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GEAR UP for a Bright Future

Students Preview Career Options

GEAR UP summer program participants went on a whale watch out of Boston Harbor as an end of summer event and got to see 5 humpback whales, including one calf! From left to right: Vanessa Vazquez, Abraham Sannoh, Reggie Reynoso, Juan Marte, Kelvin Ryoba.

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Twenty incoming Lowell High School freshmen had a lesson in their own potential during a 6-week multi-dimensional program that exposed them to a variety of career options in health care, information technology, and engineering.

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) under the auspices of UMass Lowell’s Center for Family, Work and Community collaborated with professors from nursing, engineering and computer science disciplines.  GEAR UP’s goals are straightforward: improve academic performance for high school students in the areas of math and science and expose them to exciting careers within health, information technology and engineering. 

Prof. Fred Martin of computer science (CS) provided a robotics demonstration that included a large, optically-driven robot that was recently entered into a robotics competition.  Several CS students were also on-hand to speak with GEAR UP students and provide small-scale robotics demonstrations. Other colleges participating in the program include Daniel Webster College, Merrimack College and Rivier College.

“These students had a terrific summer of learning what the world of higher education can offer them,” says Bowa Tucker, Program Manager at the Center for Family, Work and Community.  “They learned about aviation, including flying simulated planes at Daniel Webster College, experienced campus life at Rivier College and enjoyed a chemistry demonstration at Merrimack College.”

The program culminated with a whale watch trip from Boston Harbor, a ride on a high-speed catamaran, and a meeting with professional researchers from the Whale Center of New England.

A participant summed up the benefits of GEAR UP succinctly, “Instead of wasting my time being on the computer or watching TV, I was having a fun, educational summer.”

UMass Lowell faculty involved in the GEAR UP Program include: Fred Martin, Computer Science, Earl Ada, Engineering, Patrick Drane, Mechanical Engineering, Glen Bousquet, Mechanical Engineering, Lisa Abdallah, Nursing, Margaret Knight, Nursing, Joan Ashlock, Nursing, and Gil Brown in Chemical Engineering.