Tech Trek is a week-long, residential STEM camp for girls leaving the 7th grade. The Tech Trek idea and the first camp began in California and is now nationwide! Organized by members of over 100 AAUW branches, California camps are held on eight university campuses during the summer. Camp sites include Stanford University, CSU Fresno, UC Davis, Sonoma State University, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), UC San Diego, Whittier College and UC Irvine. The Tech Trek experience is designed for a select group of girls entering eighth grade to develop a lifelong interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to work with role models who exhibit high levels of expertise in these fields.
Locally, Tech Trek committee members contact Lucia Mar Unified School District middle school math and science teachers each year to nominate seventh grade girls who should be considered for the program, and girls who are interested in participating submit applications to the committee. Scholarship recipients are chosen following a process that includes a written essay and an interview with AAUW members. Those selected receive $900 scholarships to attend the camp, and they are introduced to branch members at the April General Meeting.
Tech Trek scholarship recipients from the Five Cities-Pismo Beach Branch of AAUW attend the Tech Trek camp on the UCSB campus during July. With ten camps in California, approximately 800 to 1,000 girls now participate in the statewide program each summer, with many more expected to attend camps all over the United States this summer. Established in 1998, California Tech Trek has graduated approximately 10,000 participants to date. Tech Trek alumnae have demonstrated a higher than average participation in STEM courses and related activities in high school and college, and they consistently have chosen careers in these fields.
Why Tech Trek?
AAUW published an historic report in 1991, entitled “Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America.” The research in that report indicated that girls tended to drop out of math and science courses during their middle school years as a result of their lack of self-confidence. Then, in high school, social acceptance became more important than academic interests and achievements for many girls, thus affecting their educational and career choices. Girls generally scored below boys in math and science testing. In California, AAUW members were concerned about this report, and they established the Tech Trek camp program, which was designed to foster an interest in math and science for middle school girls.
In March of 2010, AAUW published a comprehensive report entitled, “Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” This report indicates that now girls are scoring at or above boys in math and science testing through high school. But, even though women and girls have made great strides in the workplace during the past few decades, they are still not entering the STEM professions like they are entering medicine, law and business. The study shows that girls “continue to have environmental and social barriers – including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities – that continue to block their participation and progress in the STEM areas.” The report also includes ideas that everyone can implement to open scientific and engineering fields to girls and women.
Tech Trek website:
If you would like to support this worthwhile project, you can make a donation to AAUW with the donation form below. All donations to Tech Trek are tax deductible.
Tech Trek Donations
Click on the link below for the donation pdf form. Print the form, then fill in the form and mail it along with your check to the address on the form.
Your generous gift is appreciated.