Conference Materials

Monday, February 5

Excel 1: Leveraging Change Management tools for GEAR UP Program Planning (PowerPoint) (Planning Template) (Delivery Chain Photos)

Excel 2: Building Schools That Work for All Students (PowerPoint)

Excel 3: Naming, Claiming, and Aiming Our Talents (PowerPoint)

Excel 4: Breaking Barriers to Successful Family Engagement (General PowerPoint & Reflection Sheet) (Leadership PowerPoint & Handout) (Curricula PowerPoint & Handout) (Recruitment PowerPoint & Handout) (Partnerships Handout) (Supplemental Handouts 1, 2, & 3)

Excel 5: Redefining Readiness (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, & 3)

Excel 6: Transferable Models of Instruction (PowerPoint)

Excel 7: GEAR UP in the 7th Year—Fulfilling the Promise (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1 & 2)


Seminar #1: Completing the GEAR UP Annual and Final Performance Reports (ED) (PowerPoint)

Seminar #3: Preparing for Your Next GEAR UP, Pt 1: The Competitive Process (PowerPoint) (GEAR UP Application Selection Criteria)

Seminar #4: Preparing NEW GEAR UP Leaders for Success, Pt. 1: Compliance and Administration (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Seminar #5: Creating a Culture of Makers: Incorporating Hands-On, Low-Cost STEM Activities in GEAR UP (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Seminar #6: Pick a Problem: Changing the Paradigm of Student Guidance Through Problem-Solving (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Seminar #7: Making Good College Tours Great: Making Good College Tours Great: Strategies to Take Yours to the Next Level (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Seminar #9: Reaching Higher: Effectively Utilizing the (Free) Tools and Resources from Better Make Room (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Seminar #11: Cut the Jargon: Financial Aid Language for Real People (PowerPoint)

Tuesday, February 6

Prove 1: Beyond Compliance: Effectively Mapping Your APR and FPR Data (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1 & 2)

Prove 2: Improving Your Team's Use of Data, Evidence, and Action Planning (PowerPoint) (Handout Packet)

Prove 3: The Four Keys of College & Career Readiness-Actionable Strategies Grounded in Research (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1 & 2)

Prove 4: Predictors and Indicators of College Readiness: Understanding the Research to Improve Programming (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1 & 2)

Prove 5: Deconstructing Data for Optimal Programming (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1 & 2)

Prove 6: Mapping an Analytic Framework to Advance Evaluation (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1 & 2)


Seminar #12: Documenting the Match and Cost-Share Requirements (ED) (PowerPoint)

Seminar #15: Preparing New GEAR UP Leaders for Success, Pt 2: Foundational Issues in GEAR UP Implementation (PowerPoint)

Seminar #17: Putting the CAREER in College and Career Readiness (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Seminar #19: Harmony Out of Chaos: Effectively Manging Your Goals, Portfolio, & Team (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Seminar #20: A Completely Modern Approach to Evidence-Based Mentoring (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, & 3)

Seminar #22: Up Your Game: Advancing Readiness Through Gaming (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Wednesday, February 7

Mobilize 1: Delivering Effective Presentations (PowerPoint) (Handout Packet)

Mobilize 2: Securing Buy-In Through Advocacy (PowerPoint) (Advocacy Packet)

Mobilize 3: Culturally-Responsive Communications in Family Engagement (PowerPoint) (Handout Packet)

Mobilize 4: Crafting a Communications Plan (PowerPoint) (Communications Packet) (Handouts 1 & 2)

Mobilize 5: Culture, Identity, & Experience: Building an Effective GEAR UP Brand (Handout Packet)

Mobilize 6: Igniting Imagination: Harness Story, Play, and Design to Create Transformative Learning Experiences (PowerPoint)


