The GEMS Summer Program in San Antonio provides students who are going into 6th through 12th grades the opportunity to learn more about U.S. Army medical science and STEM. Programs are free of charge. If you enjoy hands-on activities and want to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects and careers, apply to GEMS in San Antonio!

About the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research

The United States U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research is the proud host of Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS)!

Welcoming middle and high school students, our summer program exposes student to laboratory-based experiments and encourages the development of teamwork and leadership skills. It is a four day camp with three sessions to choose from.

Beginner Course

Students that will be entering the GEMS I Beginner are those entering the 6-8th grades and are welcome to apply for this GEMS program. This program offers students the opportunity to explore new pursuits in the life sciences and expand upon their current interests with unique hands-on experiences.

Intermediate Course

A new Intermediate course, formerly the Advanced Course is for High School rising- 9th and 10th graders. This program offers students the opportunity to explore new pursuits in the life sciences and expand upon their current interests with unique hands-on experiences.

Advanced Course

The New Advanced Course if for High School 11th and 12th Graders. This program offers students the opportunity to expand on their current interests with unique hands-on experiences initiated by the students themselves.  The course will incorporate teamwork and leadership skills as well as educational and career strategies.

Eligibility Requirements

All participants must be United States Citizens. All participants are eligible for an educational stipend.

Information for Volunteers

Near-Peer Mentors
Near-Peer Mentors work collaboratively with resource teachers, scientists, and engineers to provide instruction and engage students in inquiry-based, hands-on lab activities related to USAISR’s research areas. Applicants must be U.S. citizens. Experience working with students is preferred.


  • 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 day camp, 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.
  • Near Peers are selected to teach a specific class.

Important Dates

February 1, 2024
Near Peer Mentor and Teacher Applications Open

February 5, 2024
Student Registration Open

April 30, 2024
Student Registration Close

May 11, 2024
Near Peer Mentor and Teacher Applications Close

June 10 - 14, 2024
Training for Near-Peer Mentors and Teachers

June 17 - 21, 2024
GEMS I (June 19th is a Federal Holiday; no training)

June 24 - 27, 2024

July 8 - 11, 2024

More Information

Potential applicants should start now in seeking out their 2 letters of recommendation from their teachers and or counselors. Each letter should be descriptive of the students’ academic attributes, noting their GPA. Send the letters of recommendation to the local program coordinator by April via email.

The projected deadline is April. Ensure that all Letters of Recommendations are sent by this date to email address:

Applicants will also need to prepare 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.

– Please list the science activities in which you have participated; provide additional details on those you particularly enjoyed (no more than 3000 characters)

– Please describe your major academic, career and research areas of interests

Students will receive a $125 stipend for their participation upon completion of the program.

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!