The best opportunity for minorities who want to pursue graduate degrees in engineering.
The National GEM Consortium has been a key enabler of my career and my life. This organization gave me the opportunity to obtain a master's and doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Through GEM, I had the opportunity to intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, an experience that changed the conjecture of my career and made me realize what I wanted to do with my life. Eventually my experiences at Oak Ridge led me to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where I serve as the associate laboratory director for Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences.
GEM is an incredible network of corporations, laboratories, and research institutions that enables qualified students from underrepresented communities to pursue graduate degrees in applied science and engineering. After more than forty years, the program has an outstanding record of identifying and supporting talented graduate students who later become highly successful academics, business leaders, and scientists. I’m proud of the strong partnership that NREL and the GEM program have created and equally proud to be called a GEM Alum.
Johney Green Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Laboratory Director
Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
A native of South Bend, Indiana, and single parent of two I relied on God to lead the way for me. I have a son and a daughter; my son is gifted and was an excellent reader at age four. I had no financial resources that enabled me to set money aside that would promise a secondary education for my children.
Forestine Blake-Jackson, a childhood friend, held a secretarial position at the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. (GEM) then housed at the University of Notre. GEM employees were staff members of the Universities and entitled to full benefits the most desirable of them was the education benefits: full tuition and fees for the children of employees. Thank you God for answering my prayer.
GEM’s mission sealed the deal, to enhance the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups (African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans) at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science. Of equal importance was being able to work in a family friendly environment. So when Forestine told me about a position I knew that the GEM Program would be my life long career, currently, the Executive Administrative Assist to the CEO.
Dr. Howard G. Adams, former Executive Director at GEM, mentored my son, and purchased his first leather briefcase while my son was still in high school. Dr. Adams taught my son how to gain respect. He instilled in him the importance of “Always dressing for success.” That meant not every wearing jeans while in high school and at all times carry yourself in a professional manner. In so doing you would let teachers and future instructors know you were about business.”
With God’s blessing and the GEM organization, today my son Dewan L. Simon is the CEO & Founder at Global Continuous Improvement Experts (GCI Experts). He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and is a License and Certification Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and Master of Business Administration (MBA), Thunderbird School of Global Management International Business. My daughter graduated with a Medical Technician degree, Ivy Tech Community College.
My being a part of the GEM Program has had a tremendous difference in my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren as well. I am very proud of the relationships I have established with not only University and employer representatives but with the GEM Fellows and Alum I have grown to know and love. There is no going wrong with participation in the GEM Program.
I have been affiliated with this organization for 28.5 years, the impact it has had on STEM students' lives across the country is phenomenal! (4000 plus GEM Alums) "GEM Envision: a U.S. STEM workforce where all are valued and empowered to realize their fullest potential through parity of access to senior levels, leading to scientific advancement that drives global innovation and maximizes social and economic impact."
The National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering is an exceptional program that affords minority students a Fellowship to pursue graduate degrees in engineering, science and computer science. As the former Fellowships Administrator I worked with the best and the brightest students, university personnel and many CEOs in corporate America.
When I read success stories of students like that of Dr. Kyla McMullen I am in awe at the very notion that I rubbed elbows with such a legend such as Dr. McMullen, a product of the Consortium. If you do a google search on Dr. McMullen you will find an array of awesomeness such as her being a tenure-trak assistant professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science & Engineering at the University of Florida. As of this date she is currently the first and only woman of color to earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan.
The Consortium pours out a number of successes on an annual basis. They are a tremendous resource for universities seeking professors and fortune 500 companies looking to hire the best and the brightest.
I am so proud of my affiliation with the National Consortium.
Forestine Blake-Jackson, Retiree
University of Notre Dame
Former Fellowships Administrator
The National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science
The National GEM Consortium represents the epitome of academic excellence! For 40+ years, GEM has successfully opened doors of opportunity for people of color to obtain advanced degrees, instill students with confidence, and equip fellows with the skills, competencies, and technical experience to become experts in their fields.
I learned about the National GEM Consortium from a classmate that was affiliated with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). In 2007 I traveled to Las Vegas, NV and attended the Future Faculty and Professionals (FFP) Symposium, and learned about this great organization. It was amazing to be in the midst of technical professionals of color in both academia and industry who openly shared their triumphs, and shared strategies so that I too can join the field. There was a deep commitment to my academic success and it was reflected in every aspect of the symposium. Immediately, I knew that I had to be a part of this organization and I submitted in my application.
