Category Archives: News

Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) in the News

The Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) GEMS program in Aberdeen, Maryland, was recently featured in Army Research Lab (ARL) and APG news. ARL, the Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense and the Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center have been working together for four years to offer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.


This summer, APG contractors introduced students to geographic information systems (GIS) among many other STEM areas. Marissa Yancone, a returning student participating in GEMS for grades 7-10, says she enjoys GEMS “because [students] get to learn about so many different STEM areas.”


GEMS is an Army-sponsored, summer program that exposes middle and high school students, who may not otherwise give serious thought to STEM, to mathematics and science career paths. Interested in learning more? Visit the GEMS page on our website.

Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) Scholar Receives Research Award

Congrats to our REAP scholar, Kennedi Ginger, a high school senior at Whitfield School in St. Louis, Missouri, who is a recipient of the 2017 Students and Teachers As Research Scientists (STARS) Award for Excellence in Research. STARS pairs high school students with local scientists to conduct undergraduate-level research projects.


Kennedi worked with Dr. Roberta Pineda from Washington University in St. Louis on her paper titled, “Feeding coordination problems in preterm and full-term infants.” She is one of 29 students, out of 96 who competed, who received recognition for research papers.


You can read more about her experience with STARS here.

Unite Summer Programs Have an Impact on Students Nationwide

RESTON, VA – The Technology Student Association (TSA), administrator of the Unite program for the Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP), is pleased to announce that more than 350 students spent the summer learning and engaging in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at university Unite sites across the country.

Unite is a four-to-six week, pre-collegiate summer experience for talented high school students from groups historically underserved and underrepresented in STEM areas. Unite encourages students to pursue college majors and careers in STEM-related fields through a program of hands-on rigorous academics, enrichment, and career exploration.

“It [Unite] was amazing! I learned a lot about the different branches of engineering, which really helped me decide what career path I’d like to pursue,” said a student in Unite at Michigan Technological University. “Everything we did was extremely engaging and educational. It was a very memorable experience! The perfect mixture of learning and fun.”

Some university sites offered a broad academic experience for participants. Others provided a focus in specific STEM areas, such as coding, robotics, drone development, big data research, and gaming.

Summer 2017 Unite programs were held at the following universities:

Alabama State University (AL) Harris-Stowe State University (MO)
University of Colorado (CO) New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJ)
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FL) University of New Mexico (NM)
Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus (FL) University of Nevada, Las Vegas (NV)
Savannah State University (GA) Fayetteville State University (NC)
Xavier University of Louisiana (LA) University of Pennsylvania (PA)
Morgan State University (MD) Texas Southern University (TX)
Michigan Technological University (MI) Virginia Tech (VA)
Jackson State University (MS) Marshall University (WV)


2017 marked the fifth year of the Unite program under TSA’s direction. In October 2017, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be released for the next funding cycle (2018-2019) of Unite sites. Institutions interested in submitting a proposal should contact Hillary Lee, Unite Program Administrator for AEOP, at


The Technology Student Association (TSA) is a national non-profit organization of middle and high school students engaged in STEM. TSA was chartered in 1978, and since then over 2,000,000 students have participated in its program of activities.

Members apply and integrate STEM concepts through competitive events, leadership endeavors, co-curricular activities, and related programs. 


Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) Technical Symposia Travel Award Application

The AEOP Technical Symposia Travel Award is designed to encourage AEOP program participants and alumni to engage in scientific meetings/technical symposia to showcase their STEM research. Participation in scientific meetings/technical symposia will expand and enrich current AEOP students’ educational experiences by interacting and networking with STEM professionals in the field, exploring a variety of STEM disciplines and careers, gaining experience in communicating their research accomplishments, and serving as AEOP ambassadors. Additionally, it will provide AEOP alumni to reconnect with AEOP, present their current research or research conducted while with AEOP at technical symposia.

Information for applicants

The AEOP Technical Symposia Award application is fully electronic. Read the information below, then start your application. We encourage all eligible AEOP participants and alumni who have a scholarly paper, poster, or other creative scholarly work that has been accepted for a professional conference to apply for a travel award.

Award Information

The travel award is for support to present your research at a professional technical symposia. The amount of the award is based on expenses incurred. Each award amount will be determined based on the expense summary you submit with your application. Funding will be disbursed in advance of travel date.

