“The KinderCaminata program is designed to provide an experience where Santa Ana kindergartners learn the importance of going to college and about different career possibilities. It’s held on or near March 31, the birthday of Cesar Chavez, in celebration of his motto, ‘Si, se puede’ – 'Yes, you can,'” says Stephanie Reyes-Tuccio, assistant vice chancellor for educational partnerships. This year’s virtual event included two videos from UCI. School of Education

Irvine, Calif., Nov. 15, 2018 — The University of California, Irvine has been awarded a $5.4 million Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare middle school students for college access and success. The seven-year GEAR UP project will provide multiple academic activities and services for sixth- and seventh-graders in the Compton Unified School District that continue through high school and their freshman year in college.

“We are thrilled to implement this comprehensive program that increases opportunities for students from underserved communities and that provides them and their families with the tools and information to plan for, enter and complete a postsecondary education,” said principal investigator Stephanie Reyes-Tuccio, UCI assistant vice chancellor for educational partnerships. “UCI has repeatedly been named the No. 1 university in The New York Times College Access Index for doing the most for the American dream, and through this grant, we can help GEAR UP students realize theirs.”

The project will serve 1,000 students from Davis, Bunche, Enterprise and Willowbrook middle schools as they progress into Compton or Centennial high school and on to the colleges of their choice. It will promote science, technology, engineering and math education through increased access to Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes; provide academic tutoring, counseling and workshops; offer teachers, counselors and staff professional development and enrichment activities; and increase students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options and financial aid.

UCI will collaborate with a variety of community groups – including the Compton Unified School District, Compton College, the city of Compton, the Verizon Foundation and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – to provide support and services.

“We appreciate the commitment of our partners in joining with us to extend educational opportunities that will help underserved communities succeed in the classroom and beyond,” Reyes-Tuccio said. “Earning a college degree not only benefits students and their families, but also helps strengthen the region by establishing a qualified workforce that can meet the needs of business and industry for years to come.” 

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit wp.communications.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.