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2014 GEMS Program

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OVERVIEW

The USAARL Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) program is an extracurricular, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education program that enables participants to engage in hands-on experiments, which are age- and grade-appropriate, and to focus on STEM career fields.

GEMS program participants learn numerous math and science concepts; practice the scientific method, problem solving, and speaking in a public forum; gain exposure to a laboratory setting; and interact with military and civilian technicians, clinicians, scientists, and engineers.

The program is organized such that college-age students, called near-peer mentors, teach the GEMS experiments and serve as role models to the participants by promoting science and math courses and by acting as expert resources concerning college life and career pathways. The mentors, who are close in age to the GEMS participants, create a relaxed atmosphere ideal for learning.

The USAARL GEMS program began in 2011 with Physical Science & Forensics GEMS for 5th and 6th graders. Participants investigated problem solving, estimation, water properties, engineering, physics/forces of motion, and forensics techniques.

During the summer of 2012, USAARL offered two new programs: Neuroscience GEMS dedicated to 5th and 6th graders and Biochemistry GEMS for 7th and 8th graders. During Neuroscience GEMS participants explored the five senses (hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch) to help them learn more about the brain and neurological processes. Biochemistry GEMS focused on chemistry, biology, and biochemistry.

The summer of 2013 marked a number of great advances for the USAARL GEMS Program. This was the first summer of Robotics GEMS for 7th and 8th graders where participants explored concepts in physics, engineering, geometry, and programming. The Assistant Near-Peer Mentor program began giving 11th and 12th graders the opportunity to serve as role models for GEMS participants and gain hands-on experience to become future Near-Peer Mentors. The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) GEMS Teacher Program was also introduced in 2013 giving local DoDEA teachers the opportunity to observe GEMS and establish a STEM education partnership with USAARL.

Since 2011, the USAARL GEMS program has provided STEM education to over 250 students from Fort Rucker, Enterprise, Ozark, Daleville, Dothan, and other local communities.

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2014 PROGRAMS

Neuroscience GEMS (5th-6th grade)

Description:
Neuroscience GEMS challenges participants to explore the five senses (hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch) to help them learn more about the brain and neurological processes.

Students who are enrolled in the 5th or 6th grade during the 2013-2014 school year (i.e., rising 6th or 7th graders for the 2014-2015 school year) are eligible to apply.

GEMS is offered at no cost to the participant. Participants who complete each day of the program earn an educational stipend. Participants may complete one session per summer. Enrollment for each session is limited to 24 participants.

Dates:
Session 1:  July 7-11, 8:30-3:30
Session 2:  July 14-18, 8:30-3:30
Session 3:  July 21-25, 8:30-3:30
Session 4:  July 28- August 1, 8:30-3:30

Biochemistry GEMS (7th and 8th grade)

Description:
Biochemistry GEMS allows participants to challenge themselves with experiments focusing on chemistry, biology, and biochemistry.

Students who are enrolled in the 7th or 8th grade during the 2013-2014 school year (i.e., rising 8th or 9th graders for the 2014-2015 school year) are eligible to apply.

GEMS is offered at no cost to the participant. Participants who complete each day of the program earn an educational stipend. Participants may complete one session per summer. Enrollment for each session is limited to 24 participants.

Dates:
Session 1:  June 2-6, 8:30-3:30
Session 2:  June 9-13, 8:30-3:30
Session 3:  June 16-20, 8:30-3:30

Assistant Near-Peer Mentor GEMS (11th and 12 grade)

Description:
Assistant Near-Peer Mentors serve as role models for GEMS participants, prepare materials for implementing STEM experiments, and gain hands-on experience to become a future Near-Peer Mentor.

Students who are enrolled in the 11th or 12th grade during the 2013-2014 school year (i.e., rising 12th graders or rising college freshman for the 2014-2015 school year) are eligible to apply. Students should also be interested in pursuing a STEM- or education-related college degree program.

Assistant Near-Peer Mentors are selected, via a competitive application and interview process, for their technical expertise, attitude, and teaching ability. Assistant Near-Peer Mentor candidates selected for program participation will undergo a security clearance/background investigation. Assistant Near-Peer Mentors will earn an educational stipend.

Responsibilities:
Assistant Near-Peer Mentors are responsible for learning experiment protocols, preparing materials for the experiments, teaching experiments, implementing safety procedures, engaging and supervising participants, mentoring participants, maintaining ethical behavior, and completing other assigned tasks.

Dates:
Training:  May 21-30 and June 23-27, 8:00-5:00
Program:  June 2-20 and July 7-August 1, 8:00-5:00

Near-Peer Mentor GEMS (College-age)

Description:
Near-Peer Mentor GEMS thoroughly trains mentors in the conduct of the GEMS experiments and instructs the mentors in basic methods and practices of teaching. Once trained, the mentors teach the experiments to the participants and serve as role models to the participants by promoting science and math courses and by acting as expert resources concerning college life and career pathways.

Students who are currently enrolled in a STEM- or education-related college degree program are eligible to apply. Mentors are selected, via a competitive application and interview process, for their technical expertise, attitude, and teaching ability. Near-Peer Mentor candidates selected for program participation will undergo a security clearance/background investigation. Near-Peer Mentors will earn an educational stipend.

Responsibilities:
Mentors are responsible for learning experiment protocols, preparing materials for the experiments, teaching experiments, implementing safety procedures, engaging and supervising participants, mentoring participants, maintaining ethical behavior, and completing other assigned tasks.

Dates:
Training:  May 21-30 and June 23-27, 8:00-5:00
Program:  June 2-20 and July 7-August 1, 8:00-5:00

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INFORMATION

USAARL GEMS Flyer (250KB) PDF Icon

USAARL GEMS Participant Brochure (2.1MB) PDF Icon

USAARL GEMS Near-Peer Mentor Brochure (1.3MB) PDF Icon

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APPLY

Participant applications for Neuroscience GEMS and Biochemistry GEMS are due no later than May 5, 2014.

Participant Application (206KB) PDF Icon

Assistant Near-Peer Mentor and Near-Peer Mentor applications, transcripts, and recommendations are due no later than April 15, 2014.

Assistant Near-Peer Mentor Application (75KB) PDF Icon

Near-Peer Mentor Application (76KB) PDF Icon

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CONTACT

USAARL GEMS Coordinator
334-255-6067
usarmy.rucker.medcom-usaarl.list.sic@mail.mil