GEAR UP Leadership Academy Bringing 500 High School Students to WVSU

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363

Nov. 5, 2013
GEAR UP Leadership Academy Bringing 500 High School Students to WVSU

INSITUTE, W.Va. – More than 500 high school students from 10 West Virginia counties will visit West Virginia State University (WVSU), Thursday, Nov. 7, for the fourth annual GEAR UP Student Leadership Academy.

During their visit, GEAR UP participants will experience college life, advance their leadership skills and complete a service-learning project working alongside WVSU’s student-led chapter of the American Chemical Society.

“GEAR UP has taught me that everyday people can become heroes,” said D.J. Blankenship, a student in the program at Westside High School in Wyoming County. “I'm determined to make a difference — not just in my own life but for future generations in my community.”

GEAR UP is a federally funded grant program coordinated by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (Commission). While on the WVSU campus, GEAR UP students will hear presentations from WVSU President Brian O. Hemphill, Commission Chancellor Paul L. Hill and Grant Baldwin, a renowned youth leadership expert and motivational speaker. The students will also participate in breakout sessions to learn more about college and then join WVSU’s American Chemical Society in building science kits for elementary school students.

Students participating in GEAR UP’s leadership program, known as HEROs (Higher Education Readiness Officers), will take the science kits back to elementary schools in their communities and work with the young students to complete the experiments outlined in the kits.

“The student members of the American Chemical Society are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with area high school students who want to give back to their community,” said Dr. Micheal Fultz, WVSU assistant professor of chemistry. “These boxes will help illustrate science and spark the curiosity of countless elementary students across the state for years to come.”

GEAR UP students will also take a tour of the WVSU campus before returning to their home counties.

GEAR UP provides services to 14 high schools in the following counties: Boone, Clay, Lincoln, McDowell, Mingo, Roane, Summers, Webster, Wirt and Wyoming. GEAR UP is designed to help first-generation and other underserved students prepare to enter and succeed in postsecondary programs. Services provided through GEAR UP include academic preparation, college and financial aid counseling, career exploration, mentoring and leadership training.
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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
- WVSU -
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