11 May Eighth-grade students present aspiring careers as part of GEAR UP showcase
By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities
RICHLAND, Wash. – Doctors, professors, police officers and more were aspirational careers presented by 13 eighth-grade GEAR UP students this spring during a career showcase evening at Washington State University Tri-Cities.
GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program, is a federally-funded program through the U.S. Department of Education that focuses on helping students prepare for and succeed in high school, higher education and their post-secondary pursuits. At the middle school level, students receive a focus on career exploration, said Michelle Parvinen, program director for GEAR UP programs at WSU Tri-Cities.
Student representatives were selected from area middle schools to present on career paths that they have diligently researched, which were judged by two WSU Tri-Cities professors and a representatives from the STEM Education Program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
“Students start by completing interest surveys to get an idea of some of the professions that align with their interests. From there, students are encouraged to dive in to learn everything they can about the career, including educational requirements, educational costs, projected job market and anticipated earning,” Parvinen said. “The WSU GEAR UP 8th Grade Career Showcase provides the opportunity for students to display their knowledge and earn pries along the way.”
Throughout the evening, students presented on a career, the skills required and preferred, education and experience required for that career, potential colleges they could attend, preparation needed for that career path, the salary, career outlook and other related topics. The students were then judged on their presentations.
Top honors went to Tiana Tran of John Sager Middle School in College Place, Washington, for her presentation of her target career of a family physician. Second place went to Hector Miguel Garcia Lopez, of Prescott Middle School in Prescott, Washington, who presented on the career of neurosurgery. Third place was awarded to Anissa Reyna, of Endeavor Middle School in Moses Lake, Washington, for her presentation on a career as a homicide detective.
For top prize, Tran received a touchscreen Chromebook donated by RGI Corporation, and all three top finishers earned TI Nspire graphing calculators, donated by Texas Instruments.
All competitors also walked away with a backpack, student planner, free admission tickets to The REACH museum, bookmarkers from Barnes and Noble, sandwich coupons from McDonald’s and college swag donated by WSU Tri-Cities, Columbia Basin College, Big Bend Community College and Walla Walla Community College.
All student participants in the showcase included:
- Emmali Johnson, Pioneer Middle School – Walla Walla
- Daniella Nicole Pruneda, Warden Middle School – Warden
- Cecilia Acevedo, Dayton Middle School – Dayton
- Hector Miguel Garcia Lopez, Prescott Middle School – Prescott
- Brayan Orozco, Touchet Middle School – Touchet
- Nesreen Hassan, Park Middle School – Kennewick
- Emerson Schulke, Garrison Middle School – Walla Walla
- Tiana Tran, John Sager Middle School – College Place
- Crystal Bowser, Frontier Middle School – Moses Lake
- Emma Scriven, Chief Moses Middle School – Moses Lake
- Elise Garza, McFarland Middle School – Othello
- Samantha Miranda, Highlands Middle School – Kennewick
- Anissa Reyna, Endeavor Middle School – Moses Lake