Students Learn about STEM at GEMS Program
Another successful year of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's GEMS program is in the books. The GEMS program, which stands for Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science, just wrapped up its 12th year of reaching out to students interested in science, technology, engineering and math subjects.
GEMS is an immersive STEM summer program funded through the Army Educational Outreach Program by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Fort Detrick's GEMS program is managed by USAMRMC and is designed to give students an immersive one-week lab experience focused on a specific STEM field.
The USAMRMC GEMS program uses a fun, hands-on approach to learning, which enhances student's interest in STEM fields. The summer program is comprised of one-week curriculums structured for students in grades five through 12.
"I took part in the Environmental team, and I loved it," said Sophia Harmon, a fifth grade student at Whittier Elementary School in Frederick, Maryland. "We conducted experiments on permeable pavement and how we can keep pollution out of the Chesapeake Bay. It was a lot of fun, and I'm definitely looking forward to coming to GEMS again next year!"
The program can introduce students to new areas that they haven't seen in school yet, and it can also help them refine their interests in different STEM subjects.
"I got to do Battlebots this year at GEMS," shared Evie Maynard, a fifth grade student at Church Creek Elementary School in Belcamp, Maryland. "I really enjoyed it, especially building the robots, but I think I might like science better than engineering. Next year, I would like to try one of the science classes."
According to Dominique Quesada, STEM Coordinator in the USAMRMC Strategic Planning Office, the Fort Detrick program is very competitive. This year the program accepted 634 students out of 878 applications to the program.
As the Army's medical materiel developer, the Command is staffed with highly qualified scientists and engineers. The critical expertise in these areas ensures we have the medical capabilities the Army needs to fight and win on the battlefield. USAMRMC is committed to fostering interest in STEM fields to facilitate the development of the nation's future scientists.
"Our STEM program lets us have a hand in developing these bright minds," said Quesada. "It's an investment in the not just their future, but also the command's."
The STEM outreach programs at USAMRMC and its subordinate commands continue to grow with USAMRMC's commitment to educational outreach in the vital fields of STEM. Today, the Army maintains GEMS program locations throughout the country, from Maryland to New Mexico, including many of the USAMRMC labs in the U.S.
USAMRMC Laboratories hosting GEMS in 2017:
- U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command: received 878 applications, accepted 634 students, hired 18 Near Peer Mentors and two Resource Teachers
- Walter Reed Army Institute of Research: received 1,250 applications, accepted 677 students, and hired 25 Near Peer Mentors, three Resource Teachers and one Assistant Resource Teacher
- U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory: received 571 applications, accepted 405 students, and hired 26 Near Peer Mentors and four Resource Teachers
- U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research: received 166 applications, accepted 78 students, and hired 5 Near Peer Mentors and three Resource Teachers
- U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense: received 400 applications, accepted 96 students, and hired eight Near Peer Mentors and one Resource Teacher
- U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine: received 370 applications, accepted 192 students, and hired six Near Peer Mentors and one Resource Teacher