Founded in 2010, GEMS is one of the few girl-centric organizations founded and led by a Black female STEM educator. Saki Milton, a middle school mathematics teacher, had the vision to bring a quality, engaging learning experience to girls who attend large urban schools and do not receive the quality public education that every American child deserves. Her observations of girls in math classes in affluent and underserved schools led to the formation of The GEMS Camp. That summer, GEMS served its first cohort of 30 girls of color. In February 2014, GEMS was officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and programming was held in Houston, Texas, at The University of Houston Downtown and Clay Academy in Dallas, Texas. In 2015 and 2016, GEMS was offered at the University of North Texas at Dallas. In 2017, the flagship program transitioned from a six-week, Saturday program to a one-week residential camp, providing campus life exposure. Today, GEMS offers four core programs: Summer Camp Experiences, STEM Pathways Institute & Leadership Council, Global STEM Travel Experience, and the 5K Leadership Program and other supplementary programs. To date, The GEMS Camp has served roughly 1,200 girls across 13 university camps and has increased revenue from $1,000 to nearly $250,000.
The GEMS Camp has achieved significant success since its inception. Through organic growth, the organization has maintained its authenticity and commitment to its mission. The Dallas Morning News and NBC5i have featured The GEMS Camp, and in 2020, the Texas Girls Collaborative Project recognized the organization with the Stand Up for STEM Million Mentors Women-TX Educational Organization award. In addition, Saki Milton, the founder of The GEMS Camp, has been recognized for her outstanding contributions to women and girls in North Texas. She was named a Hidden Figure, Women Who STEAM by the Dallas Links Chapter, and received the 18th Ebby Award in 2022 from Our Friend’s Place. In April 2023, Ms. Milton received the Educating Her Community: Woman of the Year award from WoMan to Woman Ministries at the Potter’s House of Dallas.
The mission of The GEMS Camp is to change the face of those who can access and excel in STEM studies and careers.
Your generous donations will support capacity-building, programming, and general operating expenses for furthering STEM education transformative services in Texas cities, specifically Dallas, Austin, Houston, and Fort Worth. Achieving this vision will be made feasible by directing these funds toward salaries, instructional supplies and equipment, and needs-based scholarships for summer camp tuition.
We want to increase the percentage of minority women earning bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to improve gender, racial, and socioeconomic diversity, equity, and inclusion in the U.S. STEM workforce.
We focus on the challenges of “summer learning loss” and, most notably now, “pandemic learning loss” for many girls of color, specifically Black and Latina middle school girls from economically disadvantaged communities.