Sixty-one members of EOSC GEAR UP delegation attend NCCEP/GEAR UP annual conference in Washington, DC


WILBURTON, OK (Aug. 9, 2012) – Twenty–one students, 21 chaperones and 15 GEAR UP team members and guests represented Eastern Oklahoma State College at the 2012 NCCEP/GEAR UP Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The delegation was the largest at the conference.

GEAR UP practitioners had the opportunity to learn from the U.S. Department of Education, NCCEP staff, foundation and corporate partners, and each other. The majority of concurrent sessions were led directly by GEAR UP professionals sharing their strongest programs, most successful partnerships, and best institutional practices. The event also serves as an important gathering for all college access professionals—particularly those who coordinate their efforts with GEAR UP programs; and local, state, and federal policy makers who want to learn more about creating and sustaining K–16 education/community collaboratives designed to improve public education and promote student success.

The annual event provides participants with an opportunity to look to the future by assessing the program’s performance, refining strategies, and infusing new practices to improve services. This is the twelfth year in which NCCEP has convened the GEAR UP community.

The YellowJackets, a University of Rochester a cappella chorus, provided a melodious opening to the conference. Plenary speakers included Nathan Monell, Executive Director of NCCEP; The Honorable Chaka Fattah, the author of GEAR UP; Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education; Motivational Storyteller, Leadership Expert, Author and Warrior, D. J. “Eagle Bear” Vanas; Actress, Neuroscientist, Teacher and Texas Instruments Spokesperson Mayim Bialik; and Vice President for Program Development, Lumina Foundation, Jim Applegate.

The highlight of the conference was the presentation by the NCCEP Youth Leadership Congress participants. Eastern’s 23 Youth Congress participants played a vital role in the presentation. Students performed skits and talked about how GEAR UP has affected their lives.

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a federal initiative to increase the number of low-income students who enter and successfully transition into postsecondary education. Eastern will receive $12,625,000 over seven years to serve current seventh and eighth grade students throughout high school graduation and college admission.


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Front Row: Lori Palmer, Canadian; Twylia Kelley, GEAR UP Education Coordinator; Stephanie Cooper, Moyers; Renee Allison, Panola; Brianna Hammonds, Rattan; Sheryll Needham, Rattan; Cassie Girten, Clayton; and Margaret White, McAlester.

Row 2: Linda Morgan, GEAR UP Project Director; Peery Lee, GEAR UP Education Coordinator; Lawanda Vaughn, Moyers; Jerry Preston, Whitesboro; Remington Young, Buffalo Valley; Cheyenne Anderson, Pittsburg; Kelly Richards, McAlester; Taylor Odom, Panola; Rebecca Harden, Kiowa; Michelle Cardell, GEAR UP Education Coordinator; and Lavada Watkins, Clayton.

Row 3: George Larson, GEAR UP Web/Computer Tech Specialist; Jerry Mathews, Buffalo Valley; Bryan Cartwright, Whitesboro; Suzanne Prock, Red Oak; Pamela Dickson, Antlers; Jimmy Harwood, Pittburg; Keri Anderson, Pittsburg; Tommie Miller, Haileyville; and Nina Fereday, GEAR UP Education Coordinator

Row 4: Mykah Staples, Antlers;Chelse Winklepleck, Keota; Jordyn Prock, Red Oak; and Veronica Miller, Haileyville.

Row 5: Suzie Cormier, LeFlore; Lori Nelson, Bokoshe; Brianna Brassfield, Bokoshe; Jacob Saulsbury, Haileyville; and Morgan Blehi, Haileyville.

Row 6: Dara Ward, GEAR UP Education Coordinator; Cheryl Roberts, GEAR UP Records Manager; Debbie McIntyre, Grants Manager; and Mona Enloe, GEAR UP Assistant Professional Development Coordinator.

Row 7: LaDonna Baldwin, GEAR UP Education Coordinator; Alison Todd, LeFlore; Sara Needham, Quinton; and Debbie Walters, GEAR UP Professional Development Coordinator.

Row 8: Hannah Truitt, Wilburton; Candice Dominguez, Keota; Greta Reasnor, Quinton; Claudia Keith, GEAR UP Administrative Assistant; and Kamy Patterson, GEAR UP Education Coordinator.

Row 9: Minnie Truitt, Wilburton; Sara Burgett, Kiowa; Shelly Wansick, Hartshorne; and Raina Wansick, Hartshorne.

Back Row: Melinda Hubbard, Crowder; Megan Orr, McCurtain; Veronica Lovell, McCurtain; Destiney Weaver, Canadian; and Kimberly Heaslet, Crowder.

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