GEMS at U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command – Army Research Laboratory (CCDC-ARL West) (Playa Vista, CA) is a STEM enrichment program for students. This year, CCDC ARL-West will be partnering with the DoD STARBASE program in Los Alamitos, CA. We will host the GEMS program there, and get access to some of their rocketry and robotics equipment!

This is a FREE one-week session for middle and high school students (rising 6th-11th graders). No prior experience required! If you’re interested in learning more about how the Playa Vista Army Research Lab helps prepare Soldiers with the best training and equipment and the breadth of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and careers, then this program is for you! We will be offering two levels of GEMS this year! GEMS I is for our younger participants (rising 6th – 8th graders), and will provide a variety of engaging STEM experiences. GEMS II is targeted for older students (rising 9th and 11th graders), and will dive a little deeper into the STEM concepts.  Students are encouraged to apply and will receive a $125 stipend to offset any meal and transportation costs.

GEMS Student Code of Conduct.

GEMS 2019 Group Picture


You'll Get to

  • Learn how virtual reality, human factors, emerging technology, engineering, and mathematics have applications in the real world
  • Build working prototypes of digital circuits and gain confidence in your ability to participate in STEM activities
  • Collaborate, solve problems as a member of a team, and practice your presentation skills

About CCDC-ARL West

Started in April 2016 as part of the ARL Open Campus Initiative, CCDC-ARL West is the Southern California hub of the US Army Research Laboratory. The CCDC-ARL West research focuses on Human and Information Interaction and GEMS students will be exposed to topics ranging from human-agent interaction, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality systems for training and soldier skills management. CCDC-ARL West is co-located with the Army’s Institute for Creative Technologies, which is a University Affiliated Research Center at the University of Southern California (USC). Students will take-away concrete skills of how to do collaborative and multi-disciplinary work.

For further information contact: Seyi Ayorinde (Outreach Coordinator):

Important Dates

February 1, 2020
Student applications open

May 1, 2020
Student applications close

May 15, 2020
Student selections made

July 13-17, 2020
GEMS I - Session 1
GEMS II - Session 1

July 20-24, 2020
GEMS I - Session 2
GEMS II - Session 2

About Educators

Teachers interested in participating in this program can apply to become a resource teacher. You will be asked to work collaboratively with ARL scientists and engineers to provide instruction, supervise, and engage students in age and grade-level appropriate, hands‐on lab experiments and activities, based on current CCDC-ARL West research initiatives. B.A required, experience in STEM or STEM education preferred.

GEMS RT Roles and Responsibilities.

About Near Peer Mentors

High-school- and college-aged students interested in participating in this program can apply to become Near-Peer Mentors. GEMS relies on Near-Peer Mentors to work alongside teachers and Army research scientists to provide inquiry-based, hands-on lab experiments and activities. GEMS Near-Peer Mentors receive a stipend based on experience and education level. Students must be at least 16 years old to apply.

GEMS NPM Roles and Responsibilities.

Important Dates

November 15, 2019
Resource Teacher and Near Peer Mentor applications open

February 1, 2020
Resource Teacher and Near Peer Mentor applications close

February 15, 2020
Resource Teacher and Near Peer Mentor interviewee's decided

February 28, 2020
Resource Teacher and Near Peer Mentor selections are made

Interested in this program?

If you are interested in this program email us or call 1-800-807-9852. We'd love to hear from you!