San Diego-area schools now have easier access to GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America) globally recognized gemology and geology education through the Institute’s mobile Junior Gemologist™ program. The mobile program, which gives 9 to 12 year-old students the opportunity to discover the world of gemology through hands-on, practical training, made its first stops at Pacific Rim Elementary in Carlsbad.

“More than 35,000 junior gemologists have participated in the program at GIA’s Carlsbad world headquarters since it was introduced in 2002,” said Larne Antrim, GIA manager of guest services. “By taking the program on the road, we can reach more schools in San Diego and Orange County. Now, we can pull up right to their schools, cutting travel time and paperwork.”

Nonprofit GIA – considered the global leader in gem and jewelry education – introduced its free Junior Gemologist program as part of its public-benefit mission. The program meets federal curriculum guidelines and supports existing school district and youth group science programs. This is the first time that the program has traveled directly to schools; the new mobile program will be able to reach schools from Otay Mesa to Jamul and southern Riverside to Orange County.

“This was a great opportunity for my students to see how science works in the real world. Each was given the opportunity to investigate and document their findings; they were engaged throughout the entire presentation,” said Sandra Mello, fourth grade teacher at King Chavez School of Excellence.

“GIA’s new mobile science lab is geared perfectly towards fourth grade curriculum.  My students loved learning with GIA and their excitement for gems grew tremendously because of this wonderful experience,” said Katie Jordan, fourth grade teacher at Pacific Rim Elementary.

The workshop incorporates hands-on-training with the same tools used by students in GIA’s rigorous Graduate Gemologist diploma program. In addition to using loupes and microscopes to examine gems, the students discover stars and cat’s eyes in phenomenal stones with penlights.

Schools interested in signing up for the mobile program can email or call GIA’s Guest Services at 760-603-4116.