GEMS program is a joint/collaborative effort among several organizations, including the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s (DEVCOM) – U.S. Army Research Laboratory (DEVCOM-ARL), South, academic partners, and the U.S. Army Futures Command.

The GEMS Summer Program in Austin, TX provides students who are entering 7th – 9th grade in 2024 the opportunity to learn more about U.S. Army problems related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Programs are free of charge.

Join us on an exciting and fun adventure as we learn Engineering principles, Additive Manufacturing, Autonomy, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Unmanned Aerial Systems and Public Policy! We’ll be forming teams to explore STEM together. Join us and learn how rewarding it is to pursue a career in STEM, as we discover how important STEM expertise is for our military to safeguard our nation. During the week we will learn and rely on Python to program robot ground vehicles to maneuver an autonomous navigation challenge. Learn how to design a functioning mechanism using real world engineering software and Engineering principles, or learn all about drones and program it to fly!

About the U.S. Army Research Laboratory-South

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is the U.S. Army’s sole fundamental research laboratory focused on cutting-edge scientific discovery, technological innovation, and are happy to be hosting Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) in Austin, TX! Camps will be in-person this year. The program may be converted to a virtual option if COVID related policies change.

Important Student Information

GEMS I: AutoAuto Program
Students that will be entering the GEMS I are those entering the 7th grade. This program offers students the opportunity to explore new pursuits in computer sciences and expand upon their current interests with unique hands-on experiences using the Python language to program a robotic vehicle in unique ways.

GEMS II: Engineering Principles
For students entering the 8th grade. In this week long program, students will learn from real U.S. Army scientists and engineers about engineering principles while they build and optimize their very own mechanical device. Students will learn real world engineering software to assist with the project design.

GEMS III: Aerial Systems
We are offering a new program in 2024! GEMS III is for students entering 9th grade and will offer an introduction into the newest drone technology in a fun, and interactive experience. The topics covered in this programs include safety, laws and regulations, flight basics, programming, and the many uses and challenges you face when using drones!

AEOP Eligibility Requirements
The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) provides programs that are free for teachers and students to participate. All U.S. citizens* and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR)** are eligible to participate in AEOP. Reporting U.S. Citizenship or LPR is not required; however, only those students with a valid social security number, or able to prove LPR status, are eligible to a) receive an AEOP award, scholarship, or incentive and b) able to access or participate in U.S. Army laboratory experiences. Awards include, but are not limited to, recognition, educational stipends, scholarships, or travel funding. Participants cannot receive awards, financial or recognition, without proof of citizenship. Please be sure to talk directly to each program administrator if you have concerns. This information is not reported beyond AEOP administration staff.

* The definition of a US citizen from the IRS website:

  • U.S. Citizen
  • An individual born in the United States.
  • An individual whose parent is a U.S. citizen.***
  • A former alien who has been naturalized as a U.S. citizen
  • An individual born in Puerto Rico.
  • An individual born in Guam.
  • An individual born in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

**Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) is defined as the following by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: “Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing the in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. Also known as “Permanent Resident Alien,” “Resident Alien Permit Holder,” and “Green Card Holder”. F1-Visa holders are not eligible to receive an AEOP award, scholarship, or incentive.

***The Child Citizenship Act, which applies to both adopted and biological children of U.S. citizens, amends Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to provide for the automatic acquisition of U.S. citizenship when certain conditions have been met. Specifically, these conditions are: One parent is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization; The child is under the age of 18; The child is residing in the United States as a lawful permanent resident alien and is in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

All participants are eligible for an educational stipend.

Information for Near-Peer Mentors

Near-Peer Mentors are high school seniors, college undergrads or graduate students that will work collaboratively with teachers, scientists and engineers to provide instruction and engage students in inquiry-based, hands-on lab activities related to U.S. Army’s Essential Research Programs (ERP’s). Applicants must be U.S. citizens. Mentors should have some experience in coding using Python and/or 3D printing/basic Engineering. Experience working with students is preferred but not required.

Important Dates

December 4, 2023
Near Peer Mentors and Teacher Registration Open

March 31, 2024
Near Peer Mentors and Teacher Registration Close

January 1, 2024
Student Registration Open

May 1, 2024
Student Registration Close

June 6 - 7, 2024
Staff Orientation

June 17 - 21, 2024
GEMS I - AutoAuto Program

July 8 - 12, 2024
GEMS II - Engineering/Additive Manufacturing

July 29 - August 2, 2024
GEMS III - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

More Information

Online application will request short essays on topics listed below. *** It is advisable to have written these essays into a word processing program so that you can cut and paste into the GEMS application. 

Interested in This Program?

If you are interested in this program email us or call 1-240-309-5045. We'd love to hear from you!