“Put yourself out there and go for whatever you want.”
This sage advice comes from Arizona GEAR UP alumna, Porsche Fellers, who just finished up the fall semester of her junior year at the University of Arizona. Beginning in the spring semester, Porsche will begin nursing school at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson campus. She expects to graduate in spring 2023.
Porsche graduated from Lee Williams High School in Kingman, and got involved with Arizona GEAR UP in seventh grade.
“The best part of GEAR UP was my counselor, [Mrs. DiBlasi]. She was always there for us—everything and anything we needed, wanted to do, and even when we didn’t know what to do—her door was always open,” said Porsche.
Porsche says her parents offered lots of support, too, but as a first-generation college student, she needed help in other areas. Had it not been for GEAR UP, Porsche predicts her postsecondary education would have looked very different. She says she would have likely attended college, but GEAR UP gave her resources about FAFSA, living in the dorms, and scholarships. All these things and more helped keep a mountain of student debt at bay.
“Thanks to Arizona GEAR UP, I received the College Success Arizona (CSA) scholarship,” Porsche said. “I also won the Earn to Learn Arizona Scholarship (ETL), and the Wildcat Excellence Merit Scholarship. When I transfer to NAU, I will continue to receive the CSA and ETL scholarships, but in addition, I will get a Lumberjack Transfer scholarship.”
While Porsche travels a road to success, she says it wasn’t always easy. “I didn’t get into nursing school right away, and I thought it was going to be the worst thing for me.” But she worked hard to raise her GPA and take other prerequisites, which left her better prepared. Now, she extends this advice to high school students. “Don’t get down on yourself if college takes longer than four years. My degree will take five years, but time is going to pass no matter what.”