Keeping Up with GEAR UP Newsletter Graphic

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By Brent Lloyd, GEAR UP MSU Graduate Assistant

GEAR UP MSU would like to welcome all the first-year GEAR UP students arriving at MSU for their first semester of college, and welcome back all of our upperclass GEAR UP students to another semester in Bozeman! We are excited to work with all of you this year and to help you succeed on your path at Montana State! GEAR UP is here to help all of our first year students and we encourage you to utilize our school supply services and our new book borrowing program! Be sure to keep an eye out for GEAR UP events and opportunities going on throughout the fall semester to get involved at MSU! We are excited to see and get to know all of you, and wish everyone the best of luck at the start of classes!

  • "Don't procrastinate. Keep ahead of your course work or it will be a disaster." -Jake (Sophomore)
  • "Find a dining hall buddy to eat your meals with"   -Sinclair Berger (Senior)
  • "You have to work hard and face your fears in order to reach your goals." -T (Freshman)

For the first time, GEAR UP MSU partnered with TRIO Student Support Services for their annual Smart Start Welcome program on August 18-19th. During Smart Start, TRIO and GEAR UP provided students with on-campus experiences and education in a small-scale, personal setting to help ease the transition to college for our rural Montana students and help them adapt to a new setting. The program provided students with information on a variety of topics including financial education, academic skills and techniques, and even extra-curricular activities available to them. Additional activities included a student resource fair, life skills games, and an excursion to Hyalite Reservoir with MSU's Outdoor Rec Program.

GEAR UP student Jessica Kehler from Hardin attended Smart Start and says, "Coming from a small school, I was anxious about moving in at MSU and being one of thousands of students, but the Smart Start Program helped me feel like I was part of a community. After connecting with the GEAR UP staff, I felt much more confident and comfortable with finding resources on campus. Knowing that I'll be supported my first year of college has made this transition way smoother."

With programs such as Smart Start, we aim to help our students not only successfully adapt to life on campus as college students, but feel comfortable and supported at MSU. We look forward to having Smart Start again next year. 


New GEAR UP students participating in Smart Start

New GEAR UP students participating in Smart Start

Anthony Hernandez

Anthony is a freshman from Lodge Grass, MT studying Agricultural Education. Anthony has been inspired to go to college by his family, especially his grandmother. Anthony says "My grandmother was my high school counselor and she was one of the few people who pushed me to attend higher education. Without her help/support, I probably wouldn't be a student here at MSU." Anthony started with GEAR UP in the 7th grade and attended a summer camp at MSU. Later on as he continued with the program he participated in college visits and with the Youth Leadership Academy. Outside of school, Anthony is a state officer with Montana FFA and is a member of the AgEd Club and works on campus. He adds, "I'm most excited to make new everlasting friendships, gain new experiences, and participate in MSU activities."


Anthony Hernandez

Anthony Hernandez: Lodge Grass, MT

Community Rec Night Pool Table

Community Rec Night

Tuesday, September 13th from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Once a month TRIO Student Support Services hosts a community recreation night in the SUB Rec Center and welcomes GEAR UP students and their friends and family to attend. Community Rec Night helps foster community and engagement between students as they adjust to life at MSU, Free pizza, salad and drinks are provided and students are allowed to bowl and play pool for free, with board games also provided. TRIO and GEAR UP students are encouraged to attend and bring their friends. RSVP in CatsConnect.

Students at Rockin the M

Rockin' the "M"

Saturday, September 10th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Take part in an MSU tradition over a hundred years old by becoming a volunteer to hike up to the college "M" and refresh it with new paint. ChampChange points, food, and other free items will be given to participating students! This is a great opportunity to volunteer, meet fellow students and make new friends at MSU! Lunch and transportation provided. RSVP in CatsConnect.

Office of Financial Education

Office of Financial Education Workshop

Thursday, September 22nd from 12:00 - 1:00 pm

MSU's Office of Financial Education will host a workshop for GEAR UP and TRIO students in SUB 233. Come learn about budgeting, paying for college, and how to plan for your financial future. Lunch will be provided. RSVP on CatsConnect.

