The Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) program at Fort Detrick brings local students to the cutting-edge world of science for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC). The program is designed for current 4th through 12th grade students of all academic abilities in the 2021-2022 school calendar. GEMS promises a hands-on experience that will excite.

Application Timelines:

  • Assistant Near-Peer Mentor: Application opens November 19, 2021
  • Near-Peer Mentor: Application opens November 19, 2021
  • Resource Teacher: Application opens November 19, 2021
  • Student: Application opens March 1, 2022

Program Timeline:

There will be 5 weeks of student programming for the summer 2022 program.

  • Week 1: July 11-15, 2022
  • Week 2: July 18-22, 2022
  • Week 3: July 25-29, 2022
  • Week 4: August 1-5, 2022
  • Week 5: August 8-12, 2022

Courses for the 2022 summer will be Monday through Friday classes, and will take place at Hood College in beautiful Frederick, MD. Students accepted into the program will work with young aspiring scientists and engineers called Near-Peer Mentors, to complete various engineering challenges and hands on laboratory experiments, which are designed to further a students’ understanding of STEM concepts. While at GEMS, students also learn about STEM careers that are available to them and pathways that they can take to achieve their desired future aspirations. Students navigate a curriculum that local Fort Detrick education specialists and researchers developed just for your student.

GEMS is free to all applicants. Students will receive a $125 dollar stipend upon graduation to help offset the cost of transportation and food that is not provided by the program.  Stipends are not awarded to those who do not meet the definition of participation as explained by our Terms and Conditions.

If you would like to be added to our GEMS notification list, send us an email and we will notify you when applications for students open.

Programs Offered at Fort Detrick

USAMRDC at Fort Detrick offers courses that focus on both Life Science concepts as well as Engineering and Computer Science.

GEMS Engineering & Computer Science (ECS) Classes build on each other, allowing the students to progressively tackle more difficult content each summer.

GEMS Life Science and Environmental Classes highlight USAMRDC’s strengths and expertise in a multitude of areas. The content is hands-on and age appropriate to build real life STEM skills.

Information for Students

Summer 2022 courses will be offered in-person only and students will be required to report to Hood College in Frederick, MD on Monday through Friday to receive their stipend. Regulations and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in place at the time of GEMS will be adhered to. The safety of students, Near-Peer Mentors, Resource Teachers, volunteers, and Hood College staff is of utmost importance.

Course Descriptions:


  • Open to: Current 7th-9th grade students
  • Description: Students delve into intermediate level science and physics experiments to include studying the presence of Wolbachia in insects by collecting, dissecting, and analyzing DNA with molecular biology techniques. Students also design, engineer, and launch a rocket.
  • Offered:
    • Week 1: July 11-15, 2022
    • Week 2: July 18-22, 2022
    • Week 3: July 25-29, 2022


  • Open to: Current 9th-12th grade students
  • Description: Students dissect a fetal pig, learn suturing techniques, and perform orthopedic surgery. Students also analyze their own DNA to determine if they are carriers of the PTC gene for bitter taste.
  • Offered:
    • Week 4: August 1-5, 2022
    • Week 5: August 8-12, 2022

Earth and Environmental Science:

  • Open to: Current 4th-5th grade students
  • Description: Students collect and test soil samples, dissect a squid while learning about water quality, and explore alternative energy by building a solar oven.
  • Offered:
    • Week 1: July 11-15, 2022
    • Week 2: July 18-22, 2022
    • Week 3: July 25-29, 2022
    • Week 4: August 1-5, 2022
    • Week 5: August 8-12, 2022

Engineering and Computer Science 1:

  • Open to: Current 5th-7th grade students
  • Description: Students build, train, and battle robots. Robots perform boot camp, a ruck march, and a parachute drop.
  • Offered:
    • Week 1: July 11-15, 2022
    • Week 2: July 18-22, 2022
    • Week 3: July 25-29, 2022

Engineering and Computer Science 2:

  • Open to: Current 6th-8th grade students
  • Description: Students learn and use block based coding to animate characters, develop games, and fix hacked code.
  • Offered:
    • Week 1: July 11-15, 2022
    • Week 2: July 18-22, 2022
    • Week 3: July 25-29, 2022
    • Week 4: August 1-5, 2022
    • Week 5: August 8-12, 2022

Engineering and Computer Science 3:

  • Open to: Current 9th-12th grade students
  • Description: Students train and code robots to perform an obstacle course, rescue mission, and simulated bomb removal.
  • Offered:
    • Week 4: August 1-5, 2022
    • Week 5: August 8-12, 2022


You must register online by midnight on the day of the deadline. The student application deadline is April 6, 2022.