Because of GEM, I was able to obtain my PhD in Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Florida and acquire industrial experience through my sponsorship with the Eastman Kodak Company. I appreciate the financial support, mentorship, career opportunities, and access to a network of leaders. The benefits of GEM extend far beyond graduate school. As a proud GEM alum, this organization has positively enhanced my career trajectory in the government, industry, and academic sectors GEM has provided support, connections, and partnerships that have resulted in new collaborations, partnerships, and projects.
I whole-heartily support the National GEM Consortium and encourage tech companies, government agencies, foundations, non-profits, and universities to invest in this organization to identify top-talent for the technical workforce!
Dr. Kyla McMullen at the University of Michigan PhD 2012, is the first African American woman at the University of Michigan to graduate with a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering. Her achievement was outstanding but not surprising as she is one of the many young people whom I met as the former Fellowships Administrator at the National GEM Consortium. The Consortium has provided minority students in engineering, science and computer science awesome opportunities that resulted in them working in corporate America at Fortune 500 companies or prepared them for promising futures in academia. Founded and formerly housed at the University of Notre Dame, the Consortium continues to afford minority students with many opportunities to pursue graduate degrees. Each year since the Program left Notre Dame in 2007, I continue to direct students to GEM in hopes that they will be able to secure the Fellowship. It is such a great program and I am so proud to have been a part of it. I would recommend the Consortium to minority students everywhere and without hesitation. Forestine Blake-Jackson (1997 - 2007)
My GEM Story
As a GEM ALUM and Employer I only have great things to say about GEM National Consortium. GEM was life changing for a kid who grew up poor in the inner city of San Francisco. First generation in my family to go to college, but not just any college Stanford University. First in my community and peers to leave the inner city for a top university. The idea of being an Electrical Engineer was planted in my mind by a chance encounter with a substitute teacher at my elementary school. There were not at the time anyone in my family that was an engineer and no one in the community who really understood what an Electrical Engineer actually did. Through GEM I was able to receive my BS Electrical Engineering and MS Materials Science & Engineering at the same time. My GEM sponsored education has opened doors with some of the top global companies and has allowed me to lead Global business around the world in countries such as India, China, Korea, Taiwan, Canada, South America and Europe. I've even been to the Taj Mahal - India, Tiananmen Square - Beijing, China, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, etc. Lastly through my leadership roles in Talent Acquisition and Global Diversity & Inclusion, I’ve been able to give back, by sponsoring GEM Fellows. The caliber of the GEM Fellows has always met or exceeded the manager’s expectations.
I am very thankful and honored to be a part of GEM, and this year I was recognized with the young alumni leadership award from GEM.
I have benefited so much from GEM throughout my education and career, so I can't thank GEM enough for setting me up for success in my career.
My employer actively engages with GEM for their multi-year graduate internship program to generate a pool of future candidates for hire. And the students are always top tier.
I highly recommend that students apply to be graduate GEM fellow, and highly recommend that employers leverage the experience and network GEM offers!
Without GEM, my graduate degree would still just be an aspiration not a reality! Now, I have a Ph.D. and have had the honor to change many lives because of this powerful organization. GEM helps aspiring STEM students strive to achieve their full potential of a graduate education and takes away the financial burden of paying for it. Additionally, the network of GEM Alumni has been a bonus. Just to join such an elite group of individuals changing the STEM gradate community in Academia, Corporate America, and National Laboratories has propelled my journey to do more and be more in my own career. I'm proud to call myself a GEM Alum each day!
The National GEM Consortium has played a significant role in my life. It was the organization that come around right at the time I needed funding for the completion of my Ph.D.. The organization does so much more than just financial support. It also gives those who utilize it, a network to help with transition to professional careers. GEM is a true "family" for all its members not just the GEM Fellows that it supports. I see their university and employer members supporting each other outside of GEM-related events. I believe GEM is a fantastic non-profit organization, and I'm proud to be called a GEM Alum!
GEM is just that: A national treasure! I was able to obtain a Master's in Aerospace Engineering from Michigan because of the vision and commitment of GEM and its member companies and universities. The knowledge and networking presents a unique experience which fosters personal and professional growth ( I am entering my 39th year in the Aerospace Industry bringing solutions to our nation's hardest problems). That rich environment inspired me to co-found the GEM Alumni Association (the 3rd pillar), which in our first few years funded 8 PhD fellowships. To potential member employers, I say "Your return on investment will be VERY measurable and will exceed your expectations". To Universities, "GEM produces Deans of Engineering at the best universities, get on-board". To students, "GEM Alumni are here for you. Know your worth and get on the team of the Leaders and Best!" Honored and proud to be a part of the GEM family. Mission First, People NEVER Second!
