DMACC Hires New Gear Up Iowa Coordinator

Posted 5/28/2020

​Tina Akinyi Helps First-Year Students from Des Moines Public and Perry School Districts

  • Tina Akinyi is the new DMACC GEAR UP Iowa Coordinator who will help first-year college students from the Perry and Des Moines Public School Systems in their journey toward success.

  • Akinyi served as an academic advisor at the DMACC Urban Campus prior to her new role.

  • Akinyi has experience as an instructor and tutor at ISU as well as a research assistant at the Ames National Lab.   

Tina Akinyi, originally from Nairobi, Kenya, and now living in Ames, has been hired as the DMACC GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Iowa Coordinator. In this position, Akinyi will work with GEAR UP students from the Des Moines Public and Perry School Districts who are in their first year at DMACC.

GEAR UP Iowa is charged with significantly increasing the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The Iowa College Student Aid Commission administers GEAR UP Iowa in partnership with the Iowa Department of Education and other state agencies, local school districts, postsecondary educational institutions, and community organizations, businesses and industries.

GEAR UP Iowa helps schools create a college-going culture and provides families and students from the class of 2020 the resources to help in their journey toward success.

Akinyi said she will be assisting students as they transition into a postsecondary education at DMACC. She will support academic skill building, monitor GEAR UP student grades, track class attendance and academic progress in order to foster on-time graduation, and be a resource, advocate, mentor and role model for GEAR UP students. 

Akinyi obtained her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Engineering from Iowa State University. During her time at Iowa State, she had an opportunity to engage in extensive academic and experiential research on the post-secondary recruitment, matriculation, retention and graduation of all students, especially those from systemically disadvantaged backgrounds.

In addition to this, Akinyi was a supplemental instructor and tutor for various undergraduate STEM courses at ISU, and a research assistant for the Ames National Lab in the areas of simulation, modeling and decision science.

“Through these experiences and interactions with students, Tina developed a passion to advocate for college students, and the desire to disrupt systems that inhibit them from attaining their highest potential both academically and personally," said Dr. Ahmed Agyeman, DMACC Community and Global Engagement Director.

Prior to her positon as GEAR UP Coordinator, Akinyi was an academic advisor at the DMACC Urban Campus. In her new role, she will be housed on the Ankeny Campus and Urban Campuses but will have district-wide responsibilities.

Akinyi said she is excited to be part of the DMACC family.

“I believe that our students, leaders, educators and staff are truly the best," Akinyi said. “I'm looking forward to contributing to DMACC's commitment to creating and sustaining a creative, diverse, just and inclusive college community."

To get ahold of Akinyi, email her at

For more information, contact: Ahmed Agyeman (515) 964-6271 or​ Tina Akinyi (218) 252-5869

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