2017 NCCEP/GEARUP Annual Conference

Monday, July 17

Concurrent Sessions

  • #4: Social Networking Speed Date: Connecting Rural GEAR UP Programs (Handout)
  • #5: Building Parent Communities to Improve Student Outcomes (PowerPoint)
  • #8: College Before College: Leveraging the Campus, Community, and Courses to Encourage University Enrollment (PowerPoint)
  • #9: The Financial Aid Journey Continues-From FAFSA Completion to Maintaining Yearly Award Eligibility (PowerPoint)
  • #11: The Story, The Path: How Student Stories Shape Their Direction (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 34, 5)
  • #13: Your Best Untapped Resource: Engaging Students Through Peer-to-Peer Learning (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #15: Lessons Learned from Implementing a Statewide Online Homework Help Program Through Regional & Local Lenses (PowerPoint)
  • #16: Leveraging Dual and Concurrent Enrollment to Propel GEAR UP Students to College (PowerPoint)
  • #18: 11th & 12th Grade College Resource Guide:There’s a U for YOU! (PowerPoint, Resources, Guide)
  • #19: Twelfth Year and Beyond (PowerPoint) (Student Workbook) (Handouts 1, 2, 3)
  • #25: Planning Year Seven: Developing New Partnerships with Postsecondary Institutions (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #27: Money Skills: Tips and Tools to Equip Yourself, Students, and Parents for Money Decisions (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #32: Lessons Learned from the Class of 2013: Practical Applications Supporting Students in the Seventh Year (PowerPoint) Handouts 1, 2)
  • #34: Oh, The Places You Can Go Within The NCCEP Virtual Learning Community (PowerPoint)
  • #35: Cultivating College Success: Building a College Graduate Starting in Early Grades (Handout)
  • #39: Developing Programs That Address Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor Domains of Learning (PowerPoint)
  • #41: Collegiate Counselor’s Academy: Cultivating a Purposeful and Helpful Counselor Program (PowerPoint)
  • #44: Risk Assessment: Preparing for a Financial Audit (PowerPoint) (Handouts)
  • #45: Change Management Strategies To Calm The Storm Of GEAR UP’s FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #53: How to Build Strategic Alliances with Community Partners (PowerPoint)
  • #54: A Day in the Life: Improving Collaboration with School Based Staff (PowerPoint) (School Counseling Plan) (Handout)
  • #55: Pick a Problem: Changing the Paradigm of Student Guidance Through Problem-Solving (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • #56: Building & Repairing Relationships in a Middle/High School Setting (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3)
  • #57: Analytics and Evaluation: A Blueprint for How to Use Data More Effectively (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Tuesday, July 18

Concurrent Sessions

  • #63: Creating College-Going Culture Buy-In Through Cohesive Partnerships (Powerpoint) (Handout)
  • #64: Overcoming Mentoring Obstacles in Rural Schools (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  • #66: Making the Case Your GEAR UP Program Works: Promising Practices and Pitfalls (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • #67: Creating Caring Connections: Family Engagement Resources for Boosting Outcomes with Harder to Serve Families (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • #68: Hidden Figures: Uncovering the Full Academic and College Readiness Potential of GEAR UP Students (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #71: Creative Curriculum for Student Engagement (PowerPoint)
  • #74: Empowering Students with Data Analysis Skills Through Question Driven Discovery (PowerPoint)
  • #76: Putting the CAREER in College and Career Programming (PowerPoint)
  • #78: On the Cheap – Tools, Resources and Strategies for Enhancing Your GEAR UP Communication (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #80: Thinking Beyond the Pie Chart: Using Data Visualization to Tell Your Story (Powerpoint) (Handouts 1, 2)
  • #81: A Completely Modern Approach to Evidence-Based Mentoring Part One: Technical Design and Implementation (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #82: Conducting Effective Role-Alike Conversations Across District Teams (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #83: Working Smarter, Not Harder: Collaboration Is Key (PowerPoint)
  • #84: Social Belonging and Student Success: Research and Promising Strategies (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • #87: Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas: The Steps to Creating a Workplace Mentoring Program (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #88: Creating a Personalized College Affordability Plan with Students (PowerPoint) (Handouts 12)
  • #90: Signature for Success: Using College Signing Events to Recognize Success (PowerPoint)
  • #93: Overcoming Data Limitations: Matched Comparison Group Innovation Through Grant Retrospection (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #94: Administering the GEAR UP Scholarship (PowerPoint)
  • #95: Creating/Implementing 12th Grade Transition Courses to Ensure Students Succeed in Gateway Courses (PowerPoint)
  • #98: Supporting Students in the Seventh Year: How to Build a Flexible Mindset in Freshmen (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #104: The Right Fit: Helping Students Understand Their Higher Ed Potential (PowerPoint)
  • #105: GEAR UP First-Year College Programming (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2)
  • #108: Engaging High School Students in Summer STEM (PowerPoint)
  • #110: A Completely Modern Approach to Evidence-Based Mentoring – Part Two: Experimental Design (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #115: Making the Most of National GEAR UP Week. (Presentation and Resources)

