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College Helps High School Students ‘GEAR UP’ for College


The College of Education played a significant part in UK’s first GEAR UP Kentucky Summer Academy@UK, which took place June 22 through July 11. In partnership with the Council on Postsecondary Education and the UK Division of Undergraduate Education, this college and career readiness initiative brought nearly 85 high school sophomores to the UK campus to live and learn. By showcasing the skills and attitudes needed to succeed at the state’s premier research university, the GEAR UP program aimed to develop a college transition path to UK for the students.

The students attending program were recommended and supported by their principals, teachers and guidance counselors for having strong potential to succeed in college with the necessary preparation. Dr. Laurie Henry, interim chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, associate professor of literacy, and director of the College Readiness P20 Innovation Lab, helped coordinate this three week residential program. She managed the high school students’ daily schedules that reflected a typical UK student’s schedule.

Henry developed an education course that was part of the General Studies Core, which included critical online reading skills, internet-based research, argumentative writing, and the development of public service announcements focusing on student identified global issues.

Thirteen undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Education and World Languages Department assisted the program as teaching assistants to provide instructional support in the classrooms.

“My experience with GEAR UP helped to reaffirm what I’ve chosen to do with my life,” says senior secondary English Education major Rachel Allgeier. “Working with these students was such an honor. I woke up everyday excited to see them and learn from them. Many of these students came from socioeconomically deprived areas of Kentucky, and it was eye opening to learn from the diversity of these amazing young people. More than anything, GEAR UP reminded me why I want to be an educator. The Gear Up students learned so much from this experience. They learned what college is like, including the rigor of the classes and the importance of self-initiative. But more than that, these students were able to open their minds up to the world outside of their hometown. They were able to learn from different perspectives and ideas and grow from those experiences. Many students realized for the first time that college was a real option for them.”