WALLA WALLA, Wash. — Three hundred and twenty local seventh grade students will converge on the Whitman College campus Tuesday, May 4, 2010, to get a glimpse of college life.

They will participate in a federally sponsored program called GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). Themed “Follow Your Dreams,” it aims to spotlight their goals of attending college.

Students from Walla Walla, College Place, Prescott, and Touchet will participate in a full day of activities that will demonstrate college life and show them how they can make a plan for post-secondary education. In preparation for their day at Whitman, students are completing projects focused around the idea of college.

Among a range of academic and co-curricular activities sure to capture their interest will be a presentation by Brien Sheedy, director of Whitman’s Outdoor Program, about goal-setting and his 2004 ascent of Mt. Everest.

The day also will include a campus tour and opening remarks by Tony Cabasco, dean of admission and financial aid, who will discuss the importance of planning for college. Various Whitman faculty, staff, and student organizations will lead interactive sessions with the middle school students including:

  • Science experiments in the fields of chemistry, biology, and physics.
  • An exploration of the college’s newly acquired Scanning Electron Microscope.
  • Workshops exploring the value of theatre, music, and studio art in higher education.
  • Environmental education and team building with the Youth Adventure Program.
  • Workshops with the Writing House and the blue moon literary magazine.
  • Cultural activities with Club Latino and La Casa Hispana.
  • Discussion with Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) officers.

GEAR UP is a federal grant program. Washington State University administers the "Harvest of Hope" GEAR UP grant in partnership with local school districts. GEAR UP functions as a resource to all students in participating schools. Whitman College participates in the GEAR UP "Harvest of Hope" grant program by hosting this event and supporting outreach programs that encourage students to enroll in higher educational institutions.

For more information contact:

Gretchen Hormel-Tomkins
GEAR UP Coordinator
Walla Walla Community College
(509) 524-5163

Joshua Ian Smith
Admission Officer
Whitman College Office of Admission
(509) 527-5176
smithji@whitman.edu