’t able to graduate high school and being able to take a step higher into my education is something I really value. My biggest worry was that my family had been struggling financially, and they wouldn’t be able to afford college, but this opportunity has helped me to continue with my dream.”

Tony Harsh, a TRIO/Upward Bound advisor at DCTC, has worked with Giomara during her time in the program. “Giomara is poised to be very successful in her college years and beyond,” Tony said. “She is driven and has always been looking forward to the next accomplishment as a student and a person. She is also incredibly kind and genuine and will touch the lives of many. I am very proud of her!”

As a Summer Bridge participant at Augsburg, Giomara will:¹
  • Complete two Augsburg courses in a very supportive learning environment for credit that counts toward graduation requirements
  • Live on campus in the residence hall
  • Learn and develop valuable study skills that will be useful throughout college
  • Participate in academic seminars, workshops, and other on-and off-campus activities designed to familiarize students with Augsburg and their new
  • Minneapolis environment
  • Begin college with a great group of peers

Giomara is graduating from South St. Paul in May 2020. She attended Upward Bound every Tuesday and Thursday after school.

“I wasn’t able to fit more activities into my schedule because I work after school,” Giomara said. “I also take care of my younger brother, who is eight years old. Even though I wasn’t able to attend many activities, I am looking forward to participating in Latinx groups during my college years.”

As a student at Augsburg, Giomara is open to exploring majors related to early education and medicine. She is working on choosing her major before attending Summer Bridge.

“I really enjoy working with kids and hope to pursue a career in that area,” Giomara said. “I also enjoy healthcare and have thought about working as a pediatric nurse.”

More about Upward Bound at DCTC…

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.

More about Giomara…

Giomara at Upward Bound activity

Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Giomara has three siblings—two older sisters, Maria, 22, and Irma, 21, attend Normandale Community College and work together at Instacart, and one younger brother, Leonardo, 8. Giomara’s mother, Irma, works as a bus driver.

Giomara works two jobs while going to school. “I really like going to work,” she said. “I work at Panera Bread and a girls clothing store called Justice.”

In her free time, she enjoys going on short runs and listening to music, especially Spanish music. She loves volunteering and helping others. Giomara resides in South Saint Paul.

Three words that describe you as an Upward Bound student:

Giomara Pérez Medina Q & A

What do you like best about Upward Bound?
I really like how this program makes you feel at home. This program has been like a family to me and has been my biggest support system. Whenever I would feel stressed or upset, Upward Bound would always be there to cheer me up.

Tony Harsh, my advisor of this program, has also been my biggest help during my years in high school. I have been in Upward Bound since the end of my 8th grade year and I don’t regret all the years I spent with them.

How has Upward Bound prepared you for college?
Upward Bound has taught me to be more hard working and never give up. There were many times where I doubted myself, and all the advisors always pushed me to do better. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for this program.

What advice would you give students thinking about enrolling in Upward Bound?
I would highly encourage to turn in all the paperwork on time because the spots are easily filled up. Also, be open to get out of your comfort zone.

What person has influenced you the most in life?
My mother has been my biggest influence. She has worked so hard to give her children the best she can. Even in hard situations, she never gives up and that inspires me to be like her.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Influencing young children to follow their dreams. Also, doing a lot of volunteering and providing for my future family.

One word that best describes your Upward Bound experience:


Giomara Pérez Medina 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: I like to run short distance
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Frankfurt, Germany
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Going to Mexico and learning more about my culture
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Donate some money to charities 2) Buy a home for my family in Mexico 3) Give to the homeless
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Jane the Virgin
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: McFarland USA
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Provide for my family in the future and help other people follow their dreams
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Blue grosbeak
  9. Dream occupation: Pediatrician
  10. Person you would most like to meet: The Weeknd
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Learn a third language (German)
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Homelessness and hunger
Learn more about TRIO/Upward Bound at DCTC by contacting:

Tony Harsh
TRIO/Upward Bound Advisor

¹ Courtesy of Augsburg Summer Bridge