Coordinator for the Nevada State GEAR UP program, Lisa Hamrick, at Rosemary Clarke Middle School, in conjunction with Dr. Rita Bagwe, Biology Instructor for Great Basin College held four different field trips to GBC. The field trips consisted of seventh and eighth grade students in groups of 25 at a time visiting several of the classrooms and laboratory facilities located on the college campus.
Volunteer college students donated their time and expertise toward exposing and educating the children about higher education careers. The academic volunteers hosted hands-on lectures and experiments in the fields they had chosen for themselves.
“The students were excited and at first, thought the GBC campus was part of the high school. “We explained to them that the college is not part of the high school. It was part of higher education that comes after high school. However, they could attend college even before they graduate,” Bagwe said.
There was an opportunity to explore a working laboratory, which caters to biology and physiology higher learning. They were fascinated with the human torso models placed around the laboratory. GBC also displayed a real sheep’s heart, cow’s eye and a fetal pig, which the students dissected under laboratory conditions.
The RCMS kids were also exposed to a glow experiment where they were told to wash their hands with a special solution exposing the dirt on their hands when viewed under a UV spectrum light. After being exposed to the UV light, lots of grime still appeared on their hands. The exercise was an experiment in the proper way to wash their hands for a laboratory environment.
Several of the children were also guided through a CSI type of lab work investigation. There was a quarantined off area with a dead body outline. Students dusted for fingerprints and collected follicle and hair pieces for the investigation. The message given to the children was that each person has a unique biological package that is based on their genetic makeup and the steps they were performing is what real CSI investigators used to solve crimes.
The college also provided the children with doctor’s tools. The children were fascinated with the sound of each other’s heartbeat while listening in with stethoscope devices. College academic volunteers showed the children how to check each other’s blood pressure using blood pressure monitoring devices that had to be pumped up to take measurements.
The Gear Up Program is an acronym for “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. The dual grant program started last year and is strictly for seventh and eighth graders that will be graduating in 2018 and 2019. The seven year program will follow and focus on the the students all the way through to the completion of high school. Every seventh and eighth grade student is automatically in the Gear Up program.
“We are first and foremost here to get these kids interested in graduating high school to improve our graduation rate. Secondly, we are here to help them go on to college. We will be helping them with their SAT tests, filling out scholarship applications, looking into financial aid and helping the students fill out their FAFSA applications,” said Hamrick.