Ft. Rucker, AL


gems program

The USAARL Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) program is an extracurricular, STEM education program that enables students from the Wiregrass region of southeast Alabama to engage in hands-on experiments, which are age- and grade-appropriate, and to focus on STEM career fields. GEMS program students 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. GEMS aims to reach students who are underserved or historically underrepresented in STEM.

The program is organized such that college-age students, called Near-Peer Mentors, lead the GEMS modules and serve as role models to the students by promoting science and math concepts and by acting as expert resources concerning college life and career pathways. The mentors, who are close in age to the GEMS students, create a relaxed atmosphere ideal for learning. The program is strengthened by resource teachers who are knowledgeable in STEM education, train the mentors, and oversee the day-to-day operations of GEMS.

Since 2011, the USAARL GEMS program has provided STEM education to over 950 students from Fort Rucker, Enterprise, Ozark, Daleville, Dothan, and other local communities. Each year the program has grown in both the modules offered and the number of students who complete the program.

2018 Student Application Dates:

Applications Open: 10 January 2018 APPLY HERE!

Applications Close: 14 March 2018

Selections Sent: 16 April 2018

Wait-list Application Closes: 30 April 2018

GEMS Module Description Fall 2018 Grade Level
Planetary GEMS Students investigate the fields of geology, oceanography, and meteorology. 4&5
Neuroscience GEMS Students explore the five senses (hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch) to learn about the brain and neurological processes. 6&7
Biochemistry GEMS Students conduct challenging chemistry, biology, and biochemistry experiments. 8&9
Nanotechnology GEMS Students create, examine, and manipulate materials and matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. 10&11


Sessions Dates Time
Session 1 June 18-22 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Session 2 June 25-29 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Session 3 July 9-13 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Session 4 July 16-20 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

GEMS is offered at no cost to the participant. Students who complete each day of the program, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, earn an educational stipend. Students may complete one session of GEMS per summer. Eligibility is based on grade level during the 2018-2019 school year.

The USAARL GEMS Student application packet has three parts:

  1. An online application;
  2. One GEMS Student Essay Form, including grade-level appropriate essay responses to two questions; and
  3. One GEMS Student Recommendation Form completed by a teacher/professor, a school administrator, a school counselor, a career counselor, an athletic coach, a troop leader, a previous employer, a professional mentor, etc.

Note: The online application, the GEMS Student Essay Form, and the GEMS Student Recommendation Form are required for all GEMS Student applicants. An application packet is not considered complete until all three components of the application are received.

The GEMS Student Essay Form can be faxed to 334-255-6983, e-mailed to usarmy.rucker.medcom-usaarl.mbx.stem@mail.mil, or hand delivered to USAARL, Building 6901 Farrel Road, Fort Rucker, AL.

The GEMS Student Recommendation Form should be submitted directly by the recommender. The GEMS Student Recommendation Form can be faxed to 334-255-6983, e-mailed to usarmy.rucker.medcom-usaarl.mbx.stem@mail.mil, or hand delivered to USAARL, Building 6901 Farrel Road, Fort Rucker, AL.

Wait-list application deadline: 30 April 2018

The online application, GEMS Student Essay Form, and GEMS Student Recommendation Form, must be received by the wait-list application deadline, 30 April 2018. Only complete application packets received before or on 14 March 2018 are reviewed for program selection. Each applicant is given equal consideration for selection based on the individual merits of the applicant.

Application packets received after 14 March 2018 will be added to the waitlist and reviewed for program selection based on the availability of openings. Application packets will not be accepted after 30 April 2018.


Please e-mail usarmy.rucker.medcom-usaarl.mbx.stem@mail.mil if you would like to be added to the distribution list for the 2018 GEMS program!