• Robert Kusmiesz, Program Coordinator
    (609) 343-4811, (609) 343-4709 (fax),

    Robert Kusmiesz is the program coordinator for GEAR UP Atlantic Cape, and has held this position since the program's inception in 2012. In 1999, Robert obtained a B.A. in Computer Science and Information Systems from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He also holds a Master's of Business Administration from Georgian Court University. Before obtaining his current position as with GEAR UP, Robert worked as a technical assistant for the Educational Talent Search program. There, he recruited and maintained a caseload of over 200 low-income, first generation students. Robert has built a career based upon assisting students with academic and life decisions. He is highly experienced in the delivery of presentations, coordination of workshops, and federal grant writing.

    Robert's expertise as a program coordinator is inspired by his strong desire to spark student interest in higher education, while also providing students with the skills needed to make wise scholastic, career and life decisions. Above all, Robert's favorite aspect of the GEAR UP program is interacting with students and chaperoning the wide variety of field trips and college tours that he schedules. He looks forward to the personal successes of all GEAR UP program participants.

  • Erica Hoskins, GEAR UP Counselor, (609) 343-4810,
    Erica Hoskins graduated with a B.A. in Linguistics from Rutgers University in 2006. She is currently working towards a Master of Arts degree in Counseling at Rowan University. Previous to becoming a Counselor with GEAR UP, Erica began working as a youth career coach at Atlantic Cape Community College; a title she continues to hold. Her ultimate career goal is to obtain a New Jersey Counselor's license, in order to become a counselor at a local high school.

    Erica's expertise with comprehensive counseling gives her a competitive edge when working with GEAR UP students. She has plentiful experience in the areas of career, academic, and personal counseling. She truly enjoys working with youth. Erica hopes to help GEAR UP students recognize their potential, and believes that attending college is essential to continued success.
  • Brittany Holmes, GEAR UP Counselor, (609) 343-4849,
    Brittany graduated from Seton Hall University in 2008 with a B.A. in Broadcasting, Visual & Interactive Media and a minor in Spanish. Recently, in 2012, Brittany obtained an M.A. in Corporate & Public Communication, with highest honors, from Monmouth University. Before becoming a GEAR UP Counselor, Brittany volunteered for multiple educational organizations within the state of New Jersey. Her ultimate goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in the field of Communication, and become a college professor.

    Brittany's recent experience with the college enrollment process, obtaining internships, and working with developing students gives her a knack for assisting youth in reaching their collegiate and career related goals. Ultimately, Brittany hopes to help GEAR UP students build the courage and determination to become successful leaders.
  • Tara Yard, Curriculum Specialist, (609) 343-4811,
    Tara Yard graduated with a B.A. in Teacher Education and B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology from Richard Stockton College in 2007. Recently, in 2012, Tara obtained an M.A. in Education along with a Reading Specialist and Supervisor Certification from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Tara has worked as an English Language Arts Teacher and Basic Skills Coordinator at the William Davies Middle School in Mays Landing, N.J for the past six years. Before becoming a GEAR UP Curriculum Specialist, Tara served as an adjunct instructor and GEAR UP Teacher at Atlantic Cape Community College.

    Tara's experience as an educator/leader in the N.J public school system and experience teaching at the college level gives her the credentials necessary to serve as a GEAR UP Curriculum Specialist. She is passionate about working with students and dedicated to the field of education. Tara's goal is to guide GEAR UP students into becoming lifelong learners who thrive in the post-secondary education setting.

  • Julia Ratliff, Program Support
    Acting Office Coordinator
    (609) 343-4818, (609) 343-4854 (fax)
  • Sherwood LaValle Taylor, Project Director
    (609) 343-4816, (609) 343-4854 (fax) staylor@atlantic.ed