GEAR UP celebrates $21 million federal grant renewal

College admission program receives funding for next seven years of student support

10/15/2012 | By: Stephany Kirby  |

The Nevada State GEAR UP program recently celebrated 11 years of helping students succeed academically as well as the renewal of the federal GEAR UP grant funded for $21 million at a recognition celebration Oct. 10. The event took place in front of the University of Nevada, Reno College of Education's William J. Raggio Building and recognized GEAR UP students currently enrolled at the University, Dean's Future Scholars, and GEAR UP students attending Traner and Vaughn Middle Schools.

Gaining Early Awareness and Education for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), is a college admission program that has helped 4,000 high school graduates successfully pursue their academic goals statewide. The $21 million grant renewal will support another 5,000 students over the next seven years.

Heather Hardy, University of Nevada, Reno executive vice president and provost, and Pedro Martinez, Washoe County School District Superintendent, started the event by recognizing the success of the program and congratulating the students on their achievements. Stephanie Tyler, AT&T Nevada president, and Chad Osorno from Wells Fargo Northern Nevada, both sponsors of GEAR UP, also spoke to congratulate the scholars.

Two students, Amber Burroughs and Humberto Guzman, gave testimonials on the ways GEAR UP has changed their academic futures.

"GEAR UP motivated me to keep going in school, helped me gain early admission in college and helped me get many other scholarships," Guzman, a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno and Hug High School graduate, said in his speech. "I want to say thank you to GEAR UP and its partners and to Mrs. Ford, my old principal, for believing in me. I hope all of you will be here when I walk across that Quad at graduation and that I can make you proud."

There are currently 2,700 GEAR UP students in the seventh grade in selected middle schools across the state of Nevada, with an additional 2,700 estimated for the 2013-14 cohort. Students in GEAR UP receive a variety of college preparatory experiences, including educational enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, field trips to colleges/universities, financial aid training, college entrance assessments, summer college camp and summer school.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim Guthrie has said of the program, "Students from low-income families deserve access to the finest college preparatory programs coupled with financial assistance to attend postsecondary schools. GEAR UP affords our students, families and schools the opportunity to achieve their goals."

For more information about the Nevada State GEAR UP Program, contact Charlotte Curtis at (775) 687-9243 or


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