Wednesday, July 19

Concurrent Sessions




"Connecting to the Big Picture: An Orientation to GEAR UP" (PowerPoint) (Recorded Webinar; January 30, 2017) 

Monday, February 6


E1: Focusing on Implementation through ‘Delivery’ Methodology (PowerPoint) (Planning Template)

E2: Continuous Improvement in Education Using the School Success Model (PowerPoint) (Handout)

E4: Cultivating a College-Going Culture (PowerPoint)

E5: Cultural Competence: What It Is and Why It's Important (PowerPoint)

E6: Creating Transferable and On-Going Learning (PowerPoint)

E7: Demystifying Innovation (PowerPoint)


Seminar #1: Completing the GEAR UP Annual and Final Performance Reports (ED) (PowerPoint)

Seminar #2: GEAR UP 101: The Basics of Program Management (PowerPoint) (Self-Assessment)

Seminar #3: Roundtable: The GEAR UP 7th Year (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Seminar #4: Who's at your Table? Sustaining Change in Districts and Schools (PowerPoint)

Seminar #5: Supporting Trauma-Exposed Youth: Strategies to Create a Trauma-Sensitive School (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3)

Seminar #6: Planning the Perfect College Visit (PowerPoint) (Worksheet)

Seminar #7: Developing Growth Mindset for Families (Handout)

Seminar #8: Promoting Noncognitive Skills Through a Classroom Guidance Curriculum (PowerPoint) (Handouts)

Seminar #9: Using FAFSA Completion Data for Better Outcomes (PowerPoint)

Seminar #10: Roundtable: Evaluation in Your Next GEAR UP Application (PowerPoint)

Tuesday, February 7


Prove Burst Session with Brandon Busteed (PowerPoint)

P1: Developing a GEAR UP Data and Evaluation Infrastructure (PowerPoint)

P2: Usable Data: The Importance of Consistency, Fidelity, and Denominators (PowerPoint) (Exercises 1, 2)

P3: Data-Driven Decisions in Schools (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3, 4)

P4: The Four Keys of College and Career Readiness - Applying Research to Action (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2)

P5: Visualizing and Communicating Data for Impact (PowerPoint)

P6: Data-driven Counseling (PowerPoint) (Handouts 1, 2, 3)

P7: Roundtable: Improving the Quality and Rigor of GEAR UP Research and Evaluation (PowerPoint)


Seminar #11: Documenting the Match and Cost-Share Requirements (ED) (PowerPoint)

Seminar #12: Tools and Resources for Managing Your GEAR UP Grant (PowerPoint) (Resources)

Seminar #13: Coordinator's Corner: Our Role in Effective GEAR UP Implementation (PowerPoint)

Seminar #16: Igniting Student Inquiry through Project-Based Learning (PowerPoint)

Seminar #17:  After the FAFSA: SAR Review, Follow-up & Verification (PowerPoint)

Seminar #18: Sitting on the Other Side: Understanding College Application Essays (PowerPoint)

Seminar #19: HIP: Strategies for Effectively Engaging Students in High Impact Programming (PowerPoint)

Seminar #20:  Preventing Summer Melt: Removing Barriers and Building Bridges (PowerPoint); Summer Melt Handbook; Region One Education Center Senior Playbook

Wednesday, February 8


M1: Developing a Message that Works (PowerPoint) (Exercises)

M2: Securing Buy-In Through Effective Advocacy (PowerPoint) (Exercises)

M3: Delivering Effective Presentations (PowerPoint) (Exercises)

M4: Culturally Responsive Communications (PowerPoint) (Lesson Plan Template) (Sample Lesson Plan)

M5: Crafting a Communications Plan (PowerPoint) (1 Page Plan) (Exercises)

M6: Overcoming Barriers in Family Engagement (PowerPoint) (Handouts: Action Planning, Rubric)

