Black Hall 225
(509) 963-2118


Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal grant that helps underrepresented students prepare for and succeed in college. CWU GEAR UP is currently closing out its seven-year SOAR grant that ended on September 24, 2021. The program had a staff of 22 and provided college-readiness programs to over 4,000 students in the Classes of 2020 and 2021 in 11 public school districts.


Marie Marchand, Interim Director
307-275-1442 (c)

Our partners reflect on the impact CWU GEAR UP had on their students.

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GEAR UP was a driving force in the work we did to create a safe and comfortable environment for every student at WestSide High School. Our school culture is everything for our students who are often disenfranchised. GEAR UP supported our prioritization of a student-centered program focused on tight-knit relationships, trust, and support. We have seen how important the little things are when it comes to creating a family atmosphere. Thank you to GEAR UP for an amazing ten years of the little things and the big things!

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GEAR UP Site Director Cortnea Austin led students on virtual college tours and assisted them with setting goals, writing resumes, and planning for college. All six of our seniors graduated! Two enrolled into Bates Technical College to study automotive repair. Through GEAR UP funds, we supplied them with their first set of textbooks, graphing calculators, and other school supplies!

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GEAR UP helped elevate the art program at Tonasket High School. Suzette was an incredible resource and advocate for our students. She researched and purchased equipment, including a light box so students can take professional photographs of their artwork for college portfolios and even to sell. My students wouldn't have been able to achieve at the level they did without the support of Suzette and GEAR UP.

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GEARUP had a life-changing impact on my AVID students. It enabled me to combine educational college trips with new cultural experiences. Students loved going to "In the Heights" at the Seattle Rep. For many, it was their first experience of attending a theatrical show where they learned about etiquette and expectations. Most importantly, they had the experience of connecting with programming rooted in culture. It was very powerful. Thank you, GEAR UP!

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GEAR UP and Zed Deenik were invaluable to our school. GEAR UP paid for my master's degree in History, which has allowed me to teach more College in the High School classes. Chelan is one of only four high schools in the state that offers Chicano History 218. Students mentioned Zed as one of their most influential staff members. He inspired them to explore post-secondary options they had not thought possible. Everyone at Chelan High School benefited from this amazing program.