Alumni in the News

LOWELL -- Natalie Petit, an alumna of Middlesex Community College's GEAR UP: Massachusetts program, has been selected to participate in the inaugural GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy.

The Medford resident is one of 30 Alumni Leaders, selected from a nationwide pool. GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy, or GUALA, is a new, 12-month, leadership-development program for alumni of the federal GEAR UP program, a partnership with the Lowell Public Schools that promotes college readiness for seventh- through 12th-graders.

 

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.

Leslie Jimenez ('13 M.Ed.) knows that an education changes lives. She completed her master's degree in higher education this summer and was chosen to share her story of being a first generation college graduate in the national GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy.  Jimenez will spend one year attending the leadership academy, a National Council for Community and Education Partnerships program. She will then return to her home state of California to speak to low-income students as a GEAR UP education advocate. She aspires to be a university professor.

University of Nevada, Reno student Gemma Beltran, is one of 28 GEAR Up alumni selected from across the country to participate in the national GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy. This group traveled to Washington, D.C., June 14 -21 where they experienced Capitol Hill and received leadership training to prepare them to advocate for GEAR UP and support the success of other students over the next 12 months.

Person High School student Brandon Bumpass earns spot in national leadership program

Lacking a strong role model, Hector Araujo’s community told him that an education was not necessary to be successful. He spent his life running races; the only problem is, this race would have led him into the criminal justice system.

That changed, though, when Emily Johnson — a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Coordinator from Boise, Idaho — transplanted herself into Hector’s school. He was awe-struck when he found that someone believed in him.

Sul Ross State University student and former GEAR UP participant Daisy Perez, Presidio, has been selected to participate in the inaugural GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA). GUALA is a 12-month leadership development program for alumni of the federal GEAR UP program. The selected Alumni Leaders will travel to Washington, DC, in June and receive training on grassroots advocacy, social media advocacy, and leadership skills during a week-long retreat. The Alumni Leaders will return home to work toward creating positive change in education policy for her younger peers.

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. 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.

An Oregon State University student from Madras, Elizabeth Gonzalez, has been selected to participate in the inaugural GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA) in Washington, DC in June, one of only 30 students nationwide. GUALA is a 12-month leadership development program for alumni of the federal GEAR UP program, which prepares middle and high school students for college. The student leaders will travel to the nation’s capitol to receive training on grassroots advocacy, social media advocacy, and leadership skills during a week-long retreat.

Santa Ana resident Josué Cruz has been selected to participate in the inaugural GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy (GUALA). GUALA is a 12-month leadership development program for alumni of the federal GEAR UP program. The selected alumni leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. in June and receive training on grassroots advocacy, social media advocacy, and leadership skills during a week-long retreat.  The alumni leaders will then return home to work toward creating positive change in education policy for their younger peers. Cruz was selected from a nationwide pool of candidates for the inaugural class of 30 alumni leaders.

A first-generation college graduate, Leslie Jimenez wants other students to know that education can change their lives. Jimenez, who expects to earn a master’s degree in higher education from the University of North Texas’ College of Education in August, has been chosen to share her story and become an advocate for education as part of the inaugural class of the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy. She was one of 30 people from across the country selected for the 12-month leadership academy, a program of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships.

Ryan Mandado, who has been part of a college outreach and postsecondary education initiative for almost a decade, has a passion for education that goes beyond his studies in school. The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa junior is one of 30 students who were selected to be part of the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs’ Alumni Leadership Association recipients to represent GEAR UP Hawai ‘i in Washington, D.C.  Mandado is also in the Alumni Leadership Academy for GEAR UP, a 12-month program designed to train GEAR UP alumni in advocacy and leadership.

"Why would anyone who is as smart as you come here to harvest the crops under the scorching sun and at such low wages?" My farm worker colleagues have asked me this same question thousands of times since I was in high school. Here is part of my answer: I love waking up at four in the morning and watching the sunrise as cars with entire families inside, make their way to the fields ready to harvest the crops of the season. I love the adrenaline of risking a fall from 10 (sometimes even more) feet in the air. The sound of Spanish--from the chit chat of the workers, to the radio blasting everything from corridos to durangense, to the lunch ladies' shouting out what food they have for those who forgot or didn't have time to pack a lunch--it makes me feel at home, comfortable and safe.

Hello everyone! Let me introduce myself. My name is Stephani Ruiz. I am 19 years old. I am a GEAR-UP Alumni leader, and I am also a very proud TRiO student. First of all, I want to thank God for allowing me to be here and for blessing me with this amazing opportunity. I had the amazing opportunity to attend an all expense paid Leadership academy in Washington D.C. back in June.

UNR’s Katie Hill started participating in the “Gear Up” leadership program when she was in seventh grade, and was attending an economically disadvantaged school in Henderson. Katie got lots of help from Gear Up, and became a successful student. She recently graduated from UNR with a master’s degree in educational leadership. Now she’s going for her doctorate degree. She’s come a long way.

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