Student Voices

Advice on high school, college and what GEAR UP Iowa means.

Who is GEAR UP Iowa?

Current and former GEAR UP Iowa students offer advice on high school, college and what GEAR UP Iowa means to them.

  • Rachel Johnston

    “We had a huge support network because it’s an entire community. The whole school believed in me and that I would go on to college, so why wouldn’t—or shouldn’t—I?”

    Rachael Johnson, GEAR UP Iowa Alumna, Sioux City North High School at University of Northern Iowa
  • Video: 
    Keyli Birke

    "It opens my eyes that there are a lot of majors and I can pick any one."

    Keyli Birke, Student at Ottumwa
  • "You can't go through it alone. You need to have someone there to support you."

    San Thang, Student Leader at GEAR UP Iowa Student Leader Summit
  • Video: 
    Mercedes Coram

    "My goal is to work hard and get my degree to become a pediatrician. I know I have to work hard and keep my GPA up in science classes. I think it's a great opportunity that we were chosen to be part of the GEAR UP program."

    Mercedes Coram, Student at Ottumwa
  • Amy Luong

    "Some places will accept you and some places won’t, but you should always make the best out of your experience."

    Amy Luong, Journalism and Mass Communications major with a certificate in Entrepreneurial Management at University of Iowa
  • “When making college decisions make sure you are listening to your heart. Your decisions should be based on your wants/needs and these are different for everyone. Visit as many colleges as you can in order to find your perfect fit! This is the easiest way to insure you will be happy with where you end up.”

    Taylor Hills, GEAR UP Iowa Alumna, Columbus Junction at St. Ambrose University
  • Mikolina Lowe

    "Don’t be afraid to try something new! Try a new club, subject, reading book or sport. When you try something new by stepping outside of your comfort zone you can learn a lot. You might open up new opportunities. But you’ll never know unless you try. Don’t let anything get in your way of your own success. With determination, patience and perseverance you can and will be successful."

    Mikolina Lowe, Microbiology major at University of South Florida