GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) Club | Founder and Director | Herndon VA United States
Founder and director of the GEMS clubs, (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) with over 25 chapters nationwide, Laura Reasoner Jones has made a significant contribution to the lives of young girls. As director of the GEMS clubs, Ms. Jones has directly impacted the lives of over 600 elementary school girls through seventeen years of club direction at her local school. In addition, by facilitating the founding of more than 25 other clubs through her work with AAUW and through her Web site, www.gemsclub.org, at least 625 girls per year are encouraged to continue to explore and pursue the STEM fields for college and careers.
As founder and director of the Design and Engineering Lab at her elementary school, Ms. Jones has directly impacted the futures of more than 200 girls and under-served minorities by teaching them computer programming, video editing and robotics. Through small grants which she obtained herself, students learn Scratch and Alice programming, Lego WeDo and NXT Robotics and Pico Cricket. As a result, many girls have joined First Lego League and have gone on to pursue extra-curricular activities and classes in technology.
She has won many grants which have furthered her work with STEM and students, including three from the Apple Federal Credit Union which have funded much of the robotics equipment, grants from the Virginia Association of the Gifted to fund Pico Cricket programs, and a grant from Women in Technology to purchase K’nex bridge building and amusement building sets for use with girls in after-school programming. In 2002, she and a partner won a grant from the American Association of University Women to turn their research summary “Tech-Savvy Girls” into a video and video guide for use with parents and teachers. This program was produced by the Fairfax Network and has been the most viewed and purchased of all of its programming. Ms. Jones was also recognized as an Apple Distinguished Author from her work on the Digital Edge Learning Interchange.
Since 2008, Ms. Jones has served as a mentor to two different girls in her school through the MentorWorks program. She is also being trained in Sea Perch Underwater Robotics and received a Lego Showcase Grant to bring Legos to girls in Northern Virginia.