Two former students from the Northern Arizona University GEAR UP program have been selected by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships for the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy, GUALA.

The council created the GUALA program, with the support of the Kresge Foundation, to advance college and career readiness in communities by providing 12 months of training for alumni leaders on topics related to peer-to-peer outreach and mentoring, social media engagement, public speaking and education policy.

NAU GEAR UP alumni Angeleena Corrente and Timothy Wiley are two of 24 students recently chosen to participate in the year-long GUALA program. They were identified as students with exceptional leadership potential to effectively engage their peers, schools and community to create a college-going culture.

GEAR UP is a federally-funded program that provides services to help increase the number of students who are prepared for and succeed in higher education.

“The idea of a higher education came about when I got on a bus to go to Northern Arizona University for the summer enrichment program,” said Corrente. “That week changed my life for the better, and for the next four years I kept going back to NAU to continue growing.”

Since 2000, NAU has been the administrator of the Arizona GEAR UP grant projects and has partnered with 28 school districts, served more than 12,000 students enrolled in grades seven to twelve in 67 schools across 26 communities.

“My time as a GEAR UP student really set the tone and blazed a path for me to where I am today,” said Wiley. “The program helped me not only pursue excellence but have the resources to continue to be the best student I could be.”

As part of the program, Corrente and Wiley are in Washington, D.C. for a week-long intensive leadership training where they will interact with national policymakers and leaders.

Additional information about the GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy can be viewed online.