“I enrolled Tasha in GEMS because I want her to see that women are absolutely capable of having jobs that men used to have, and to know that she can compete as well as any man.”

Parent, 1998

Action research done on the first GEMS club shows that participation in clubs like this have a positive impact on girls’ enrollment in advanced math, science and technology classes in high school.

Math is Hard, Mom.”  
 Published in the VSTE Journal, 2002

Ongoing Purdue Research on GEMS and girls in STEM

Summary of GEMS Research projects

Developing STEM Identity–presentation at MES 2021

Image of Math in and out of school–case study of two original GEMS girls

Current research on GEMS clubs–2021

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) recently completed a research study of two GEMS clubs in the Venango County area of Pennsylvania. GEMS hosts 16 clubs in Venango County through afterschool, library, and summer programs, and serves more than 250 girls in grades 2-12. The study included program observation and analysis. There were three research questions related to STEM engagement that guided club observations:

  • What types of science behaviors did girls engage in most frequently?
  • How actively involved were girls in the STEM activities?
  • What was the affect of girls while doing the STEM activities?

Researchers found that:

  • GEMS girls were actively involved in STEM projects in a hands-on way.
  • In club activities, girls engaged in a wide range of science behaviors such as exploring, experimenting, observing, discussing, using tools, and asking questions.
  • Girls enjoyed the process of creating, innovating, and solving challenges. They were frequently amazed and joyful about what they were discovering.
  • At no time were girls observed to be feeling frustrated, upset, or distressed when they encountered a challenge.
  • Girls were activated by the challenges they confronted and eager to try to solve them and to connect with each other for help when needed.
  • Girls were persistent in their activities and faced challenges by working together.
  • NIOST Research
Growing crystals on charcoal

Video Resources

AAUW and the Fairfax Network partnered to create a video for teachers, parents, PTAs and other organizations using AAUW’s research “Tech-Savvy Girls” report which detailed concerns about girls and attitudes and participation in technology. 

Tech-Savvy Girls Video Guide — a guide for the video, but useful for general group adult discussions also

Short clips to inspire our girls

Girls in STEM–encouraging girls from the White House

Go Girl!–Project Lead the Way–Engineering a Girl’s Future

Imagine Your STEM Future–Girl Scouts encourage and inspire girls

You Can Be Anything–a truly inspiring video from from CWIT at UMBC

Balloon rockets

Research on girls and STEM

Scientific American–What brings girls into STEM — Differences in how men and women enter STEM fields.

How role models in STEM affect girls’ attitudes  –Does “girling up” a STEM role model make a difference?

Learning Differences and STEM  –Research summary on gender differences and STEM

‘Seeing myself in STEM’ How do girls self-identify as they mature?

Effect of Teacher Bias on Girls –Do teachers’ attitudes matter?

STEM Identity and Opportunity  working on

Developing a STEM Identity: multiple research articles about under-representation in engineering

Microsoft’s Girls In STEM Whitepaper–summary of latest research

Cascading Influences — Long-term Impacts of Informal Learning Experiences for Girls  — Why clubs like GEMS matter

A Narrative Inquiry of Female Mathematics/STEM Educators: Crossing Boundaries Among Multiple Contexts — A Dissertation by Lili Zhou