* Due to limits in funding, we do not typically fund travel outside North America.


Current and alumni AEOP participants in any of the programs within the AEOP portfolio who have a paper, poster, or other STEM-based research/scholarly work that has been accepted for national professional presentation may apply. Participants may apply to present their current research or research that they’ve conducted during their participation in AEOP.

Eligible Budget Expenses

• Registration fees for conference or creative exhibition.

• Travel fees: plane fares, train fares, car rental, ground transportation.

• Lodging: up to, but not exceeding, the federal maximum per diem rate (

• Food: up to, but not exceeding, the federal per diem rate.

• The award may NOT be used to cover individual membership dues for professional organizations or societies.

For minors under the age of 18, travel expenses (airfare, lodging, food) will be covered for the presenter and one parent/legal guardian.

Application Process

Applications are accepted and reviewed on a continuing basis and must be submitted, including a letter of recommendation from a faculty mentor or Department of Defense (DoD) mentor (scientist or engineer at DoD research lab or center) familiar with your research discipline, at least six weeks prior to departure date. Funds will be disbursed at least two weeks prior to travel date.

To receive a link to the online application, please contact your AEOP administrator.




GEMS Jarod Phillips



UNITE Hillary Lee





Selection Criteria

Selection criteria for these awards include: overall quality of the application and the importance of participation in the conference/venue to the applicant’s long-term goals as articulated in the applicant’s statement.


Awardees are expected to submit a brief summary statement about their conference experience. Awardees are also expected to provide credits to AEOP in their presentation and promote the program where permissible.

If you have any questions, contact Dr. Stephanie Johnson at

Application Information

Please be prepared to include the following information in the CVENT application tool:

• First Name

• Last Name

• Email address

• Phone number

• Street address

• City

• State

• Zip

• If under 18, name of parent/guardian who will be traveling with you.

• Are you currently a student? Yes/No

• If yes, school name.

• If yes, year in school.

• Which AEOP did you participate in?

• Name of mentor

• Email address of mentor

• Letter of support from mentor (upload file)

• Name of conference you wish to attend with this award.

• Location of conference you wish to attend with this award.

• Dates you will attend conference you wish to attend with this award.

• Will you be presenting a paper, poster or an oral session?

• Abstract

• Title of paper, poster or presentation

• Names of co-presenters, if applicable

• In 200 words or less, please describe why attending this conference will help you achieve your professional and/or academic goals.

• Total amount of funds requested:

• Expense summary: Provide an estimate of expenses for presenter and parent/guardian, if applicable. Include airfare, lodging, per diem, ground transportation, and registration (for presenter only).


Request for Proposals: Colleges & Universities

AEOP and the Academy of Applied Science are seeking colleges and universities to host the Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program for summer 2018. Through REAP, host schools have the opportunity to enhance the lives of underrepresented high school students and expose them to STEM education. Proposals are due August 18, 2017- contact for more information.





STEM educators gear up to teach solar power

Middle school science teachers from Wenatchee, Wash. rolled up their sleeves earlier this year to enhance their approach to engaging students in hands-on engineering. In a training session with Pete Phillips, Executive Director of Technology Service at North Central Educational Service District, local teachers worked to harness solar energy to build solar electric cars. This workshop, which will continue in other communities across Washington throughout the month, is part of Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), a program sponsored by Washington STEM and the Apple STEM Network to cultivate an interest in STEM among middle-schoolers in the fields of alternative fuels, engineering design and aerodynamics. Every teacher who participates in the program returns to the classroom with a ready-to-use kit so students can design, construct and race their own solar cars. Hear more from Phillips and Apple STEM.

AEOP Strategic Outreach Initiatives

Open Request for Information (RFI) for Partnership Opportunity with AEOP


PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE: The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) through its cooperative agreement (COA) with Battelle is investigating new and innovative ways to form mutually beneficial relationships with likeminded organizations and technical associations that have similar STEM goals, specifically serving students from underserved populations and military dependents. In collaboration with STEM partners and by sharing information, leveraging strong STEM networks, and building on already existing relationships, AEOP intends to promote its portfolio of opportunities to better meet objectives, maximize impact, and provide more enriching STEM opportunities for students.