M7: The Foundations of Purposeful Storytelling 


2016 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference


Monday, July 18

Concurrent Sessions

  •  #2: GEAR UP First-Year College Programming (PowerPoint) (Handout 1) (Handout 2) (Handout 3
  •  #3: Completely Awesome and Slightly Insane Middle Management: Implementation Strategies that Work (Handouts)
  •  #7: Moving from Boredom to Engagement--Effective Research-Based Instructional Strategies to Impact At-Risk Students (PowerPoint)
  •  #8: Navigating Postsecondary Planning with Undocumented Students: Best Practices (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #15: The March Begins Now! Amplifying the GEAR UP Movement through Effective Advocacy (PowerPoint) (Exercises)
  • #25: The Mechanics of Motivation: Increasing College and Academic Striving Through Motivation Design (PowerPoint)
  • #43: Best Practices in Increasing FAFSA Filling Rates in GEAR UP Schools (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #47: The "A" Team: Investing in School and District Teams to Create a Powerful College-Career Readiness Culture (PDF)
  • #48: Don't Recreate the Wheel - Beg, Borrow, and Steal (PowerPoint) (Handout)
  • #50: Creating Trauma-Informed Schools (PowerPoint)

Tuesday, July 19

Concurrent Sessions

  • #57: One Size Fits None: A Roundtable on Culturally-Responsive Communications in College Access (PowerPoint)
  • #82: The Transition to Postsecondary Starts Now: Reflections on Strategic College Readiness Initiatives (PowerPoint)
  • #83: Believe, Say, See, and Do: Building a College-Going Culture in Your School (PowerPoint)
  • #91: Building a College-Going Culture Through Professional Learning Opportunities (PowerPoint)
  • #98: Innovative Academic Supports: How Can We Know If they're Working? (PowerPoint) (Handout)

Wednesday, July 20

Concurrent Sessions

  • #110: Creative Curriculum for Student Engagement (PowerPoint)
  • #111: Roundtable on the New GEAR UP Annual Performance Report (APR) (PowerPoint)
  • #112: Using GEAR UP Students’ Noncognitive Variables Survey Data for Formative Evaluation and Program Improvement (PowerPoint)

Post-Conference Sessions

U.S. Department of Education Sessions


2016 GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop (CBW)

Monday, February 1

EXCEL Workshops

E1: Teaming for Results (&)

E2: Infusing Continual Improvement ()

E4: Partnerships — Managing Within a Complex Delivery Structure  ()

GEAR UP Skill Building Seminars

1. Effective Grant Management A: Match, Financial Administration, Reporting & More ()

2. Obtaining and Using FAFSA Data to Accelerate FAFSA Completion and
Student Access to Financial Aid

3. Growth Mindset: Where There's a Won't, There's a Way (Powerpoint). Resources from this session include a Mindset Quiz, a presentation for GEAR UP peer mentors, a lesson plan for GEAR UP peer mentors, and a study on the High School Transition Program

4. Serving Undocumented, Homeless, and Foster Care Students ()

5. First-Year College Success: What Does Success Look Like? (

7. Predicting Student Success in Higher Education ()

8. Advancing Academic Rigor Through Quality  Dual Enrollment Programs & Partnerships (

9. Parent and Family Engagement ()

10. The Critical Battles of Leadership (Webpage)

Tuesday, February 2

PROVE Workshops

P1: A Foundation of Data Literacy (Powerpoint)

P2: Data-Driven Decisions in Schools and Programs (Powerpoint)

P3: College Access/Success Research (Powerpoint & Recommended Reading)

P4: Implementing Best Practices in Program Evaluation (Powerpoint). Resources from this workshop include a reflection tool, a summary of JCSEE standards, discussion questions, a summary of data collection tools, a case study infographic, and a case study discussion guide.

P5: Applying Rigorous Research and Evidence in GEAR UP ( Resources)

GEAR UP Skill Building Seminars

11. Effective Grant Management B: Key Strategies and Practices for Excellence from Experienced Practitioners ()

12. Confessions of Financial Aid Experts: Implementing Financial Aid Activities — and Answering Your Questions ()

13. #MYGEARUPSTORY: Transforming Students Into Advocates ()

14. The Significant Role of Social-Emotional Learning in Promoting Multiple Youth Competencies (Powerpoint)

16. Addressing Summer Melt ()

17. Using Data to Support Student Transition and Increase Student Success ()

18. Making an Impact on Your GEAR UP Deliverables Through Effective Near-Peer Mentoring Programs ()

20. Instructional Design that Matters ()

Wednesday, February 3

MOBILIZE Workshops

M1: Developing a Message that Works (Powerpoint & Exercises)

M2: Mastering the Art of Persuasion (Powerpoint)

M3: Delivering Effective Presentations  (

M4: Principles of Community Building (Powerpoint & Exercises)

M5: Crafting a Communications Plan (Powerpoint & Exercises)

Department of Education Workshops

1. Final Performance Report ()

2. Documenting the Match () External Partnerships ()

3. Annual Performance Report ()

To access presentation materials from the 2013, 2014, and 2015 NCCEP/GEAR UP annual conferences, visit the Resources area of NCCEP's website.


