Concord University Hosting Gear Up U! 2013

For Immediate Release: 
Jun 05 2013

CONTACT: Sarah Dalton
Concord University
Office of Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312,


ATHENS, W.Va. – GEAR UP U! 2013 is providing 10th and 11th graders from across West Virginia the opportunity to experience college first-hand. The event is being held June 11-15 on Concord University’s Athens campus.

The 120 students participating in GEAR UP U! will live on campus, attend classes and meet other GEAR UP students. Activities also include group mentoring, a college bowl competition and a leadership summit.

“GEAR UP U! is designed to demystify the college going process for potential first-generation college students,” Melissa A. Gattuso, regional coordinator for the southern region of West Virginia GEAR UP, said. “Their exposure to a college campus will help show them the ropes while building a state-wide support system of college partners and peers.

“Students will participate in educational enrichment activities that focus on improving student academic performance, college access and readiness and long-term success planning.

“During the four-night, five-day on-campus program, students will complete six academic courses; three in mandatory core subjects (math, English and science), two electives based upon the participants’ future career interest and one fine arts course,” she said. “The primary academic focus is supported by personal enrichment activities such as daily physical wellness, leadership development and college access focused mentoring.”

Gattuso, based at Concord University, is the GEAR UP U! director. “Post-tests at each GEAR UP U! have shown dramatic increases in high school success, admissions and financial aid awareness,” she said.

West Virginia GEAR UP is a federally funded, six-year program aimed at Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. GEAR UP provides activities and services to help students plan, apply and pay for education and training beyond high school. The program serves schools within 10 West Virginia counties, including Boone, Clay, Lincoln, McDowell, Mingo, Roane, Summers, Webster, Wirt and Wyoming.

The West Virginia GEAR UP program is coordinated by the Division of Student Success and P-20 Initiatives within the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The Commission partners with Concord University to conduct outreach activities in the southern region.

For more information on West Virginia GEAR UP visit


Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086
if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.