GEMS and Camp Invention alumnus Khristian Ward received special recognition from President Obama last month for proposing a valuable STEM solution to a problem plaguing thousands of veterans every year.

In his search for Kid Science Advisors, the president recently invited students from around the country to submit STEM projects and inventions. President Obama received more than 2,500 submissions, but selected only 11 of these students, including Khristian, to meet with him personally at the White House as his Kid Science Advisors. A fifth grader from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Khristian proposed creating a brain microchip to help soldiers overcome PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), an idea inspired by his own father’s experience with PTSD after two Army deployments in Iraq. “I want to help him and other soldiers like my dad,” Khristian said. He also submitted an idea for lighter body armor to help soldiers avoid back problems.

While Khristian’s winning submission incorporated military science, his dream is to study aerospace and space exploration. In fact, Khristian visits the Goddard Space Flight Center near his home every month to launch model rockets.

Read all about Khristian’s groundbreaking ideas and his exciting meeting with the Commander-in-Chief! Keep up the great work, Khristian!

Hopkins Student and Mentor Go the Extra Mile

Shawn in laboratoryShawn Abraham’s visual impairment doesn’t stop him from learning as much as he can. A junior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD, Abraham used his summer vacation to delve deeper into the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Abraham, who is blind, completed over 200 hours of work at the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) as part of AEOP’s Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP), a summer program that places talented high school students from groups historically under represented and underserved in STEM into research apprenticeships.

Abraham and his REAP mentor, JHU postdoctoral Fellow Kavan Hazeli, Ph.D., had the idea to study different resin composites to substitute what is currently used in tooth cavity fillings, as the current composite attracts bacteria and therefore requires patients to replace fillings. While this was a new field to Abraham, he welcomed the challenge with enthusiasm. Along the way, he discovered a new interest in mechanical engineering. He explained that the ability to study hands-on how different materials behave was particularly meaningful because it is applicable to a real-world challenge. “This experience has exposed me to so many different fields and types of projects in engineering,” said Abraham.

Abraham and Hazeli said creativity was key in their summer research. Over the course of six weeks, Hazeli came up with several creative ways to teach Abraham fundamental science and engineering principals by combining special kits and braille graphs. They wore gloves to feel different materials, and used the University of Maryland dental school laboratory for testing.

Kavan and Shawn learning about atomic structure“I could only choose two applicants out of 44. Shawn’s statement of purpose clearly indicated a desire to learn,” said Hazeli. As a mechanical engineer, Hazeli believes it’s important to make himself available to whomever is passionate about STEM and research.

Before his experience at HEMI, Abraham, who is also on his school’s wrestling team, had some exposure to advanced science through his physics class, but shared that REAP taught him “so much more” and has played an important part in his desire to become an engineer.

Victor Nakano, Ph.D., HEMI executive program director, applauded both Abraham and Hazeli for their superb collaboration over the summer. “They each truly went the extra mile to make the most out of the apprenticeship.”

For more information about AEOP’s apprenticeship programs, go to

Meet Jonathan Gonzales, GEMS Near-Peer Mentor


Jonathan Gonzalez, a junior studying mechanical engineering at Auburn University, has spent the past three summers mentoring students from grades 5-12 in STEM with Gains in the Education of Math and Science (GEMS), a STEM-enriching program offered through the Army Educational Outreach Program.

Most recently, as a Near-Peer Mentor (NPM) with GEMS, Gonzales taught students basic concepts of nano-technology. Working at the Fort Rucker, Ala. GEMS site, Gonzales and other NPMs incorporated examples of real-world careers into their projects and invited guest speakers to inspire and motivate students.

The majority of mentors that Gonzales worked with at Fort Rucker went to high school together, making their GEMS mentoring experience even more rewarding—for them and for the students they mentor. “At GEMS, it doesn’t feel like a job,” said Gonzales. “It’s great working with other mentors that share my interest and seeing the students become more passionate about STEM.”jonathan

When Gonzales isn’t busy with school work or GEMS, he’s enjoying his love of music. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, a collegiate music fraternity that advances music through community outreach and concerts. Interestingly, he sees some similarity between this outreach and GEMS. In both, he is all about sharing his passion with the hope of inspiring and educating others.

Want to get involved with GEMS or any other AEOP program? Visit our program page: