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I love programs like these: NCSA hosted 32 female students in grades 6 through 8 earlier this month as part of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science (GEMS) program.

GEMS at NCSAThis year’s program funded by the Blue Waters Project focused on a Biodiversity theme featuring two unique ecosystems – the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica and the Tallgrass Prairie of Illinois.

Girls conducted a flora and fauna inventory of a Meadowbrook Park, heard presentations from female researchers, including a presentation on bacterial evolution and biodiversity given by a researcher in Costa Rica, and conducted their own research projects on topics selected by their team to present on the final day of camp.

The goal of GEMS is to encourage girls to consider math- and science-oriented careers by giving them an opportunity to engage directly with the tools of those occupations in engaging projects.

If you’d like more information on the GEMS program, drop an email to education@ncsa.illinois.edu.