May 2, 2013

Gear Up Program Aims to Increase Student Success

Middle School Students Tour WNC

Students watch a machine tool demonstration during WNC campus tour.
Students watch a machine tool demonstration during WNC campus tour.

Twelve middle school students, chaperones, and the Superintendent from Esmeralda County School District had a field trip to remember this spring. They spent several hours on a bus en route to Carson City to visit Western Nevada College, as part of the Nevada Gear Up program.

The students live in the tiny central Nevada mining towns of Dyer, Goldfield, and Silver Peak. They arrived on campus ready to move their feet and get a feel for college. They began their tour in the WNC Art Galleries, experiencing the wide variety of student art on display. Then they buzzed through the Student Services area to locate Counseling Services, Financial Aid, Admissions and Records, and the Business Office. Associated Students of Western Nevada Ambassadors Chelsea Aldridge and Nate White explained the role of each office.

Next stop was the Physics Lab, where Dr. Tom Herring wasted no time starting his amazing demonstrations illustrating the laws of physics. Students were entranced as he boiled water at room temperature using a simple vacuum, and matched strobe light and string wave frequencies to show students wave patterns that we couldn’t see in regular light. Gear Up students learned about the insulating property of water when WNC lab students Janelle Ordonez and Kevin Brandenburg used methane gas to make flammable soap bubbles that became fireballs when ignited, and everyone was impressed by the Dyson Sphere demonstration.

A visit to the Dini Student Center was the perfect spot for a group photo and game of vocabulary bingo. Chelsea spoke with the group about how she is paying for college, and Nate related the benefits of being active in student government.
Director of Technology Ed Martin joined the group in the machine shop, where he spoke about the incredible precision capabilities of the Computer Numerical Control machines. Then the group was on the move again, to the automotive shop, the welding shop, and the construction management classrooms. They learned a bit about certificates and degrees in the electronics classroom, and now know where they would go to learn how to install a solar voltaic panel. The last stop was to explore computer programming and robotics with Dave Riske.

They climbed the hill and got back to the bus stop in time to meet WNC President Carol Lucy, who spontaneously joined the group for conversation and a photograph.

“The tour really gave the students a good first look at programs offered by WNC,” said Hallie Murphy, WNC’s Gear Up ambassador. “They will be able to draw on all they learned during their WNC visit as they explore their own post-secondary education options in the future.”

Gear Up is a federal grant program that aims to increase student academic achievement, parental involvement, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment rates. Gear Up schools offer students and their parents ways to explore careers, identify training and education required for those careers, visit colleges, and gain skills in financial literacy all before they graduate from high school.


Photo Gallery
Photos (Click to Enlarge)
Middle School students with Dr. Carol Lucey Esmeralda County Middle School Students  
Middle School students with Dr. Carol LuceyEsmeralda County Middle School Students  
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Phone: 775-445-3234
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