UW News

October 7, 2010

Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity welcomes UW State GEAR UP Project

The UW State GEAR UP Project (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) has joined the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D), Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange has announced.

“We are looking forward to working with Washington State GEAR UP on developing creative and responsive programming to increase the college access of our state’s low-income students,” said Enrique Morales, OMA&D associate vice president and the project’s new princial investigator.

GEAR UP fosters college awareness and readiness for low-income middle and high school students by providing a variety of programs targeted to students and educators. OMA&D’s Outreach and Recruitment unit also has two large GEAR UP grants serving students in Eastern Washington and the Skagit Valley.

GEAR UP has been at the UW since 1999, when the Department of Education awarded Washington state a grant, administered by the Higher Educational Coordinating Board. As a partner in this program, the UW project currently serves 37 participating school districts.

The signature GEAR UP project at the UW, the Summer Institute, has served thousands of Washington state students. In summer 2010, more than 300 high school seniors from partner schools attended the four-day college immersion experience. The program is designed to help GEAR UP students learn about preparing for college, experience college life, and engage in career and college planning activities. While living on campus, students attend seminars taught by UW faculty, engage in hands-on learning activities at UW research labs and museums, and visit area colleges.

In September, the most recent GEAR UP students started their senior year of high school, and the project will conduct regional workshops on college applications, scholarships and financial aid, and how to successfully transition to college.

The GEAR UP project was part of the UW College of Arts and Sciences for nearly a decade, until it was transferred to the College of Engineering in 2008. There, the Summer Institute continued, and a Mathematics Academy — a rigorous summer program to prepare low-income high school students for the study of engineering — was developed.

In August, Roseann London, who has been with the project since 2004, assumed the responsibilities of director. The UW State GEAR UP offices will move from Loew to Schmitz Hall in January 2011. The new UW State GEAR UP Project website will be accessible on the OMA&D website in early October.