DevUp Scholars Group

DevUp Scholars

The DevUp Scholars Program is an interactive three-year program that exposes high school students from Chicago’s South Side to STEM and entrepreneurship, connects students with mentors, and prepares students to pursue STEM majors and careers. 

DevUp focuses its programs on social justice through STEM entrepreneurship, equipping students with the skills to be innovative STEM leaders in their communities. Students are empowered with the skills and the knowledge to influence peers in their school community through student-led events at their home schools.

DevUp Scholars Program Partner Schools

Elevate College Prep partners with high schools for the DevUp Scholars Program. Schools that nominated students who were selected for the 2023 DevUp cohort include: 

  • Benito Juarez Community Academy
  • Perspectives/IIT Math and Science Academy
  • Dunbar Vocational Career Academy
  • De La Salle Institute
  • Bronzeville Scholastic Institute
  • Chicago Vocational Career Academy
  • Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
  • Englewood STEM High School
  • Jones College Prep
  • Kenwood Academy High School
  • Gary Comer College Prep
  • Tilden High School
  • South Shore International College Prep
  • Wendell Phillips High School
  • Lindblom Math and Science Academy
  • Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
  • Corliss High School
  • UIC College Prep
  • Walter H. Dyett High School

Program Nominations

The Elevate College Prep team is now accepting nominations for the 2024 sophomore cohort the DevUp Scholars Program.

High School teachers, counselors, and administrators can now nominate a freshman student or freshmen students who they believe would be a great fit for the DevUp Scholars Program. Students who are nominated should demonstrate leadership, curiosity, a commitment to excellence, and a desire to contribute to the future of STEM or humanities.

Timeline for 2024 DevUp Scholars Program Cohort

  • February-March 2024: Nominations are accepted
  • April 8, 2024: Deadline for nominations
  • Mid-April 2024: Students are invited to interview or complete an essay
  • End of April 2024: Students are selected for the 2024 cohort
  • Early May 2024: Students and their parents are invited to attend the 2024 Welcome Ceremony 
  • June-July 2024: Students may participate in one of Elevate College Prep’s summer programs
  • August 2024: Students begin their DevUp journey as a high school sophomore

Program Structure and Benefits

Each cohort of DevUp scholars is selected at the end of the students’ freshman year in high school. The scholars receive a full scholarship to participate in structured STEM enrichment activities every month beginning the summer before their sophomore year and continuing through their high school graduation; the program takes place at Illinois Tech and at the students’ individual high schools. 

The monthly activities are designed to expose students to the depth and breadth of STEM, to cultivate their leadership and an entrepreneurial mindset, and to build their college readiness. 

Here is a year-by-year look at the Develop Scholars Program:

 FocusExample Activities
10th GradeIn the first year of the DevUp Scholars Program, students develop a relationship with their mentors, explore STEM disciplines through structured events and summer programs, and become familiar with Illinois Tech’s campus and its resources. Each student develops a plan for their high school career to stay on track to pursue a STEM major in college.
11th GradeIn year two, DevUp scholars continue to explore STEM disciplines and careers. They also prepare for standardized tests and learn the mechanics of writing a compelling college essay to convey their individual experiences and academic goals.
12th GradeIn the third and final year, DevUp scholars are immersed in the college application and selection process. They learn about concrete strategies for completing and submitting applications, applying for financial aid, and networking. The goal is to prepare students to successfully pursue and thrive in higher education.

Students in each cohort of DevUp scholars will be connected with mentors who are current Illinois Tech undergraduate students. We will prioritize pairing students with mentors who graduated from Chicago Public Schools or local charter schools. Scholars will also network with STEM professors and industry professionals.

At the completion of the program, DevUp Scholar Program graduates who are admitted to a degree-seeking undergraduate program at Illinois Tech will earn a guaranteed tuition scholarship of $25,000 and a housing scholarship of $5,000 annually to attend the university. Students may be eligible for additional aid to attend Illinois Tech after submitting their FAFSA.

If you have any questions about the DevUp Scholars Program, please contact Gabrielle Palomo, coordinator of pre-college access, at

Students taking part in DevUp orientation

Upward and Onward

The inaugural cohort of DevUp scholars began its journey at Illinois Tech in summer 2021.

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