Welcome to WSU Early Outreach

Prescott Students Visit the Wall of Money

Scholarship time is right around the corner and Prescott students are learning about the easiest way to make thousands of dollars an hour, by applying for scholarships! No longer is this something that only Seniors do, there are scholarships specifically for Juniors, there are scholarships for being over 6 feet tall. Don’t like to write long essays? How about $500 and you need to keep your application under 10 words!

The first step at Prescott is to visit Mr. Thew’s “Wall of Money” and find a scholarship that fits your eligibility. The second step is to apply, sometimes this is an essay, other times it is submission of a drawing or a haiku. Finally you need to open a bank account to store all of your newly found riches!

RVHS Students Interested in Health Sciences visit CBC's Medical Building

On Friday, October 30th, Finley GEAR UP took 17 River View HS students to visit Columbia Basin College’s medical building, the Richland Health Science Center in Richland, Washington. The building houses CBC Health Science programs including, Surgical Technology, Radiologic Technology, Nursing, & Phlebotomy, among others. The students that attended the trip were documented with GEAR UP as being interested in a medical field using a 5th year planning spreadsheet.

The visit to the Health Science Center was broken up into 4 sessions each focusing on a separate program offered by the college. The sessions were led by an instructor/professor for each program. The first program the students learned about was Radiological Technology. The students were able to see real life examples of x-rays from actual patients in the Tri-Cities, which they thought was really cool. Examples included a knife in a man’s chest, a knee cap fracture, a baby, and bullet shrapnel in a person’s foot. Rene Fox, the associate professor for the program expressed how important rad-techs are in the medical system, and how in many medical emergencies they are vital to finding out what is wrong with a patient.

The next session was about the Nursing program at CBC. Students were able to tour the nursing facilities and see all of the very life-like dummies the nursing students have to practice their knowledge on. The dummies ranged in age from an adult male to an infant.

The third session the students had was about being a Surgical Technician. This session is one the students enjoyed a lot. During the session, a current surgical tech student at CBC let the students observe him as he went through the process of becoming sanitized. Everyone was shocked at how long the process was, getting his hands cleaned took over 10 minutes and by the time he was completely sanitized, gowned, and done setting up the surgical table; about 25 minutes had gone by. The students also had some hands on opportunities during this session, handling some of the different tools and using a couple of them for an Operation like game where one student had a camera and flashlight and another had a pair of surgical tweezers and had to use them to help grab a small object from the inside of a patient’s “stomach”.

The last session the students attended was about being a Medical Assistant. The students toured the facility the Medical Assistant students use and learned a little about what kinds of things the students have to do in the program, including testing each other’s urine and practicing giving each other vaccines (over 100) throughout the program. This program is highly competitive and in the past few years they’ve only accepted about a third of the total amount of applicants. The program takes one year for a certificate, so the demand is high to take part.

Overall, the students were really engaged and interested in what CBC had to offer them, and because all of the students are genuinely thinking about a future in a medical field, this trip was a perfect way for them to see some of the options they have just in their backyard. Thank you to the GEAR UP tutor supervisors for helping the trip run smoothly and to River View High School Principal Chris Davis for stopping in during lunch. 

Prosser High Ambassador's Elections and College Night 2015

As we move along the school year, Prosser High and WSU GEAR UP have had some exciting events take place in November. From student led conferences to college night, the students have been busy the last few weeks before thanksgiving break. The GEAR UP staff has been right there with the students, encouraging them to participate in the school events.

To begin with, in the 2nd week of November PHS held its annual student led conferences. Some of our tutors were able to translate for the Spanish speaking parents ensuring that the student were informing his/her parents of grades and any teacher comments. Our Graduation Success Specialist had a change to interact with the students to discuss their grades and 13 year plan. Parents were able to meet our GEAR UP staff and set up tutoring for their daughter/son. Overall, PHS had a great outcome in the student led conferences.

