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GCSC GEAR-UP high school students visit Purdue Northwest

Last week a group of more than 50 West Side Leadership Academy (WSLA) students visited the campus of Purdue University Northwest to explore various college majors and experience life on campus. The tour was made possible through the GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) program, which has an office at WSLA in Gary.

The day included an opening session with Purdue Northwest leadership, which was followed by a series of listen-and-learn sessions in various departments, including Manufacturing, Nursing and Biology.

Students had the opportunity to experiment with medical equipment, visit labs and chat with students who are currently enrolled in related programs. A session on financial aid and scholarship opportunities was also presented.

“It is our duty to introduce students to diverse opportunities so they can make the best decision about their future,” said GEAR-UP Director Anita Johnson.

“The students remain engaged because they know we are committed to delivering unforgettable experiences, and we truly care about the decisions they make.”

Johnson indicated that there are more college visits scheduled along with other career-focused activities. For more information, visit

Mission of GEAR-UP

Indiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) has two main goals. The first goal is to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter, and succeed in postsecondary education. Secondly, we conduct research to better understand student STEM learning, persistence, and entry into postsecondary study and careers. Indiana GEAR UP is a seven-year, 24.5-million-dollar project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Indiana GEAR UP is led by a collaborative team of staff from Purdue University and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Together, we work with students beginning in seventh grade at our nine partner school corporations and associated schools.

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