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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

    June 6, 2016

    Northwest Upward Bound launches Watch D.O.G.S. program to boost fathers’ involvement

    By Bhanu Teja Kurucheti, media relations assistant

    Northwest Missouri State University Upward Bound, a program designed to help local students finish high school and commit to higher education, will pilot an initiative this summer to involve father figures.

    Northwest Upward Bound is embracing Watch D.O.G.S (Dads of Great Students), a nationwide program that aims to provide positive male role models for students and demonstrate through their presence that education is important.

    Northwest Upward Bound is implementing the program to coincide with its annual summer component, which begins June 6 on the Northwest campus. Johnnie Engelbrecht, a senior human services major from Knox City, Missouri, and Upward Bound alumna, will lead the program with Assistant Director of Upward Bound Jackie Cochenour.

    Cochenour acknowledges Watch D.O.G.S. will look a little differently in the Upward Bound program than it does in the more than 5,000 schools that operate the program during the traditional school year.

    “We’re excited to bring our father figures to campus and to the academic spaces of our students,” she said. “They’re seeing what curriculum looks like in the summer, getting that hands-on experience with the students. They’re not just going to sit there. They’re actually going to be working with the students.”

    Through Watch D.O.G.S., students gain positive male role models, and schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears. The presence of father figures provides a deterrent to bullying and helps create an environment conducive to learning. Fathers also get a glimpse of their students’ everyday world and learn about the challenges and decisions youth face. As a result, they can learn to better relate and connect with their students.

    Northwest Upward Bound’s Watch D.O.G.S. program invites fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other father figures to volunteer at least one full day during the summer component. Watch D.O.G.S. will perform a variety of tasks, including working with small groups of students on coursework, presentations, ACT preparation, science labs, foreign language, history research and other projects as well as monitoring class breaks and lunches.

    “They’re volunteering their time,” Cochenour said. “They want to be present in their student’s lives, which is deeply impactful.”

    Sixty-eight students are enrolled this year in Northwest Upward Bound’s summer program, now in its 29th year. The six-week summer residential program annually brings youth to Northwest for college coursework and the chance to put some of their new skills to the test – from making early morning classes to getting along with roommates.

    “We are game changers when it comes to supporting students and families who have those additional barriers in front of them,” Cochenour said. “We are supporting them and breaking them down so they can be successful not only in their high school career but also in college and then their occupational career.

    “It’s not only supporting the student but also supporting the families who may not experience the process of working on their academics, the process of working on their financial aid, process of college admissions. We are empowering so many people to go further in their education. We strive to have our students be global citizens, global leaders and I think Watch D.O.G.S. is just another piece of that big picture.”

    For more information about Watch D.O.G.S., visit


    About Upward Bound

    Northwest Upward Bound, founded in 1987, is a federally funded education program that has helped hundreds of high school students reach their goals of attending college and finding success. Open to students who have completed their freshman year of high school up to recent high school graduates, Upward Bound helps students build self-confidence while preparing them for the academic, social and cultural challenges of college life. During the school year, Upward Bound students gather on the Northwest campus once a month to participate in workshops, college visits and other learning opportunities.

    Northwest Upward Bound serves high school students who come from low-income families, whose parents did not attend college or who live in rural areas. It serves students from seven high schools in northwest Missouri: King City, Maryville, Northeast Nodaway, Rock Port, Stanberry, Tarkio and West Nodaway.

    For more information about Northwest Upward Bound, visit

    For more information, please contact:

    Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

    Northwest Missouri State University
    215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468