RICHLAND, Wash. – Nearly 100 area students will join school districts across the nation to celebrate National GEAR UP Week on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at Washington State University Tri-Cities.
Middle and high school students will work on unique challenges ranging from designing a house that can recover from a flood to creating a zip line that carries a ping pong ball. Group work will be done 10:30-11:30 a.m. in various rooms across the WSU Tri-Cities campus, 2710 Crimson Way, Richland.
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federally funded preparation for low-income students to obtain their high school diplomas and go on to succeed in college. 
Wednesday’s opening ceremony will be 9:30-10:15 a.m. in the East Building Auditorium. The program will feature Vanessa Alvarez, a WSU Tri-Cities engineering student and GEAR UP graduate, along with GEAR UP student Justus Scott from Pasco High.
Following a lunch break, students will present group findings 12:10-1:10 p.m. in the East Auditorium and then hear from WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor H. Keith Moo-Young, a professional engineer. The program will conclude at 1:30 p.m.
About 50 GEAR UP graduates are enrolled at WSU Tri-Cities. These college students are invited to join the work groups as resources for the teens and powerful examples of GEAR UP success.
Participants include Kamiakin, Southridge, Pasco, Chiawana, Columbia and Riverview high schools and Columbia, Ochoa and Finley middle schools.
GEAR UP is part of a discretionary federal program that provides long-term grants to education/community partnerships and states to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
GEAR UP provides a range of academic services including college planning, summer/after-school programs, tutor services, ACT/SAT preparation, financial planning, college visits, career exploration, parent training, student leadership activities and teacher professional development. The WSU Tri-Cities GEAR UP programs are housed in 40 schools in 22 school districts throughout the Columbia Basin region, employing 324 individuals to serve 15,178 students.
About WSU Tri-Cities
WSU Tri-Cities is located along the scenic Columbia River in Richland, Wash. Established in 1989 with upper division and graduate programs, WSU Tri-Cities expanded in 2007 to a four-year undergraduate campus offering 18 bachelor’s, 10 master’s and six doctoral degree programs. Learn about the most diverse campus in the WSU system at