GEAR UP: Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs

Featured GEAR UP Alumni

Natalie Petit

Lowell, MA

GEAR UP Lowell

"GEAR-UP broadened my perspective on the value of life. I remember joining GEAR-UP in middle school and learning the various services offered to students.

My focus at a young age was to be different and to choose a path I liked. I wanted to be a public servant—maybe a private detective, politician, educator, or simply a community organizer. I remember always walking into the Gear-Up office with a new career or potentially new major for college. I have high dreams and I knew for my family’s sake I needed to accomplish something to help save my life. Thankfully now I completed my Bachelors at Curry College and Masters at Suffolk University, I can now help my students at MIT’s Sloan School of Management throughout their course of study."

Featured Alumni: Natalie Petit

Joaquin Gomez

Lowell, MA

Joaquin attended Cambridge College for Undergrad and is currently enrolled at UMASS Lowell for his Masters Degree.

"Being part of the Gear Up program was one of the best/most important decision I made in high school. The Gear Up program helped me get through high school as well as helping me have a smooth transition into college.

Without this amazing program, I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am now in life, and in my career.

I am a current teacher at a middle school here in Lawrence, and as I help my students transition from middle school to high school, I always motivate them to join Gear Up once they start their high school journey. It’s a program that serves as a great support system; as it helped me, I know it will help my students as well. "

Featured Alumni: Joaquin Gomez

Kara Danas

Lowell, MA

Pyne Arts to Lowell High School
Currently enrolled in her Senior Year at UMass Lowell.

"The seven years that I was in GEAR UP definitely helped me shape the person that I am today. I credit GEAR UP for showing me how to reach my full potential, and the wonderful guidance that I received is most definitely a large reason as to why I am a dedicated and hardworking university student today."

Featured Alumni: Kara Danas

Julie Lun

Lowell, MA

Julie Lun graduated last May from UMass Lowell! She is currently a Masters Fellow working at Middlesex Community College's Asian Center.

"GEAR UP helped me realize higher education was the key to success. I earned my B.S. in Criminal Justice and became the 1st of 17 grandchildren to graduate college with the help and guidance of GEAR UP."

Featured Alumni: Julie Lun

Nicole Candanedo

Lowell, MA

"GEAR UP helped me become the first in my family to attend college. I gained a support system where one was lacking and with that, I persevered through senior year of high school and the college application process. I am happy to be in my senior year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute studying Electrical and Computer Engineering!"

Putnam GEAR UP students pose outside
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