GEMS Activities

The GEMS program is currently on hold pending additional guidance from Seattle Public Schools.  

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 2019-2020:
Nov. 5th
Dec. 3rd
Jan. 7th
Feb. 4th
March 3rd
April 7th
May 5th

GEMS dates at South Shore PK-8 will be held on the following Wednesdays in 2019-2020:
Nov. 6th
Dec. 4th
Jan. 8th
Feb 5th
March 4th
April 8th
May 6th

GEMS activity

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?

If you would like to be notified when next year’s GEMS application opens, please fill out this form.

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 the Seattle Area chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS-SA) membership, and is led entirely by volunteers.

What do I get to do in GEMS?

GEMS activity

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: Bridge Building (use engineering concepts to build bridges out of straws)
  • December: DNA (extract DNA from strawberries and discuss important aspects of genetics)
  • January: Astrophysics
  • February: Chromatography
  • March: Neuroscience 
  • April: Forensic Science (use chemical analysis and logic to investigate a crime)
  • May: Oceanography (learn about the ocean and build a plankton model to better understand the concept of buoyancy)

Past field trips have included:

  • Google
  • Northwest Medical Physics Center
  • UW Planetarium
  • Thompson Research Vessel
  • UW Greenhouse
  • BioQuest at Seattle BioMed
  • Beach walk with Seattle Aquarium
  • 3D Printing Design
  • Center for Infectious Disease Research

GEMS in the news! 

The Fred Hutch magazine wrote about us in Spring 2016!

Article on Ozobot: 10 Ways Seattle Schools are Engaging Students in STEAM

How can I volunteer with GEMS? 

GEMS activity
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 many donors, including GEMS families and volunteers. Seattle AWIS would also like to thank the 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.