Forever True, For Iowa State

Bound for success

Iliana Castillo-Machuca remembers the ninth-grade teacher who recommended her for Science Bound, Iowa State’s intensive nine-year, pre-college through college program that integrates each student’s teachers, family and Iowa State mentors into hands-on projects, summer classes, visits to campus and family meetings.

“Mr. Benson was always a positive mentor in my life. He thought I was doing well, and he told me about Science Bound,” says Iliana, now an Iowa State graduate in biology and second-year doctoral student in plant pathology, physiology and weed sciences at Virginia Tech.

And that’s exactly the point of the program, says Science Bound Director Alexis Campbell. “Science Bound is designed to create opportunity – and to help meet the demand for a globally competitive, highly trained workforce by increasing the number of racially and ethnically diverse Iowa students who pursue degrees in agriculture, science, technology, mathematics (ASTEM) and education,” she says. “It’s not just a one-off touch point. It’s continuous service provided by many community members.”

David Peña Medina can attest to that. “It’s 100 percent due to Science Bound that I’m here at Iowa State now as a first-generation student,” says the junior in actuarial science.

Iliana, too, is a first-generation college student, as are approximately 75 percent of other Science Bound students. As a result, “Sometimes it can be difficult,” admits Iliana. “But in the end, finding your passion and being able to fulfill your goals is such an amazing and incredible feeling. The fulfillment is worth it.”

Such a long-term, intensive program requires significant financial resources, and donor support – especially through the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign – is invaluable. Many donors, both individuals and companies in the towns offering Science Bound, consider their support an investment in their communities and their workforce.

“We appreciate the donors who support Science Bound and the invitation it extends to students to become future Cyclones and leaders for Iowa and beyond,” Campbell says.

“To donors who support Science Bound and other scholarships,” David says, “I want you to know: When you help out one student, you enable them to influence so many others.”