Welcome to October, a key month of action for all GEAR UP students and staff!

The 2019 FAFSA application is live, so high schoolers, we hope you fill it out soon! It’s also College Application Month, so focus on getting those first college applications in, and then search for as many scholarships and grants as you can to make your dream of college a reality! For GEAR UP graduates on campus now, you made it! Make sure to also fill out your FAFSA for next year, and take advantage of your Ambassador programming regardless of which NSHE institution you’re attending now.

So much has happened in the NSHE subgrant of Nevada GEAR UP since it was last my turn to blog in 2017, hasn’t it? Starting at the top, we have a new Principal Investigator and supervisor, NSHE Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges Nate Mackinnon. He has introduced himself to many of you in person already, but if you’ve not met him yet, read his blog post from last month to get an idea of how dedicated he is to the GEAR UP mission. We also hired a new Communications Specialist, Gabriela Verdin, who has really ramped up our social media and website efforts. Four new Ambassadors (CSN, UNLV, UNR, and WNC) were also hired this summer and we’ve welcomed them to the team with open arms. We’ve also sadly said goodbye to our long-serving research administrator in the NSHE grants office at EPSCoR. Click over to the “About Us” section of our website if you haven’t met all the new team members yet.

The most important difference in the Ambassador Program between this year and last is that about half our GEAR UP cohort is now in college at one of our seven NSHE institutions or even out of state. What an amazing accomplishment! I am so impressed at how our Ambassadors are now expertly dividing their time between ensuring GEAR UP seniors are best prepared to apply for and enroll in college as they can be, and helping our GEAR UP graduates transition to campus and remain on track to complete their degrees.

This grant year, for example, Ambassadors are still offering quite a variety of workshops for high schoolers on financial aid and literacy, the college application process, tips for great essays and letters of recommendation, and special tutoring sessions to polish math and English skills. Our Ambassadors are also right in the middle of events like Apply Nevada, the “Petals of Empowerment” Women’s Conference, SSA assemblies, and Nevada Promise Workdays. Ambassadors are serving our GEAR UP graduates at college by teaching first-year seminars, holding one-on-one advising sessions and drop-in days, advising GEAR UP Clubs, helping students register for spring, and more. Ambassadors have put a lot of time into each event they plan so if you are a student or parent, we encourage you to take advantage of all GEAR UP activities you can.

Students, I hope you are excited about reaching the halfway point of the semester, whether you are still in high school or already in college now. Keep your spirits high and your grades up! Parents, remember we are here for you as things get real for your high school seniors thinking about college and careers. And GEAR UP colleagues, we’re so grateful for what you are doing to help our senior year cohort apply and be admitted to college next year, as well as helping our entering cohort at NSHE institutions transition to life in college and make the most of all the resources available to them.

As always, please let us know how we can help you here at NSHE, and I look forward to another great grant year! #GEARUPWORKS!