In the News

Bridgeport resident Maysoun Chawiche, a graduate of that city's Central High School, has been chosen to participate in the inaugural GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy.

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is a federally funded college access and success program that serves approximately 700,000 low-income students across 43 states and 3 territories.

The academy is a new 12-month leadership development program for alumni of GEAR UP. Chawiche was one of 30 young leaders who were selected from a nationwide pool of candidates.

This region is served by the Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership, a collaboration of the Yale University School of Medicine and Bridgeport Public Schools. Nearly 2,900 students are enrolled in the program.

The mission of the Yale-Bridgeport Partnership is to significantly increase the number of low-income and minority students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

GEAR UP programs serve students starting in 7th grade, and follow the students through graduation from high school or their first year of postsecondary education. Services often include academic tutoring, financial literacy, FAFSA completion, college tours, parent engagement programs, and more. GEAR UP funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students.

Chawiche will travel to Washington, DC, in June 2013 and receive training on grassroots advocacy, social media advocacy, and leadership skills during a week-long retreat.

The academy aims to engage GEAR UP alumni in a national effort to educate lawmakers and the public about the value of investing in targeted college access and success services. Sharing personal stories, alumni will articulate the impact that GEAR UP had on their success in postsecondary education.

Chawiche, a GEAR UP scholarship recipient, recently received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of New Haven where she is now pursuing a graduate program. She continues to be engaged with GEAR UP as an academic advisor.

Nadia Ward, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale and the local GEAR UP project director, praised Chawiche. "Maysoun is a model alumna of the GEAR UP program. She is passionate about her studies, her work, and giving back to her community. She serves as a terrific role model for her younger peers, particularly to students at Central High School."

For more information about the Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership, contact Dr. Nadia Ward of Yale University School of Medicine ( or 203-789-7645); or Ruth Garth of Bridgeport Public Schools ( or 203-275-1409).

Source: Yale School of Medicine