2015 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference

Access the 2015 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference Program

Speaker PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and other presentation materials for the 2015 Annual Conference (if/as available) are available in the Resources area of NCCEP's website.  

Speakers: send your presentation materials (for all presenters in your session) to Betty Paugh Ortiz at NCCEP. Please mention your session number.

To access materials from the U.S. Department of Education Sessions (Wednesday, July 22) at the Annual Conference, click on the links below:

Monday, July 20 Presentation Materials

  • Session #1: The College and Career Readiness Evaluation Consortium: Baseline Data Results - Baseline Presentation PowerPoint; Best Practices PowerPoint
  • Session #4: From Data to Action: Using a Mixed-Methods, Longitudinal Research Evaluation for Ongoing Improvement in GEAR UP North Carolina - Presenters' PowerPoint (PDF)
  • Session #9: I Love My GEAR UP Advisor - Designing and Implementing an Effective Near Peer Undergraduate Advising Model - Handout 1; Handout 2; Handout 3; PowerPoint 4; PowerPoint 5; Handout 6; Handout 7; Handout 8; Handout 9; Handout 10; Handout 11; Handout 12; Handout 13
    Session #10: Take Your Team from Forming to Performing with a Minimum of Storming: Just Can't WAIT for this TEAM Meeting! - PowerPoint; Link to an Online Toolkit
  • Session #12: First Year of College: Get in, Persist, Complete! - PowerPoint
  • Session #13: Beyond College Visits: Ensuring Academic Success by Utilizing Student Data - PowerPoint; Handout 
  • Session #24: National GEAR UP Week Showcase - PowerPoint; Handout
  • Session #27: Raising the Titanic: Turning Around the Worst-Performing School in the State of Kansas - Presenter's PowerPoint
  • ​Session #31: A Financial Aid 101 Survival Kit for GEAR UP Maximizing Student Awards: Applying, Accepting Award Offers, Disbursing, and Maintaining Eligibility - Presenter's PowerPoint (PDF)
  • Session #37: Measuring Math - Evaluating Math Course Completion - PowerPoint
  • Session #42: Evaluation of the Rhode Island GEAR UP Program: Propensity Score Matching, Initial Impact, and Integration of Findings into Program Management - PowerPoint 1; PowerPoint 2
  • Session #58: Panel Discussion on Best Practices for Collecting, Using, and Analyzing Data During the Year to Improve Student Outcomes - PowerPoint


Tuesday, July 21 Presentation Materials

Wednesday, July 22 Presentation Materrials

*Links to the materials for the U.S. Department of Education workshops are provided above.



Also visit the Resource Zone to access 2013 and 2014 NCCEP/GEAR UP annual conference session materials.  In the Resource Zone you will find abstracts and the list of speakers for each session for which NCCEP received presentation materials.

2015 NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop (CBW)

2015 CBW Materials (Where Available)

Access the 2015 CBW Program



Pre-Workshop: Orientation to GEAR UP (February 8)

Workshop: Grant Management (February 9)

Workshop: Strategies for First-Year Post Secondary Success (February 9-10)

Workshop: Parent Engagement (February 9-10)

Workshop: Advancing College Readiness through Effective Programming (February 9-10)

         Berea CCR Course Resources: CCR Course Outcomes;
         CCR Course Unit #1; CCR Self Assessment

Workshop: GEAR UP 101 (February 9-10)

Workshop: Evaluation Showcase (February 10)

Workshop: Closing Gaps in STEM Learning and Careers (February 11)

Workshop: Preparing Students to Understand the Challenges of Sexual Harrassment on College Campuses (February 11)

Workshop: Earning College Credit in High School (February 11)

*Additional 2015 CBW Materials Will Be Added Here If/When Available


2014 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference, July 20-23, 2014

Conference Links

In this section you will find concurrent session materials as provided by various presenters.  Check back often for new materials being added daily!

