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Sooner Upward Bound

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Sooner Upward Bound

For the past three years, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has participated in this 5 to 6 week Program. Faculty and staff have worked closely with the SUB staff to develop a Chemistry course with laboratory component that fits into their daily summer in residence program.

The purpose of the Sooner Upward Bound (SUB) Program is to generate in program participants the skills and motivation necessary to complete a program of secondary education and to enter and succeed in a program of postsecondary education.

SUB Program participants must be potential first-generation college students, or individuals who at a high risk for academic failure, and have a need for academic support in order to pursue successfully a program of education beyond high school.

The Biochemistry classes are composed of 15 to 20 high school Sophomores and Juniors from U.S. Grant, Northwest Classen, Capitol Hill, Douglas, and Star Spencer High Schools in Oklahoma City.

The SUB Biochemistry course centered on student-based research projects to extract Echinacea compounds from Echinacea purpurea (eastern coneflower) plants. The chemical composition of the extracts was determined using mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The curriculum incorporated study in Chemistry, Botany, Mathematics, Medicine, History, Sociology and Native American Studies. These topics introduced students to the chemistry and history of natural products and herbal medicines.

The students participated in a research poster presentation in the Stephenson Life Sciences Research Center. Each group of 2 students presented their results from the extraction and analysis of the Echinacea within the stems, flowers, roots or leaves. Faculty, staff, and students from the department were invited to attend and the response was fantastic. The students were very professional in their dress, demeanor, and interaction with invited guests. The monogrammed lab coats and posters had a remarkable impact on the students; the transformation in these young adults was immediate and profound.

Student feedback regarding course content was obtained with entrance and exit surveys. Overall, the student response was very positive and they gained a greater appreciation for the biochemistry and the chemical sciences.

For more information on Sooner Upward Bound, please contact Dr. Charles Rice at