Opportunities at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA) have opened doors for a graduate, helping her achieve her educational goals, and have resulted in full-time employment in her community.

 

Opportunities at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA) have opened doors for a graduate, helping her achieve her educational goals, and have resulted in full-time employment in her community.
Krisner Smith, of Barton, who served as a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) mentor at Eliza Miller Jr. High School while a student at PCCUA, has completed her education and is now employed as a math teacher at Eliza Miller School.
Smith came to PCCUA where she majored in math education. While at Phillips, she took advantage of the opportunity to participate in GEAR UP’s “Growing Our Own Teachers” program through which students who agree to come back and teach in a GEAR UP school are given tuition scholarships for attending PCCUA. Smith served as a student mentor for GEAR UP during the first year of its grant at Eliza Miller School where she enjoyed her work as a math assistant.
Upon graduating from PCCUA, Smith transferred to Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, where she received a bachelor’s degree in education and then returned to Helena-West Helena to work full-time as a middle school math teacher at Eliza Miller School.
PCCUA GEAR UP Director Kyle Miller, said, “We are especially proud of her because she worked as a student mentor the first year of our grant at Eliza Miller Jr. High. She was a math assistant for our program, and now she is a teacher at that same school.”
GEAR UP is a federal program allowing Phillips College the opportunity to provide academic support to students beginning in grade seven and follow them through high school graduation and entry into post secondary institutions. Schools currently served by GEAR UP include public schools in Marvell, Stuttgart, Dumas, Lake Village, Marianna, Brinkley, Barton, and Helena-West Helena.
Services to students include comprehensive mentoring, counseling, outreach, and supportive services including tutoring, access to computer technology, and summer programs at school district and PCCUA campus sites. The overall goal of GEAR UP is to assist students in raising test scores, increasing high school graduation rates, and entering into college for a four-year degree or vocational training.
The grant also supports a number of additional activities toward students’ entry into college including financial aid counseling and information regarding the opportunities for financial assistance, activities or information regarding fostering and improving parent involvement in promoting the advantages of a college education, academic admission requirements, and the need to take college preparation courses, as well as college admissions and achievement tests and college application procedures.