group of people sitting together

Gear Up West Conference

GEAR UP West is an annual collaborative regional conference for college access and success practitioners primarily from the Western part of the United States. Participating states have included Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. GEAR UP programs in these states together serve more than 200,000 low-income and historically underrepresented students and their families.

Attendees include GEAR UP and other college access program staff, evaluators, higher education professionals, and middle and high school teachers, counselors, and administrators. All those working to help low-income and underrepresented students prepare for and succeed in college are welcome to attend.

Register for the conference

Workshop & Keynote Speakers


Keith Orchard Headshot

Pre-Conference Workshop: Keith Orchard, LCSW

Sunday, October 23, 2022 @ 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. MDT | Location: TBA

From a wide range of positions, Keith has anchored his professional services to supporting the families, organizations, and systems that care for our community's children. A licensed clinical social worker, Keith serves as the Mental Health Coordinator for Coeur d'Alene Public Schools. He was formerly an environmental educator in the Peace Corps, wilderness therapy guide, senior clinician at Idaho Youth Ranch, clinical supervisor of the Family Advocate Program at the Marine Corps Base in Hawai'i, and a classroom teacher in Redmond Washington.

*All conference attendees are invited to attend this workshop free of charge.

Learn more about Keith



Kyle Reyes Headshot

Dr. Kyle A. Reyes, VP of Institutional Advancement, "Lenses of Humanity"

Sunday, October 23, 2022, 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. MDT

Dr. Kyle A. Reyes currently serves as Vice President of Student Affairs at Utah Valley University (UVU) - the largest university in the state of Utah with over 41,000 students. He has been at UVU for 19 years in various offices and programs: TRIO Upward Bound, GEAR UP, Multicultural Student Services, Student Success & Retention, the School of Education, and the Office of the President.

Learn more about Kyle

Logan Taylor Headshot

Logan Taylor, Motivational Speaker, "Y.B. Normal?"

Monday, October 24, 2022, 7:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. MDT

 Logan Taylor is a motivational speaker and founder of Y.B.Normal?, a non-profit organization that helps struggling youth in schools and implements curriculum and journal writing that focuses on social-emotional development. He also leads community outreach events. Taylor is certified in Social Emotional Learning from the University of Colorado and is currently working to obtain his master's degree as a therapist while completing his ACEs certification.

Learn more about Logan
Astrid Tuminez Headshot

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez, President of Utah Valley University

Monday, October 24, 2022, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. MDT

Following a rich and storied career in business, philanthropy, and academia, Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez became the seventh president of Utah Valley University in 2018. She is the first woman to serve full-time as UVU president. Raised in the slums of the Philippines, Tuminez rose to become a world leader in the fields of technology and political science, most recently serving as an executive at Microsoft. She is also the former vice dean of research and assistant dean of executive education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

Learn more about President Tuminez
Braxten Nielsen Headshot

Braxten Nielsen, Pro Rodeo Athlete, "Born to Succeed"

Tuesday, October 25, 2022, 7:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. MDT

Braxten is from Roosevelt, Utah, and currently lives in Spring City, Utah, with his wife and daughter. In college, Braxten joined the college rodeo team and has always had a love for all things outdoors. In August of 2017, an accident with a bronc in the chutes of the Magic Valley Stampede in Twin Falls, Idaho, broke Braxten's back and paralyzed him from the waist down. He spent 48 days in the University of Utah Hospital. After months of surgery and intense rehabilitation efforts, Braxten was able to walk and compete again. Braxten hopes to share with the world his message of "We Were Born to Succeed" and emphasizes hard work, resilience, and postivity to overcome setbacks and challenges.

Learn more about Braxten


Prepare ahead of time for the conference!

Visit Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City Sunset
Historic Salt Lake City, Utah

Nestled on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and overlooking the largest inland lake in the western US, Salt Lake is home to a pioneering past and an exciting future.

Whether you’re coming to see the beautiful LDS Temple Square, see the Utah Jazz play a game, sample our award winning gastronomic scene, see a broadway play, or take in the amazing mountain backdrop, Salt Lake will surprise you with the amount of things to do, places to see, and ways to connect.
Check Out SLC

University of Utah Tour

University of Utah Campus View
University of Utah Campus Tour

Monday, October 24th @ 3:00pm-5:00pm

Conference attendees are invited to attend a private campus tour of the University of Utah. Registration for this tour is required and must be completed through the conference app (WHOVA) prior to the first day of the conference. Transportation to and from the University of Utah campus is provided. Registrants must commit to attending the tour as space is limited.

University of Utah Online


Download Whova

Whova Inforgraphics
Download the Conference App

Prepare for the conference in advance by downloading the Whova app, which is where you can find additional information for guest speakers, workshop schedules, and other helpful information. 

Whova App on Google Play

Whova App for Apple Devices

Download Whova



Conference Registration & Additional Information

Payment & Registration Information

  • Standard Participants
    • April 15 - October 8, 2022: $325
    • Late Registration, October 9 - 23, 2022: $375
  • Student Rate
    • April 15 - October 8, 2022: $100
    • Late Registration, October 9 - 23, 2022: $150
  • *Registration fees for the event will be paid onlineAll payments must be received by the first day of the event, October 23, 2022, to gain access to the conference. Registration between October 9th and 23rd, 2022, will be assessed a $50 late registration fee.

Hotel Accommodations - Book Now!

Refund/Cancellation Policy

  • Cancelled registration for the in-person conference will incur a $50 processing fee. 
    • Please Note: If any portion of the conference cannot be held in-person or is postponed due to reasons beyond the control of GEAR UP and its affiliated partners, the conference will be held virtually. Access links to the virtual conference will be shared directly with registrants via the email address used to register for the event. The conference registration fees will be refunded if the format is changed to virtual.*

Sponsors Reception

Molly in the Mineshaft GU West Entertainment

Molly in the Mineshaft

Monday, October 24, 2022 @ 4:30 - 6:00pm | Grand Ballroom

Molly in the Mineshaft is an multi-award winning, local Utah contemporary folk music band with members having played throughout North America and Europe, including the United States, Mexico, Croatia, France, Switzerland, and Spain. Outside of school and music, the band serves its communities at youth camps, church organizations, senior living centers, hospitals, and schools. Learn More about Molly in the Mineshaft.

*Members include Alex Vincent (voice, guitar, mandolin); Grace (voice, violin); Lucy (voice, guitar); Jordan (banjo, cello); Scott (percussion, piano); Talmage (guitar), and Doug (accordion, trumpet). 

Watch Molly in the Mineshaft on YouTube


Sponsors & Exhibitors

Sponsor Logos for GU West

Sponsor and Exhibitor Logos for GEAR UP West


Contact Us

For all questions and concerns about the conference, please email Helen Patterson, GEAR UP Utah Statewide Assistant Director or call 801-863-6000. To become a sponsor or vendor, please contact Jacque Deahl at for details.

Apply to GEAR UP

Apply Online    English Application    Spanish Application