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"Girls Excelling in Math and Science" (GEMS) is an after-school enrichment program designed for girls enrolled in Prince George's County middle schools. Started in 2006 in one school, the program grew to three middle schools in a 5-miles driving radius from University of Maryland, College Park (UMD).
In cooperation with the hosting middle school and with the support of the University of Maryland community outreach programs, we offer
· After-school enrichment classes in math and science with an emphasis on hands-on activities
· Outstanding University of Maryland (UMD) undergraduates as GEMS role models and mentors
· Field trips to math and science educational and research centers, for example, the Marian Koshland Science Museum, the National Museum of Natural History and the University of Maryland research centers
· Family meetings that provide opportunities for parents to connect with and engage in their children's educational process.
The curriculum ranges across the sciences. The lessons are designed to encourage the students to observe and explore their environment, to ask questions, design experiments, collect and compare data, and collaborate with their peers . Outstanding UMD undergraduate students, mostly women, serve as mentors and role models to middle school girls enrolled in this once-a-week for two-hours after-school, enrichment program. The undergraduate mentors facilitate the activities. They encourage questions and the practice of scientific inquiry. They challenge the girls to try out their ideas, to experiment, and to pursue their interests and studies in math, science and engineering. Working in teams of 3-5, the girls explore a wide range of science disciplines through lab activities and research projects. Each team interacts with one-two undergraduate student mentors.