"Optimizing Combat Casualty Care"

Near-peer mentor, Jordon Edmond, right, demonstrates the proper suturing techniques June 21 to GEMS high school students Caitlyn Friermuth and Matthew Loftus.

GEMS Summer Camps Underway at USAISR

Story and photo by Steven Galvan, DBA
USAISR Public Affairs Officer

U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
06 AUG 2016

The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research began its Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science summer camps for the fifth year June 20.

GEMS is a nationwide hands-on research program offered to middle and high school students at Army research laboratories. The program is designed to engage and guide student’s interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. GEMS is designed to excite students with in-depth STEM enrichment with real-life Army experiences, educational curriculum and mentoring from research scientists and engineers.

This year’s four-day camps were held during the last two weeks of June and the second week in July. The Army-sponsored middle and high school camps are led by licensed Texas teachers and near-peers. For the last four years, the near-peers were college students, but this year marks the first time that a high school student has been hired to serve as a near-peer for middle school students.

Fifteen-year-old Jordon Edmond, a student at Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile, Alabama, came to San Antonio to spend the summer with her family. Her father who is stationed at Fort Sam Houston encouraged her to apply for the summer position. Edmond, who attended GEMS as a middle and high school student at Fort Rucker, Alabama, when her father was stationed there jumped at the chance and said that she loves her first job.

“I’m really proud that I got this opportunity and that I am the only high school student as a near-peer,” said Edmond. “I especially like that what we are teaching the students affects Soldiers and civilians. It’s just great.”

GEMS Coordinator Stephanie Truss welcomed Edmonds to the program.

“This shows the GEMS students that they can participate in this program as a student and a near-peer,” said Truss. “I believe that it gives them the drive to apply for other programs as they move forward through school.”

When Edmond returns back to school in the fall she will go back as junior with teaching experience and knowing that she made a difference in the GEMS camps this summer.

“I love it when students come to me and ask me questions about the projects that we are working on,” she said. “I don’t just give them the answers. I try to explain in a manner that they get involved in coming up with the answer, so we work together to come up with the answer to their questions--together.”