Arizona GEAR UP was well represented at this year’s National Council for Community and Education Partnerships/GEAR UP Capacity Building Workshop (CBW). From Feb 14 – 16, three of our very own AZGU team members took center stage and shared their expertise and best practices with hundreds of colleagues from across the country.
First up, our Communications Manager Melissa Fast presented alongside an elite team of GEAR UP communications specialists in the “Follow Your Heart: Grow Your Communications Passion” session. The workshop covered multiple communications strategies, and Melissa led a breakout titled “10 Ways to Fall in Love with Writing for the Web.”
In the session, Melissa shared tips and tricks on how to successfully write a piece you can be proud of. From constructing ideas, drafting, organizing, and fine-tuning, Melissa guided participants through her process of making writing for the web look effortless.
“I’m passionate about writing and strategic communications,” said Melissa. “I was honored NCCEP invited me to show other GEAR UP professionals how to improve their communications methods.”
Next up was Arizona GEAR UP newcomer Jasmine Dean. While new to the team, this isn’t her first CBW. Jasmine participated in previous events as a member of the Arizona State University partner grant. This was her first experience as a presenter.
“It was an absolute honor to be chosen to present at the CBW conference. This is an area I really want to grow within my professional career, and to see that others are giving me the space and opportunity to do so is truly humbling,” Jasmine said.
Jasmine contributed to two different sessions during the week. First was the “Motivating Students to Attend GEAR UP Programming” session, where she helped lead a discussion on best practices to help increase student participation in GEAR UP events.
To wrap up the day, Jasmine teamed up with Arizona GEAR UP’s Assistant Director Andrea González Sotelo and NCCEP’s Kelly Pappas to present “Career Discovery in Middle School.”
The trio highlighted the importance of career exploration in the middle grades and how it helps set long-term goals for students. One focus was AZGU’s Discover Guide, an all-in-one guide focused on assisting students in navigating the middle grades and preparing for high school. The guide has versions and videos to support students, educators, and parents. The guide and videos are all available for free online on our site.
“I hope all who attended the Discover Guide session took away a great resource to help students create a college-going identity in the middle-grades, and I hope attendees came away with ideas of how to bring the Discover Guide into their individual setting, as well as, engage families along the way,” Andrea said. “The Arizona GEAR UP team created an innovative product to really help student career and college exploration, and I’m glad we could share this initiative with the national GEAR UP community.”
CBW is one of several professional development events put on by NCCEP throughout the year. Next up is the GEAR UP National Conference on July 17-20 in Washington, DC.