I am the assistant dean for graduate studies in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. In my role as assistant dean I am the primary recruiter of graduate students to our MS and PhD programs. I have been the GEM University Representative for the last decade, and during that time I have also served on the GEM Board of Directors.
When I became involved with GEM, I soon recognized that no other fellowship program or organization gave us access to hundreds of underrepresented minority students to proactively recruit to our graduate programs. Just over ten years ago we had about 30 underrepresented minority PhD students. In Fall 2018 we reached 99, which was triple the number we had a decade earlier.
I have the overwhelming credit to GEM which allows us to recruit from the database of GEM Fellowship applicants. Companies and universities that proactively recruit GEM Fellowship applicants and later GEM Fellows will see dramatic changes in their work forces and student bodies.
Bruce A. Lindvall, PhD
Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
The National GEM Consortium is the No. 1 resource for advance Degree STEM talent. Every company interested in a diverse workforce should be a member of the Consortium.
GEM, through my summer employment at JHU/APL, changed my life…
Back in the summer of 1979, yes 40 yrs. ago, I was an BSEE student at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. I don’t even remember how I found out about GEM (it certainly was not through the school), but I figured it was worth the postage stamp to submit the form. It promised help for my MS degree AND a paid summer job. With a history of menial summer jobs in PR (all of which paid below minimum wage), I was a junior taking summer classes, looking to finish my degree ASAP (i.e. no Co-op for me). Since the island EE job prospects either involved the power company or a pharma plant (Neither of which were my ‘thing’), this fell under the ‘what do I have to lose?’
Through GEM I spent two summers (1980 and 1981) working at John’s Hopkins Univ/Applied Physics Lab. The work was great (to this day my boss Ken Skrivseth is my friend), crawling around a bldg. with two high powered search radars, tracking live airplanes at night, etc.
But what really blew my mind was listening to the ‘summer’ chats. In them, APL researchers described their experiences. Through them I listened to someone Dr. Alex Kossiakoff (co-inventor of the Transit Satellite Navigation) tell us how he ‘stumbled’ upon the principles of Transit, and through my job I worked with others that had been around when APL developed the proximity fuse in 1942. In short, for the first time in my life, I realized that I could also change the future working as an engineer.
I did not pursue my MS through GEM [sorry, I got tired of being poor], but later did get my MS (and even attempted a PhD). Yet the influence of GEM and APL on my career were significant. Both my 14 US patents as a co-inventor, and the over 100 US patents I have prosecuted for my clients since becoming a Patent Agent [after a dinner conversation with my fellow intern and GEM Board Member TJ Jackson in 2005], owe a significant portion of their existence to the effect of my experiences those two summers at APL through GEM.
Luis Figarella PE
I’m the one with the green/yellow shirt, and to this day have my going away present from the APL Staff.
I was the first GEM fellow from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, back in the summer of 1980, when I got a summer job at John’s Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab. The effect of that summer on me, cannot be overstated. Back in the time of land-lines and dial-up modems, it allowed me to see that there was a MUCH wider world out there than the one I had been exposed to in my beloved Puerto Rico (where engineers mainly either ‘built houses’ or worked at Pharma plants). I mean, when Alex Kossiakoff tells you how they invented the Transit Satellite navigation system at JHU/APL while 'playing' in the lab, you're never the same.
I never took advantage of the GEM Master’s Fellowship, taking the route of an MS at Boston University paid for by my employer, The Mitre Corp., but I keep GEM close to my heart. To this day, I am still a close friend of my first ‘boss’ at JHU/APL (Kenneth Skrivseth), and have been able to keep in touch with my fellow APL/JHU F3A-SSA (Summer Student Association) co-founder (and fellow GEM’er) Anthony (TJ) Jackson (now an esteemed board member of GEM), as well as Robert Whyms.
How much of a catalyst is TJ? My wife Eli and I re-connected with TJ in ’05 and had dinner in Boston. After chatting with him, I decided to go ahead and become a Patent Agent. Over thirteen years later, and with over 85 issued US Utility patents to clients in the Continent, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Spain, TJ can take credit for helping to ‘launch’ me into the best job I’ve ever had.
