GAINING EARLY AWARENESS AND READINESS FOR UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS (GEAR UP)

KiBe GEAR UP Explores Careers at the Reach Center

On Monday, November 3, 2014 at 4pm Kiona Benton HS GEAR UP students and parents boarded a bus to the REACH Career Fair. Upon arrival all were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of representatives from various professions within the agriculture, environment, natural resource, and energy fields. Students made their way around talking with representatives from Tri-Tech to the University of Idaho to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Students and parents were able to take breaks from the career fair to enjoy the exhibits within the Reach Interpretive Center and eat pizza. As they explored possible career paths and colleges, they were able to mark one more table off that they had visited on their passport. Once completed, their passport was put in a drawing for gift cards to iTunes and Starbucks. Three lucky KiBe GEAR UP students won gift cards and were definitely glad they made the decision to attend!

Kiona Benton GEAR UP Explores Health Careers at WSU

On September 27, 19 Kiona-Benton High School GEAR UP students in 9th, 10th, and 12th grade boarded a bus at 6 am to explore health careers at WSU for their Health Career Fall Preview. GEAR UP staff partnered with the Kiona Benton High School science teachers to offer this exploratory experience. Although a Saturday, the students were willing to wake up early and attend because they knew it would positively benefit their future.

Once at WSU, the students were broken up into groups based on their intended career path. Options included pre-med, pre-dentistry, pre-vet, and pre-pharmacy to name a few. The students attended sessions including a student panel and a professor panel. After lunch at the Southside Cafe, students worked off their food hiking the hills of the WSU campus. The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to go inside the cadaver lab. Some students were excited to see the cadaver lab, while others were afraid to go in. Once inside, the staff eased the students into the idea of seeing a human body. Students held human hearts, lungs, kidneys, and brains! After seeing the parts of the body, the students all gathered around as they revealed a real human body they were examining. Although some were not as pleased with going inside the cadaver lab, all walked out experiencing an unforgettable opportunity!

Ki-Be Seniors GEAR UP for College Applications

xKi-Be GEAR UP seniors came back to school early to be part of a college boot camp aimed at preparing them for the upcoming college application process. The weeklong boot camp began on August 4, 2014 and went through August 8, 2014. Students sleepily dragged themselves into the classroom at 8:00am on Monday to begin the information and website exploration part of the boot camp.

xMonday through Wednesday, students were taught various bits of information pertaining to the application process such as, courses needed to go straight to a university, GPA requirements, the difference between the SAT and ACT, and of course financial aid. Students even took a career assessment to either confirm or make them think more deeply about their career choices. Upon being fed information, students were then able to apply it to themselves personally as they did a scavenger hunt throughout the three days that involved looking for specific information pertaining to their college of choice. For example, while the minimum GPA to apply to Washington state universities as determined by the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) may be a 2.0, students were able to see what the average GPA of students admitted to their chosen school was. To break up the monotony of sitting in a classroom for 4 hours, we also had the students participate in ice breakers and physical activities.

xAfter these three days of instruction and exploration in the classroom, students were able to attend an overnight college visit to the Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland areas. On Thursday, students, some still in pajamas, loaded the bus at 7:00am to embark on the journey West. The action-packed day involved visiting University of Washington at Bothell, University of Washington at Seattle, and Seattle University. The favorite college of the day, across the board, was Seattle University, which many students admit they did not know existed or were not thinking about. After the college visits, students had time to explore Pike Place Market and enjoy dinner at Red Robin. We finally check into our hotel in Tukwila around 7:30pm and the students had no issue with lights out at 10:30pm because after our long day of walking and exploring they were exhausted!

x Friday, after grabbing breakfast at the hotel, we visited Pacific Lutheran University, Washington State University at Vancouver and University of Portland. The most surprising campus of the day was Washington State University at Vancouver. The campus was small in terms of how many building are on campus, but large spatially as it is about the same size as the main campus and offered some amazing views. After our whirlwind tour of 6 colleges in 2 days, everyone deserved and most indulged in a shake at Big Jim’s in The Dalles on the way home. We arrived back at Ki-Be at 9:30pm with very enlightened seniors. Our small but mighty group of students all agreed they thought others would also enjoy this GEAR UP trip because it was informative, interesting, and they learned a lot about the colleges as well as themselves.

