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4/1/2010 - Jackson, Miss.

The focuses of the five 2010 GEAR UP Mississippi summer academies, hosted by public universities across the state, range from exploring the state’s wildlife to learning about becoming greener citizens of the world.

However, the end goal for each is the same: Honing the algebra and biology skills of the 400 to-be high school students who applied and were accepted to participate.

Students – all of whom will enter the ninth grade in August 2010 – are chosen from the 49 schools and 20 districts across the state that are currently participating in GEAR UP Mississippi, a federally-funded college access program from the U.S. Department of Education and is overseen by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL).

Participating GEAR UP districts must have at least 50 percent of students on free and reduced lunch. The program tracks cohorts at participating schools from seventh grade through Graduation Day.

“These academies are a special part of our programming because they promote specific career and educational aspirations and early awareness about the need to plan for college both academically and financially,” said Nira Coleman-Johnson, Director of GEAR UP Mississippi. “The academies also expose students to the experience of living on a college campus.”

Each academy must provide an enrichment component, said Dr. Mary Lee, GEAR UP Evaluation and Compliance Director.

The academies will last eight to 10 days and are scheduled during various weeks of late May and June. Daily activities will include team-building exercises, scavenger hunts, nature trail walks, field trips and cultural excursions.

The 2010 Summer Academies include:

  • The S.T.A.R.S. - (Scientific Tools and Analytic Research Skills) Academy at Alcorn State University will introduce participants to scientific investigations, problem-solving and leadership skills related to biology.
  • The Summer College Exploration and Math Academy at the University of Mississippi will provide supplemental instruction in mathematics and prepare students for post secondary education by attending on-campus events.
  • The Discover Mississippi Academy at the University of Southern Mississippi in collaboration with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science will allow participants to investigate wildlife and habitats in the state, as well as related college and career opportunities.
  • The Green Academy at Mississippi Valley State University will promote environmentally-friendly habits and also enhance participants’ academic performance in the sciences.
  • The Survivor: Biology Academy at the University of Southern Mississippi will feature highly-interactive indoor and outdoor lab-based activities aimed at preparing students for the Biology I Subject Area Test.


GEAR UP Mississippi (MS) operates as part of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Office of Academic and Student Affairs, in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Education, State Board for Community and Junior Colleges and community and national partners.

GEAR UP tracks cohorts at participating schools from seventh grade through the first year of post-secondary education.  GEAR UP MS actively encourages students to set high academic expectations, stay in school, study hard, and take courses that will prepare them to enter and succeed in college. The program provides educational support services to our partner schools throughout Mississippi.

For more information visit http://www.gearupms.org/.

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