The Science Bound program at Clarke Community School District has been making waves, providing unique opportunities for students to delve into ASTEM (Agriculture, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), as well as education, fields. With the program’s diverse offerings and hands-on experiences, students are learning about these critical areas, developing essential life skills, and forging lasting connections.

The Science Bound program is Iowa State University’s pre-college through college program to increase the number of diverse Iowa youth who pursue degrees and careers in ASTEM fields. The Clarke Community School District Science Bound is divided into two groups, one for high school students and another for middle school students. There are currently 11 middle school Science Bound students and 32 high school Science Bound Scholars. Students may join Science Bound as early as 8th grade and are inducted as 9th graders to become scholars. While they have different objectives,  both groups follow the same code of conduct emphasizing how Science Bound Scholars are leaders, proactive, committed, focused, determined, and success-bound.

One of the most exciting opportunities of Science Bound is its full-ride tuition to ISU for an ASTEM major or teaching. This funding, provided by ISU, is a significant boost for students aspiring to pursue these fields. Ronda Wishon, the middle school Science Bound leader, reiterated the hard work and hours of dedication the students must put into their learning, experiences, and projects to achieve the goal of attending ISU.

Students in Science Bound have had a variety of experiences to enrich their learning journey. These include:

  • Science Fair: 8th Grade students used the science process to ask questions, test hypotheses, and form conclusions. They then practiced public speaking by presenting their projects to staff and community members for judging.
  • Boone Overnight Retreat: 8th graders participate in this retreat focused on environmental studies, where they engage in activities like building shelters, learning about Native American storytelling, and even trying their hand at archery.
  • On-Campus Activities: Students get the chance to explore different careers, visit with professors, and gain insight into college life.
  • AG Discovery: This two-week program allows students to live on campus and explore agricultural sciences.
  • Shadow Days: Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to shadow college students, gaining valuable insights into college life and various professions.

Science Bound has had a profound impact on both students and the community.  Wbe Sklow Pavas, the High School Science Bound leader, emphasized the importance of connections and socialization that Science Bound provides. He highlighted how students make connections with peers from other campuses, which is invaluable for their personal and professional growth. Industries also play a significant role in the program. Thank you to Osceola Foods for being Clarke Science Bound’s community partner.

This year marks a milestone for Clarke Community School District Science Bound as it sees its first cohort of students graduating from the program. While the program hopes to see three students graduate this year, this milestone is a testament to the program’s success and the hard work of its participants.

Science Bound at Clarke Community School District is not just about science—it’s about empowering students, building connections, and preparing them for a bright future in ASTEM fields and beyond. With its innovative approach, hard-working students, and dedicated staff, Science Bound continues to be a beacon of success for students in Clarke and beyond.

For more information about Science Bound, please contact Ronda Wishon or Wbe Sklow Pavas at Clarke Community School District.

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