Middle school students sought to take part in science program

April 23, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County Public Schools is seeking 100 students from four middle schools to participate in a science program that will be sponsored this summer by Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md.

The Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Sciences/Young Engineers and Scientists Program will be held during four, four-day sessions this summer at Washington County Technical High School.

Sixth- and seventh-graders from E. Russell Hicks, Northern, Springfield and Western Heights middle schools will have a chance to participate in the program.

"The goal is to get kids excited in science and to do it as early as we can," said Edward Nolan, Fort Detrick's human resources director.


The GEMS/YES Program has been offered in Frederick County for four years, according to Nolan, who said the Army chose to expand to Washington County because a large number of Fort Detrick employees commute from here.

"Next year, we will open it up to all of Hagerstown," said Lanae Johnson, the program's Fort Detrick coordinator.

Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan and Col. Judith D. Robinson, commander of Fort Detrick, are scheduled to sign an agreement to mark the partnership Monday at 9 a.m. during a ceremony at Washington County Technical High School.

Morgan said the program will help boost an ongoing effort by school system officials to improve learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"That's what they'll need to succeed in the future," Morgan said. "I think this will definitely enhance learning in the classroom. I'm really excited about it for the students' sake."

Students will work in small groups with Fort Detrick scientists to examine topics ranging from the study of epidemics to DNA fingerprinting, said Sandy Graff, supervisor of secondary science for Washington County Public Schools.

"It will all be hands-on," Graff said. "We're really excited to have this opportunity with the Army and the Fort Detrick scientists. It's a wonderful opportunity for our students."

Graff said the Army is paying for the program, including the cost of the internships. Students who successfully complete all of the requirements will receive a $50 stipend.

Applications will be accepted until the internships are filled. Students may sign up for one of the following slots -- June 28-July 1, July 6-9, July 12-15 or July 19-22.

To apply for the program

Applications for the GEMS/YES program may be obtained at participating middle schools or by going to

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