KiBe GEAR UP Goes to College

LVP 2On July 14, 2014 Kiona Benton High School GEAR UP students excitedly traveled to Washington State University in Pullman, WA to spend 3 nights at the campus as part of the Leadership, Vision, Partnership Camp. Throughout the camp, students participated in activities to help them meet other students, learned more about themselves as leaders, learned about the college application process, stayed in Stimson Dormitory, ate in the Southside Dining Hall, and even worked together to complete the challenge course offered through the Student Recreation Center. The challenge course was definitely the highlight of the students’ visit to WSU. Before tackling the main course, students worked together to get all participants across imaginary lava and onto three tiny platforms using a swinging rope. Some students struggled more than others, but their teammates were right there to cheer them on and reassure them. Ultimately, after squeezing together and completely removing personal bubbles, all participants made it! After this, students practiced their communication skills further as several students relayed directions to a squishy ball on the ground using nonverbal cues to a single person who translated those directions into verbal direction to a blindfolded participant. The students worked through their frustrations as they guided the blindfolded participant to success!

LVPOn the second to last day, students were able to do some reflection through an art project that challenged them to think about how they think others see them versus how they see themselves. Each student was given a mask that they decorated accordingly to the two differing views. This proved to be an emotional exercise for many students as they shared the very personal meanings behind their masks.

LVP 3On the final day, although plenty exhausted, students wished they could have stayed longer and complained about leaving. Kiona Benton GEAR UP staff, Alyse Pivovarnik and Ashley Fidler, was able to witness many changes in the students over the course of this experience. Thanks to GEAR UP, a few incoming freshmen will feel more comfortable joining the high school in August 2014 as they were able to make connections with sophomores and seniors. The older students very naturally became mentors to the incoming freshmen as they shared advice and which clubs to join. In addition, the students began to display a greater selflessness as they expressed concern for those students who were struggling with physical or emotional issues. Alyse and Ashley were also able to connect more with students and have positive conversations about the college process and relieve any concerns students were feeling about going to college. The camp was a huge success and all students expressed feeling like others would also enjoy the experience!

Amazing Agricultural Career Showcase at Ki-Be High School

GEAR UP students at Kiona-Benton High School spent the first week of their summer break learning about agricultural sciences and potential career paths that require a four year degree. GEAR UP brought guest speakers from the community to speak to the students about their careers including Andrew Schultz, a vineyard manager, and Sergeant Brian Fulton, an officer with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Schultz talked to the students about his experience managing a vineyard. Students listened to Schultz’s day to day operation, his educational background, and types of products his crops are used for.

agFulton described his experiences working for a government agency and how he started with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Students were captivated by the environment Fulton worked in and how hands on his job is.

On the second day, GEAR UP provided the students  an opportunity to further explore the field of agriculture by creating a PowerPoint presentation on a topic of their choice within the agricultural field. The most exciting part of the GEAR UP career academy was visiting Washington State University Tri-Cities and the University of Idaho.

At WSU, students hung out in the BSEL greenhouse and listened to WSU advisors talk about their new and up and coming viticulture program. WSU also gave students the opportunity to pot plants and have hands-on experience of what this major was all about.

At the University of Idaho, students enjoyed an all you care to eat lunch in the diningag commons followed by a tour of the campus and a presentation by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Students visited the entomology classroom filled with insects—alive and preserved.  Students were careful not to lean on the cupboards around them as they might squish a live critter roaming around the room freely.  Several students who were brave enough even got to hold a tarantula! 

Upon returning to Ki-Be, students shared their presentations with one another over pizza.  Thanks to GEAR UP, students reported enjoying the college visit because of the hands on activities and they think others would benefit from it as well!

WSU Tri-Cities
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WSU Early Outreach