Eastern Michigan University

Upward Bound
Institute for the Study of Children, Families, and Communities
Eastern Michigan University
201 Boone Hall
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: (734) 487-0488
Fax: (734) 487-5088
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Meet the Staff 

Jennifer Fong, Director, Upward Bound 

Bio: My early love for learning and education lead me to a career in education starting as a classroom teacher and then moving on to become Assistant Curator of Education at the Toledo Zoo, and then as Director of the Center for Professional Studies at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. Prior to coming to Eastern Michigan University, I served as Grants Administrator at Toledo School for the Arts. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Toledo, and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lourdes University. I am currently completing an Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Bowling Green State University where my research is focused on equity in education for underserved, urban students and schools.

Personal Info: A lifelong Toledo, Ohio resident, I love learning, traveling, cooking, and curling up with a good book. I also love spending time with family and friends, but I am most proud of my two beautiful children, Kevin, a senior in high school and Katie, a high school sophomore.

I love my job because: As a first generation college student myself, I understand how critical it is for students to have a support system to succeed in high school and help them prepare for college and beyond. I am dedicated to helping our Upward Bound students achieve the dreams they have set for themselves and I enjoy watching them grow and develop into confident, successful young adults.

Email: jfong@emich.edu


Haley Mulka, Academic Program Specialist

Haley Mulka Bio: I served as an Admissions Officer for 5 years and through that position uncovered a passion for college access and readiness. My mentors guided me to new opportunities to increase my knowledge and sharpen my skill set; I would not be here without them. I earned a Bachelor's degree in English/Journalism from Madonna University and am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Higher Education at EMU.

Personal Information: I love to learn and my family jokes with me that I'll still be taking classes when I'm 90 (which is probably true!). I listen to a wide variety of music and go to concerts whenever possible. For quieter moments, nothing beats hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee or kicking back with a Biggby latte and good book. 

I love my job because:  I understand how important it is as a student to feel supported as you prepare for success in high school and college, and I love to connect students to resources and networks that provide that support. It brings me a lot of joy to see students uncover their potential, discover new talents, and achieve their academic and personal goals.  

Email: hmulka@emich.edu


Stephanie Hawkes,  Academic Program Specialist

photo of Stephanie Hawkes Bio:  I've always had a love for education and continually work towards expanding my knowledge on issues surrounding education and success. I earned my Bachelor's degree in Language, Literature, and Writing for Secondary Education and my Master's in Educational Leadership for Higher Education Student Affairs, both of which were earned at Eastern Michigan University. Prior to working for EMU's Upward Bound, I worked at Purdue University as an Assistant Director for the Purdue Promise Program.

Personal Information:  I am a person with a ton of hobbies and am always up for learning something new. I love sewing, cooking, crafting, decorating cakes, and making soap. When I'm not making something, I enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family.

 I love my job because: I'm passionate about helping students be successful. Student success and college access have always been areas of interest for me and I'm happy to be in a job that allows me to do both.

 Email: shawkes@emich.edu


Kim L. Rankins, Senior Secretary

Bio: I have worked a total 6.5 years at Eastern Michigan University in the Nursing Department and The Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities before starting with Upward Bound in 2008. I have Associate Degrees from Washtenaw Community College in Administrative Technology, Administrative Medical technology and a Certificate in Computer Applications. Currently, I am attending Eastern Michigan University and working toward completing my Bachelors degree in Business, Management, Marketing, and Technology.

Personal Information: I have two beautiful daughters and a wonderful grandson. I enjoy several activities with my family such as swimming, biking and traveling. My hobbies include crocheting and taking care of my flowers and plants. My participation in church is also very important to me.

I love my job because: The environment is very friendly. The staff and student workers work together in meeting the goal of Upward Bounds mission statement. I enjoy watching the hard work the students of Upward Bound do to excel as high academic achievers. It is an honor to be a part of this team.

Email: krankins@emich.edu


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