Now, she hopes to help ignite interest in science and expand the options for others.
The Upward Bound program offers four years of support and opportunity
for 66 students from challenging socio-economic situations. UD’s
chapter works with students from five area high schools including
McKean, Glasgow and Newark high schools in Delaware, and Elkton and
North East high schools in Maryland.
“She has been extremely supportive and so impactful for the
students,” said Camille Sims-Johnson, director of UD’s UBMS program.
“And the students are ready to go — you hear it in their conversations.
We see their grades go up just from having the lab experience. We get
those reports from [school] counselors all the time.
“She is one of the best. She really cares about these kids.”
A new UD doctoral student on a three-month rotation in her lab knows
the value of Upward Bound in a personal way. Ron McMillan, who grew up
in Wilmington, Delaware, and got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at
North Carolina Central University, was part of the program when he was a
student at Mount Pleasant High School. He was excited to hear about
Neunuebel’s involvement in the program.
“Upward Bound was a catalyst that allowed me to see myself in
school,” said McMillan. “It helped me out and people mentored me…. And
it’s really important for me to be getting involved with the youth,
especially those from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds.”
About the researcher
Ramona Neunuebel is an assistant professor of biological sciences at
UD, whose focus is on microbiology, especially bacterial pathogens and
their survival strategies. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s
degrees at Babeș-Bolyai University in Romania and her doctorate at Texas
A&M University. Before joining UD’s faculty in 2014, she did
postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health.
Article by Beth Miller; photos by Evan Krape and Julia Sosa