Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club Finch for Fun
GEM’s purpose is to increase enrollment in advanced math, science and technology classes by introducing elementary school-aged girls to intriguing and career applicable concepts during after school activities.
Program Descriptions and Results
The GEMS clubs operate mainly in schools with high amounts of diversity and high levels of poverty. GEMS started at Clearview Elementary in Herndon VA, a school with more than 50% of its students receiving free or reduced lunch.
During follow up surveys and through keeping in contact with GEMS graduates, we found that these girls (now women) had begun careers as: Computer Forensic Specialist, Webmaster, Accountant, Medical Office Manager, IT Project Manager, Professional basketball player, and many became graduates of the Fairfax County STEM magnet school, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
The Foundation’s donation funded the purchase of Finch Robots for GEMS. Twenty girls, ages 11-14, attended ten afterschool sessions to learn how to program Finch Robots. The girls worked in pairs using their prior knowledge of computer programming in Scratch or Alice. After becoming familiar with the mechanisms of the Finch Robots, they explored another computer programming languages, such as Python. The GEMS club also learned from volunteers/mentors about careers in CS and IT. They girls demonstrated their work to the Women in Technology Education Foundation and other young women at the Spring 2014 GIT Sharing Our Success event.
“I felt GEMS club was the best club I have ever done and it makes me feel better about myself.” GEMS Finch Robot participant