K - 12 Programs

The Center provides programming to public and private K-12 schools in their efforts to bring forth reform related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. 

Current Programs

SunChase Solar Challenge

Wondering how you can sponsor this event and get involved? Contact the Whitaker Center at 239-590-7444

Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS)

GEMS studentsGirls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) is a hands-on program dedicated to promoting science education for all regional middle school students by enthusiastic professionals and undergraduates as facilitators and role models in a supportive 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.

We are actively seeking GEMS financial sponsors for the future events. Contact the Whitaker Center Director, Dr. Heather Skaza-Acosta (hskaza-acosta@fgcu.edu) if you or your company would like to sponsor: 239-590-7444 

Registration 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 check here for registration dates and times. We cannot guarantee space as the event fills up quickly.

A special thank you to present and past sponsors, dedicated teachers, FGCU students and faculty who have helped to make this program great for our middle school girls!


  • Information about GEMS

Summer Research Opportunity

  • Middle School

  • High School

STEM Institute

At the Schulze Summer STEM Institute for Teachers Workshop for K-12 educators, participants will be immersed in the research-based practice of writing and facilitating engaging inquiry-based STEM activities focusing on the SW Florida environment.  Inquiry-based pedagogies have been shown to improve student engagement, comprehension, and retention. The workshop infuses technology into the week and incorporates field instruction. FGCU faculty from the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences and Conservancy Staff bring a balance of expertise to you during the workshop week.  

The Schulze Summer STEM Institute for Teachers will  take place during the week of July 18-22. See application below for details.

The Whitaker Center for STEM Education at FGCU takes a systemic approach to enhancing and reforming STEM education by providing professional development opportunities for K-12 educators, conducting research in STEM teaching and learning, developing innovative curricula, resources, and materials, developing and supporting programs for students, and building strong community partnerships.

The Schulze Summer STEM Institute for Teachers workshops are developed through collaboration between the Conservancy of Southwest Florida education staff, Whitaker Center FGCU faculty associates, Vester Marine Field Station, and Lehigh Elementary STEM faculty.

The Schulze Summer STEM Institute for Teachers connects real-world environmental research with evidence-based, hands-on instruction.

Since 2013, the STEM Institute has worked with over 200 K-12 teachers from the five county area and beyond!

Summer camps are also offered at the Conservancy. Your child/children could experience the wildlife of southwest Florida through outdoor adventures, field trips, and nature discoveries, all while you attend our workshop.