Ft. Rucker, AL


gems program

The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL) Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) program engages rising 4th through 11th grade students in hands‐on, inquiry‐based experiments and nurtures students’ interest in STEM career fields. USAARL GEMS aims to reach students who are from southeast Alabama and who are historically underserved or 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 GEMS 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 and who train the mentors and oversee the day-to-day operation of GEMS. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Observing Teachers contribute knowledge and expertise to enhance the GEMS program. Volunteer Federal professionals enrich the program by speaking about STEM topics and career pathways.

Since 2011, the USAARL GEMS program has provided STEM education to over 700 students from Fort Rucker, Enterprise, Ozark, Daleville, Dothan, and other local communities in Alabama.

2017 Student Application Dates:

Applications Open: January 18, 2017

Wait-list Application Closes: April 30, 2017

Selections Sent: April 15, 2017

GEMS Module Description Fall 2017 Grade Level
Simple Machines Students explore basic engineering as they build, test, and evaluate simple machines. 4&5
Forensics Students investigate problem solving, estimation, engineering, physics/force of motion, and forensics techniques. 6&7
Robotics Students build and program a robot to maneuver and conquer different tasks using LEGO and VEX engineering, design, and programming. 8&9
Medical Students investigate the physiology and anatomy of various human organ systems, and learn about various healthcare professions. 10&11


Sessions Dates Time
Session 1 June 19-23 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Session 2 June 26-30 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Session 3 July 10-14 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Session 4 July 17-21 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

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: April 30, 2017

The online application, GEMS Student Essay Form, and GEMS Student Recommendation Form, must be received by the wait-list application deadline, April 30, 2017. Only complete application packets received before or on March 14, 2017 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 March 14, 2017 will be added to the waitlist and reviewed for program selection based on the availability of openings. Application packets will not be accepted after April 30, 2017.

Apply to the GEMS Student opportunity:  http://www.cvent.com/d/lvqwkb/4W.