Gemstone Honors Program

News - Fall 2009

GEMS100 Section Leader Applications are Now Available!

November 30, 2009

GEMS100 is a one-credit freshmen course designed to orient incoming students to the Gemstone Program and the multiple resources a the University. Deadline is Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at noon.

Click here.

Gems Camp 2009: "How Sweet It Is" Written by Chris DeCaro

November 13, 2009

Gems Camp 2009

Before long class lectures, before late night study sessions, and before surprise quizzes on Monday mornings, there was Gems Camp. On August 26th and 27th, Gemstone freshmen had the opportunity to start their college careers off right by making new friends and beginning their college experience with their peers. I didn't really know what to expect to tell you the truth, I mean I knew the basic idea of it, but I had no idea what it was really going to be like,? said Josh Kohm. Ready or not, early Thursday morning all the campers ventured to the newly renovated West River Camp retreat center for an experience they will always remember.

This year's theme was Candyland, "How Sweet it is." When arriving at the retreat center, the entire cohort was broken down into smaller"?Candy Teams," each with its own upper classmen Gems Camp leader. Freshman Lucas Place had camp leader Sydnee Chavis. "She was great," he said, "and she made us a lot less awkward with some fun icebreakers." Within their teams, students participated in a variety of introduction and teambuilding games, and with a theme like Candyland there were certainly a slew of candy-themed games and corny candy-related puns. "My favorite game was the Chocolate River Challenge where we had to get across a ten foot span of grass with only three pieces of felt. It took us a while to figure out but it was pretty sweet. Get it? Sweet? Because it was candy!" Reminisced Ori Lieberman. Culminating the first day was a cohort skit show in which each fan club put on their own candy-related skit. The skits varied widely, reflecting the students? impressive creativity. There was everything from a remix of your favorite candy rap songs, such as "Blame it on The Heat" to parodies of classic movies, such as Willy Wonka and the Gemstone Factory.

The second day of Gems Camp was oriented more towards helping the students get to know one another through service. After breakfast, the cohort was split into several teams and sent out into the neighboring communities for various community service assignments. These service activities ranged from deconstructing porches to helping to clean the waters of Jug Bay. In doing these service activities, students not only had the chance to get to know one another, but they also got to also help others at the same time. "My team went to the Chesapeake Children's Museum and I took a group of kids on a nature walk, it was pretty cool," remembered Tyler Dunn.

At the end of the second day, students ventured back to campus with brand new friends, new memories, and a whole slew of inside jokes that would last for months to come. Gems Camp 2009 was a fantastic experience this year for everyone, and with every year it gets better and better.

Gemstone Sweatshirts are Now Available!

November 10, 2009

In an attempt to raise funds for events such as Gemstone Formal and Conquering College (formerly Game of Life), the Gemstone Student Council is selling Gemstone sweatshirts. Order form

Each sweatshirt costs $25 and could be shipped to you for an additional cost of $10. If you are interested in purchasing a sweatshirt, please make checks payable to the University of Maryland and mail the order form and payment to:

Caitlin White 0100F Ellicott Hall College Park, MD 20742

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact either Caitlin White ( or Jen Dahne (

Eleventh Annual Team Thesis Conference

November 5, 2009

Please attend the 11th Annual Gemstone Senior Team Thesis Conference on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27, 2010 at the Plant Sciences Building on campus.

Support the senior Gemstone teams as they present and defend three years of research to their panel of experts, family, friends, and the campus community. For a detailed schedule of the presentations, and for descriptions of the senior teams, please Click here

Join the 2010 Gems Camp Planning Committee!

October 16, 2009

Apply to be part of the Gems Camp Planning Committee! Help organize Gems Camp 2010 and expand your creativity, develop leadership skills, be part of a team, and earn one credit. Click here

Become A GEMS 104 Section Leader!

September 28, 2009

This is a great opportunity is available to any sophomore, junior, or senior Gemstone student who is enthusiastic about the GEMS104 experience. Applications are due Friday, October 16 at 5 p.m.

Please contact Caitlin White at with any questions.

Become A GEMS 102 Section Leader!

September 25, 2009

Interesting in assisting first-years Gemstone students to explore research project ideas and to form teams? GEMS102 Section Leader applications are now available for eligible sophomore, junior, and senior Gemstone students. Deadline is October 19, 2009 by 5 PM. Interviews will be during the week of October 26, 2009.

Return completed application to Dr. Rebecca Thomas, Assistant Director, Gemstone Program, 0100H Ellicott Hall.