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High school STEM program receives funding

Cougs Rise will pair 120-plus students with WSU faculty

Ray+Acuna-Luna+discusses+the+additional+%24120%2C000+given+to+Cougs+Rise.+He+says+the+program+is+looking+to+give+high+school+graduates+STEM+experience+early+on.
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High school STEM program receives funding

Ray Acuna-Luna discusses the additional $120,000 given to Cougs Rise. He says the program is looking to give high school graduates STEM experience early on.

Ray Acuna-Luna discusses the additional $120,000 given to Cougs Rise. He says the program is looking to give high school graduates STEM experience early on.

EUGENE LEE | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Ray Acuna-Luna discusses the additional $120,000 given to Cougs Rise. He says the program is looking to give high school graduates STEM experience early on.

EUGENE LEE | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

EUGENE LEE | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Ray Acuna-Luna discusses the additional $120,000 given to Cougs Rise. He says the program is looking to give high school graduates STEM experience early on.

HANNAH WELZBACKER, Evergreen reporter

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Cougs Rise, an initiative of WSU’s Office of the Provost, has received an additional $120,000 in funding to help create a summer STEM program for graduating high school students.

Funded by federal grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Cougs Rise serves first-generation or low-income students from five high schools in Washington state. University High School, Rogers High School, Wenatchee High School, Hudson’s Bay High School and Bremerton High School make up the 120-plus students who are a part of the program.

Director Ray Acuna-Luna said the program is specifically designed for increasing students’ integration and aptitude in STEM courses. He said it is very unlikely for incoming first-year students to have an opportunity to do research.

“We also recognize that early exposure to high-impact experiences can help guide them in where they want to go and developing connections with faculty,” Acuna-Luna said.

The goal is to partner students who come for the Cougs Rise summer bridge program with faculty members who will expose them to hands-on experience, he said. Acuna-Luna understands traditional teaching is part of the educational journey, but hands-on is just as important.

“During the summer bridge program, students come to WSU for a period of time to receive more resources regarding transitions and academics,” Acuna-Luna said.

This year students will come to WSU for one to six weeks, he said. After issuing a news release announcing the need for STEM professors, Acuna-Luna said he has already received interest.

Senior Emily Kaselen is one of the student mentors for Cougs Rise. She said she became a part of the program after working with WSU’s Multicultural Student Services and Asian Pacific American Students Coalition’s annual student-led conference.

“I want to pass on my experiences knowing that I have come from a first-generation and low-income background,” Kaselen said.

Cougs Rise is not the only student success initiative, Acuna-Luna said. Aspiring Teacher Leadership and Success (ATLAS) and Invest in Success both provide support to low-income students.

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High school STEM program receives funding