GEMS volunteer information

About volunteering with GEMS

We welcome women with a STEM background who would like to help mentor girls in our program!  For more details on the role of a mentor, read on below. To get involved, sign up here and we will be in touch.


GEMS is a program designed to help middle school girls learn about the range of opportunities that exist within ‘science and technology’, to encourage more girls to enter these fields, and to build in them a sense of confidence that they can be successful in these fields as professional women. 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 pertaining to a variety of fields. Activities are held during the first week of each month, at Fred Hutch and South Seattle College, from November through May, and field trips are scheduled at other times during the year.  Towards those goals, we are looking for women in any science or technology related field to join us in one or more capacities

  1. Lead an activity. In previous years we have had activities where groups of girls build bridges out of wooden sticks, analyse fabrics to identify which one matches a sample, try and build toy microbes out of arts and crafts materials, etc. The goal of these activities is
    1. Fun! In previous years girls have said that the ‘more sciencey’ activities are their favorite, when they feel like they are doing real investigations and thinking.
    2. Demonstrate an application of science to broaden their understanding of what kind of jobs and activities use science

    We have existing workshops on several topics that can be lead by anyone without experience in the topic, and we also welcome new activities developed around your specific field. We recommend that before leading an activity, you attend a session as a mentor to help you understand the logistics of the groups. If you would like to create a new activity or run an existing activity that you haven’t run before, feel free to contact us ( for tips and encouragement!

  2. Be a mentor for an activity group
    1. Supervision. Mentors do not have to be familiar with the science behind the activity. Activity leaders provide simple tasks that mentors can help with, eg with a cheat sheet that tells them what questions to ask if the girls are stuck. Some activities require adult supervision (eg using fire to analyse fabrics, careful handling of microscopes). Some groups require more prodding to focus than others!
    2. Mentors are intended to provide examples of ‘successful women in science’. Chatting to the girls about what you do helps normalize the idea that women do science, and helps them understand exactly what kind of tasks and jobs that can involve.


  3. Help lead a field trip
    A couple of times through the year we also run a weekend field trip where the girls can visit a location and perhaps do a more in-depth activity. Past field trips have included activities held in labs at UW, 3D printing, behind-the-scenes activities at the zoo, and many more! Our fields trips rely heavily on our volunteers to run.