Making Rowan Accessible for
Camden City Students

3 girls smile sitting on the grass

While most of us begin prepping for college during our final years as a high school student, Rowan sophomore Imani Phillips has been prepping for the big change since sixth grade. Wondering how she was able to do this? Well, Phillips was able to do so through Rowan’s CHAMP/GEAR UP Program.

Student working on building project with wood

The CHAMP/GEAR UP Program (Creating Higher Aspirations & Motivation Project/Gaining Early Awareness for Undergraduate Programs) helps students from 6th to 12th grade in the Camden City School System prepare for college and supports them through their student career. Summer and academic year long programs are available. Participating students gain a solid foundation in math, science, English, public speaking and computer science. During the summer, different projects help students improve their self-esteem, social and cooperative building skills – all skills necessary to succeed in both college and in their future careers. With a 99% retention rate of returning students to the program, often the same students who participated in the program as kids turn around and become mentors during their own college careers. 

Rowan students talking to CHAMP Program students in the student centerWinona Wigfall, director of CHAMP/GEAR UP says that the program targets first generation college students, exposing and educating them on the world of opportunity that a college degree can offer. She keeps a close relationship with all participating students, following into their college career, always showing her support and pushing them to give it their all.

Imani believes if it weren’t for the CHAMP Program, she would not be where she is today. The program introduced her to Rowan’s campus in 6th grade, where she spent her summers learning more about the campus, surrounding area and the structure of college level courses. Upon her completion of the program, she was eligible for the GEAR UP scholarship, supporting her financially as she attends Rowan today.

CHAMP Program students completing some work writing in notebooks

Imani recommends the CHAMP/GEAR UP Program to every student who qualifies. She says, “This program is very beneficial to those who are unsure about their future plans and those who plan to have a successful future. This opens many doors to networking opportunities between staff and participants that can leave a great impact on your life.”

This program is a great way to connect, prepare and familiarize yourself with life as a college student before you attend a university. All students taking part in the CHAMP/GEAR UP Program have a personalized education plan created for them, perfectly setting them up for a successful future. If you are interested in this opportunity, click here to learn more and apply, or apply to become a mentor.

By: Katelyne Ortega