U.S. ARL hosted a Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science, GEMS, program at White Sands Missile Range this summer. A group of 45 students and four teachers from the Las Cruces and El Paso area high schools participated in the week-long program, July 23 through 27.

The GEMS program provides students a unique opportunity to explore science, math, and technology alongside some of ARL's top engineers and scientists. The program encourages students to pursue higher education in the sciences by exposing them to exciting research and technology work occurring in the lab and by teaching them about the importance of such work, particularly to the Soldier.

"What we do here is absolutely first and foremost for the Soldier and we make that our ultimate mission and focus. We work hand-in-hand with our Soldiers in order to make our products better," said Kurt Austin, an employee of ARL's Information and Electronic Protection Division and GEMS coordinator.

While at WSMR, students received instruction from engineers and scientists about rockets, optics, robotics, radios, antennas, probability and statistics, computers, audio engineering and electrical design. Each topic was complemented by a tour of an advanced test or research facility, a technology demonstration, or a hands-on laboratory experience in which students were allowed to build and/or experiment with their own devices.

The students were especially impressed with the tour of ARL's Electromagnetic Vulnerability Assessment Facility and the Army's largest radio frequency anechoic chamber. They built and measured the patterns of their own Wi-Fi antennas inside the chamber facility.

"Few people on WSMR, much less the general public, ever get to see inside a facility like that," Austin said. "The kids are getting to see it up-close and personal."

Spending time with ARL's scientists and engineers as well as Soldiers at WSMR provided students with a unique summer experience that exposed them to elements of science, mathematics and technology that could not be found within a high school classroom.