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GEMS Contact:

Ms. Michaile Rainey
Advancing Women in Engineering
Phone: 215-573-6487

Why Study Engineering, Math, and Science?

Because you can make a difference in the lives of people and this planet! Engineers are creators, innovators, builders, and problem solvers. We are always thinking about how things work, and how we can make them work better. And we care a lot about improving people’s lives and about how to protect and preserve this planet.

We design products and tools that improve people's lives: Computers, MP3 players, iPods, iPhone and other cell phones, websites, animation movies, roller coasters, space shuttles, Mars Rovers, robotic arms/legs, fabrics for bulletproof vests, and fabrics that breathe for active wear (to name just a few).

We help make the world a better place by finding alternate energy sources and designing highly fuel efficient cars to combat global warming.

We work on the most difficult challenges that face human health and disease, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injury, and we try to create better ways to diagnose and treat these diseases.

We communicate, work in groups and teams, negotiate, and we are always learning new things as we work with people from all sorts of other fields, such as medicine, law, business, and psychology.

Penn GEMS:
Girls in Engineering, Math and Science Camp

What is Penn GEMS?

Over the course of the week, you'll learn how engineering is part of your every day life.

Penn GEMS is a week-long day camp targeting middle school girls in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade that focuses on bioengineering, nanotechnology, materials science, graphics and computing. The Penn GEMS Summer Camp is dedicated to providing hands-on activities to engage middle school girls in applied science, technology and engineering. Please note: GEMS is a day camp only. Participants are expected to be picked up and dropped off from the Penn campus. Camp goals are:

  • To introduce engineering to girls through nanotechnology, materials science, bioengineering, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, robotics, graphics and computing.
  • To make connections with role models and mentors that will help them to visualize themselves as engineers.
  • To encourage girls to continue studying math, science and computing and to think about studying engineering in college.
  • Emphasis on real-world problem solving, collaboration, teamwork and building self-efficacy.

Penn GEMS Activities

Please note that the activities below are subject to change and not all participants will necessarily get to do all activities. Students will be broken into groups and will participate in a variety of activities. We're still in the process of planning this year's program but here's some of things we have done in the past:

What does a cell in your body look like up close? Through hands-on labs, you'll learn how cells travel throughout your body and how engineers are actually making body cells that fight disease!

Mechanical Engineers create everything from cell phones and toys to medical devices and cars. You’ll get to try your hand at the exciting design process by working in a team to build your own structure or vehicle.

What do NASA's Mars Rover and Honda's ASIMO need to do interact and react in their environments? Learn the basic electro-mechanical principles behind robotics technology and more when you get to play with your own robot.

Computers, iPods, cell phones, websites, video games, animated movies, and robots are just a few things created by computer scientists. Learn how to think like a computer scientist and maybe even create a few things of your own!

Love animated movies and video games? You'll learn some basic computer programming skills that any animation or game maker needs and leave with something to show your friends and family.

What is nanotechnology and why is everyone talking about it? You’ll experiment with nano-materials, and study how these teeny tiny structures can change our
everyday lives.

Registration information will be available in January and applications will be due March 2, 2018. Click here to join our mailing list and get notified when applications are available! Supporting materials can be sent later but the on-line form must be completed by this time. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed based on qualifications, and on a space-available basis.

For more information or to be added to our mailing list, contact us at or sign up here.