ssc-jan-1Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS) is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enrichment program for 7th and 8th grade girls currently attending a Seattle public school. The goal of the program is to encourage girls to maintain and broaden their interest in STEM topics by providing hands-on activities, mentoring, field trips, and information about a variety of fields.

GEMS meetings occur once a month from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, and are held at two sites: one at South Seattle College in West Seattle and one at the Fred Hutch in South Lake Union. The activities are the same at both locations, so students will only be admitted to one of the GEMS sites. We also hold several optional field trips throughout the year.

GEMS dates at Fred Hutch will be held on the following mix of Tuesdays and Thursdays in 2016-2017: Thursday November 3rd, Thursday December 8th, Tuesday January 3rd, Tuesday January 31st, Tuesday February 28th, Tuesday April 4th, and Tuesday May 2nd.

GEMS dates at South Seattle College will be held on the following Wednesdays in 2016-2017: November 2nd, December 7th, January 4th, February 1st 8th, March 1st, April 5th, and May 3rd.


Who can participate in GEMS?

Any 7th or 8th grade girl currently attending a Seattle public school is welcome to apply.

How do I apply?

Applications for the 2016-2017 school year can be made now through the online form below, until the program is full:

GEMS Application 2016-2017

If you would like to be contacted when applications open for next year, please leave your name and information with us here.

We try to accommodate every applicant, but unfortunately do not always have space. We strive to choose applicants with a diverse range of experiences, interests, and backgrounds that represent the student population of the Seattle Public School District.

How much does GEMS cost?

The program is free to students, but requires transportation to and from all events. GEMS is funded by annual dues from AWIS-SA (Seattle Area chapter of the Association for Women in Science) membership, and is led entirely by volunteers.

What do I get to do in GEMS?


You will get to participate in a hands-on activity once a month during the school year. We also hold several field trips throughout the academic year.

Our tentative activity schedule this year is

  • November 2nd/3rd: Bridge Building (utilize engineering concepts to build bridges out of straws)
  • December 7th/8th: DNA (extract DNA from strawberries and discuss important aspects of genetics)
  • January 3rd/4th: Chromatography (use chemical and physical properties to separate the colored dyes from Grape Koolaid and Sharpies)
  • January 31/February 2st: Neuroscience (learn about animal toxins that affect your brain and do experiments on how your environment affects your memory)
  • February 28th/March 1st: Forensic Science (use chemical analysis and logic to investigate a crime)
  • April 4th/5th: Oceanography (learn about the ocean and build a plankton model to better understand the concept of buoyancy)
  • May 2nd/3rd: Computer programming (learn the fundamentals of programming by creating and solving puzzles)


Past field trips have included:

  • UW Planetarium
  • Thompson Research Vessel
  • UW Greenhouse
  • BioQuest at Seattle BioMed
  • 3D Printing Design

GEMS in the news! 

Check out this article written by Michelle Wahlin for more information!

The Fred Hutch magazine wrote about us in Spring 2016!

How can I volunteer with GEMS? 

You can read more about the role of our volunteers and sign up here.

Questions about the GEMS program? Contact us at

If you would like to make a donation to Seattle GEMS please click the button below:

Seattle AWIS would like to thank donors who contributed to the GEMS Program in memory of Karen Marie Jensen. Karen was an active contributor to the community through her service as a math tutor to students and her work at the APP Task Force, Lesbian Resource Center, and the Federation of Gay Games. Her passion for improving the lives of young people is reflected in this generous tribute to the GEMS program.