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Whitaker Center

Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS)


GEMS participants in front of Whitaker HallGEMS participants engaging in a directed dissection







Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) is a hands-on program dedicated to science education for regional middle school girls by enthusiastic professionals and undergraduates as facilitators and role models in a girls-only environment. GEMS provides a launching pad to develop an early interest in engineering, math, and science as an impetus to higher education and highly-skilled careers. Previous activities have included bioengineering, chemistry, biological science, biotechnology, forensics, astronomy, math, civil engineering and environmental science.

Watch a video from the March event here:

What is the Program?

This half-day event is for middle school girls to engage in hands-on activities related to engineering, math and science.

 Where is the program going to be held?

All activities will be held on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus in Fort Myers. Directions will be sent out to all registered participants.

 When will the next program be held?

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Does the program cost anything?

This program is FREE to all participants. Registration is required.

 Who will be in the program?

GEMS is for middle school girls from our local community.

 What do I wear?

Comfortable clothes that you would wear each day to school.

 What will happen each day?

You will participate in hands-on activities with professionals and FGCU students in actual university  classroom laboratories. 

Presentations for the September 13th event include:

Heather Walsh-Haney (Forensic Anthropology)

Title:  Longbone Strength and Muscle Area in Response to Mechanical Loading

Muscle and bone loss in response to the lack of load bearing exercise affects overall health status and is of special interest to aerospace crews during long periods (weeks to months) of restricted movement and microgravity environments like that on the space station.  To understand the extent to which load bearing exercise affects muscle and bone strength, we evaluate the bones of the lower extremities from two skeletal samples that experienced differences in overall load bearing exercises.  In this activity girls will compare the density of cortical and trabecular bone, as well as muscle insertion size by analyzing bones and radiographs. 

Tanya Huffman (Mathematics)

Title: Solar System Model and Parallax Method

Can you picture the dimensions of the solar system? The sizes and distances involved are so great that our minds tend to give up, classifying the whole thing as “REALLY BIG”. And, how do astronomers measure the planetary distances? In this activity participants will build a clay model of the solar system and will get insight into the parallax method that laid the basis for measuring distances to far away objects.

Community Guest:  Ms. Becky Bokrand, CPA/CFF, CFE, licensed private investigator

Ms. Bokrand works as a forensic accountant for Markham, Norton, Mosteller Wright & Company in Fort Myers.  She will share with us how she got interested in the career and what she does in her job.  Parents are welcome to attend this portion of the GEMS event.

Do my parents/guardians need to be there?

No. All activities are supervised by university personnel.

 How do I get there?

Each participant will need to arrange her transportation to and from the FGCU campus each day. Registration runs from 8:00-8:30am and the program begins after registration is completed (around 8:30am) and ends at 12:30pm.

 How do I register?

Registration will open approximately 5 weeks prior to the event, so check back soon. Acceptance is provided on a first come, first served basis with priority given to first time participants. You will receive a confirmation email after you register online.

 Please note: Registration for the GEMS Event on September 13 is now CLOSED.

GEMS registration button