photo of Taying Yang

My experience with the program was instrumental in exposing me to different races, cultures and experiences.

Upward Bound Profile Piece
Taying Yang
Everett High School, Lansing, MI – Class of 1994

I was excited to be a part of Upward Bound because it was a great introduction to higher education.  My experience with the program was instrumental in exposing me to different races, cultures and experiences.  Upward Bound pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to graduate from the program with life experiences that you can’t learn in a classroom.

Upward Bound introduced me to the college experience, allowing me to attend classes on MSU’s campus as a high school student.  Living and eating meals in the residence halls really mimicked the college experience for me.  This exposure helped solidify my interest in obtaining a college degree, while, at the same time helped ease the anxiety of what college life would be like.  The non-academic experiences also really helped shape my personality and character.  I am grateful that I was able to build lifelong relationships through Upward Bound.

One of my favorite memories from Upward Bound is the time I spent at Camp Highfields.  This experience really pushed me physically and mentally.  It also challenged my trust in strangers, but also strengthened my bond with fellow students.  It is very difficult to pinpoint one single favorite memory from Upward Bound because I had so many great experiences.  Every summer field trip was extremely educational but also memorable for all of the extracurricular activities.  Upward Bound was responsible for introducing me to many things I never would have tried, or have had the chance to try otherwise.  The summer trip to Chicago gave me my first ever experience at the opera with the viewing of Miss Saigon, and the summer Washington D.C. trip was my first ever visit to the White House.

My experience with Upward Bound was key to shaping my interest in both college and in medicine.  Upward Bound has taught me the importance of being compassionate and really reaching for the stars.  The compassion that Glenda Hammond and Sandra Firestone, along with the entire Upward Bound family, provides to high school students is amazing, but also contagious.  The support and love that they gave me as a student was everlasting.  Upward Bound has really helped me become a better student.  The small things that you learn as a student in the program can easily be overlooked, but the impact is truly lifelong.  Upward Bound taught me as a freshman in high school the significance of being independent and being responsible, which are traits that are key to future success in both college and life. 

I earned a doctor of Medicine degree from the MSU College of Human Medicine and I currently work as an anesthesiologist at Hennepin County Medical Center, a Level 1 trauma hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  In this position, I am responsible for caring for patients while they undergo surgery.  I also oversee the patients when the surgery is complete to assure they are awake and comfortable prior to being discharged from the recovery room.

It was truly a privilege to have the opportunity to participate in Upward Bound.  I encourage kids to participate in the Upward Bound program because it is a life changing experience.  Through Upward Bound, you will be challenged in so many ways.  You will have the opportunity to form lifelong relationships with career-minded individuals.  Everyone who participates in Upward Bound comes out of the experience as both a better student and person.