Gonzalez is one of 30 college students nationwide and the only one from Oregon chosen for a first-ever panel of student leaders who will get leadership training and advocate for college students on Capitol Hill and in state houses around the country.
Elizabeth Gonzalez was chosen on the basis of her academic accomplishments, essay writing skills and proven leadership for a national leaderhip panel on higher education issues.
Gonzalez, a 2010 graduate of Madras High, will participate in the inaugural GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy, beginning with training in Washington, D.C. in June. A sociology major, she is active in Latino affairs, including organizing events with the Meso American Student Association and College Assistance Migrant Program.
GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally-funded college access and success program that reaches about 700,000 students nationwide, including 5,300 at Madras High and 35 other Oregon schools. The program helps students who need a leg up to get to college, beginning when they are in seventh grade. Students get mentoring and advice all through high school and during their first year of college.
The alumni leaders will get training on grassroots advocacy, social media advocacy, and leadership skills. They then will be expected to lead outreach to younger peers, to accept public speaking engagements about the importance of college access and to lobby for greater access to and support in college for students like them.
-- Betsy Hammond