It was Election Day on Nov. 18th for our Ambassador program. The previous officers were recognized, and given a certificate of recognition. For this year the students were able to run for President, Vice-President, Event Planner, and Promoter. As President, the student must attend all the meetings/ events, report back to the other ambassadors about upcoming events, and interact with other students. As Vice-President, the student in this position must be able to perform all the duties as the president in case of his/her absence. An Event Planner's duties are to plan any upcoming events. For example, if one of the students had an upcoming birthday, the event planner is in charge of coordinating something special for the student. The Promoter will be in charge of promoting GEAR UP by creating flyers for any upcoming events. They will work with GEAR UP staff to promote any upcoming events

The students running for these positions were able to script a speech and share to fellow students on why they would be the best candidate for the position. After the candidates presented their speech the students were able vote for the officers. Our GEAR UP staff counted the votes and new officers were appointed. The officers are as follow: President: Edith Raya, Vice-President: Gabriel Orozco, Event Planner: Maria Zaragoza, and Promoter: Aaron Gutierrez. Congratulations to these kids who did an extraordinary on their speeches!

Another event that GEAR UP participated in was Family College Night. Prosser High School hosted its annual Family College Night, where different college reps in our nearby area come for one night and give out information about their admission process. This event is opened to the community so there was a good amount of community members who attended.

Celebrating National GEAR UP week at Moses Lake!


National GEAR UP Week was a great opportunity to raise awareness in the community about the positive impact GEAR UP is having at MLHS and around the country!

To start the week off, on September 19th there was a Kick-off event at MLHS. Within the event there were college readiness activities, parent and student presentations about college readiness topics like financial aid, choosing the right college for you, and many more. Our GEAR UP Alumni Leader, Rosa Valdivia, gave a presentation on how GEAR UP has influenced her life positively.

staffOn September 21st GEAR UP with the help of Moses Lake High School hosted a staff lunch in which all staff were welcome. GEAR UP staff took this opportunity to talk to the staff about the GEAR UP Program. On September 22nd, we had the Graduation Cap activity, where students wrote their name, dream school, and dream career on a graduation cap which were later displayed around the halls. On September 23rd, everyone represented their favorite college/ university by wearing college gear. 

On September 24th, students participated in the “Road Map to Your Future” activity. Students wrote their name and dream school on a sticker and put it on a large map next the city and school they want to attend. The maps were displayed in the school commons for everyone to enjoy and participate.

To wrap things up on Friday, September 25th our SAS team went around to classes and presented some GEAR UP Workshops. They presented on college and career readiness topics for example, financial aid, scholarships, and career pathways.

Overall, National GEAR UP Week was a success at MLHS and everyone enjoyed it!

Dayton - National GEAR UP Week in a Small Town/School

GEAR UP week in a small school can be more of a challenge than in a large school because of less numbers in students and staff. However, National GEAR UP Week was an opportunity to raise awareness in school and community about the positive impact GEAR UP is having locally. It was a time to share our program's accomplishments and to get students involved with our services to students and families.

Some of the activities Dayton did during National GEAR UP Week; Staff and students made posters for every class room that said, “College. It’s not a Dream, It’s a Plan.” A wall in the high school was designated for students to post their dreams. Each morning during the announcements, a student read CollegeBrainy Quotes. We had planned for a GEAR UP College Pep Rally with students verses teachers in college trivia, which did not play out but we will plan to do next year. We ended the week with an after-school informational meeting for parents and students. We felt that GEAR UP Week was a success in putting out the message of awareness of “College. It’s not a Dream, It’s a Plan.”

Scholarship Winner GEARs UP Southridge

On November 4th GEAR UP welcomed and presented guest speaker Kristina Ellis to Southridge High. GEAR UP partnered with Southridge High to adjust the day’s class schedule. During this schedule change, all junior students were given the chance to listen to Kristina speak about her experiences and what could be expected when applying for scholarships. News media got wind of the guest speaker from Tennessee coming to share her insight at Southridge High School and made an appearance to catch quick interviews with a couple students and Kristina herself. Winner of $500,000 in scholarships and the author of Confessions of a Scholarship Winner, Kristina Ellis shared her tips and tricks on the scholarship application process to all who attended her presentations.

