My name is Mari Jimenez Ortiz and I am the proud Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) GEAR UP Ambassador! My journey with GEAR UP started in 2012 when I served as SPIF (Student Parent Facilitator) at Vaughn Middle School. As a SPIF, I was housed full time at Vaugh, which gave me the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with GEAR UP students from the start. A few years later, in 2014, I became the GEAR UP Ambassador at TMCC. I’m proud to say my greatest passion has been and continues to be working with young people to help them meet their goals.
As the GEAR UP Ambassador at TMCC, I provide outreach services to GEAR UP to students at Wooster High School, Hug High School, and Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology. I assist students with graduation goals, college plans, college orientation, career exploration, and tutoring. I also collaborate with other colleges in Nevada to provide information sessions for parents and students regarding financial aid, financial literacy, and college access.
My mission in GEAR UP has been to guide and mentor students from a young age on how to pursue college after high school and to help them be prepared for a professional career. I want to motivate students to go to college and give them tools and resources to transition to college. For the past three years, I have collaborated with the TMCC’s Jump Start Dual credit program to provide dual credit opportunities to GEAR UP students and give them early college access and preparation. The GEAR UP students have been extremely successful with their dual credit college courses having an average of a 3.54 GPA. I’m proud to say, some GEAR UP students will start their college journey with nine college credits they earned through dual credit programming.
I love to learn and teach. One of my favorite quotes is “knowledge is its own reward”-Alexandra Stabins. Education changed my life and with my expertise, I want to help change the lives of young people. With GEAR UP, I have the opportunity to make a difference and help students find pathways to a better future.
I feel so honor to work with such an amazing program and I know our students will be successful because #GEARUPWORKS.