A summer of GEMS equals a future of opportunities

July 07, 2016

By Tracie R. Dean, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • Middle school students from across the region are being exposed to world-class laboratories and scientific experiments this summer during the U.S Army Research Laboratory's Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) program.
  • The seed corn for the next generation of advances in technology can be found in today's GEMS students. Through unique interactive activities and workshops, intellectually engaged students are gaining experience in research essential to careers in science, technology, engineering and math, more commonly referred to as STEM.
  • Throughout the summer, students learn practical, hands-on applications through unique interactive activities and workshops.

ADELPHI, Md. (June 30, 2016) -- Middle school students from across the region are being exposed to world-class laboratories and scientific experiments this summer during the U.S Army Research Laboratory's Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science, or GEMS program.

GEMS is an Army-sponsored, summer enrichment program for middle and high school students designed to spark and build upon interests in science based concepts through experiments and observations.

Through unique interactive activities and workshops, intellectually engaged students gain experience in research essential to careers in science, technology, engineering and math, more commonly referred to as STEM.

Every year, ARL opens its doors at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Adelphi, Maryland and at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, for students to engage in STEM related activities.

Dr. Debbie Conn, coordinator for ARL's K-12 STEM outreach program at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, discussed the GEMS program curriculum and the overall benefit for the number of students participating this summer.

"Our vision is to engage students in focused, innovative STEM activities that inspire them to pursue a STEM-based higher education. We structure our curriculum based on ARL's mission and vision which includes incorporating aspects of current research and development projects taking place in and around the laboratory," Conn said.

Throughout the summer, students learn practical, hands-on applications through unique interactive activities and workshops that covered team building; Career Exploration and Resume Writing; Solar Energy; Photovoltaics; Severe Weather and Meteorology; The impact of technology on Soldiers; Cybersecurity and Social Networking; Robotics; 3D Printing; Hydrogen Fuel Cell; Wireless Radio; Language Translation and Language Technology.

"These STEM activities invite students to explore a variety of disciplines that impact our global society," Conn added.

Among the most popular workshops was the series done with solar energy where students learned the significance of reusable energy and its future impact. The workshop included an introduction on how to build solar powered vehicles and how photons from the sun are used to power those vehicles.

Through GEMS, students have the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom setting. Small groups, led by near peer mentors, allowed students to dive in hands-on and learn deeper concepts about science and math.

Each week of the ARL GEMS program culminates with a closing ceremony where the students provided project reflections and presentations on the workshops they found most interesting. Family members, peers and mentors were invited to participate in the ceremony as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of their GEMS scholars.

For more information on ARL GEMS and other student programs and opportunities, please visit www.usaeop.com.


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

For more information, visit www.arl.army.mil, follow @ArmyResearchLab on Twitter and follow the lab on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArmyResearchLaboratory.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: July 7, 2016