By Lindsey Spalding, DoD STARBASE Central Florida


This summer, the National Center for Simulation (NCS) will host Gains in the Education of Math and Science (GEMS) summer camps through a collaborative effort with the Army Educational Outreach Program, DoD STARBASE Central Florida, the University of Central Florida (UCF), and other Team Orlando organizations across the modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) community.


The program seeks to interest young people in STEM fields early enough in their academic careers, and ensure they get sufficient time to receive the correct training and education for a STEM-based profession, like an engineer or a scientist. 


The camps, each lasting one week, will take place in Research Parkway and on the main UCF campus during the weeks of June 10-14, June 17-21, July 8-12, and July 15-19. Middle, high school, and college students will join educators and subject matter experts in a week of experiential learning through serious play. This summer’s camps will feature two themes.


“Into the Barbieverse!” is intended for middle school students and will be held at UCF’s campus. In this session, Barbie and her friends from across the multiverse will explore the world of STEM. Throughout the 25-hour program, campers will spend the week discovering the numerous STEM careers Barbie has had with the help of friends like Hello Kitty, Steve and Alex from Minecraft, and the islanders of Animal Crossing. Students will receive opportunities to enhance their STEM application skills through an MS&T perspective in a hands-on environment.


Students who have already participated in two or more NCS programs or are a new high school student to the community, will attend the “Into the Mediverse!” program. Designed to build leadership for future “Near Peers,” it will be held in the DoD STARBASE Central Florida Learning Lab.


The “Mediverse” camp, also a 25-hour program, will help high school students (freshmen through juniors) improve their STEM application skills in a modeling and simulation environment by exploring the medical world. Campers will gain practical experience though applications such as “STOP THE BLEED” while hearing from subject matter experts.


“Our focus is to give our students insights to STEM-related fields by offering opportunities for them to experience technology. These experiences range from robots to holograms, and it provides them the opportunity for deep exposure to MS&T,” stated Lindsey Spalding, director of workforce development and DoD’s STARBASE Central Florida at the National Center for Simulation. “STEM is vital to the Central Florida area and just as vital to students in rural areas across Central Florida. By sparking more interest in STEM, we can make a huge impact on students because of GEMS, and our other programs.”


The GEMS program recognizes subject matter experts from the military, government, industry and academic sectors as valuable and critical mentors, and the program actively welcomes community support. Interested parties can support summer programming by volunteering time as a guest speaker, providing financial support, and donating specific supplies/equipment.


To learn more about the GEMS program, contact Abbie Easter, business operations manager, at

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