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 11th grade students of all academic abilities in the 2023-2024 school calendar. GEMS promises a hands-on experience that will excite.

Application Timelines:

  • Near-Peer Mentor: Application closed January 7, 2024.
  • Teacher: Application closed January 7, 2024.
  • Student: Application opens March 1, 2024. Apply now

Program Timeline:

There will be 5 weeks of student programming for the summer 2024 program.

  • Week 1: July 8-12, 2024
  • Week 2: July 15-19, 2024
  • Week 3: July 22-26, 2024
  • Week 4: July 29-August 2, 2024
  • Week 5: August 5-9, 2024

Courses for the 2024 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 especially developed for student learning and enjoyment.

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 more information about the GEMS Program, send us an email.

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 – Each level of ECS classes become progressively more difficult but are not perquisites for each other.

GEMS Life Science, Forensics, and Environmental Classes- These 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 2024 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. The safety of students, Near-Peer Mentors, Teachers, volunteers, and Hood College staff is of utmost importance.

Course Descriptions:

Intermediate Science:

  • Open to: Current 6th-8th grade students
  • Description: Students learn biomedical and engineering skills that mirror our USAMRDC command foci including frog dissection, DNA extraction, and engineering and design.
  • Offered:
  • Week 1: July 8-12, 2024
  • Week 2: July 15-19, 2024
  • Week 3: July 22-26, 2024

Advanced Science:

  • Open to: Current 9th-11th grade students
  • Description: Students learn more advanced biomedical and engineering skills that mirror our USAMRDC command foci including fetal pig dissection, DNA analysis, gel electrophoresis, and pandemic studies.
  • Offered:
    • Week 4: July 29-August 2, 2024
    • Week 5: August 5-9, 2024

Earth and Environmental Science:

  • Open to: Current 4th-5th grade students
  • Description: Students develop their experimental and engineering skills to learn more about their environment and how to help it. This includes creating the best bubble solution to learn about surface tension, dissect a squid while learning about water quality, and explore alternative energy by building a solar oven.
  • Offered:
    • Week 1: July 8-12, 2024
    • Week 2: July 15-19, 2024
    • Week 3: July 22-26, 2024

Sustainability and Environmental Science:

  • Open to: Current 8th-10th grade students
  • Description: Students investigate how to help the planet by using experiments and engineering to understand ocean currents, acid rain, and oil spills.
  • Offered:
    • Week 4: July 29-August 2, 2024
    • Week 5: August 5-9, 2024

Engineering and Computer Science 1 (Battlebots):

  • 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 4: July 29-August 2, 2024
    • Week 5: August 5-9, 2024

Engineering and Computer Science 2 (Biomedical Engineering):

  • Open to: Current 7th-10th grade students
  • Description: Students use their engineering skills to understand prosthetics and brain injury along with other engineering challenges.
  • Offered:
    • Week 1: July 8-12, 2024
    • Week 2: July 15-19, 2024
    • Week 3: July 22-26, 2024

Engineering and Computer Science 3 (Biofabrication and Commercialization):

  • Open to: Current 9th-11th grade students
  • Description: Through BioTrek, a project-based STEM learning adventure, students will learn about the science, manufacturing, and career opportunities in regenerative medicine and biofabrication. They will identify a real-world medical need, conceptualize a tissue-engineered medical product (TEMP) that could potentially solve this problem, and design a business model to deliver the TEMP to patients! For more information on BioTrek, please visit: https://www.armiusa.org/biofabusa/education-and-workforce-development/biotrek/
  • Offered:
    • Week 1: July 8-12, 2024
    • Week 2: July 15-19, 2024
    • Week 3: July 22-26, 2024
    • Week 4: July 29-August 2, 2024
    • Week 5: August 5-9, 2024

Crime Scene Investigation (CSI): 

  • Open to: Current 6th -8th grade students
  • Description: Students solve a mystery by analyzing fingerprints, hair and fiber, blood typing, and DNA left behind at the scene.
  • Offered:
    • Week 1: July 8-12, 2024
    • Week 2: July 15-19, 2024
    • Week 3: July 22-26, 2024
    • Week 4: July 29-August 2, 2024
    • Week 5: August 5-9, 2024

Eligibility

You must register online by midnight on the day of the deadline. The student application deadline is April 14, 2024.

Students can only participate in one week-long session for summer 2024.

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 no later than May 6, 2024.

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.

Benefits:

  • 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

Responsibilities include:

  • Supervising students at all times
  • Preparing laboratory materials
  • Learning and implementing 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

Additional Details

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

Near-Peer Mentors will receive training from experts in their field and collaborate with Teachers. During the student sessions, Near-Peer Mentors will interact with elementary to high school participants full time by assisting and/or leading experiments/challenges to include, but not limited to, laboratory experiments, coding, engineering, and robotics.

Applications are now closed.

Teacher

A Teacher is a licensed teacher within the public school/state system with a Master’s degree, preferably in a STEM field. Ideally, the candidate would have experience in a supervisory role.

The Teachers’ teachers’ main responsibility is to remain an open channel for Near Peer Mentors to utilize as a teaching resource for content building and skill building. Teachers also ensure that safety and liability guidelines are always practiced by Near Peer Mentors and students. Additionally, they will take the lead in emergency situations over Near Peer Mentors and students when emergencies arise and will work closely with the GEMS staff to ensure that protocols are being followed. Teachers may also assist with curriculum revisions as needed and are provided a stipend for the internship.

Applications are now closed.

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 13, 2023 - January 7, 2024
Near-Peer Mentor Applications Open
Teacher Applications Open

March 1 - April 14, 2024
Student Applications Open

May 6, 2024
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 8-12, 2024
Week 1 of GEMS

July 15-19, 2024
Week 2 of GEMS

July 22- 26, 2024
Week 3 of GEMS

July 29-August 2, 2024
Week 4 of GEMS

August 5-9, 2024
Week 5 of GEMS

*Note
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) 619-2382. We'd love to hear from you!

  •