Student applications are now open! Apply now

The Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS) program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) offers middle and high school students an exciting platform to engage in hands-on STEM activities that are designed to stimulate inquiry-based thinking, scientific skills, and interest in STEM careers. Rising 7th – 12th graders will have the opportunity to explore STEM in a sophisticated laboratory setting and learn about STEM careers under the guidance of college-level mentors called Near-Peer Mentors (NPMs).


Headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is the oldest and most mission diverse biomedical research laboratory in the Department of Defense.  WRAIR’s mission: Discover, design, develop and deliver globally impactful solutions for military relevant infectious diseases, brain health and performance optimization through innovative research. Some of the sophisticated research conducted at WRAIR is adapted and incorporated in the coursework for GEMS students.

Important Timelines

December 5, 2023: Near-Peer Mentor/Assistant Near-Peer Mentor/Teacher Applications open. Apply here.

January 29, 2024: Student Application opens. Apply here

There will be 9 sessions of GEMS between June 10 – August 16, 2024

General Information

GEMS will be offered on 3 platforms:

  • In-person
  • Hybrid
  • Asynchronous

Locations for In-person GEMS:

  • WRAIR, Silver Spring (Biomedical and Engineering)
  • Bowie State University (BSU) (Biomedical and Engineering)
  • Morgan State University, Baltimore (Biomedical and Engineering)
  • UMD, College Park (ONLY for students registered in UMD’s Talent Search Group)

GEMS levels (Fall 2024 grade levels)
Beginning (7th and 8th grades)
Intermediate (9th and 10th grades)
Advanced (11th and 12th grades)

GEMS sessions:



WRAIR BSU MSU UMD (Only if registered in UMD’s Talent Search)
June 10-14 Advanced/ Intermediate
June 17-21 Advanced/ Intermediate Advanced/ Intermediate
June 24-28 Beginning/ Intermediate Beginning/ Intermediate Beginning/ Intermediate
July 1-5 No class No class No class
July 8-12 Beginning Beginning Advanced/ Intermediate
July 15-19 Advanced/ Intermediate Advanced/ Intermediate Beginning/ Intermediate Advanced/ Intermediate
July 22-26 Beginning/ Intermediate Beginning/ Intermediate Advanced/ Intermediate Advanced/ Intermediate
July 29-Aug 2 Beginning/ Intermediate Beginning/ Intermediate Advanced/ Intermediate
Aug 5-9 Advanced/ Intermediate Advanced/ Intermediate
Aug 12-16 Beginning/ Intermediate/ Advanced Beginning/ Intermediate/ Advanced

NOTE: Students will only be able to apply to one location and for only 1 session (week). 

GEMS program offered at UMD is specifically for students registered in UMD’s Talent Search program. 

WRAIR and Bowie State University (BSU) locations: there will be no class on June 19 on account of Juneteenth.

Asynchronous GEMS

July 1-5: Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced

Aug 12-16: Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced

Virtual GEMS

July 1-5: Beginning/Intermediate/Advanced

(Additional sessions may be added)

GEMS is free to all applicants.

Student participants who attend GEMS in-person are eligible to receive $125 stipend to offset cost of transportation and food.

Student participants in hybrid and asynchronous GEMS are not eligible to receive a stipend.


Information for Near-Peer Mentors, Assistant Near-Peer Mentors and Teachers

The GEMS Near-Peer Mentor is typically a college undergraduate. Closer in age to our students, NPMs share their STEM interests with the students, guide students in a hands-on exploration of STEM concepts, and develop meaningful connections throughout the week. In addition to a strong understanding of the STEM content, NPMs offer guidance in choosing high school courses, applying to college and scholarships, and adjusting to college-level academics. NPMs receive stipends based on their educational level.

The Assistant Near-Peer Mentor is usually a high school senior or junior with interest in STEM fields and an ability to work as a team. ANPMs perform a variety of tasks such as maintaining the supply inventory, prepping the lab and assisting the NPM teach a class. Stipends are based on educational level.

GEMS Teacher supervises NPMs/ANPMs. GEMS Teacher may be a high school teacher or an academician/educator with a strong base in STEM fields. The GEMS Teacher must be creative with the ability to multi-task and have strong leadership skills. Stipends are based on educational level and experience.

Information for Audio-Visual Intern Applicants

Typically a college undergraduate or HS senior, the Audio/Visual intern will serve as subject-matter expert and content developer (recording/editing/etc.) for STEM programming across all formats of GEMS. Stipends are based on educational level.

Important Dates

December 5, 2023
Near-Peer Mentor, Assistant Near-Peer Mentor, Teacher Applications Open

January 29, 2024
Student Application Opens

June 15, 2024
Near-Peer Mentor, Assistant Near-Peer Mentor, Teacher Applications Closes

August 1, 2024
Student Applications Close

Interested in This Program?

If you are interested in this program email us or call 301-319-7129. We'd love to hear from you!