On Friday, January 16, KiBe GEAR UP seniors, having just finished semester finals, boarded the bus in the morning relieved to be that much closer to graduation and excited to further explore their post-high school options. Our overnight visit began with a visit to Spokane Community College (SCC). At SCC, the seniors endured the cold as snow covered the ground around them to receive a campus tour. Afterward, they had a presentation on meeting the different degree requirements and financial aid facts. Students learned about how to utilize the SCC website in order to identify what classes at SCC transferred to the university of their choice. Seniors were engaged and asked questions about various programs offered.
After enjoying lunch at Panda Express, students were offered a wonderful presentation at Washington State University Spokane that included an admissions overview, breakout sessions with the nursing,
athletic trainer, and speech and language pathology programs, a student panel, and a hands-on look at what students in the nursing program do. Students were divided into groups to hear from professors as well as students in the three programs. Seniors were allowed to go into the nursing lab that housed many dummies. They met Thelma, a patient, controlled by another person behind a window. Thelma was as close to a human being as possible it seemed! She breathed, had an identifiable pulse, blinked her eyes, talked, coughed, and even made guttural noises that could be heard with a stethoscope. Students were invited to listen to her lungs and stomach with stethoscopes, check for her pulse, and even practice CPR when she stopped breathing! The program WSU Spokane put together for the students went above and beyond to not only let the students hear about general information, but see and practice what it truly feels like to be a student there.
After an exciting, hands-on visit to WSU Spokane, students again boarded the bus, this time heading to Whitworth University. At Whitworth, students learned what life at Whitworth might be like if they were attending Jan-term. Snow covered the ground as we toured the campus learning about the option to attend a Jan-term class, which lasted 3 hours daily or to attend a Jan-term study abroad experience. Upon completion of our tour around campus, students received further admissions information from a Whitworth alumnus, CJ Perry, who enjoyed his experience as a student so much that he now works for the university as an admissions counselor. After eating dinner at Red Robin, which some students had never been to, we checked into the Ramada Inn at 8pm leaving the students 2 hours to enjoy the indoor swimming facilities at the hotel before lights out.
On Saturday, after breakfast at the hotel, we ventured to Eastern Washington University (EWU) where we spent several hours not only learning about what EWU has to offer, but also general college selection information. Randy Corradine, Diversity Outreach Coordinator at EWU, shared his family history, what it was like being the first in his family to attend college, as well as some of the things he learned from his mentor about choosing the right college. Students were engaged as they were able to hear from someone whose experience they might be able to relate to or learn from. Before leaving for the campus tour, Randy challenged the students to define “university.” While the students came up with wonderful definitions, they were not quite what Randy was looking for, but he acknowledged the validity and power the students possessed in being able to come up with clear definitions in their groups. After the campus tour, students ate lunch in Baldy’s Food Court among actual college students. Figuring out how to discard their trays, plates, and trash proved to be a learning experience for the students—one that they were able to accomplish. KiBe seniors then returned to the classroom to learn about how to best determine college fit using EWU’s VOCAL acronym (Value, Opportunity, Community, Academics, Location). Randy emphasized that the students need to find the school that works best for them as individuals. Randy also wanted the students to focus in on their dreams as he gave them a handout to identify their dream career along with 3 action steps they need to take in order to achieve that dream. Following Randy’s presentation, Site Manager, Alyse Pivovarnik, and College and Career Planning Specialist, Ashley Myers worked with the students on how to navigate choosing classes at any college or university to ensure they are meeting the requirements to complete their degree. After a quick pit-stop for dinner at the Pita Pit in Pasco, students were excited to be home. Students reported that this trip opened their eyes to greater possibilities. One student said she is now considering continuing her education beyond cosmetology school after having attended this trip while another said he is now more interested in EWU.
KiBe GEAR UP would like to give a big thank you to Becki Meehan at WSU Spokane, Randy Corradine at EWU, Ramona Barhorst at Spokane Community College, CJ Perry at Whitworth University and KiBe GEAR UP’s own Ashley Myers for putting together a wonderful visit for the students!