The WRAIR GEMS 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).

This year, we are offering 3 programs – all programs will be offered at Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

Programs and Locations:

  • Biomedical GEMs at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring (Beginning level is for 4 days, Advanced and Intermediate levels are for 5 days)
  • Biomedical GEMs at the Montgomery College, Takoma Park/Silver Spring (all levels are for 4 days)
  • Engineering GEMS at the Montgomery College, Takoma Park/Silver Spring (all levels are for 4 days)

There is no cost to participate in any of the programs. Upon completion, students are eligible to receive stipend of $125.

Biomedical GEMS:

Students explore science through hands-on activities, simulations, computer applications, and classic laboratory experiments with model invertebrates such as cockroaches, fruit flies and planaria. Modules cover a variety of topics, including physiology, neurobiology, materials science, microbial interactions, drug effects, animal behavior, and climate science. Students gain practice in using the scientific method, designing experiments, recording data and forming conclusions based on their data.

Engineering GEMS:

The curriculum is designed expand students’ perception of engineering beyond “building things” and to encourage students to use problem-solving skills to solve real-world problems. Using lessons, design challenges, and real-world scenarios, students are immersed in a complete engineering environment and experience the full engineering design process.

Information for Near-Peer Mentor

(Applications for NPMS now open)

The GEMS NPM is typically a college undergraduate or a HS senior. 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.

Information for Students

(Applications open January 15, 2020) *Session dates listed under Important Dates!

Students can apply for a one-week session between June 15 – August 10, 2020 in our biomedical or engineering programs at one of the following levels (Fall 2020 Grade Levels):

  • Beginning (7th-8thgrade)
  • Intermediate (9th-10thgrade)
  • Advanced (11th-12thgrade)

Important Dates

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

January 15, 2020
Student applications open

February 15, 2020
Near-Peer Mentor and Resource Teacher applications close

April 30, 2020
Student application closes
Selections will be finalized within 6-8 weeks after application closes.

June 15 - 19, 2020
Biomedical (WRAIR) Intermediate/Advanced Session

June 22-25, 2020
Biomedical (MC) Beginning/Intermediate Session
Engineering (MC) Advanced Session

June 22 - 26, 2020
Biomedical (WRAIR) Advanced Session

June 29 - July 2, 2020
Biomedical (WRAIR) Beginning Session
Biomedical (MC) Beginning/Intermediate Session
Engineering (MC) Beginning Session

July 7 - 10, 2020
*Session starts on Tuesday

Biomedical (WRAIR) Beginning Session
Biomedical (MC) Beginning/Intermediate Session
Engineering (MC) Beginning Session

July 13-16, 2020
Biomedical (MC) Beginning/Intermediate Session
Engineering (MC) Intermediate Session

July 13 - 17, 2020
Biomedical (WRAIR) Intermediate Session

July 20-23, 2020
Biomedical (MC) Beginning/Intermediate Session
Engineering (MC) Intermediate/Advanced Session

July 20 - 24, 2020
Biomedical (WRAIR) Intermediate/Advanced Session

July 27 - 30, 2020
Biomedical (WRAIR) Beginning Session
Biomedical (MC) Beginning/Intermediate Session
Engineering (MC) Beginning Session

August 3-6, 2020
Biomedical (MC) Beginning/Intermediate Session
Engineering (MC) Intermediate Session

August 3 - 7, 2020
Biomedical (WRAIR) Intermediate Session

August 10 - 13, 2020
Biomedical (WRAIR) Beginning Session
Biomedical (MC) Beginning/Intermediate Session
Engineering (MC) Advanced Session

More Information

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

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 provides unique research capabilities and innovative solutions to a range of force health and readiness challenges currently facing U.S. Service Members, along with threats anticipated during future operations. With comprehensive research units in Africa, Asia, and the Caucasus region, WRAIR is comprised of two Centers of Excellence, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience.

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!

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