Tech Trek WA grew to two camps — one at Pacific Lutheran University and one at Eastern Washington University — in 2015, serving almost 150 girls from throughout Washington! Thanks to efforts of AAUW-WA Online branch, we reached out to areas of the state where there currently is no AAUW branch and selected 17 girls to attend the 2015 camps. In order to accomplish this, over $120,000 was raised in Washington — from individuals, corporations, foundations, local businesses and civic organizations.
Tech Trek growth in Washington has been phenomenal! In 2013, 15 AAUW-WA branches selected 50 campers to attend camp. In 2014, 20 branches participated in Tech Trek by nominating, funding and selecting 89 campers to attend. In 2015, 23 branches (16 from Western Washington and six from Eastern Washington) participated, interviewing and selecting 146 campers to attend one of the camps.
Currently seeking camp staff volunteers — dorm monitors, health aide, student counselors (over age 16), teachers and workshop presenters. We especially encourage branch STEM Scholars and former Tech Trek campers (turning 16 by January 1, 2016) to apply to be student counselors. Please click on the Volunteer tab and complete the application form.
Branches are currently working to identify, interview and select campers from their local areas, as well as raise funds to support their campers’ attendance. We look forward to having close to 200 current 7th grade girls attend a Tech Trek WA camp in summer 2016!
“I had always been worried about going into a male-dominated field,” said one camper in Washington. “Tech Trek has made me feel more confident about my abilities in STEM and has made me want to follow my dreams of becoming a medical engineer.”
“My daughter came home a changed girl. She was so shy she wouldn’t even get up in front of her classmates to make a presentation. Here she is today, speaking before a complete group of strangers — teaching them something she learned at Tech Trek about genetics. Tech Trek has definitely impacted our entire family as her confidence is rubbing off on her younger sister too.”
At Tech Trek, girls are immersed in a world that empowers and encourages them to think about themselves as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer specialists.
This one-week STEM camp for rising eighth-grade girls got its start 15 years ago, when AAUW of California member Marie Wolbach applied for an AAUW Community Action Grant to open a science camp for girls on the Stanford University campus. Wolbach and AAUW of California have since expanded the program to 10 camps in California alone.
After seeing how effective the program is — alumnae are more likely than their peers to take advanced science and math classes and eventually to go to college — AAUW decided to take the program nationwide. In 2013, Tech Trek was expanded to four states, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida and Washington, and is already changing the lives of the girls who attended. In 2015, the national camps had expanded to 11 total camps in nine states. In 2016, the 10 California camps will join the AAUW national Tech Trek program.
Campers in Washington took part in activities like building and launching model hot air balloons, building and programming model robots, fingerprinting, DNA extraction, blood patterns (CSI investigations), the chemistry of soap making, coding computer applications, and marine biology (including dissecting squid). They also learned how to do some computer coding, make a vacuum robot, extract DNA, make ice cream using dry ice, simulate meiosis with genetic trait models, how sonar affects us, optics, exercise physiology, medical skills (taking blood pressure, injecting an orange), and much more! Tech Trek has been shown to significantly increase girls’ self-confidence and their interest in and excitement about the STEM fields, which is why AAUW is expanding Tech Trek to more and more states each year.
The program puts AAUW’s groundbreaking Why So Few? research report into action. Tech Trek’s formula follows the report’s recommendations, introducing girls to role models and career choices and giving campers the opportunity to reside on a college campus. Find out how you can support a camp today!