The main goal for GEMS is to expose middle school students to different opportunities in STEM fields and to spark their interest in these types of career fields.

GEMS logo

Our goal is to create an awareness of the current inequality in careers in STEM career fields and provide students with the knowledge and power to create a future of shared respect in these fields. According to Alysson Light, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of the Sciences, “While women have nearly reached gender parity in biomedical sciences, they still make up only about 18% of the students receiving undergraduate degrees in computer science…across studies, participants were consistently more likely to describe a discipline as a “soft science” when they’d been led to believe that proportionally more women worked in the field. Moreover, the “soft science” label led people to devalue these fields – describing them as less rigorous, less trustworthy and less deserving of federal research funding. Read more about Dr. Light’s study here. While this program targets female students, registration is available to all qualifying students regardless of their sex or gender identity.

Each year, we offer fun, unique, hands-on workshops to keep the program innovative. We have offered workshops on bridge building/architectural to dissecting cow eyes, extracting DNA, fingerprinting, and forensics, to veterinary science and so much more. Take a look at the past brochures to see the many different workshops offered.

My oldest daughter, Leah (14), didn’t sign up for “I Spy an Eye” specifi­cally because it said that they would have an opportunity to dissect an animal eye. She has always been squeamish about blood, doctors, needles… you name it…So, she texted me and told me that she was upset she was placed in that workshop and didn’t want to do it. I told her to give it a try and to let whoever was running it know you had a bit of an issue with it. In the past, she actually did almost pass out one time in a science class and did faint in the doctor’s office. Well, as it turns out, it was probably the absolute best possible work­shop for her. She came home telling us that it was actually interesting. Later that night she brought out the hand out and went over it with us. She told us that while she didn’t initially participate she eventually did participate and after this experience she will probably go ahead and do the dissections in her prep biology class this fall in high school versus the online dissection option. Attending the workshop that she didn’t’ want to attend, was probably the best thing that could ever have happened to her and will make a direct impact on her participa­tion in dissections in high school.

It is just amazing what doors can open when given a chance. I’m hoping you can share this feedback with whoever ran the I Spy an Eye workshop. Awesome job and many thanks!

GEMS Parent

Morning Mini Parent Conference

We believe understanding your middle school student is important. We provide all parents with the opportunity to stay and enjoy our guest speakers in the morning. We provide two presentations to the parents on higher education and a topic that is relevant to raising a middle school student. In the past, topics have included ‘Timeline for College’, ‘Keeping your Teen Safe Online’, ‘Helping your Teen with Anxiety’, ‘DOJ Human Trafficking’, and more!

Thank You to Our Sponsors

A big thank you to our sponsors who helped make past GEMS possible!

  • American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  • SPX Transformer Solutions
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • RWBaird
  • Lois Clementi
  • Waukesha County Women & Girls Fund

Your donations have made this program possible!

Become a GEMS Sponsor

Are you a professional in the fields of Engineering, Math, or Science? We are accepting workshop volunteers for the spring of 2022. If you have an idea for a GEMS workshop and would like to volunteer, please contact Holly Wehrhahn.

Contact

Community Center
Continuing Education at Washington County

Room 107

Office Hours:
Thursdays 10am-4pm

Summer Hours:
Monday-Thursday 9am-4pm

Continuing Education at Waukesha

Commons Building, Room C111

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
(Closed on Fridays during the summer)

Continuing Education Director
Holly Wehrhahn
holwehrh@uwm.edu
262-521-5567

Continuing Education Program Manager
Abby Streicher
streiche@uwm.edu
262-521-5516