Tech Trek Camp Program

For one week during the summer, approximately 90 soon-to-be 8th grade girls from across Northern California arrive on the UC Davis campus to begin their week of discovery and exploration at Tech Trek. The fun, eye-opening week is filled with new friends, new experiences (dorm life and college dining) and learning about everything from Astronomy to Zumba.

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2024 Tech Trek at the UC Campus: Sunday, July 14 – Saturday, July 20

A video was created to document and share with potential future Trekkers and those of you who might be the curious to see what an exciting and enriching experience camp life is. Take a look: Tech Trek 2023

2024 – Tech Trek Alumnae Meet

Tech Trek veterans were invited to a reunion meeting in January to catch up and to honor Martha Rees for her decade of service as Co-Camp Director with Stephanie Facchini. Martha will continue to chair the Tech Trek Committee for the Branch, while two capable former dorm moms will step up to leading the charge to organize and manage the operation of the Summer 2024 camp. Congratulations to all for participating and serving in such an enormously important endeavor!

2023 Tech Trek – “the experience of a lifetime”

AAUW Nevada County was well represented at the 2023 UC Davis camp.  Besides our seven campers, there was one dorm mom (Michelle Baker), one senior counselor (Allison Johnson), two junior counselors (Liv DesAutels and Gina Genovese), our camp nurse (Lauren Monary – yes Susie Monary-Wilson’s daughter!  tech specialist/videographer Ava Johnson, and co-directors (Stephanie Facchini and Martha Rees).  In addition, Susie Patterson volunteered to help at the first day registration.  And we appreciated that Chriss Hood, JoAnn Schilling and Ann Shulse – plus nominating teachers Cathy Harmon and Sue Stoddart–made the effort to attend Visit Day.  The girls loved seeing you – as did staff members!  Thanks to everyone for your support and all-out efforts!!  What an outstanding team!! See the summer Lodestone for Martha’s full recount of the camp activities and its resounding success. 

You’ll hear more at the September brunch and can talk with the girls to hear about their experiences first-hand. Don’t miss the Welcome Back Brunch, September 16. —Martha Rees, Tech Trek Chair and Camp Co-Director

July 9-15, 2023, UC Davis

Martha Rees, Tech Trek Chair and Camp Co-Director

Martha Rees, Tech Trek Chair and Camp Co-Director

From Martha: Who are our 2023 Nevada County Tech Trekkers?  We have a fledgling veterinarian, environmental and social justice activists, and potential marine biologists.  Girls who want to find better ways to address neurodevelopmental problems or develop software advancements to create robots that help us with our daily lives, advance space technology for space travel or design clothes that make it easier for people with disabilities to dress themselves.  And girls who want to understand the body and how it functions or make a camp where families with little money could send their children to learn about STEAM.  All of these hopes and dreams in just six girls who want to make a difference!!! 

So let me introduce Makaela Erickson (Magnolia), Brooklyn Gates (Seven Hills), Sage Gompert (Lyman Gilmore), Lili Mudd (Yuba River Charter), Aidynn Salter (Union Hill), and Peyten Stice (Grass Valley Charter).  They will attend this summer’s Tech Trek @ UC Davis from July 9th to 15th.  On May 2nd , we will hold a special Tech Trek Event to recognize our 2023 Trekkers and their nominating teachers as well as the school principals, the NCSOS office, and our generous Tech Trek donors who make it all possible.  Last year’s Trekkers will also be on hand to share their experience and offer words of wisdom.  Look for photos in a future Lodestone.

Once again, I can’t say enough about our Tech Trek Committee members who make sure Nevada County girls have this opportunity:  Michelle Baker, Fran Erickson, Stephanie Facchini, Carolyn Feuille, Chriss Hood, Teri McConnell, Penny Savelly, Jo Ann Schilling, Kathy Scott, Ann Shulse, Bernadette Sylvester, and Carole Yettick.

July 2022, Tech Trek back on campus!

Front row: Nevada County Trekkers; Back row: Dorm moms, advisors, and Co-camp Director Martha Rees

UC Davis, July 17-23: After a two-year hiatus Tech Trek was back on campus. There were additional hoops to jump through due to Covid, but mission was accomplished thanks to the commitment and support of camp staff, volunteers, and branch members. See the September 2022 Lodestone article by Martha Rees for details.

June 27, 2022: Trekkers Annual Luncheon

Lily’s Garden was the perfect setting for our 2022 Nevada County Tech Trekkers Luncheon. Committee Members Carole Yettick and JoAnn Schilling coordinated the lunch with fellow members pitching in to make it a special and delicious time for the campers. We were lucky to have 2022 Tech Trek Senior Counselor Allison Johnson and Junior Counselor Ava Johnson join us, and thanks to Teri McConnell the girls walked away with beautiful flower bouquets, too.

Allison and Ava took charge with the girls — engaging them in conversation, answering questions, offering suggestions, and leading ice breakers. The rest of us kicked back and caught up:- I think a good time was had by all.) —submitted by Martha Rees. & Bernadette Sylvester

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2022 Finalists Selected: UC Davis, here they come!

After reviewing 26 nominations, applications, and essays (for girls from ten different local public schools/public charters), followed by an equal number of interviews, the Tech Trek Committee is pleased to announce our 2022 Tech Trek finalists:

  • Sophia Dell’Ara
  • Lyman Gilmore
  • Ella DesAutels, Magnolia
  • Sammy Flaherty, Grass Valley Charter
  • Tabby Gillespie, Seven Hills;
  • Leah Lubarsky, Clear Creek
  • Whitney Parnow, Seven Hills
  • Hailey Wilson, Forest Charter

They will attend this summer’s Tech Trek @ UC Davis from July 17th to 23rd, the first time we’ve been able to offer the residential camp since 2019, so you can imagine how excited we all are!! With the uncertainty and testing results still hanging over our head, we also selected three alternates, just in case. They are: Zoey Aronow, Lyman Gilmore; Jaylen Hale, Magnolia; and Vivienne Perelman, Clear Creek.