Students can only participate in one week-long session for summer 2022 in our life science or ECS classes.

Students are NOT eligible to participate in a course more than once and will not be re-selected for a class.

Spots are limited and applying to the program does not guarantee selection. Notification of selection will be sent out April 27, 2022.

Other Opportunities at Fort Detrick

Near-Peer Mentor:

Are you a STEM or Education major interested in gaining leadership and hands on laboratory experience? Looking for a summer internship opportunity that allows you to work alongside U.S. Army Research Scientists and make amazing career connections while giving back to your community?

Becoming a Near-Peer Mentor for the GEMS program is a great way to gain skills while inspiring the next generation to become scientists, engineers, doctors, and leaders.


  • Competitive Stipend
  • Hands on experience in life sciences, forensic science, computer science, and engineering
  • Expand your professional network within the Department of Defense
  • Mentor and teach America’s future
  • Work in teams with other college students from across the Nation

Additional Details

High School juniors or seniors may apply with leadership and hands-on biomedical or coding experience.

Near-Peer Mentors will receive training and collaborate with the primary instructors. During the student sessions, Near-Peer Mentors will interact with middle and high school participants full time by assisting and/or leading experiments/challenges to include: laboratory experiments, coding (block and Python), engineering, and robotics.

Apply here to be a Near-Peer Mentor. Applications are open until January 16th, 2022.

Assistant Near-Peer Mentor:

USAMRDC GEMS Assistant Near-Peer Mentors serve as aides to the Resource Teacher and to the Near-Peer Mentors. They will function as a mentor, collaborator, and will gain valuable skills in presentation, lesson-planning, and laboratory techniques. The goal of the GEMS program is to broaden students’ interest in STEM and to inspire them to consider careers in these fields. The mentor will complete training prior to the start of the program. The training session will teach the mentor how to relate to students, present experiments, and practice the planned curriculum including laboratory prep. High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to apply for an Assistant Near-Peer Mentor internship position. This position is a four or eight week internship.


  • Network with scientists and professionals from USAMRDC laboratories
  • Work on advanced-level science experiments and engineering projects
  • Mentor, teach, and influence America’s future
  • Enhance ability to pursue possible STEM career pathways
  • Selection into a very competitive STEM program

Responsibilities include:

  • Supervising students
  • Preparing laboratory materials
  • Learning protocols and procedures
  • Helping students foster positive attitudes toward STEM education
  • Maintaining ethical behavior at all times; acting as a role model and mentor for the GEMS student interns

Apply here to be an Assistant Near-Peer Mentor. Applications are open until January 16th, 2022.

Resource Teacher

A Resource Teacher is a licensed teacher within the public school/state system that currently teaches middle or high school students in STEM. However, other professions are encouraged to apply, specifically those with coding or laboratory experience. Ideally, the candidate would have experience in a supervisory role.

Resource Teachers are responsible for daily supervision of the Near-Peer Mentors (college aged individuals that teach the student interns), students, and the maintenance of the laboratory/classroom. Resource Teachers provide guidance on all experimental activities and need to be present for the duration of the program as well as necessary time before and after the program. Resource Teachers also assist with curriculum as needed and are provided a stipend for the internship.

Apply here to be a Resource Teacher. Applications are open until January 16th, 2022.

More Information

All programs are completely free of charge to students and families. A stipend of $125 will be awarded to those who participate to offset the cost of transportation.

Stipends are not awarded to those who do not meet the definition of participation as explained by our Terms and Conditions.

Important Dates

November 19, 2021 - January 16, 2022
Near-Peer Mentor Applications Open
Assistant Near- Peer Mentor Applications Open
Resource Teacher Applications Open

March 1 - April 6, 2022
Student Applications Open

April 27, 2022
Student applicants are notified of preliminary acceptance and required forms are sent out. Forms must be returned in order to officially be given a spot in GEMS. Individuals that do not return their forms in the required time period will lose their spot

July 11-15, 2022
Week 1 of GEMS

July 18-22, 2022
Week 2 of GEMS

July 25-29, 2022
Week 3 of GEMS

August 1-5, 2022
Week 4 of GEMS

August 8-12, 2022
Week 5 of GEMS

Dates and classes are subject to change based on current funding and public health recommendations

Interested in This Program?

If you are interested in this program email us or call 301-619-7942. We'd love to hear from you!