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Mon, May 20

Scientific nonprofit concludes first semester of STEM education pilot program

Students in the G.E.M. Environmental Field Experience program took a trip to the Drake Cement Mine in Paulden during the semester. (G.E.M. Environamental/Courtesy)

Students in the G.E.M. Environmental Field Experience program took a trip to the Drake Cement Mine in Paulden during the semester. (G.E.M. Environamental/Courtesy)

G.E.M. Environmental, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has concluded the first semester of its Field Experience program “pilot”, which offers hands-on science education for underserved students in Yavapai County.

The program is currently running in partnership with Yavapai College and offers engaging geoscience activities, including field trips where students apply their knowledge, broaden perspectives on conservation, and gain insight into managing public lands.

The program initiated in the spring 2019 semester, starting with a series of classroom lectures in Dr. Beth Boyd’s Environmental Geology and Historical Geology courses. The lectures were given by local professors and STEM graduate students, who visited these classrooms bi-weekly to offer scientific curriculum in a variety of areas including geography, seismology, mineralogy, and more — helping students explore the relationship of these disciplines and how they relate to their everyday lives.

A field trip was then taken to the Drake Cement Mine, giving students an opportunity to spend extended time contemplating ideas encountered in the classroom, and learning about potential career opportunities in their fields of interest.

“We love watching how excited the students get while participating in this engaging program,” said Eric Welsh, GEM’s Executive Director and Geologic Consultant. “Forty-nine percent of our participants are low-income students and 86 percent have never participated in an applied learning project or internship before. This is a great opportunity to provide them with the resources and tools needed to land a STEM job after they graduate.”

GEM recently held a fundraiser at the Windsock Lounge for the Field Experience program, raising more than $5,000. They plan to expand the program into two additional classrooms at Yavapai College, while offering two additional field trips during 2019. They are also currently working with Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy and Prescott College to offer the program to these schools by 2020. Overall, the total reach will impact up to 400 students from 2019-2020.

In addition to their field experience program, GEM sponsors a variety of public programs– including community clean-ups, scholarships, paid internships, and more. The nonprofit is supported by grants and donations. For more information, please visit www.gemenvironmental.org.

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