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High schoolers explore the college experience through Upward Bound

Upward Bound high schoolers explore technology at Hayden Library Makerspace.
July 8, 2022

Students learn about technology, support at ASU Hayden Library's Makerspace

Every summer, around 200 high school students from metro Phoenix spend time at Arizona State University in the Upward Bound program, where they learn what it’s like to be on a college campus — and what it takes to get there.

They stay in a dorm, hike up "A" Mountain, use the Sun Devil Fitness Center and, most importantly, learn about the technology and support that’s available at ASU.

Last week, a group of Upward Bound students learned how to use a computer program to design models. Then they printed them out on a 3D printer and were even able to experience their projects in a virtual reality gallery.

The staff from the Makerspace at Hayden Library guided the teens through every step.

“We want them to understand and know that if they come to ASU, the university has these technologies available for them,” said Victor Surovec, program coordinator for Hayden’s Makerspace.

“Just like you can check out book, you can check out virtual reality equipment. And they not only will have access to this, but they will have a support team at the library that will help them learn to use any of it.”

The Makerspace staff taught the students to use the Tinkercad program for design. Alexa Ramirez Garcia, who will be a sophomore this fall at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, created an incredibly detailed model of the room she stayed in at Tooker House.

“Our teacher introduced us to the program and I thought it would be cool to have an actual model of my dorm,” she said.

She spent hours designing the walls, floor and even dressers with working drawers.

“She only had to make a 10-piece model for the final and she’s made over 300 pieces,” said Surovec. Some of the complex pieces took eight hours to print.

Ramirez Garcia was then able to walk around “inside” her project with the Makerspace’s virtual reality headset.

Upward Bound is one of the federally funded TRIO programs and has been held at ASU since 1966. The goal is to encourage low-income students, who would be first-generation college-goers, to graduate from high school and learn what it takes to attend a university. Besides academic coursework like math, English and science, high schoolers in the four-week summer program also work on lab projects and take field trips. Upward Bound also offers “Saturday Academies,” where students learn about financial literacy and search for scholarships.

Erica Alcala, a teacher’s assistant for Upward Bound, said that the experience shows the teens the balance of freedom and responsibility they will have as college students.

“In the afternoons, they have workshops and then personal time, where they can do their own thing,” she said.

“Like college students, they have to be at certain places at certain times, and there isn’t someone monitoring that.”

Ramirez Garcia said the program has inspired her to consider college.

“Maybe I’ll go to college, but I’m not sure about ASU because I want to go abroad,” she said.

“I think I’d like to major in psychology or criminal justice, and computer science, too.”

Zcaniyah Morgan, who also attends Carl Hayden, loved the design class.

“I like to design stuff on the computer, but usually you have to follow directions. But here, we could use our creativity, which I thought was really fun,” she said.

And is she now interested in attending college?

“Way more than I ever thought,” she said.

“At first, I thought I didn’t want to go because it wasn’t something I was really interested in. When I get out of high school, I can go away and live life, right?

“But coming here, I’ve seen the things you can do. It’s great that I have all these opportunities now. It’s definitely made me think about it.”

Top photo: High school students Tamo Avelar (left) and Alexa Ramirez Garcia (right) prep their 3D models at the Hayden Library Makerspace on July 6 at the Tempe campus. Photo by Deanna Dent/Arizona State University

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU News


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Teen nursing student set to graduate with BSN before she can even drive

July 8, 2022

Elliana Tenenbaum on track to be youngest nursing grad ever at ASU

Editor’s note: This story is featured in the 2022 year in review.

Move over Doogie Howser, M.D. — we’ve got the real deal here.

Her name is Elliana Tenenbaum, a 15-year-old California native who has chosen Arizona State University to pursue her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and she’s not even old enough to drive.

She will graduate with her BSN next summer and will turn 16 in the fall, making her the youngest nursing student graduate ever at ASU.

In 2009, ASU had a student graduate at age 17, but this is truly unique, says Judith Karshmer, dean of the Edson College.

“The fact that Elliana has found her passion in nursing and is pursuing it at this level already is really impressive," Karshmer said. "Our program at Edson College is quite rigorous in order to adequately prepare future nurses for the workforce. Her ability to handle the coursework and clinical experiences at such a young age is extraordinary and truly sets her apart. I’m just glad she picked us to earn her BSN and can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in the future.”

Students listening to lecture in classroom

15-year-old Ellie Tenenbaum listens to a lecture in NUR 336 Experiential Learning. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Tenenbaum says she discovered her passion to heal people at an early age by shadowing her father.

“I've always had a calling to heal people and I grew up with my dad as a medical doctor. ... I think I was 4 when I did my first shot and 8 when I did my first thyroid ultrasound,” she said.

Greatness runs in the family. Her mother, Maya, has her PhD, has taught statistics and political science, and continues her love of learning by taking postdoctoral classes. She says her daughter had a “deliberate plan,” and even mapped out her journey to success using charts to keep track of her credits and progress. In all, she says about 300 emails were sent back and forth between her daughter and her counselor.

“It’s really gratifying as a parent to see a child living up to their full potential and finding their gifts and giving back to the world,” Maya said.

Elliana Tenenbaum comes from a family of five, including a brother who attends the University of Arizona. Yet she chose ASU because of the accelerated nursing program, and has found Edson professors to be exceptional and her fellow students to be quite supportive.

“They have accepted me as one of their peers and it’s been a great experience,” Tenenbaum said.

She sped through her high school years and took college credit courses while at El Camino High School at Ventura College in Ventura, California. And while she is incredibly smart, she said she did find some of her anatomy and physiology courses to be challenging at times.

The program she is enrolled in now is even more intense. It involves a rigorous 16-month accelerated program designed to give cohorts of nursing students real-life experience by working with patients, doctors and nurses in local hospitals and clinics.

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15-year-old Ellie Tenenbaum (front left) and others work with a nursing mannequin in NUR 336 Experiential Learning. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

“I am looking forward to working with more at-risk populations because there’s a greater responsibility there and they really need it,” said Tenenbaum, who has begun clinicals at the Justa Center and John C. Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Phoenix.

So, what’s next for this real-life Doogie Howser? While she can legally practice nursing in Arizona once she passes her state board exam, known as the NCLEX-RN, she plans to continue her education and pursue a master's degree and a doctorate in nursing, which is a step beyond a nurse practitioner. She has an interest in acute care and trauma but would also like to explore other options that might allow her to see the world, such as travel nursing.

She advises others to be open-minded and to “not limit people by their age, and recognize people as individuals and not as numbers, because everyone is different and learns at different paces"

She also says, "If you have an interest in something, find a way to pursue it.”

As for that driver’s license, well, she’s also enrolled in driver’s education courses, too, and will take a stab at that shortly after graduating college. But first things first.

Top photo: Fourth-year nursing students Nikki Vu (left) and 15-year-old Ellie Tenenbaum listen to each others' heart rates in their NUR 336 Experiential Learning course on Thursday, June 23, at the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation's Mercado facility. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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