The teacher recommendation for one of our trekkers stated: “If the fields of science and engineering didn’t already exist, she is the type of person who would invent them.”
Once again the choices were tough. “We had so many incredibly deserving nominees,” says Martha Rees, Tech Trek Coordinator. “Their interests, hopes and dreams run the gamut of STEM:
–designing space rovers to researching hydroponics
–advancing computer technology
–inventing a band-aid patch that would be a diabetic insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor
–engineering the latest in architecture
–teaching kids math not to just learn, but to understand
–exploring connections between the insect, animal and human worlds to stop disorders such as bee colony collapse or to provide antibodies for future disease treatments.
We also received word that three former NC trekkers will be counselors at this summer’s Tech Trek @ UC Davis: Senior Counselor Nora Devlin and Junior Counselors Alex Junge and Caroline Voorhees. So, with Christy Lasich as camp doctor and Melanie Heckel and Jan Christofferson as dorm moms, plus Stephanie Facchini and Penny Savelly as alternate dorm moms, Nevada County will be well represented at the 2015 Tech Trek @ UC Davis.
Again kudos and thanks to our fabulous Tech Trek committee members (Stephanie Facchini, Carolyn Feuille, Chriss Hood, Virginia Horowitz, Bernie Kringel, Penny Savelly, Jo Ann Schilling, Ann Shulse, Bernadette Sylvester, Gale Wright, and Carole Yettick) who all participated and to The Flour Garden on Sutton and its staff who gave up their break room for our interviews.
What is Tech Trek?
Focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Tech Trek is a weeklong residential summer camp held on eight different California college campuses. Designed for girls who will enter eighth grade in the fall, the goal is to develop interest, excitement, and self-confidence and encourage them to consider and explore academic and career possibilities in STEM fields. AAUW Nevada County Branch has been sending local girls since Tech Trek began in 1998.
This Year’s Highlights
“I walked into Tech Trek as an eager girl hoping to learn more about STEM and do more hands-on activities, but I am coming out a confident young lady who has learned more about the world and all the opportunities it holds. Tech Trek is an extraordinary camp that changed my life, and will change other girls, too.” Keegan O’Sullivan, Nevada County 2014 trekker.
Examining lungs and dissecting eyes, building solar-powered cell phone chargers, designing rollercoasters and bridges, programming robots for a dance-off, and extracting DNA from strawberries … these are just some of the ways that our 2014 Tech Trekkers started their days in their morning core classes. Afternoons were spent taking on the role of veterinarian to diagnose the cause of a horse’s death or the role of a forensic scientist to solve a crime, or learning about polymers, meteorology, or the physics of sound, and that’s just a sampling.
Tech Trek by the Numbers
1 – Number of Tech Trek camps in 1998
10 – Number of Tech Trek camps (on 8 different CA university campuses) in 2014*
1 – Number of Nevada County girls sent first year (1998)
8 – Number of Nevada County girls we are sending in 2014
88 — Total number of northern CA girls at 2014 UC Davis Tech Trek
800+ – Total number of girls at 2014 Tech Trek camps statewide
10,000+ – Total number of trekkers since beginning
90 – Total number of Nevada County girls (as of this summer) sent since program began in 1998
*Tech Trek, which began in California, has spread to other states as of 2013, including Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington; and as of 2014, Alabama, New Mexico, and Oregon.
Why Tech Trek?
Research findings have shown that middle school is a critical time when girls tend to stray from studying math, science, and technology. It is clear that we need to ensure those girls who are interested can and will pursue these areas without any barriers. That’s where Tech Trek comes in. Tech Trek is packed with hands-on experiments and learning experiences, including related field trips, guest presentations by professional women, and the chance to live on a college campus.
AAUW Tech Trek Committee’s Role
Committee members take part in local Tech Trek selection process activities, such as:
Building program awareness with school science, math, technology teachers who nominate students
Reviewing nominees’ applications and essays
Interviewing nominees and selecting finalists
Raising funds to cover Nevada County girls attendance costs
Recognition and informational events for trekkers, teachers, sponsors