The GEM Consortium is an amazing nonprofit. Since I applied to the GEM Fellowship I got matched with a top university with full funding for my graduate degree. Now I have the opportunity to boost my education and career options. If it wasn't for the GEM Fellowship I would not have been able to afford to go to graduate school
They have been there for me in pivotal phases of my life. the National GEM Consortium supported my MS Degree, inspired me to get my PhD, enabled me to get my PhD, and helped transition into a job in academia. It has been my privilege to see this organization grow its mission to increase enhance the value of the nation’s human capital through more diverse representation.
As a undergraduate mechanical engineering student at Tennessee State University (HBCU), my educational experience "unleashed my unknown potential". It was this experience combined with the academic challenge of Dr. Howard Adams, former GEM Executive Director, the value of a graduate degree and the opportunities it provides. As a result, I completed my MS from the Missouri University of Science & Technology as a GEM Fellow, worked several years for General Electric, and returned to school to complete the PhD at the University of Iowa as a CIC Fellow. Recognized and believe to be the first GEM Fellow to receive a PhD, the GEM Program was the impetus to the beginning of a faculty career to encourage other underrepresented students to pursue graduate study and impact students in the classroom as a role model and mentor. I am indeed grateful for the support and advocacy of the program, its leadership, and continuing campaign to graduate more minority students with graduate degrees in STEM.
I became a GEM Fellow in 1994 to complete a PhD in Chemistry at Purdue University. The opportunities and experience that this fellowship provided me then and now have been a major part of my success. The internship with [former] Dupont was invaluable. The exposure and mentorship that I received during that program shaped my desire to pursue a path in industry. The GEM Alumni have also proven extremely beneficial as a starting point for collaborations and overall network building. GEM Alumni are represented in every sector and serve as role models for students entering the STEM fields.
The National GEM Consortium is the life line for many high achieving minority students who seek graduate degrees. I was a GEM Fellow and now am a proud GEM Alumni. Without the support of GEM brokering the multiple relationships and encouraging me along the way, I would not have been successful in obtaining the Ph.D. in Computer Science from Arizona State University.
This organization consistently meet the greatest need, that being financial support, for over 4,000 students. With the National GEM Consortium championing relations between institutions, government labs, and industry, the GEM Fellows gain access to research and experiences that allow them to become competitively trained and liberally educated. The partnering institutions, government labs, and industry, win as they gain diverse talents to ensure our nation remain competitive and number 1 in innovation. The National GEM Consortium is deserving of being among the Great Non-Profits top picks.
The National GEM Consortium (GEM) is not only a game changer but a life changer!!! In 1990, GEM became a game changer for me when I became the first GEM Fellow to ever attend the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI). And since graduating in 1992 as the first full-time African American student to earn a master's degree in engineering management from UTSI, GEM has been a life changer throughout my 25-plus year successful and rewarding diverse career in Engineering, Project Leadership, Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology, Sales and Marketing, and Senior Leadership. Without question, GEM is a priceless and precious GEM for not past and present individuals and organizations, but for generations to come!!!
They are a wonderful group helping underrepresented minorities into STEM. Every part of the process, from the internships to the fellowship are a great resource for graduate students. I am very thankful for them
Enter the National GEM Consortium – If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again...
In the fall of 2002, while at Howard University, I applied for the GEM Fellowship, which taps the sponsoring university and employer for full tuition, fees, and an annual stipend. Unfortunately, I was not selected the first time I applied, but the next time around, my internship with Intel Corporation made me a much better candidate. I was named an Intel GEM Fellow in 2004, which made me a part of Intel’s Diversity Scholar Program’s future network.
The reason I could dedicate my second year at NC State to research and course work was because I no longer had that financial strain. Because of the GEM Fellowship, I was able to make meaningful connections and I learned invaluable lessons about computer architecture at NC State. I went on to join Intel and worked on 4 Xeon Server teams as a component design engineer. Since then, I have held many different positions- Senior Product Manager at Amazon, Program Lead at Google and more. I owe so much to The National GEM Consortium.
The National GEM Consortium has been a tremendously positive influence in my life. Not only did this organization provide invaluable financial support for my graduate studies, the experience as a GEM fellow opened my eyes to what industry had to offer students in the STEM fields. My decision to serve on the Board was driven by a desire to give back but also inspired by the aspirations and dedication of the group of professionals that are so committed to the success of this exceptional organization.
I was a GEM Fellow over 35 years ago. This is the best organization addressing the need of increasing the number of minorities receiving advanced degrees in engineering and science. GEM was there for me and I will always be a proud GEM Alumni. I will continue to remember GEM in my charitable giving and wish many, many, more years of continued success to the program.