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UW Program Celebrates National GEAR UP Week

September 19, 2017
people standing in an area with large white screens
Students in the GEAR UP program recently visited the UW School of Energy Resources’ Shell 3-D Visualization Center. (GEAR UP Photo)

The University of Wyoming’s GEAR UP Wyoming program will celebrate National GEAR UP Week with various activities, including a picnic for participants.

National GEAR UP Week commemorates the continuing success of Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), a college access program providing students and families the support and resources needed for college success. Since its inception in 1999, GEAR UP has improved educational outcomes for millions of low-income, minority and disadvantaged students across the United States, including 2,000 served by GEAR UP Wyoming.

GEAR UP Wyoming partners with all seven community colleges around the state, along with the Wyoming Department of Education. Both partnerships aid with the success of GEAR UP’s student and family services programming initiatives, and professional development opportunities for educators. The program serves about 2,000 students statewide; eight of the program’s students were awarded the Daniel’s Fund Scholarship this year.

Also, from fall 2016-17, more than 400 educators and administrators have attended a GEAR UP Wyoming professional development training at UW.

This week, GEAR UP will host a picnic for mentors and college freshmen in the program. After dinner, students and staff will have an interactive mentoring session to create thank-you cards for Wyoming’s congressional leaders. Also planned are a photo accessories for social media posting, recreational activities, such as spikeball and volleyball, and card games.

“As a low-income, first-generation student from a smaller town in Wyoming, I didn’t have much help in the pursuance of a postsecondary education,” says UW student Bryan Lane, a former GEAR UP student, from Riverton, and current peer mentor. “I was fortunate to have become part of GEAR UP at a young age so that I could foster a dream of receiving a higher education, positively impacting my life, not only in long-term plans, but also in short-term experiences. GEAR UP is all about giving students the extra push to get an education in a field they enjoy.”

Another former GEAR UP student and current mentor, Kaitlyn Emerson, from Cheyenne, mentions how the program helped her navigate her freshman year at UW.

“GEAR UP taught me a lot about what it means to live in the real world. If it weren’t for them, I would have been lost most of my freshman year of college but, because of everything I acquired through the program and its staff, I was able to start building study skills and good life habits from day one,” she says. “Those are things it usually takes people years to get down. Some of my favorite memories of GEAR UP are of camp, making friends, learning about different career options, learning about life at a university and really allowing my personality to shine without the judgment of my peers. GEAR UP is truly a phenomenal program.”

For more information about GEAR UP Wyoming, email Chrissie Henschler, GEAR UP project coordinator, at or visit the web at

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