GEAR UP Students Travel to Texas for Extraordinary Tours


WILBURTON, OK (Oct. 27, 2016) – Early one October morning, 79 students and nine sponsors boarded two buses (one leaving from Poteau and one from McAlester) to travel to Texas for an exciting adventure provided by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP. The partner schools’ juniors and seniors trekked south to tour various colleges and universities and the Texas Instruments’ North Campus Facility in Dallas.

Students traveling on the bus from Poteau stopped at Austin College. The college is a private, residential, co–educational college dedicated to educating 1300+ undergraduate students in the liberal arts and sciences while also offering select pre–professional programs and a graduate teacher education program. Founded by a Presbyterian Church in 1849, Austin College continues its relationship with the church and its commitment to a heritage that values personal growth, justice, community, and service.

McAlester travelers toured Texas A&M–Commerce, the second largest university in the Texas A&M University System. The university offers 144 total areas of study at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. As a member of the A&M System, TAMU–Commerce offers STEM undergraduate degrees in Applied Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, Engineering, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics, Pre-Med, Technology Management, and Wildlife Conservation Science. In addition, the university offers numerous other majors in humanities, education, agriculture, etc.

The groups came together in Dallas at Texas Instruments. Members of the Texas Instruments team provided hands–on activities, information about careers available at Texas Instruments, and the history of the company. TI is an American technology company that designs and manufactures semiconductors, which it sells to electronics designers and manufacturers globally. Headquartered in Dallas, TI is one of the top ten semiconductor companies worldwide, based on sales volume. Texas Instruments' focus is on developing analog chips and embedded processors, which accounts for more than 85 percent of their revenue. TI also produces TI digital light processing (DLP) technology and education technology products including calculators, microcontrollers and multi-core processors. To date, TI has more than 43,000 patents worldwide.

Students were taken on a walking tour of the Texas Instruments Fabrication Plant, an extraordinary opportunity to see the world–wide manufacturing innovations.

“TI’s Manager of Systemic Initiatives Eric Batten and his team provided a wonderful afternoon of technology at its finest,” said GEAR UP Project Director Linda Morgan.

TI hosted the group for dinner. Next, it was on to the Texas State Fair, a fun trip provided by Explore College Tours.

The next morning, students boarded their buses and traveled to the University of Texas—Dallas. The University of Texas at Dallas is a public research university in The University of Texas System. The institution, established in 1961 as the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest and later renamed the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies (SCAS), began as a research arm of Texas Instruments. In 1969, the founders bequeathed SCAS to the state of Texas officially creating The University of Texas at Dallas. With approximately 14,500 undergraduates, The University of Texas at Dallas offers 138 academic programs across its eight schools including 48 baccalaureate programs, 57 master’s programs and 31 doctoral programs. The university attracts the brightest minds in science, math and engineering and boasts one of the top business schools in the state.

“This was a phenomenal experience for the students and GEAR UP staff,” said Morgan. “They were able to see top postsecondary institutions in Texas and visit TI. The red carpet was rolled out. I know this was a trip they won’t forget.”

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal grant program designed to meet the needs of low–income, underserved, and underrepresented students in geographically–isolated, rural schools in six southeastern Oklahoma counties. Eastern was awarded $12.6 million grant over a seven–year period to serve a cohort of students in 30 partner schools.

Attending the event were:
Atoka: Balie Boone & Thomas Fugate.
Bokoshe: Rica Beam, Shawnee Gibson, Tekoa Sanders & Gracie Stroup.
Canadian: Colton Luna, Preston Phillips, Lily Romero & Trevor Zernicek.
Clayton: Dakota Dunn, Jaydin Harper, Tyler Macon, Justin Scarberry, Daniel Staggs & Sarah Wood.
Crowder: Gina D'Angelillo, Cheyenne Hill, Destinee McGuire & Jennifer Parker.
Haileyville: William Copeland & Brandi Moore.
Hartshorne: Hailey Braswell, Kelly Lott, Marcus O'Daniel, Araceli Ortiz, Nathan Ranallo, Scotlin Rizor, Adanya Sewell, Tyler Sheppard & Claire Tallant.
Keota: Audrey DeShazo, Darin Kates, Miranda McClary & Noah Turner.
LeFlore: Sarah Spurlock.
McAlester Caitlin Atchley, Lucas Cable, Katelyn Gipson, Davian Noels & Gavin Schrader.
McCurtain: Devin Blaylock, Matthew Blaylock, Brylea Cooper, Wade Restine, Tyler Satterfield & Shakota Yeary.
Panama: Cassie Graham, Holiday Hull, Ty Mackey & Tony McVey.
Panola: Andria Crouch, Madison Rutledge & Bryce Wilcox.
Pittsburg: Mandi Barron, Kinsey Mathews & Dakota Pollock.
Quinton: Tori Davison & Andrew Howell.
Rattan: Elisha Crow.
Savanna: Emily Hoffman, Jessica Kalstad, Brooke Kelley, Shelby Underwood & Gabby Valdez.
Stringtown: Josey Allen, Makenzie Brutchin, Rylee Dunlap, Gracie Jackson & Erik Magby.
Talihina: Michala Reynolds.
Wilburton: Gilles Goddard & Cutler Lacy. 
GEAR UP Team Members: LaDonna Baldwin, Natalie Kennedy, Tina McMurtrey, Linda Morgan, Rachael Ranallo, Shawna Smith, Dara Self, John Spiegel & Tara Stevens.

Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP students at the Texas Instruments Fabrication Plant in Dallas, TX.

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