Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS) is an annual workshop series for middle and high school girls which offers a welcoming and encouraging environment in which to meet influential women in STEM careers, learn more about STEM opportunities, and get hands on experience with STEM technologies. We aim to change knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about women in STEM fields and support girls in their STEM curiosity.
Sponsorship is provided by the Cobb Library Foundation. Thank you!
GEMS was founded in 2014 by former Cobb County librarian Julia Huprich. Julia had this to say:
As a woman in technology, I have become increasingly aware of the lack of diversity in the field; as a librarian, I knew that the library was in a unique position to address the problem. By creating a program that gave young women in Cobb County the opportunity to meet successful women in technology, to learn about possible STEM careers, and to discover free tech-related library resources, the library has had a direct impact on leveling the tech playing field. I’m proud of the GEMS’ work this summer and I’m thrilled that we were able to offer this program. I’m so appreciative to the library system for giving me the freedom to plan and execute this program and to the Cobb Library Foundation for their unwavering financial support.
In its first year, about 40 young women participated in the Cobb GEMS: Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science program. Designed to introduce girls to STEM careers and programming concepts, the nine-week program began on June 2 and featured presentations from faculty members at Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Southern Polytechnic State University. Corporate and non-profit partners included Google, Women in Technology, and Team LED. Sponsorship for the program was generously provided by the Cobb Library Foundation. Download the Cobb GEMS 2014 Final Report.
The success of GEMS inspired library staff to expand the program in the summer of 2015. Four libraries participated in GEMS offering registration to 80 girls. Learning focused on 3D printing with participants trying their hand at 3D design. Again, sponsorship was provided by the Cobb Library Foundation.
In 2016, we expanded again! GEMS ran at five libraries and registration was opened to 120 girls. Women from a variety of fields, including epidemiology, computer science and engineering, water engineering, the corporate IT world, and more, spoke to our GEMS participants and gave them the opportunity to get hands-on knowledge in their fields. Sponsorship from the Cobb Library Foundation allowed our libraries to supplement the speaker visits with more hands-on learning opportunities with different STEM technologies. We thank all of our individual speakers, Women in Technology, and the Cobb Library Foundation for embracing GEMS and making it the successful program that it is!