GEMS Near-Peer STEM Teacher Program
Delivery Type on-site
Experience Type Teacher-Professional-development
TARGET AGE (IF APPLICABLE) -
Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science [GEMS]is an Army-sponsored, summer STEM enrichment program for middle and high school students that takes place in participating Army Research Laboratories. GEMS is driven by the overarching mission: to interest young people, who might not otherwise give serious thought to becoming scientists or engineers, in STEM careers early enough in their education so that they have the time to attain the appropriate academic training. The program is based on a multi-disciplinary educational curriculum, and is focused on age and grade-appropriate hands-on activities, in areas such as science, engineering, mathematics, computational sciences, computational biology, biomedical sciences, chemistry and biology. The goals of the GEMS program are:
- Nurture interest and excitement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for middle and high school participants.
- Nurture interest and excitement in STEM for mentor and teacher participants.
- Implement STEM enrichment experiences that are hands-on, inquiry-based educational modules that enhance in-school learning.
- Increase participant knowledge in targeted STEM areas and laboratory skills.
- Outreach to participants inclusive of youth from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in STEM.
- Encourage participants to pursue secondary and post-secondary education in STEM.
- Educate participants about careers in STEM fields with a particular focus on STEM careers in Army laboratories.
- Provide information to participants about opportunities for STEM enrichment through advancing levels of GEMS as well as other AEOP initiatives.
GEMS locations utilize near-peer mentors (college students in STEM fields) and resource teachers (licensed K-12 teachers) to provide instruction and mentorship to program participants. Near-Peer Mentors (NPM) help to develop, explain, and execute each teaching module in the GEMS Program. NPM are college students from all STEM fields and education-related majors. These mentors are closer in age than the traditional teacher and create a more relaxed atmosphere for learning. The responsibilities of a NPM are to be role models to the students, promote interest in high-level science and math classes, and act as expert resources concerning college life and career pathways. NPMs are selected for their technical experience, attitude and teaching skills. Their inclusion in the GEMS program is integral to enhancing each and every GEMS participants learning and achievement. Current K-12 Teachers may apply for a GEMS Resource Teacher (RT) internship. Typically RTs are licensed teachers within the public school/state system that currently teaches middle or high school students in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. RTs are responsible for daily supervision of the NPMs, students and the maintenance of the lab. They provide guidance on all experimental activities and need to be present for the duration of the program. Near-peer mentor and resource teacher stipends are determined based on prior research and work experience. Near-peer mentors and resource teachers must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent legal residents.