Students develop academic skills at Louisiana GEAR UP summer learning camps

Brittany Francis, Ph.D.
Public Information and Communications Director 
(225) 219-3306 Office

Tyana Daquano
Public Information Officer
(225) 342-5173 Office

Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) 

July 7 2021

Students develop academic skills at Louisiana GEAR UP summer learning camps

Baton Rouge – To prevent summer melt (students’ retaining knowledge during the summer), Louisiana GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) through the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance’s (LOSFA) Field Outreach Services partnered with Southeastern Louisiana University to offer in-person summer learning camps.

 Louisiana GEAR UP is a college access program that provides students and families with resources and support in their journey to college success. These summer learning camps are one of several outreach efforts that provided high school students an opportunity to maintain educational growth with hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities while discovering potential college majors and careers.  

The camps also allowed students to resume a sense of normalcy during COVID. According to the U.S. Department of Education, summer programs are a key component in addressing lost instructional minutes and extracurricular time because of the pandemic.  

“Louisiana GEAR UP summer camps helped me explore possible options for what I want to major in when I get to college next year,” said Telia Coleman, a rising senior at Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge.  

These summer learning camps foster critical thinking and problem solving, while also allowing students to understand the importance of college readiness.

“These camps deepen our students’ understanding of what they learn during the year,” said Dr. Tireka Cobb, director of Louisiana GEAR UP and LOSFA’s Field Outreach Services division. “This is when our students make the connection between education, college, and career in a fun and interactive way.” 

This year, Southeastern offered four in-person summer camps: 1) Tiny House Design and Construction, 2) Pre-Med, 3) Full-Contact Chemistry – Physics Blast, and 4) Build a Drone: 3D Design & Printing.

Students who took part in the Tiny House camp learned the basics of architecture.  

“I learned how to weld and how to use carpentry tools,” said Tylon Franklin, a rising junior at Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge.  

They created their own floorplan and constructed their own tiny house model using traditional architectural principles to create attractive, well-built structures.  

“I have been at [Louisiana] GEAR UP camps two years now. I came back this year because the camps are fun and educational,” said Brittany Phillips, an incoming senior at Scotlandville Magnet High School. 

During the four-day pre-med summer camp, students took a deeper look at the medical field – learning about physiology, genetics, immunology, and bioinformatics. On day one, students experimented with bacteria by taking samples of yogurt and leaving them out overnight to see if the bacteria would multiply. 

Each day camp instructors tested students to measure students’ grasp of the material. Instructors at both camps said the experience of guiding students to understand new skills was rewarding. 

“Every day I spent with the students made me realize how much more of an impact I can have on this new upcoming generation,” said Devin Shexnayder, an instructor at the Pre-Med camp.

“I am fascinated that I have that much interest in science,” said Michaelle Jackson, also a Woodlawn High School student. “It’s all thanks to this opportunity.”

This year, Louisiana GEAR UP also partnered with Louisiana Tech University, Grambling State University, and Northwestern State University of Louisiana to offer a variety of summer camps to students.

 To register for a virtual camp that provides experiential learning activities in robotics, cybersecurity, engineering, and more, click here