Mona and Gary Welsh are the proud parents of GEM’s Executive Director and Founder, Eric Welsh. They have been working with Eric to build GEM’s foundation since day one. Mona is the treasurer and secretary of GEM Environmental. She maintains immaculate records and ensures that all of GEM’s finances remain in order. Outside of the office, she volunteers alongside her husband, Gary Welsh. Gary is one of GEM’s hardest working volunteers. He helps with every community project and can build just about anything.
What do you enjoy most about being involved in GEM?
The best part about being involved with GEM is seeing the curiosity of young students as they discover science. It is like a light turns on in their mind when they discover the secrets of the universe. When a college student applies for one of our supplemental scholarships, they write about their plans for the scholarship, and they always relate their enthusiasm. Whether they plan to use it for buying books or helping to fund their graduate research, the recipients usually follow-up with stories and pictures of their projects. Seeing the dreams of students come to life and knowing that we had a small part in their fulfillment, is heartfelt.
What were your feelings when GEM first started and being part of the organization?
When our Son, Eric Welsh, sitting at our kitchen table, began the application for his NFP, Not for Profit, dream, which would become Gem Environmental and its service arm, GEM for STEM, we were curious, supportive, amazed, and proud of this young man who worked diligently to make his dream materialize. It took a lot of hard work to build this organization, and the perseverance to overcome the obstacles that get in the way.
What kind of progress has GEM made and what kind of progress do you see GEM making in the future?
Gem for Stem has partnered with Arizona Serve, AmeriCorps, The Bureau of Land Management, Prescott Schools, Parks and Recreation, Yavapai and Prescott Colleges, NAU, and local volunteers to bring STEM Projects, classes, guest speakers, and field experience to our tri city school students. Our goal is to introduce tri-city students to the many dimensions of a career in STEM.
Some of our projects are: Improving the Prescott Community Nature Center. Community service projects, educational field trips for local students, Internships for University students at our New Mexico Abandoned Mine remediation sights. Our supplemental Scholarship program have helped High School students pay for their SAT; undergraduate students Pay for books, lab supplies, or rent; and graduate Students achieve their research. One of our graduate students used her GEM scholarship to help finance her research studying Islandic volcanos.
In the future GEM’s Executive Director, Eric Welsh, has big plans for the GEM organization: a permanent field office in New Mexico, with corresponding partnerships; contracts and cooperative agreements in Arizona and other western states; and expanded scholarships. The future belongs to STEM students and GEM Environmental hopes to inspire American students to pick up the cause of science in STEM careers.
In what ways does GEM feel like a family and what do you like most about GEM?
Working and volunteering with the people of GEM is a gratifying experience. The dedication of the GEM Corp members and employees of stem is the epidemy of Team, and it is fun. In fact, it is such a great organization that one of our scholarship recipients has come to work for our New Mexico remediation program. She will work in the field and supervise GEM’s newest NAU geology interns. This beautiful part of the universe that is our community, is bringing together students, teachers, and many community volunteers in our effort to help make the future of our nation a better place to grow.