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Fort Thomas GEAR UP students attend career and college exploration event

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Fort Thomas GEAR UP students attend career and college exploration event

By Jeanné Clark

THATCHER, AZ—Fort Thomas Unified School District students involved in the Gaining Early Awareness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) sponsored by Eastern Arizona College attended a career exploration event hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 25.

Middle school students from throughout the state were invited to Chase Field to learn more about careers in baseball and professional sports. The students toured the Arizona corporate office of Pearson Education, where they visited with professionals in the field of sales, software development, and marketing. Additionally, the students participated in a student-guided campus tour of Arizona State University. The career and college event closed with the group attending a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres.

The group was led by GEAR UP Site Coordinator Ryan Conrad and Fort Thomas teacher Virginia Calderon. Calderon said, “This was a wonderful event for our students to see what is out there and available for them in the future,” adding that she hopes this event and other GEAR UP career exploration events will help students visualize their future plans and work toward making those plans a reality.

Jennifer Sikora, Pearson Education Senior Curriculum Specialist, was equally impressed with the event. “Pearson is very happy to host students who desire to learn more about careers in a corporate workplace and in our industry,” said Sikora. “There are many career paths that individuals can pursue at Pearson. The key thing for these students to understand is that they need to work hard in school and earn a college degree to set them in the right direction for their chosen career.”

The event was given rave reviews from the students involved. When asked about the event, one student responded, “This was a really fun day. Chase Field was amazing and I learned that there are a lot of careers there that I can pursue.” Another added that they really enjoyed the campus tour and, “is really excited for college now.”

GEAR UP is a federally funded grant program that works with students nationwide. The purpose of this Pathway to College program is to prepare students academically and financially to enter and succeed in college. The program is currently serving students in nine districts throughout Eastern Arizona.