October 18, 2010

OMA&D Welcomes UW State GEAR UP Project

By Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

The University of Washington State GEAR UP Project (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) has joined the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) effective Sept. 1, Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange 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 OMA&D Associate Vice President Enrique Morales, the project’s new principal 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 Skagit Valley. GEAR UP is one of many programs operated by OMA&D that advances the UW’s mission of increasing access for diverse students seeking postsecondary education.

In 1999, the Department of Education awarded Washington state a GEAR UP grant, administered by the Higher Educational Coordinating Board.  As a partner in this program, the UW State GEAR UP Project currently serves 37 participating school districts (both Scholars Project and GEAR UP for Student Success sites).

The University of Washington State GEAR UP Project’s signature program, the Summer Institute, has served thousands of Washington state students since its inception in 1999. In summer 2010, over 300 high school seniors from partner schools across the state attended the four-day college immersion experience. The Institute 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 attended seminars taught by UW faculty, engaged in hands-on learning activities at UW research labs and museums, and visited area colleges. This September, the GEAR UP students started their senior year of high school.  To meet the needs of the students, the project will conduct regional workshops on college applications, scholarships and financial aid, and how to successfully transition to college.

For nearly a decade the project was part of the UW College of Arts and Sciences.  In early in 2008, the project’s director, Thomas J. Calhoun, Jr.,  was appointed Assistant Dean in the UW College of Engineering  and the UW State GEAR UP Project transferred to the college to become part of a larger complement of K-12 outreach programs. In the College of Engineering, the program continued to offer the GEAR UP Summer Institutes, and also developed a Mathematics Academy, a rigorous summer program to prepare low-income high school students for the study of engineering.

In August of 2010, Dr. Calhoun accepted an appointment at the University of North Alabama.  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 University of Washington State GEAR UP Project web site is accessible here.

For more information, please contact Roseann London, Director, UW State GEAR UP Project, at rmlondon@uw.edu or 206-221-5306.

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