Hooray for our 2020 Trekkers!

“You’re Awesome!”  “Way to Go!!” “Congrats, Trekkers!!”  AAUW members and Tech Trek alumni greeted our 2020 Nevada County Tech Trekkers with snazzy congratulatory posters, cheers of support, blue and yellow balloons, cowbells and rejoicing as they arrived for the Recognition Event.   Even Superintendent Scott Lay, Associate Superintendent Teena Corker, and our NCSOS liaison Faith Yamamoto and several nominating teachers joined the festivities.

With the news that the 2020 AAUW Tech Trek camps would be cancelled, the Nevada County Branch put together a uniquely upbeat and heartfelt celebration! Sure, it took place in the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools (NCSOS) parking lot and in true Covid 19 style – face masks, social distancing, and the like. But not even a pandemic could dampen the enthusiasm for our nine 2020 Trekkers (Lexi Cookson, Molly Cordes, Bella Devely, Arianna Drageset, AJ Janow, Faith Krason, Rylie Mason, Lauren Metzger, and Addie Tice-Raskin) and their love of STEM!  It was a good start to what promises to be an unusual, but enlightening and enriching experience for everyone involved.

On top of the recognition, the new Trekkers received a special 2020 Nevada County Tech Trek t-shirt, designed by Cece Royal, and a darling Tech Trek bear suffragette, created by Stephanie Facchini and her sister Royanne Wegner.

Kudos to our fabulous AAUW members who pitched in to make the uplifting recognition happen:  Michelle Baker, Stephanie Facchini, Carolyn Feuille, Bup Greenwood, Chriss Hood, Candy Jewett, Vivian McKnight, Stephanie Owyoung, Penny Savelly, Jo Ann Schilling, Kathy Scott, Ann Shulse, Bernadette Sylvester, Carole Yettick  And, to our remarkable Tech Trek alumni Violet Frazee, Gina Genovese, Melina Handan, Mei Lin Heirendt, Allison Johnson, Ava Johnson, Jocelyn McKinley, Annabelle Owyoung, Sid Pixley, Faith Stubbs, and Eva Zlimen.  What a village of extraordinary women!
Photos thanks to Bernadette and Ed Sylvester, Vivian McKnight, Stephanie Facchini, and Faith Yamamoto.

Tech Trek, Nevada County Branch

Since Tech Trek began in 1998, our Branch has sent more than 100 Nevada County 8th grade girls to the week-long residential science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) camp held on college campuses. The program they encounter there is designed to encourage the girls to explore and expand their interest in STEM academic and career areas.

Welcome Back Brunch, September 2019, Tech Trekkers with Stephanie Facchini & Dorm Moms

In 2019, we sent seven local girls to Tech Trek at U.C. Davis, where they experienced a range of hands-on classes, activities, and on-campus field trips in the STEM disciplines and got a taste of college life.  The 2019 girls were: Kya Bommersbach– Chicago Park | Gina Genovese – Magnolia | Melina Handan – Seven Hills |  Mei Lin Heirendt – Grass Valley Charter | Angela Martinez – Lyman Gilmore | Sidney Pixley – Union Hill | Madilyn Thaggard – Lyman Gilmore

Trekkers on a Davis campus bridge

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 and at universities and colleges in nine other states. With the help of our generous community, including businesses, foundations, and private individuals, AAUW Nevada County Branch has been sending local girls since Tech Trek began in 1998 and has sent more than 120 local girls since then.  Currently, the AAUW Nevada County Branch provides sponsorships for seven girls each year to the Tech Trek @ UC Davis camp.  

2013 Trekkers

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. Through hands-on problem solving and encounters with women role models in STEM, AAUW Tech Trek helps girls see their futures while having nonstop fun. For many girls, the weeklong camp sparks their curiosity and places them on a path toward success.

Tech Trek 2019

All campers are nominated by their seventh-grade math, science or technology/computer teachers for sponsorships provided by their local AAUW Branch. The girls complete an application, write an essay, and are interviewed by AAUW Nevada County Tech Trek Committee Members who make the final selection.  The branches fund the sponsorships that cover the cost of the camp, including on dorm and dining common as well as educational materials, etc.   Each camper’s family is responsible for a small fee which is due upon the camper’s selection.
Find out more about what happens at AAUW Tech Trek at UC Davis:  Link to

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.
What Nevada County Trekkers say about their Tech Trek experience:
“I walked into Tech Trek as an eager girl hoping to learn more about STEM and do more hands-on activities, but I came 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.”

Trekkers 2017, UC Davis

 “It was one of the defining moments that motivated me to become a highly educated and successful young woman.  This camp was also my first real experience to the college life and stepping out on my own. Gaining a new perspective on society and my peers instilled a drive to get to college and push myself outside of my comfort zone.  There were so many attributes of the program that I carry throughout my daily life. That confidence of being an educated woman is key.”  Claire

“My experience at Tech Trek was simply amazing. It opened my eyes to the world of science and all the possibilities. I think it did a great job in awakening a great passion for science in me. I owe my success to the passion and drive instilled in me during my Tech Trek camp experience.” Karrie

 “To me Tech Trek was as much of a social experience as it was an academic achievement.  It helped me to grow in many ways including helping me to realize what opportunities were available to me.  It also exposed me to material that I would have never had access to in grade school or high school.  I also appreciate that I had the chance to participate in this program because it made me realize that I could achieve more than I knew I ever could and it also helped me to realize that hard work does pay off.” Alexis

What is the role of the AAUW Tech Trek Committee?
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