Gems students with volunteers from Google in the Google cafeteria



Girls 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 a South Shore PK-8 in South 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 Tuesdays in 2018-2019:
Nov. 6th
Dec. 4th
Jan. 8th
Feb. 5th
March 5th
April 2nd
May 7th

GEMS dates at South Shore PK-8 will be held on the following Wednesdays in 2018-2019:
Nov. 7th
Dec. 5th
Jan. 9th
Feb 6th
March 6th
April 3rd
May 8th

Who can participate in GEMS?

Any 7th or 8th grade student who identifies as a girl and is currently attending a Seattle public school is welcome to apply.

How do I apply?

The application for the 2018-2019 GEMS program is now closed. If you’re interested in being notified when applications open for the 2019-2020 GEMS cohort, please leave your contact information 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. We often find that girls who would benefit most are unable to find transport to the sessions, so we are very grateful to parents who offer to provide carpool seats to other families. 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 6th/7th: Bridge Building (utilize engineering concepts to build bridges out of straws)
  • December 4th/5th: DNA (extract DNA from strawberries and discuss important aspects of genetics)
  • January 8th/9th: Chromatography (use chemical and physical properties to separate the colored dyes from Grape Koolaid and Sharpies)
  • February 5th/6th: Neuroscience (learn about animal toxins that affect your brain and do experiments on how environment affects memory)
  • March 5th/6th: Forensic Science (use chemical analysis and logic to investigate a crime)
  • April 2nd/3rd: Oceanography (learn about the ocean and build a plankton model to better understand the concept of buoyancy)
  • May 7th/8th: 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
  • Google
  • Center for Infectious Disease Research

GEMS in the news! 

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.