Click here to access the 2014 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference program book.




Post-Conference Events

U.S. Department of Education Sessions

2013 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference, July 14-17, 2013

Conference Links




Past Conference Materials

We thank the 1300 attendees who joined as at the 2013 NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop on February 3 – 6, 2013 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

NCCEP’s Capacity-Building Workshop is designed to provide professional development, deepened knowledge and practical guidance around issues and current topics that impact GEAR UP programs, college access and success activities. The NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop (CBW) is a distinctly different learning opportunity from the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference. The CBW is designed to delve deeper into selected issues of importance to those working in GEAR UP and ensuring sustainability of the important work of GEAR UP projects. The 2013 NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop addressed:

  • GEAR UP 101
  • Effective GEAR UP program models
  • Benchmarks and transitions to high school
  • Successful fiscal management
  • College access for minority males
  • Advocacy and strategic communications
  • GEAR UP evaluation
  • Financial literacy and FAFSA
  • STEM partnerships
  • The Common Core

To access the presenter handouts offered at the 2013 CBW, please click here.

A special thanks to the more than 1,600 attendees who joined us in Washington, DC for the 2012 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference entitled E4 (R)EVOLUTION: Education, Empowerment, Equity & Economics. The conference convened GEAR UP and other college access professionals, as well as their partners for informative concurrent sessions, exciting speakers, and valuable networking opportunities. Here's a quick look at some of the exciting moments from the Conference - from VIP speakers to the Capitol Hill visits, from the Leadership Award winners to highlights from the Youth Congress. 

You can click the links below to download the official program book of the conference.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

NCCEP was honored to have U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speak at the Monday afternoon Plenary Session where he recognized GEAR UP students, thanked the GEAR UP community for their important work and answered questions from the audience. Secretary Duncan confirmed the critical role of GEAR UP in ensuring low income, minority and first generation students have access to higher education.


Actress and Neuroscientist Mayim Bialik

Fans know her from her role on CBS's comedy hit "The Big Bang Theory" as Sheldon's friend who is not his girlfriend, Amy Farrah Fowler. With the generous support of Texas Instruments, NCCEP welcomed Dr. Mayim Bialik as a special guest and speaker at this year's Conference. Bialik was born to first-generation American teachers and was raised in Los Angeles, attending both public and religious school.  She received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Hebrew and Jewish Studies from UCLA in 2000 and earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2007 from UCLA.

GEAR UP's Day on Capitol Hill

GEAR UP professionals, students, teachers and parents from across the nation met personally with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and their staff on Tuesday, July 24. In their meetings, GEAR UP teams thanked their Members of Congress for their support and shared their college access and success stories. Students in the delegations also shared the challenges they face as they prepare for postsecondary education in families and communities where there is not an established college-going culture.

The day began with a Congressional Briefing that included notable speakers Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA-02), Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), Lisa Brady Gill from Texas Instruments, Shelley Davis from California GEAR UP, Hector J. Garza, Texas Region 1 ESC alum and Joshua Sparks, GEAR UP Kentucky alumn. The briefing was moderated by Nathan Monell, President and CEO of NCCEP. In a packed room including staff from many Congressional offices, each presenter shared a perspective on why GEAR UP is so critical to the economic success of their communities because of GEAR UP's role in preparing our nation's most vulnerable students to enter and succeed in college.

Youth Congress

Thanks to the generous support of Texas Instruments, the Youth Congress took place in conjunction with the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference.

A leadership skills development program that implements a student-focused curriculum, the Youth Congress blends leadership development with life skills and strategies for increased learning. Over the two-and-a-half day gathering, students engaged in skill building activities, identified challenges to achieving their dreams and developed strategies for dealing with those challenges. The students also participated in a visit to Capitol Hill with their GEAR UP Programs, helping to tell the GEAR UP story to their U.S. Representatives. NCCEP partnered with the highly respected and nationally known GEAR UP for Excellence to design and facilitate the program. Check out some of the Youth Congress activities and photos here.

GEAR UP Leadership Awards

NCCEP recognized five outstanding GEAR UP Leaders on July 25, 2012, at the NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference. Awards were given to individuals across four categories: Parent, Community Partner, Professional and Youth of the Year. You can read more about the winners here.