Nevada State GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is a federally funded grant that is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. Generally, students are identified as GEAR UP during their 7th grade year and exposed to GEAR UP activities that continue through high school. There are 18 middle schools and the UNR Dean’s Future Scholars, or approximately 5,500 students, included in the Nevada State GEAR UP project. To qualify for program participation, school selection was based on a federally free or reduced lunch rate of 50% or higher.
The GEAR UP program at Western Nevada College provides comprehensive mentoring, academic enrichment, workshops and club meetings to prepare students for success. To meet with your GEAR UP Ambassador or for more information, contact Tawnie Wentz.
My name is Tawnie Wentz, GEAR UP Ambassador for Western Nevada College in Carson City and Fallon. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno, which is where I am also currently earning my Master’s in Education.
Working for GEAR UP, I travel the state visiting rural towns while providing college access resources and helping students pursue their dreams. My focus areas are Yerington High School and Silver Stage High School, while also providing college support resources to first-year students here at WNC.
For me, college was so much more than just getting a degree. It provided me with important relationships, connections, and skills that I will take with me the rest of my life, and that is the message I portray to the current students I work with. One of my favorite activities to provide students is career and degree exploration. I love when they find something out about themselves that they didn’t know and have a new drive to continue their education.