Sally Weber and her mom during 2021 Parent Family Weekend

Parent Family Weekend

September 30th and October 1st

GEAR UP MSU will fund Parent Family Weekend registration for families of first-year MSU students in the GEAR UP program. Hosted by the Bobcat Parent Family Program, Parent Family Weekend is full of fun and informative activities. Register by contacting [email protected]. For more information, visit

A Farewell from Emma Hill, GEAR UP MSU Program Assistant

Hello! For those of you who don't know me, my name is Emma Hill. I was the GEAR UP MSU Program Assistant here on campus in Bozeman. As a student attending MSU myself I have come to a point in my college career where I am approaching the end of my college career with graduation as the light at the end of the tunnel. I will graduate in the Spring of 2023 with a degree in Elementary Education. Before coming to MSU, I attended St. Regis High School and was an active participant in GEAR UP activities. So when I heard about a job opportunity with GEAR UP MSU I applied hastily. I have loved every minute of this job and the benefits that it provides to students from backgrounds like my own. I have gotten to meet some amazing students and give them some support as an upperclassman in college as well as a member of the GEAR UP team. Being able to help younger students navigate the first year of college is such a rewarding experience and GEAR UP provides that opportunity very readily. It allows you to continue to attend classes with a very flexible schedule, as well as providing you with a variety of networking opportunities.

I have grown familiar with many different offices, faculty, and staff here at MSU. GEAR UP MSU has given me a much larger appreciation for the student support services that we have here on campus. I would encourage everyone to spend time in a position at MSU, especially one with GEAR UP!

I am sad to be leaving, but I am excited to see what this program does and I know that one lucky student will get the opportunity to fill my position and bring some new ideas. If you haven't applied, I would encourage you to do so now! Apply at

Emma Hill

Erika and her dad

Parent and Family Send-Off Dinner

On August 17th GEAR UP hosted it's first ever Parent and Family Send Off Dinner. GEAR UP students and their families had dinner and heard from GEAR UP staff, the Office of Student Housing, and the Bobcat Parent Family Program on how they support MSU students and their families.


Jessica and her family

A few of the GEAR UP students and families at the Parent/Family Send- Off Dinner are pictured on this page.

We are Bobcat family cup

Thank you to the Bobcat Parent and Family Program for sending families home with some Bobcat swag.

GEAR UP students playing games

More From the Smart Start Welcome Program

New GEAR UP students participated in team-building games and activities during Smart Start

Free backpacks for GEAR UP students

GEAR UP first-year students receive a FREE backpack full of school supplies.

GEAR UP students encouraging each other

New GEAR UP students practiced encouraging each other to work hard and reach their goals.

GEAR UP Students participating in games

New GEAR UP students participated in team-building games and activities during Smart Start

GEAR UP and TRIO Rafting

GEAR UP and TRIO Raft Trip

On Saturday, August 27th, MSU's Outdoor Recreation Program took GEAR UP and TRIO students on a guided raft trip on the Yellowstone River. The students had a fun time discovering recreation opportunities near MSU. A big thanks to Outdoor Rec and to TRIO Student Support Services for funding the trip and lunch for GEAR UP students.

Anthony Hernandez

Congratulations, Anthony!

Anthony Hernandez won a mini fridge from Champ Change for participating in the Smart Start Welcome Program.

Champ Change

All semester long GEAR UP students can win great prizes through the Champ Change program by participating in campus events and activities. GEAR UP students earn boosted points for attending GEAR UP-specific events and activities. Join the GEAR UP campus organization in CatsConnect to learn about upcoming GEAR UP events!

Free For GEAR UP Students!

  1. Scan our QR Code, or go to our SmartyCats Website! Website: 
  2. Click on "Find A SmartyCats Tutor." Once you reach our SmartyCats home page, scroll down to "Find a SmartyCats Tutor" and click on it.
  3. Login and Select the Course You Need Help With. Login with your NetID and password, then select your desired course code and number from the drop down menu to view tutoring availability.
  4. Click "Join" or "More Info." Click to learn more about the appointment, or click "Joing Appointment to book your appointment!
  5. Don't See an Appointment That Fits Into Your Schedule? No Worries! Call out office at (406)227-7627 and we will get you in touch with a tutor that is available!