Tech Trek WA is growing! In 2013, 15 AAUW 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, we are expanding to TWO camps – one in Western Washington (at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, July 12-18) and one in Eastern Washington (site and dates to be determined). Both camps will be administered under the AAUW-WA Tech Trek committee and will have coordinated curriculum and activities. AAUW-WA branches will be encouraged to send girls to the camp closest to their location, thus cutting down travel time for families. Current plans are for 120 campers combined for both camps.
Currently seeking camp staff volunteers — dorm monitors, student counselors (over age 16), teachers and workshop presenters. We especially encourage branch STEM Scholars 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 as many as 120 current 7th grade girls attend this summer from throughout Washington!
“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.
Campers in Washington took part in activities like building and launching model rockets, building model bridges and roller coasters, fingerprinting, DNA extraction, blood patterns (CSI investigations), the chemistry of soap making, epidemiology, and marine biology (including dissecting squid). They also learned how to do some computer coding, build a simple website/blog, make a vacuum robot, extract DNA, make ice cream using dry ice, simulate meiosis with genetic trait models, models of hands and how the tendons, ligaments and bones work together, models of lungs and how pulmonary ventilation takes place, 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 bringing Tech Trek to three new states in 2014: Alabama, New Mexico, and Oregon.
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!