One of our GEAR UP Ambassadors had the opportunity to introduce her to the stage as the junior class took their seats. She was able to relate with the student’s thoughts of fearing rejection and or the lack of motivation to apply for scholarships simply because of the mindset of not feeling smart enough to receive one. Students were surprised to find out Kristina wasn’t a straight A student. Her strategy was to apply to all scholarships she came across that pertained to her and to stay active with school clubs and extracurricular activities, as well as to step up in leadership roles. In hopes to stay a step ahead of any competition, she invented and led her own shoe drive for kids in need. Kristina shared other tips such as, don’t underestimate scholarships that offer small rewards because they will add up, and scholarships of all kinds exist if you search for them. She also informed students that not winning every scholarship you apply for is normal and expected.

Kristina made sure to leave enough time for questions and answers at the end of her presentation to junior students. Students were reminded that here at Southridge, they are lucky enough to have a Scholarship Specialist as a resource. The hours of research that Kristina had to put in for hunting down scholarships is mostly taken care of for Southridge students thanks to our Scholarship Specialist, as well as GEAR UP staff who post upcoming scholarships on a bulletin board in the school’s main hallway.

Teachers at Southridge were also given an opportunity to meet one on one with Kristina Ellis at the end of the day during a brief presentation held in the school’s library. The last presentation given was opened up to all students and parents in the Kennewick School District. In total we had 75 parents show up to hear Kristina Ellis speak on the importance of scholarships and the strategies she used to be a successful scholarship winner. GEAR UP was more than grateful to have such an amazing and successful person come and share her ways to prepare for post-secondary education with Southridge’s students and parents!

Kiona Benton High School Students GEAR UP for Their Futures

On Friday, November 20, 2015 GEAR UP, in collaboration with Kiona Benton City High School staff, helped organize the 2nd annual College and Career Day for KiBe students. The event started at 9:10am and ended at 11:45am in time for students to go to lunch. Students attended 4, 35-minute sessions during this time. One session was the college/ military fair going on in the Commons and the other 3 sessions were based off their stated interests.

The planning started in September as all students were asked to label on a survey their top 10 interests. Interests included “Cost of College,” “Mechanical Engineering,” “Computer Science,” “Agriculture Business Manager,” “Viticulture,” “Doctor,” and so much more. GEAR UP Site Manager, Alyse Pivovarnik then compiled survey data to show which topics had the most interest. From September to November, many professionals in the Tri Cities were contacted and asked to share their professions with the students of KiBe. While Ms. Pivovarnik worked on the career and college presentation side of the event, KiBe counselor, Kimm Minkler, contacted colleges, special programs, and military to be present during the traditional college/ military fair portion of the day.

The event grew tremendously from last year, boasting 46 sessions covering 33 topics from last year’s 45 sessions covering 21 topics. Instead of offering a generic “Health Careers” session, Ms. Pivovarnik saw the importance of breaking that broad topic apart and this year offered “Nursing,” and “Doctor” presentations. In addition, last year’s “Engineering” was broken into “Mechanical Engineering,” Electrical Engineering,” “Chemical Engineering,” and “Computer Science” with help from Areva’s North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) chapter. There was a greater focus this year on careers during the classroom presentation portion of the day. After all, a student must be knowledgeable of his or her future career in order to determine what education to pursue beyond high school.

The feedback from the event was exciting and encouraging!  Last year, many students did not complete the initial interest survey and were placed in sessions randomly. That paired with the fact that not as much variety was offered, led to some student disappointment. However, this year was different. One teacher said, “I was in the DJ performance and saw students come alive in ways they would never in a gen. ed. classroom. I have already heard from students, ‘I can’t wait for this next year.’”  These student sentiments were confirmed as Ms. Pivovarnik read through comments on the event feedback surveys. Students said, “It opened my eyes. I figured out my life on a career;” “It got me excited about the future;” and "I saw different opportunities." 

Overall the event was a great success as students were able to explore the exact careers they are interested in rather than being in sessions covering broad, general topics. Ms. Pivovarnik looks forward to continuing to improve the event as she looks forward to next year.

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  1. Clarkston GEAR UP hosts another successful Family College Planning Forum
  2. Clarkston OVP III Take the PSAT to prepare for the Redesigned SAT
  3. Clarkston High School OVP III Students Take the ASVAB
  4. Southridge takes the PSAT
  5. Southridge celebrates GEAR UP Week
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